Moisture Board versus Quilt Block? - Page 3
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  1. #41
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    Default Re: Moisture Board versus Quilt Block?

    Just read the book, and thanks for the link, Little-John....
    I'm amazed at the principles that were discovered and taught 100 years ago that still apply today. I've noticed in the past that there seems to be 2 circles of thought among bee keepers here an BS, and that is some vent moisture away ffrom the hive by letting it out the top and some seal the top to keep in the heat and condense the moisture on a cold wall and let it drain out. I've killed a lot of bees by allowing moisture to condense and rain down from the top of the hive, so I'm a little gun shy to seal the top but can see the principals in play, and may try it to some extent next year.
    There's also a lot to digest in reguard to summer hive performance in that little book,, and that is another area I need to concentrate on in 2016, so thanks again for the info and CHEERS

    ==McBee7==

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  3. #42
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    Default Re: Moisture Board versus Quilt Block?

    The key is no cold water dripping on the bees. We ditched all our plastic outer covers due to the condensation problems. Water didn't drip directly on the bees, but the inner covers were rotting from being wet ALL the time. Water condensed on the cover and rolled to the side and make puddles on the inner covers.

    I depend on my heavy inner and outer covers to prevent water dripping on the cluster. Some of the comb gets moldy once in a while, but I've not lost any to moisture. The wood absorbs quite a bit of water, and there are no projections for water to drip from, it's pretty smooth, and wets easily. I've had damp wood so far, but never enough liquid to pour off to the side.

    Peter

  4. #43
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    Default Re: Moisture Board versus Quilt Block?

    Quote Originally Posted by rookie2531 View Post
    But your average lows in the hardest of winter is what? Right above freezing? And most Northern climates here are at well below freezing for long periods. I think there is a huge difference.
    'Average' doesn't really work with British weather, as it frequently swings from one extreme to the other - depending on where the wind is blowing from. It's not unknown to be able to walk around in shirt-sleeves for the odd day or two in January - but equally we can have winter temperatures lower than Moscow. It's this variability - and the inability to predict weather patterns which gives beekeepers problems over here, and which often catches people out.

    But - the book 'Constructive Beekeeping' was written by an American, and within which he gives data from around the States to support his argument. I haven't taken much notice of that data myself, as - yes, I agree - it doesn't directly apply to conditions over here.

    I often hear people say "listen to the bees", "work with them, not against them" and so on ... and then promptly make a hole at the top of the beehive - despite the bees' best efforts to seal that area. Even Warre enthusiasts - they can see how bees propolise the underside of the quilt box - and then talk of bees 'regulating' the air flow. But they don't 'regulate' - they seal - or try their level best to. I've never yet seen a bee remove propolis to improve upward ventilation ...

    f you 'do a Google' regarding beehive entrances, you'll find that every country other than those on the North American continent employ bottom entrances. Even the Russians - and it can get pretty cold over there.

    LJ

  5. #44
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    Default Re: Moisture Board versus Quilt Block?

    I dont feel that I am letting all the heat escape by using a shavings quilt top. The layer of loose shavings (4") is very good insulation. The bottom of it is warm to the touch in the winter and the top of it is near to the outside air temperature because of the venting above. The shavings do not soak up, hold or adsorb the colony moisture;what the layer of shavings does do is wick the moisture upwards to the top evaporating surface. The heat required to evaporate moisture is taken from the outside air not from the warm air of the bee's space. Yes you can take heat from air even if it is -40F.

    It certainly is possible to use top insulation, no openings and take advantage of stratification due to temperature. Providing wind does not sweep it out the heat and moisture will remain in the hive. Bottom openings can be sufficient to effect oxygen and CO2 exchange.

    The problem I see is that there will be 100% humidity in the upper atmosphere and in my climate that means ice forming for long periods without thawing temperatures. i have seen frames bridged to hive walls with ice and an inch of ice in the bottom. Bottom entrance would be plugged with ice and dead bees. Spring broodup is not good with screened bottoms so I would not be keen to use that avenue of escape for the 4 or 5 gallons of water that will be produced by a colony of bees during the course of winter.

