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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Oak Harbor, Washington, USA
    Posts
    12

    Exclamation Control Winter Moisture

    I have a big problem here in the northwest. When my hives winter over they become very wet and I have a big problem with mold.

    I was think maybe this year I would add a Damprid bag in a box with a wire bottom on the top of the hive. That way the hive would stay drive throughout the winter. What I am not sure is if the Damprid Bag would be harmful to the bees. The crystal are enclosed in a plastic bag.

    Any thoughts on trying this?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Fort Gay, WV, USA
    Posts
    782

    Default Re: Control Winter Moisture

    I think possibly you should try a simple bag of cedar shavings instead. They will soak up the excess moisture just as well and add insulation to the top side of the hives.
    Thomas Bartram - Since 2013, 43 - 8 F langs, 22 Italian & 21 Russian

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,088

    Default Re: Control Winter Moisture

    Find a way to ventilate the hives that have a moisture problem. The shavings mentioned above in a 'quilt box' are one possibility. An upper entrance is another possibility.

    While Oak Harbor winters may seem cold* to you, in comparison to hives in many places elsewhere, you have mild winters. You can afford to lose some heat out the top in exchange for better ventilation.


    *(I lived in Seattle for 13 years, I am familiar with the area weather.)

    .
    Last edited by Rader Sidetrack; 06-08-2014 at 01:26 PM. Reason: typo
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    rensselaer, ny, USA
    Posts
    531

    Default Re: Control Winter Moisture

    You might want to try fabric-floored quilt boxes with wide open ventilation holes above the pine shavings. Keeps the bees in a stable, mildly-warmed environment (warmed by their own heat rising off the cluster and trapped under the shavings in the box) while providing excellent through-put for the excess vapor.

    I copied my quilt box design from Rusty who writes the HoneyBSweet Blog. I believe she's in the PNW, too.

    I am not; I'm in the quite cold, and not usually very damp, north eastern part of NY. I used quilt boxes last winter and was astonished at how much moisture transited through the shavings to the underside of my insulated telecovers. While it condensed there (and sometimes froze when outside air temps hits the skids well below zero) as soon as it got back in the 20's it rethawed and started leaving the hives. Whether it vented immediately or condensed on the underside of the telecover's insulation, mattered not at all because once it was above the shavings it was effectively out of the bees' living space.

    My hives were quite dry despite having only very small openings for nearly six months. I have my quilt boxes set above 2" high feeding rims to give some space for Lauri's Recipe sugar bricks laid on the top of the uppermost frames.

    Enj.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma dr. Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    811

    Default Re: Control Winter Moisture

    I think really what you want to accomplish is not the absorption or storage of water; it needs to be transpired off through a porous but insulating layer with lots of surface area. Keep the heat in- let the water vapor out!

    The wood shavings in a burlap pillow do very well. I intend to try some styrofoam packing peanuts on a hive or two this winter.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    barry co., Michigan
    Posts
    315

    Default Re: Control Winter Moisture

    i have had good success with the cedar shaving quilt box. very effective for moisture control

    I use something like this
    http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/shop...on-inner-cover

    but with a cedar instead of foam and screen bottom instead of plywood

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
    Posts
    856

    Default Re: Control Winter Moisture

    Quote Originally Posted by the doc View Post
    i have had good success with the cedar shaving quilt box. very effective for moisture control

    I use something like this
    http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/shop...on-inner-cover

    but with a cedar instead of foam and screen bottom instead of plywood
    Another vote for the Honey Run Apiaries' All-Season inner cover, but with the foam insulation as supplied from Honey Run. Our Denver winters are cold and dry. For the winter, I simply insert the foam insulation into the All-Season IC. I don't do anything else to the hive, i.e. no wrapping, no moisture absorbing, etc. In other words, my hives spend the winter with insulation on only the top, and with a top and a bottom entrance.

    For bees in winter, moisture is the greater enemy than cold because a healthy hive with good honey stores generates it own heat, but wet bees quickly become dead bees even in mild temps. Put another way, bees have developed a sophisticated strategy to keep themselves warm in the winter, but have no way to dry themselves despite emitting a lot of moisture when metabolizing honey.

    I think some people may over react to the cold, and end up cutting off a hive's ventilation by adding unneeded insulation, which then kills the hive by causing moisture buildup. Unless a hive is already impaired for other reasons, I would suggest insulation is only needed when very far north, so beeks not in the extreme north should first focus on providing effective winter-time ventilation. Again, this is for a healthy hive, meaning a good size cluster and good honey stores.

    JMHO
    Last edited by shinbone; 06-09-2014 at 09:15 AM.
    --shinbone
    (3rd year, 14 hives, Zone 5b, 5400 ft, 15.8" annual rainfall)

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