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  1. #61
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
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    Manitoba Canada
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    Default Re: Indoor wintering

    So I found a neat little trick to figure out the condensation within the bee hive, pull the feed plug and see if there is moisture on the cap.
    So at a wintering room of 30% RH about half if the random plugs I pulled had moisture on them. That is telling me the room is too dry and I need to add moisture to the air to allow more condensation within the hive.

    I'm going to bring in a humidifier and see how the bees respond to a room RH of 45% .
    I tossed a bit of snow on a few enterances and the bees moved towards it and calmly drank it all down as it melted. No panic yet

  2. #62
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    souris, manitoba, canada
    Posts
    749

    Default Re: Indoor wintering

    they will take water out of a styrofoam cup,placed on the entrance ,with pin holes in the bottom....so I've heard

  3. #63
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Campbell River, BC, CA
    Posts
    483

    Default Re: Indoor wintering

    To give them water, this would work too.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/2Pcs-Beekeep...-/191007975730

    I ordered a few last year, they are cheap and free shipping. Used them this fall to feed 2:1 to the lighter nucs. They worked fine with smaller pop bottles, worked ok with a wine bottle too. With the larger 2L bottles, it wouldn't sit well on the landing board, and tipped over. With the larger 2L cheap plastic pop bottles, the bottle is not strong enough to stay intact when you invert it, and the water just gushes out.

    Before we used them to feed, I experimented a bit, and had 3 of them just sitting on top of hives, full of water. My results were

    2 liter cheap plastic pop bottles from superstore, dont hold up to being inverted.
    355 ml coke bottle, plastic, worked just fine, and stayed upright on top of the hive for a couple days, then blew over when the bottle was empty
    750ml glass wine bottle worked fine, stayed upright the whole time, survived wind that the plastic coke bottle didn't.

    When I did the experiments with bottles, they were sitting on top of the hives, and the bees found the water source within a couple of hours, and when it was warm and sunny, there was a constant stream of bees taking water from them.

    It was a quick / easy / cheap way to feed a few 5 frame nucs, but, probably not practical for scaling up to hundreds. I used the wine bottles when we fed the nucs which dont have a feeder inside.

  4. #64
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    Jan 2003
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    Manitoba Canada
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    Default Re: Indoor wintering

    That was exactly my experience as well . But a terrible amount of work

  5. #65
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    420

    Default Re: Indoor wintering

    Ian - Was there any correlation between hive size and condensation? Are you wanting there to be some condensation inside the lid of the high? Is that an indication that the inhive environment is too moist or just right?

  6. #66
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    salisbury, wiltshire, united kingdom
    Posts
    70

    Default Re: Indoor wintering

    Ian is this problems with the new storage facility that you did not have in the old one, if so what is different in the new one

  7. #67
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    Jan 2003
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    Manitoba Canada
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    Default Re: Indoor wintering

    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Martens View Post
    Ian - Was there any correlation between hive size and condensation? Are you wanting there to be some condensation inside the lid of the high? Is that an indication that tkhe inhive environment is too moist or just right?
    Allen, all my hives look satisfyingly awesome so I do not see any difference in hive size, they are just all big. I'm seeing condensation in some hives and not others. Why I don't know yet but thinking if I raise the RH in the shed I should get condensation in all if them so that there is moisture accessible for the hives to access.

    My fear is creating an environment with too high if RH which will cause an environment for damaging mold

    I need to figure out that target RH

  8. #68
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    Jan 2003
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    Manitoba Canada
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    Default Re: Indoor wintering

    Quote Originally Posted by beebreeder View Post
    Ian is this problems with the new storage facility that you did not have in the old one, if so what is different in the new one
    It's not a new problem , just I'm trying to figure out how to manage it better. Before I would dump water on the floor which created mold issues. Also I would sometimes over due it and cause internal mold issues.

    From now on, working fresh with a new facility, I'm going to try to do things because I know and not just think.
    I think...

  9. #69
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    Jan 2007
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    Manitoba, Canada
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    420

    Default Re: Indoor wintering

    I've never paid much attention to low humidity though a cold winter like this has been should maybe get me thinking about it.

    I am usually more concerned with high RH. If I see any condensation under the lid I get paranoid. This first year in my current wintering shed I had high RH problems because I poured the concrete in early October. Most of the winter it was about 50 - 60% if I recall correctly. Door knobs and the edges of the doors had frost on them. There seemed to be a lot of mold in dead hives that year and the hives didn't come out of winter looking very good.

    Are you confident your RH monitor is calibrated accurately?

  10. #70
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    Jan 2003
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    Manitoba Canada
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    5,782

    Default Re: Indoor wintering

    Someone here mentioned checking my calibration with salts. I have no idea. You are right. I'm going to buy an old school RH tester for comparison.

    I dropped some snow on the landings and they moved out and consumed the entire thing. Bees will not do that if they aren't thirsty. So the simple answer is water them...but ya...you know as well as I do what that means.

    Right now my RH reading is 25% at 5 degreesC. My fan is off its idle setting. I do vent more than others.