    The laws of physics are the same world around but sometimes our folk explanation of how they work differs. Sometimes something that works after a fashion has implications that we dont connect. I wonder how Nosema is affected by hive relative humidity? Does it affect the phoretic mite survival overwinter. For whatever reason I seem to have an edge in winter survival over folks who subscribe to the seal her up idea. Granted I run lower mite counts than most of them in the area and have my colonies heavy and organized much earlier in the fall. Maybe some other management issues are responsible besides the quilt box hive tops.
    Last edited by crofter; 10-13-2015 at 03:15 PM.
    Frank

  6. #45
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    Default Re: Moisture Board versus Quilt Block?

    Here is a couple of pics of the feed lift ring with small upper entrance incorporated. Made from 2x2 stock. The way the entrance holes are drilled half way through from the front face then out the bottom into the hive provides a wind baffle. This one has hole front and rear of hive but I screen off the rear one and partially close them off in extremely cold weather. The quilt box goes on top.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Frank

  7. #46
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    Default Re: Moisture Board versus Quilt Block?

    Quote Originally Posted by kaizen View Post
    Mcbee you overwinter single deep nucs with quilt boxes? How is your success rate? Also is there a thread on your bee room? Interested in its success or issues
    Kaizen--I used the nuc box quilt boxs on my indoor wintered nucs last year where I controled the temp (40F) humidity and ventilation and set then out when tthe outdoor temps were about 50f in mid april..
    }
    This year I made special landing boards that reach through the outside wall Heres a photo of laying out the landing boards. I put in 6 nucs today and will add 8 more next week. It's kind of a souped up version of the old bee hive in the garage with a tube out the window trick....


    ==McBee7==
    Last edited by McBee7; 10-13-2015 at 07:19 PM. Reason: added pic

  8. #47
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    Default Re: Moisture Board versus Quilt Block?

    There was no mention of the location of the vent holes on air flow. If you have an inner cover with a center opening (versus a side opening ) you will have air flow guided to the center rather than the side. Does anyone think this is significant.
    I have read that a center top vent is good for cooling in summer and side vent is better for winter.

  9. #48
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    Default Re: Moisture Board versus Quilt Block?

    When you evaporate you cool or remvoe energy form the source of the vapor. Energy in the form of heated mass is added to the air and removed from the wet shavings. I have run insulated, no-top-vent hives in a humid and cold coastal environment for two winters, going into my third. I was told I would kill my bees. Gotta vent and add Homosote to the top (homosote absorption capacity by volume is rather low). I ignored the sage advice after 2 winters, 5 of 6 dead-outs and went back to using my learned skills. I have yet to kill a bee via dripping condensation that I can identify by focusing on conservation of energy principals.

    I do read about wet dead bees. Which occurred first colony death, condensation on live bees or condensation on dead bees? This goes hand in hand with "bees do not die from the cold"- right. I call it fictional observational physics. If the surface temperature, any where, is above the dew point it gets awfully hard to create condensed water. Meanwhile, 6+ gallons of water "disappear" over the winter and even more the rest of the year. The interesting question is how much goes through the walls, how much is dissipated via diffusion at the bottom entrance, how much condenses and drips out and how much water goes out with the bees over a years time. Identifying and quantifying all the paths a molecule of water takes in a one year hive cycle would be a very daunting and difficult task. Imagine a mg of lake water being foraged by a bee, later being combined with or removed from with honey (hydroscopic / drying efforts or consumption) and dumped onto the late Spring snow.

    I do like quilt-like boxes using old cotton tee shirts. They are great for late season feeding and holding weather station sensors.

    A real study of humidity and temperatures inside a hive and cluster has yet to be performed short term or for an annual cycle. The capability to do this is possible now with enough cash.

    If you are forming large amounts of ice in a hive over a significant period of time I would suggest more insulation as the heat loss from the cluster out of the hive or hive conductance appears to be unacceptable.

  10. #49
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    Default Re: Moisture Board versus Quilt Block?

    I agree with insulation being first concern. If your insulation is somewhat permeable to an air flow, I think it is a plus in regard to getting moisture out. That removes most of the sole dependance for moisture dissipation at the bottom of the hive.

