Moisture Board versus Quilt Block? - Page 2
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  1. #21
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    Default Re: Moisture Board versus Quilt Block?

    I usually stay out of discussions on this subject, but I have reservations about what I have seen on the subject here on the web. It seems to me that any of the treatments of the top of the the hive do not look at it like the hollow tree cavity of the bee's ancestry. I have yet to see a top of the hive configuration that simulated the tree cavity. See Bwranglers test of a plexiglas inner cover. Don't know how to provide a click-on link. (And am not eager to learn)

    Let's start with the misconceptions that pervade the conceptions. It is often stated that dry sugar absorbs the moisture of condensation. Actually the reverse is true. The dry sugar does "absorb" the liquid water by capillary action, but it is the melting of the sugar by the water that allows the bees to have a sugar water solution that they can use as feed. So, the water is absorbing the sugar. Is that being hyper-critical of the terminology?

    Secondly, the effects of the hollow tree cavity seem to be almost impossible to duplicate in the the hive. Heat rises. In the tree hollow, the warmest area is at the top. Note that the bee colony tries to seal the top to make that so. (Reason for the inner cover) If we are going to add solid sugar for emergency feed in the spring, we need to have it cold to condense the water vapor. So, the top of the hive is the warmest place. How do we do this?
    Whatever you do, you are not likely to reproduce the effects of the tree hollow.

    Always, the dissenting opinion.
    Walt

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  3. #22
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    Default Re: Moisture Board versus Quilt Block?

    Think a beekeeper is getting close to simulating a tree cavity by using shavings in a quilt box. I haven't had the courage to try a quilt box, a feed rim with no entrance, and then a 1 inch hole below the hand hole in top brood. And a good insulation on perimeter and over top. Might include a small bottom entrance?????
    Zone 3b. If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  4. #23
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    Default Re: Moisture Board versus Quilt Block?

    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post
    Quilt boxes remove the moisture from the hive all winter (someone here calculated that's 5 gallons over the course of winter). ...
    You make a point that water is removed. How does that 5 gallons get removed from a hive using a quilt box? You're saying it doesn't get trapped but is actually removed?

    Curious.

    Wayne

  5. #24
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    Default Re: Moisture Board versus Quilt Block?

    Living in the Pacific NW where it will be raining for the next 6 months makes me an expert on moisture. However, what works here, may not work for you where it is much colder. I have tried the standard bottom entrance with a top entrance notch and it created a mold factory. The small hole at the top does not allow enough air exchange to be useful. A quilt box works very well here because the moisture goes to the top of the quilt material where the large hole in the quilt box vents it out easily. But I am lazy. Making a bunch of quilt boxes takes a lot work and storage space in the summer. I also find that a mostly sealed bottom and a top entrance 1/2 an inch high using modified migratory covers (see Michael Bush's website for an example) works just as well with a lot less work. Best of all, I can use the top entrances like this all year long. We don't get really cold weather here and maybe only 10-15 night fall below freezing in any winter so I don't have to worry about really cold weather. I am probably alone on this but I also believe the additional ventilation and air exchange reduces the pathogens that are in the hive. If they are airborne, the warm air leaving the hive carries them outside and away from the hive.

  6. #25
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    Default Re: Moisture Board versus Quilt Block?

    Quote Originally Posted by waynesgarden View Post
    You make a point that water is removed. How does that 5 gallons get removed from a hive using a quilt box? You're saying it doesn't get trapped but is actually removed?

    Curious.

    Wayne
    Wayne, it works because the quilt box has a large opening or several openings to vent the quilt box. The openings are above the quilt material so the air does not blow into the hive.

  7. #26
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    Default Re: Moisture Board versus Quilt Block?

    I have often seen hoar frost crystals on top of the shavings. The moisture is constantly being taken up by the outside air that is free to flow through the quilt box vent holes above the shavings. At the same time you can put your fingers down into the shavings towards the bee side and the shavings feel warm and toasty dry. The effective evaporating surface of the quilt is much greater than its nominal 14 x 18" area.

    Edit; I got a bunch of free 4" thick and 2' x 2' foam pieces to use for covers over the quilt boxes so I may not see much frost on them this year!
    Last edited by crofter; 10-09-2015 at 02:33 PM. Reason: Added
    Frank

  8. #27
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    Default Re: Moisture Board versus Quilt Block?

    Thanks. I think I'm going to look into building some.

    Wayne

  9. #28
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    Default Re: Moisture Board versus Quilt Block?

    Last year, I made 3 quilt boxes and the holes in the sides were 1/2" holes. 12 total around each side. I don't think it was enough air flow as I would always have water running down the top cover as I removed it. So, I started wedging the top cover up a bit, a little more each day until the moisture was gone. The front edge ended up being propped up about 1/2".

  10. #29
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    Default Re: Moisture Board versus Quilt Block?

    Here is how I accomplished venting the quilt box without drilling holes as these boxes also hold my hive top feeders. This screened lift gives about 20Sq. in vent area. The quilts are~ 4" thick. This hive has no feed ring as it was 140 plus pounds weight without the cover so should be good till spring.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Frank

  11. #30
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    Default Re: Moisture Board versus Quilt Block?