    I have been getting feed back from others that a dry shed like mine will dry out my honey stores as the bees suck out the moisture

  11. #71
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    Jan 2003
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    Manitoba Canada
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    Default Re: Indoor wintering

    I bought a humidifier which will dump 4 gallons of water into the air over a 24 hour period, set on a RH setting. I set it for 50%, will see how the condensation looks after a week at that RH level.

  12. #72
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
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    1,197

    Default Re: Indoor wintering

    I'd like to restate the problem and offer a few suggestions for resolution.

    Problem Statement: Indoor wintering in a cold climate can trigger low humidity issues in the storage facility.

    2. Bees metabolize sugar and release water both from the water contained in the honey and from metabolizing sugar in a (C6H12O6) + (6-O2) -> (6-CO2) + (6-H20). (I have asked a chemist to verify that this is the correct conversion, don't just take my word for it) The calculated amount of moisture released per colony per day should be in the range of 65 ml given storage facility temperatures of 5C and air flow to maintain low CO2 levels. Large colonies will have less trouble regulating moisture levels, smaller colonies will have increased difficulty.

    3. Canola honey granulates into hard crystals that must be dissolved before they can be metabolized. Since canola is a part of the summer feed cycle, there will be some in the broodnest even though syrup is fed liberally as preparation for winter. Other honeys may also granulate requiring added water to dissolve before consumption.

    4. Bees may access water as it condenses inside the hive. This only occurs if relative humidity is high enough to support condensation. Several sources suggest 40% RH is appropriate for bees. RH inside the colony would significantly vary vs external RH. This leads to a need to verify RH inside the colony and ensure it is high enough to support condensation. In other words, RH inside the colony should be in the 100% range to support condensation but should not be so high that mold problems occur.

    5. The fundamental problem boils down to a need to regulate 3 variables:
    Facility temperature - regulated via fans on thermostats to exhaust air.
    Facility CO2 levels - regulated via CO2 sensors
    Facility RH - regulated by some form of push/pull humidifier


    A. The suggestion has been made to provide each colony with a water bottle. This is viable, but labor intensive. On a first pass evaluation, this is not the best solution. Similar solutions involving drip emitters, in-hive water containers, etc. suffer from the same weaknesses.

    B. A suggestion was made to use a chemical salt saturation method to regulate humidity. This probably would be very costly to implement.

    C. My suggestion would be to put in a modified swamp cooler to raise the humidity in the room by passing warm air over a large fabric sheet which is sprayed with water from an RH sensor set to trigger on a timed basis any time RH goes below 35%.


    Ian, I think these suggestions would be appropriate. How many of them do you have in place already?

    Put in at least 2 exhaust fans and set each one with a CO2 trigger and a temperature trigger. One of the fans should be on DC battery in case AC power fails or if the primary fan fails for any reason. If I were doing this, I would get a squirrel cage fan from a car heater and appropriate sensors to turn it on.

    An air conditioner should be installed and set to turn on at 8C. This will keep the internal temperature below the critical threshold for those spring days that are just a bit too warm, but not yet warm enough to move the bees outdoors.

    Overhead fans should be installed and left on permanently to keep air circulating to the floor level to prevent CO2 buildup near the floor. Would it be possible to pull exhaust air from floor level? Would it be better than pulling warmer air from higher in the storage facility?

    Put in a swamp cooler or a high capacity humidifier water mist sprayer set on an RH sensor that turns on the spray for a few seconds any time RH falls below 40%. There would be some issues with tuning this system correctly. How long should the sprayer stay on? How many times per hour should it be on?
    DarJones - 44 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  13. #73
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    New Albany, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    340

    Default Re: Indoor wintering

    Ian,

    When we do winter inspections, the condensation differences usually have to do with brood in the colonies. We are looking at outdoor colonies though. Our Carni's have very little visible condensation, why the Italians can have a considerable amount of condensation depending on how much brood they are sitting on.

    Joe
    Breeder Queens & Honey Bee Nutritional Supplements
    www.latshawapiaries.com

  14. #74
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    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
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    5,782

    Default Re: Indoor wintering

    Some excellent feedback guys!

    This is exactly how I like to hash things out, lots of feedback

    Fusion , excellent summary of the situation, very well spelled out.

    My goal at the end of all this is to have a few methods of assessing the hives condition and factoring that back to the sheds RH to find the correct balance so that my bees have adequate hydration throughout these long cold winters but not over doing it so that I'm actually damaging the equipment with mold growth

    I remember one year I dumped water on the floor all winter, by the time I moved the hives out, as I swept the bees away so that I could access pallets I ended up working in a tremendously dusty shed. Even with a mask my lungs were heavy.