    I wont be caught again with sole dependance of the bottom entrance for the oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange. I am quite convinced the snow and ice blocked entrances cost me a lot of losses this past season.

    This year I left a 1/2" by 1" slotted hole in the feed shim which is between top brood box and the shavings box above. The bees have propolized them down to little more than one bee sized holes.

    I wintered bees here for six full years with the shavings box tops zero losses. Last winter for the first time zero top ventilation and lost 5 of 6. Did have unusual snow and ice blockage of bottom entrances so the idea of no upper ventilation might be valid in some conditions.

    Obviously many in Europe use the system satisfactorily with the closed top insulated hives and open bottoms.

    It is certain though that by some route or the other, oxygen/carbon dioxide exchange must occur and some 4 gallons or so of water must escape.
    Frank

  11. #50

    Default Re: Moisture Board versus Quilt Block?

    I'm not sure if this was explained clearly, so I'm going to try to do it. Forgive me if I am being redundant.

    A typical inner cover has a rim around the outside, and a board across the middle with a hole in it.

    The rim is thicker on one side than on the other. The notch if it is present would be in the thick part of the rim.

    In summer, the thicker rim is used against the bottom of the outer cover, so that for a bee to leave through the notch, they have to go up through the hole and crawl in the space between the board of the inner cover and the inside of the outer cover.

    In winter, many beekeepers turn the inner cover "upside down", so that a bee can crawl across the tops of the frames to the notch. That is closer to the cluster and somewhat insulated from the cold outer cover.

    Next topic, a pound of honey produces about 2/3 pound of water when consumed by the bees. That adds up to a lot of water.
    (I calculated 0.672 lbs, if honey is 18% water, the rest C6H12O6 If you have 2:1 syrup it looks like 0.702 pounds of water per pound of syrup)

    In this part of Wisconsin, (southeast) the older beekeepers say "ventilation trumps insulation" . in the past I have wintered with telescoping covers with an inch of styrofoam built in to them, or migratory covers with a 2 inch piece of polyethylene foam on the outside held down with a brick. I usually have a 1/2 inch by 4 inch top entrance, with three of four 3/8 inch holes (3/8" = mouseproof) for a lower entrance. The bees have wintered well without wrapping or insulating the hives, though I suppose they consume more stores than they would if the hives were insulated. These are not the tightest hives either, As I built them myself and I am not a finish carpenter.

    As a basic rule of fluid mechanics, ventilation airflow due to convection is determined by the amount of heating in the hive, the vertical extent of the "Chimney" from the cluster to the top of the hive, and the restriction caused by the smaller of the upper and lower entrances. A small lower entrance restricts airflow, while a relatively large upper entrance reduces pooling of warm moist air at the top of the hive.

    I often see icicles on the edge of the cover near the upper entrance, but not ice or condensation in the hive.

    Research from the 1930's with thermocouples demonstrated that the air inside of the hive is the same temperature as the air outside of the hive, except above the cluster. Based on that it has been conventional wisdom that insulating the hive is ineffective, since if there is no temperature gradient there is no heat flow, so insulation is irrelevant.
    That is likely correct as long as the cluster is not touching the side of the hive. When the cluster is touching the side of the hive, then insulation can be beneficial. That last observation is armchair science, so take it for what it is worth.

    My main problem with mold is during the spring buildup, as there is a lot of moisture in the hive, and it is cold outside. A strong colony can't seem to get enough ventilation, but a weak one building up slowly is dry as a bone.

    While this has worked for me, I have only a few hives for a few years, so maybe I am just lucky.
    Last edited by A Novice; 12-12-2019 at 06:19 PM.

  12. #51
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    Default Re: Moisture Board versus Quilt Block?

    FYI Crofter: I think I understand the problem you are dealing with in deep snow country. I have not had to deal with that issue - so far. Sometimes we get a real blizzard or smaller Nor'Easters. I did come across a Quebec beekeeper who advised a vent pipe installed from the bottom of the hive to a selected height. THis would cover both bottom and top vent getting buried. I also ran across a story about a hive "lost "hive. The beekeeper was standing on / over it. When he dug down he found the top vent had created a vent to the top of the snow and a large cavity had formed around the bottom of the hive. The hive survived. He pointed out ice - snow storms maybe a different issue and he has lost hives to that type of snow burials. Pipe venting seems realistic.