    Nice approach Frank, I would not have thought of using the hardware cloth as a structural part of the venting!
    zone 5b
    Back in 2019!

  12. #31
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    Default Re: Moisture Board versus Quilt Block?

    Lots of good things to think about! I went a head and purchased a moisture board today, but am still considering also adding a quilt box also....will have to figure out how to add in this additional layer in this stack! LOL Thanks for all the shared information!!

  13. #32
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    Default Re: Moisture Board versus Quilt Block?

    Great thread. This year I am making canvas quilt covers and stuffing them with pine wood shavings. I have my boxes vented with mesh covered vent holes on the side. The quilt will be against the holes but hopefully will still allow moisture out while preventing drafts. The bottom of the box/shim is also screen covered (#8) to keep the bees from eating the quilt. Next spring we will evaluate the results. I am also going to put some sugar and pollen bricks directly on top of the frames for winter survival feed just in case they run out of honey. Thanx for all the information you have shared. It is a humbling experience to post along with you folks that are obviously much further along than I am. Thank you for tolerating me. Best wishes, LP

  14. #33
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    Default Re: Moisture Board versus Quilt Block?

    I'm with Walt on this one -- I've done some thinking over the few years I have had bees, and while I've yet to lose a hive in the winter (I kill mine of in the spring and summer!), Walt is quite correct that none of our hives really resemble a natural cavity.

    Bees prefer a ten gallon or so sized, cylindrical space with an entrance about 1" diameter and located near the vertical center of the cavity. They liberally coat the inside of the hive with propolis -- on the order of 1/4" in some cases -- which essentially makes it completely waterproof. The comb is attached to the top of the hive with no open space at the top, and hence the top will always stay warm in the winter. Ventilation is by natural convection through the hole half way up the cavity.

    I suspect the result is that the water produced by the bees condenses in the comb around the cluster and on the side of the cavity. I don't have access to a natural hive, but someday it would be great fun to put some temperature probes in one and see just what the actual temps are in a natural cavity vs. a Langstroth hive.

    My brother had a hive a few years ago that closed up the entrance at the bottom AND the bee escape in the top cover down to two small holes just large enough for a bee -- I suspect this is an indication of how much ventilation they really want, meaning quite a bit less than we usually give them.

    I'm of the opinion that a solid inner cover (without a bee escape hole) and an insulated telescoping cover is probably the best configuration, with a small hole to vent damp air. The wood will absorb enough moisture on cold nights to prevent condensation on the warm inner cover and a small upper entrance will keep the bees from getting trapped in the hive by snow -- not an issue here as a rule, but in many locales that upper entrance prevents needing to clean snow off landing boards. Of course, you could eliminate the landing board by using a mid entrance rather than a bottom one, too!

    Remember that bees need water to dilute the honey and metabolize it, and the only source in the winter is the condensation on the comb around the cluster. Too much ventilation will starve the bees of water, a cold top of the hive can kill them with water dripping on them, particularly if heavy frost forms on cold nights and melts during the day.

    I believe a quilt box should have enough fibrous material (shredded leaves, planer shavings, etc) to have enough insulating capacity to stay warm on the bottom. If this is the case, it will always be dry there, any water will slowly migrate through the "packing" to the outside, but exterior venting shouldn't be necessary if you use a shallow super and fill it all the way up.

    I may try this someday -- this year I'm quite happy to use what has always worked for me, heavy inner covers and telescoping outer covers (both 1/2" plywood) with the addition of newspaper and sugar in a shallow super or a feeder rim above top box -- and I suspect the sugar will act exactly like the top of a hollow tree.

    Peter

  15. #34
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    Default Re: Moisture Board versus Quilt Block?

    psfred,

    Thank you for posting this information especially with the detail. You give us a lot to think about. I am still trying a few different things and trying to find what works for me. If you happen to have any more thoughts on this subject, I for one would be very interested in hearing them. Best wishes, LP

  16. #35
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    Default Re: Moisture Board versus Quilt Block?

    Thanks, Peter. I tired of fumbling with my keyboard before I made all the comments applicable.

    If you look at the shape of tree cavities, you will find that the top is either peaked or conical. The adhesion of water droplets to the surface will cause them to travel on the surface sideways with slope or downward before letting go with a droplet. The bees apply this physics concept in their survival concepts. They have had millions of years to apply those concepts in their survival format, and select for those of best results.

    In our unlimited wisdom, we have elected to vent the moisture overboard. This means that they must collect water in the early season from the surrounding area to thin honey to feed consistency. That is in the early season of brood nest expansion, when water is of chilling temps, at some sources. Water foraging is hazardous duty in that period. Why do we do this?

    A story might help make the point.
    A logging outfit called to report they had a tree with bees in their truck loading area. The bees were located in the smallest vertical cavity we had seen - maybe a 6" hollow. At the bottom of the cavity was a puddle of murky water - black. This was their buildup water supply. They have a pretty good filter on their sipper. Have never seen anything but clear water in their storage cells.
    Point is: they had collected their late winter, honey thinning water at the bottom of the cavity, in a six inch cavity. And they were quite robust.