    Also another year, I headed off completely with maintaining RH, the shed maintained a very dry environment. I found hives dead over sheets of hard honey. Maybe 2%? Maybe more stress to the other hives as well

    I think everyone knows what I'm on about now

  15. #75
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Campbell River, BC, CA
    Posts
    483

    Default Re: Indoor wintering

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    I'm going to buy an old school RH tester for comparison.
    Really easy way to cross check one when you buy it. Go to Canadian Tire, they have cheap little thermometer + RH meters on the shelf, in the weather gadgets section. There will be a couple dozen different RH meters amongst them all. Cross check the readings that you can see thru the plastic. If 10 of them agree, and 2 read different

    a) You now know which of the 12 are not correct
    b) You have a pretty good idea of what the actual reading is

    Now buy one of the good ones, costs about 5 bucks.

    I did exactly that earlier in the week, wife wants a thermometer out the kitchen window on the new house. There was a dozen of them, 9 read the same, 3 read various different readings. I bought one of the 9, and she will find it in the stocking on christmas morning.

  16. #76
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    Jan 2003
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    Manitoba Canada
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    Default Re: Indoor wintering

    I'm going to try out this salt test as described in that YouTube link also.
    Good trick to know

  17. #77
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
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    1,197

    Default Re: Indoor wintering

    I ran this question by a chemist friend and got the following:

    100 grams of honey when metabolized will release:

    15 grams of physically bound water (USDA nutrient database says 17 grams)
    125 grams of carbon dioxide
    51 grams of water from sugar

    To answer the not-asked part of the question, the reaction requires 91 grams of oxygen (0.480 cubic meters of air at standard conditions).

    At 0 C, it would require about 17 cubic meters of air to dissolve that much water. So the amount of air required to remove the water is around 35 times greater than that required to remove the carbon dioxide. Warmer air temperatures dissolve more water.

    The reaction would release 304,000 calories of heat. If an overwintering hive weighs 90 pounds that would raise the temperature of the hive by 8 degrees C for every 100 grams of honey consumed.

    Because all of the products of this reaction are volatile, the rate of consumption of honey could be measured by weighing the hive as long as the water wasn't freezing inside the hive.

    Also, it is not necessary to remove the water by ventilation, it could also be removed by condensation. An example of this would be leaving the dog in the car on a cold day, and coming back out to find all the inside surfaces of the windows covered with condensation. The same principle could work in a bee-room during the winter. I'd probably arrange for a thin membrane that gets sun part of the day so that it could auto defrost.
    Here is my concept of the control system you need.

    1. Install an external temperature sensor set up as a 3 way switch. If the outside temperature is above 5C, then switch electricity to an air conditioner that is set to turn on any time internal temperature reaches 7C. If the outside temperature is 5C or below, switch electricity to the inside temperature sensor and set it to turn on the fan any time internal temperature hits 5C. This setup will have the effect of using outside air to regulate temperature inside the building so long as outside air is below 5C. It will use the air conditioner to cool down the interior any time outside air is above 5C. These sensors should be redundant since a single failure could be catastrophic for the bees.

    2. Install CO2 sensors and set them to turn on the exhaust fans any time interior air reaches about 60,000 PPM. These would in effect bypass the temperature switching system. You might prefer to install separate exhaust fans just to exhaust the CO2.

    3. Install a humidity sensor and set it to turn on either a high capacity humidifier or a swamp cooler sprayer for about 5 minutes per hour any time RH is below 40%. I don't know for sure if high RH should also be handled, but if so, turn on the exhaust fans any time RH is above 60%.

    4. Install an alarm that is separate from the above and will either call you or blow a horn or something any time the temperature or CO2 reach critical levels. I would suggest that 8C interior temperature or CO2 at 70,000 PPM would be appropriate alarm trigger points.

    One huge caution, the air conditioner for this setup would have to be capable of handling about 1,000,000 btu's per hour. Instead of an air conditioner, you might want to move the bees outdoors as soon as temperatures get into the range of 7C, or perhaps you could set up a system to use snow to regulate internal temperature.

    One other note, if you put in a heat exchanger, you could maintain internal RH with a much simpler setup. It would cost more to run, but would not be as complex as the above system.
    Last edited by Fusion_power; 12-20-2013 at 08:42 PM.
    DarJones - 44 years, 10 colonies (max 40), sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 11 frame broodnest, small cell

  18. #78
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    Jan 2003
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    Manitoba Canada
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    Default Re: Indoor wintering

    According to your chemist friend, my concern should be more so focused on water removal from the shed.

    Which I seem to be doing very well.

    I have been testing my sensors and I'm finding variability between all of them. How the heck am I to measure something with all my gauges showing large margins of error on an inconsistent basis...

    Where is that salt...

  19. #79
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Manitoba, Canada
    Posts
    420

    Default Re: Indoor wintering

    Quote Originally Posted by Fusion_power View Post
    The calculated amount of moisture released per colony per day should be in the range of 65 ml given storage facility temperatures of 5C
    You are right about that value Fusion. Was just rereading this thread and realized I typed 65 L per day (which would amount to 10400 L per season) instead of 65 mL.

  20. #80
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,646

    Default Re: Indoor wintering

    Just watching here, but have a quick question, are you still cooling or adding heat? I have been pondering doing this on a small scale here in IL (2-300 hives) everything I read say the candians are still adding cooling even at -5? One thing that has rreally stopped me is trying to calculate the heat load given off by bees.

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