    I have done some searching on CO2 absorption by snow and permeability of snow to oxygen as well as water content in snow. I did not find much even after investigating avalanche burials.

    I am making slip-on 5 sided, 2-inch insulated boxes in pacle of screw panels on. I have decided to leave a 1/2-inch clearance or air gap all around for both practical reasons and to provide a water vapor breathing / vapor pressure path to the bottom. I intend to monitor the air gap, internal temps and some RH values. I have three treatment ideas for the bottom gap. I do not enclose the whole hive but leave a bottom portion to act as a water condenser and vapor exchange zone.

  13. #52
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    Default Re: Moisture Board versus Quilt Block?

    I think there may be another issue of importance here and that is the hypothesis that a hive so well insulated on top and all upper surfaces will not have any condensation areas to provide water for the bees to dilute honey for consumption and will fly out seeking water and perish. I do remember seeing a lot of such activity but dismissed it as aged or nosema infected bees leaving to die. My colonies were surviving. I do remember commenting the shavings quilt boxes were so effective much of the sugar on top of frames was not clumping. I now use just one layer of bubble wrap on the front of hive so it will be the coldest surface.

    Novice, I have seen other calculations on the amount of water produced by metabolizing honey and that figure appears to be quite correct.

    In regards to that old experiment showing no temperature gradient from the cluster to surrounding air and internal surfaces, I think that is highly questionable. Barring a perfect insulation and zero conductance medium there is always heat transfer to surfaces of different temperature. More modern, accurate, and multiple temperature probes surrounding the cluster on all sides show there is heat transfer. Not a lot but it is there. Accurate measurements of food consumption with insulated and not colonies show up to 20% difference. Providing there is adequate stores it might not make a lot of difference in survival and in that case the condensation issues could quite likely be the main controlling factor. From a hard physics view, the statement that "they only heat the cluster, not the hive" is impossible to support.

    I saw a computerized workup on the difference air flow patterns in a hive with three inch space below the lower entrance and the bottom board, compared to one with standard bottom board space of 3/4". The implications for air exchange all the way up to the top of the hive above cluster amazed me. My visualization based on the old thermosiphon model sure was not sophisticated enough to give justice to all that goes on in a wintering colony under different conditions.
    Frank

  14. #53
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    Default Re: Moisture Board versus Quilt Block?

    Quote Originally Posted by crofter View Post
    From a hard physics view, the statement that "they only heat the cluster, not the hive" is impossible to support.
    I've been thinking about this overnight ...

    Imo, it's down to a distinction between an intention and it's consequence. Just as with an electric kettle, the intention is to heat the water only ... but one consequence of doing this is that the kettle itself becomes warm.

    If we take two states: tightly clustered and loosely clustered, then we can see that when tightly clustered the insulation surrounding the cluster will be at or near it's maximum, and so very little heat will escape to warm the hive itself. Conversely, when the cluster is loose, it's insulation value will be far less and so heat will more freely escape to warm the hive - that is, the heat escaping from a cluster which then warms the interior of a beehive is inversely proportional to the drop in ambient temperature.

    More specifically, when the ambient temperature is very low and clustering is at it's tightest, thus being a time at which a warm hive would be most beneficial - it is precisely at such a time that the amount of heat escaping from the cluster will be at it's minimum.

    Therefore I would conclude that the intention of the bees is to only heat the cluster, and that any heat escaping from the cluster is either due to less than perfect insulation around a tight cluster, or that which is surplus to their needs in the case of a relaxed cluster, and thus could be viewed as being 'waste heat'.
    That this heat proceeds to heat the interior of a hive is then but an unintended consequence, and ought not to be viewed as a form of behavioural intention.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  15. #54
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    Default Re: Moisture Board versus Quilt Block?