    Walt

  17. #36
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    Default Re: Moisture Board versus Quilt Block?

    Here are a couple of pictures of the quilt boxs I use. The first one is on a -20f day and you can see the frost that builds up on the underside of the telescoping cover.I use a piece of 2" styrofoam on top to keep it warmer above the chips but at -20 It still formes frost and ice up there. There is no screened holes on the sides of the Q-box but the top edge of the box has 2 stacked 1/4 inch nuts screwed to the edge to lift the telescopic cover so the vapor can escape, you can see dots in the frost along the edges of cover where these nuts contact the cover...

    and another of these boxs


    This is the nuc box version I use, it does have vent holes on the ends to let out thte vapor. This way I can stack them side by side and use a migratory cover. I sure there are other versions of these but this is what works for me in the " frozen tundra" LOL....

    ==McBee7==

  18. #37
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    Default Re: Moisture Board versus Quilt Block?

    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

  19. #38
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    Default Re: Moisture Board versus Quilt Block?

    Insulating a hive is in many ways the same as a house. We want it to stay warm, but we also want to get ride of the moisture inside the house. The worst place for condensation in building is inside the insulation, if it condensates there then you loose the r-value of the insulation. That's why vapor barriers along with proper ventilation are mandatory in building.
    This is a very good article that talks about insulation and condensation. It talks about how both moisture and condensation move through a wall/insulation and what the effects are on the insulation.
    http://www.tlpca.org/images/articles_condensation.pdf

  20. #39
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    Default Re: Moisture Board versus Quilt Block?

    The following may sound like heresy to those who advocate upward ventilation, but all my hives are of the 'condensor hive' format - meaning that they have fully sealed, heavily insulated tops, internally painted uninsulated sides, and open bottoms. And bottom entrances, of course.

    To my mind this set-up mirrors the bees' use of propolis, where they take great pains to completely seal the top of the cavity; where they eventually 'paint' propolis all over the cavity walls, but pretty-much ignore the Open Mesh Floor, which they leave completely un-propolised.

    Does it work ? - yes indeed. I live at sea level in former swamp land, where the land still has to actively pumped in order to drain it. During winter, the water table can rise to within 18 inches below the surface. In summer, about 24 to 36 inches.
    As you can probably imagine this is a high humidity area, and yet the bees dehydrate their nectar into honey without any obvious difficulty.

    Here's a picture taken this morning of the condensate from one hive:



    Normally such a trickle of moisture wouldn't be visible, as my other hives vent directly onto the ground below them. This one (a 5 over 5-frame Nuc) just happens to be placed on a fibreglass board, so the condensate can readily be seen as it leaves the hive.

    For anyone who's interested in the principles underlying condensor beehives, there is a book available on the web entitled 'Constructive Beekeeping' by Ed Clark (1918)* - which I found only AFTER settling upon this method of hive construction and management: a technique incidently, which is employed by many beekeepers on this side of the Atlantic, perhaps without them realising exactly how the excess moisture is being removed ...

    LJ

    * http://småbruk.se/publication/view/c...ve-beekeeping/
    Last edited by Little-John; 10-12-2015 at 04:07 PM. Reason: added link

  21. #40
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    Default Re: Moisture Board versus Quilt Block?

    Quote Originally Posted by Little-John View Post
    The following may sound like heresy to those who advocate upward ventilation, but all my hives are of the 'condensor hive' format - meaning that they have fully sealed, heavily insulated tops, internally painted uninsulated sides, and open bottoms. And bottom entrances, of course.

    To my mind this set-up mirrors the bees' use of propolis, where they take great pains to completely seal the top of the cavity; where they eventually 'paint' propolis all over the cavity walls, but pretty-much ignore the Open Mesh Floor, which they leave completely un-propolised.

    Does it work ? - yes indeed. I live at sea level in former swamp land, where the land still has to actively pumped in order to drain it. During winter, the water table can rise to within 18 inches below the surface. In summer, about 24 to 36 inches.
    As you can probably imagine this is a high humidity area, and yet the bees dehydrate their nectar into honey without any obvious difficulty.

    Here's a picture taken this morning of the condensate from one hive:



    Normally such a trickle of moisture wouldn't be visible, as my other hives vent directly onto the ground below them. This one (a 5 over 5-frame Nuc) just happens to be placed on a fibreglass board, so the condensate can readily be seen as it leaves the hive.

    For anyone who's interested in the principles underlying condensor beehives, there is a book available on the web entitled 'Constructive Beekeeping' by Ed Clark (1918)* - which I found only AFTER settling upon this method of hive construction and management: a technique incidently, which is employed by many beekeepers on this side of the Atlantic, perhaps without them realising exactly how the excess moisture is being removed ...

    LJ

    * http://småbruk.se/publication/view/c...ve-beekeeping/
    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.

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