    I have no doubt that heating the hive walls is never their intent. Actually I think the matter of intent is irrelevant. Also no question that the amount of heat transferred to the hive body is relative to the compression of the cluster. I propose that maintaining core temperature is the influential factor. It will vary depending on whether brood rearing is active and apparently can be raised when movement to new stores is required.

    While the heat transfer is always occurring whenever the enclosure is at lower temperature than the cluster, the mass and area of the surroundings is relatively much greater than that of the cluster. When not externally insulated, the heat dissipation is such that there is only a very small increase in the wall surface temperature but it is occurring! This is probably the root of the saying that they do no heat it. Heck, if there is frost on the walls it should be self evident they are not being heated!

    Whenever there is heat loss, something else is being heated, unless the laws of thermodynamics have been repealed.
    Frank

  16. #55
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    Default Re: Moisture Board versus Quilt Block?

    Quote Originally Posted by crofter View Post
    .......

    Whenever there is heat loss, something else is being heated, unless the laws of thermodynamics have been repealed.
    The issue is not the money.
    The issue is the amount of the money.

    I am seating here at my computer and my body is loosing heat and, thus, I am trying to heat the Universe.
    The ratio "heat gain/heat loss" is an essential zero for all practical purposes as I am unable to heat the Universe as much as I try (in this case, which is rather a common case).
    Heck, I am unable to even heat the walls of my own house while sitting at the computer - forget the Universe (so I need to burn some natural gas to compensate for my own inability).

    And so for the applied purposes, heat loss by object A does not mean heat gain by object B (by default).

    In many practical cases, we can safely ignore the fundamental "loss/gain" equality.
    Yes, I know, the energy and matter are NEVER lost - but practically this does not matter.
    Again, a general school discussion.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  17. #56
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    Default Re: Moisture Board versus Quilt Block?

    Quote Originally Posted by crofter View Post
    I have no doubt that heating the hive walls is never their intent. Actually I think the matter of intent is irrelevant. Also no question that the amount of heat transferred to the hive body is relative to the compression of the cluster. I propose that maintaining core temperature is the influential factor. It will vary depending on whether brood rearing is active and apparently can be raised when movement to new stores is required.
    Exactly - their intention IS to maintain core temperature - we're talking about purposeful behaviour being exhibited by biological organisms prior to that altered behaviour becoming absolutely essential for their survival - i.e. they predict the need to cluster ahead of time.

    While the heat transfer is always occurring whenever the enclosure is at lower temperature than the cluster, the mass and area of the surroundings is relatively much greater than that of the cluster. When not externally insulated, the heat dissipation is such that there is only a very small increase in the wall surface temperature but it is occurring! This is probably the root of the saying that they do no heat it. Heck, if there is frost on the walls it should be self evident they are not being heated!
    Perhaps - my guess is that it's the ability of colonies to provide their own insulation by clustering which was the origin - after all, sometimes bees cluster in the open air, where there is no hive and, if the conditions are favourable, such colonies can still survive.

    Whenever there is heat loss, something else is being heated, unless the laws of thermodynamics have been repealed.
    But not necessarily immediately - in the case of evaporation of water for example, there is cooling (heat loss) which accompanies the change of state - so suggest you look at the atmosphere above the hive - especially when using porous quilts, upper entrances etc. to vent moist air.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  18. #57
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    Default Re: Moisture Board versus Quilt Block?

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    The issue is not the money.
    The issue is the amount of the money.

    I am seating here at my computer and my body is loosing heat and, thus, I am trying to heat the Universe.
    The ratio "heat gain/heat loss" is an essential zero for all practical purposes as I am unable to heat the Universe as much as I try (in this case, which is rather a common case).
    Heck, I am unable to even heat the walls of my own house while sitting at the computer - forget the Universe (so I need to burn some natural gas to compensate for my own inability).

    And so for the applied purposes, heat loss by object A does not mean heat gain by object B (by default).

    In many practical cases, we can safely ignore the fundamental "loss/gain" equality.
    Yes, I know, the energy and matter are NEVER lost - but practically this does not matter.
    Again, a general school discussion.

    I am seating here at my computer and my body is loosing heat and, thus, I am trying to heat the Universe.
    So you are trying to heat the universe? That shows intent. I just came in from 3 hours snowblowing. I heated the seat and a lot of snow on my face and down my neck but it sure as heck was not my intent!

    Heat loss (actually heat transfer) is heat loss. Period. It may be relatively negligible but that is situation dependent.

    The heat lost by the bees is not negligible to them. They react to control it so by definition not negligible. The heating effect on the hive walls, I agree we can disregard, but the heat transferred to the air above the cluster and the upper surface is certainly of great importance. The temperature of the ceiling can be tempered by our application ( or not) of insulation and that has a potentially critical effect on condensation.

    The surface above the bees is part of the hive. It is the bees that heat it. That is the reason I state that the folklore statement that "The bees only heat the cluster, not the hive" is simply not correct.
    Frank

  19. #58
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    Default Re: Moisture Board versus Quilt Block?

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    Exactly - their intention IS to maintain core temperature - we're talking about purposeful behaviour being exhibited by biological organisms prior to that altered behaviour becoming absolutely essential for their survival - i.e. they predict the need to cluster ahead of time.



    Perhaps - my guess is that it's the ability of colonies to provide their own insulation by clustering which was the origin - after all, sometimes bees cluster in the open air, where there is no hive and, if the conditions are favourable, such colonies can still survive.



    But not necessarily immediately - in the case of evaporation of water for example, there is cooling (heat loss) which accompanies the change of state - so suggest you look at the atmosphere above the hive - especially when using porous quilts, upper entrances etc. to vent moist air.
    LJ

    But not necessarily immediately - in the case of evaporation of water for example, there is cooling (heat loss) which accompanies the change of state - so suggest you look at the atmosphere above the hive - especially when using porous quilts, upper entrances etc. to vent moist air.


    You have me there on a technicality. Yes heat loss can be transferred into to other energy forms such as change of state or kinetic energy etc.

    That energy transfer due to the change of state of the moisture is interesting and certainly I think it may be far from negligible. How much potential difference do you predict, in the moisture moving up through a bed of shavings, compared to having an equal R value impermeable foam sheet and the moisture exchange taking place on hive walls or if fully insulated, at the air interface at an open hive bottom.

    I am a bit biased against the latter, due to my experience with possible suffocation last winter. That is your fault! I will claim you talked me into it, though admittedly I did not have a screened bottom.
    Frank

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    Default Re: Moisture Board versus Quilt Block?

    Bee careful of Computational Fluid Dynamic models - the modeling parameters and constants are everything. I have seen a couple of strange events while instituting my no-top-vent approach, one was really funny upon investigating. With some changes I am making to my insulation methods I will see if I can repeat them. I am sticking with giving the bees a chance to regulate their own environment conditions. I like the old axiom "Bees plug tip vents" when given the chance via adequate insulation and bottom exits.

    One point about insulating with and without a quilt box. Adding a quilt box changes the paradigm. I am beginning to believe the bees can sense the change. In the end I keep reading stuff that continually reinforces the need for a condenser down low and vapor exchange or diffusion chamber year round. Connected is the increase vapor pressure in a hive driving moisture out. As I am learning by observation, propolis playsa role not to be ignored.

    The benefit to all this effort, IMO, is not the survivability of the hive but support for the early increase in hive nurse bees and foragers for the Spring flow. Insulating helps early colony increase and reduces stores consumption wasted on heat generation versus brood development. With enough stores provided (per M Palmer hive weighting) I saw my first large early Spring perform like Super Woman. Early light honey is delicious.

    Finally I have never seen a test to verify condensation on the inner cover kills colonies. I have seen bees lined up along the the inner surface of a hive box to cover interface drinking the water coming in from a Nor'easter. Maybe that is why bees choose tree cavities. The top central surface or "top cover" is very well insulated with no top vent.

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    Default Re: Moisture Board versus Quilt Block?

    FYI: Look up Specific heat of water, vaporization requirements, etc. Condensing vapor to water releases 2,261 J/g which is about 5x more than energy than to heat the one gram of water from 0 to 100C. It is not a trivial number. Honey and air are pretty good insulators.

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