When to put quilt box on?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    Egg Harbor Township, NJ
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    67

    Default When to put quilt box on?

    Here in Southern New Jersey, I was thinking maybe the 1st week of November, but the weather report has me rethinking that as we are going down to 41 degrees on Tuesday night. For those who use a quilt box, when do you place it on the hive?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Grand Rapids MI USA
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    1,550

    Default Re: When to put quilt box on?

    I haven’t used quilt boxes in years, but the time to put anything on is when it’s going to get cold repeatedly and the hives start having condensation issues.
    Rod

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Bucks County PA
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    369

    Default Re: When to put quilt box on?

    Ours will go on once it becomes regularly cold...probably not until mid-late November.
    Humble assistant to beek Alison as well as family purveyor of luxury Bee condominiums and Paparazzi activities...

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Vancouver, B.C., Canada
    Posts
    91

    Default Re: When to put quilt box on?

    We do it when we do our hive winter setup in mid October but some folks leave them on all year.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    5,536

    Default Re: When to put quilt box on?

    I usually put mine on sometime after Thanksgiving (unless it's been on all year, which sometimes happens.)

    Re-skinning quilt boxes is one of those tasks that can be postponed to colder weather when other bee-chores need attention now.

    BTW, a quilt box, notwithstanding its cozy name, is not something you use to provide warmth or insulation. It's something you use to manage moisture in the hive during very cold weather. And you won't have moisture condensation issues for months to come.

    Mouse guards are a more critical winter prep to get in place right now - unless you are still running robber screens like I am, which function adequately for mouse guards when the mouse pressure is still low and the bees still active in the lower boxes.

    Nancy

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    3,796

    Default Re: When to put quilt box on?

    It all depends. Warre hives, for example, have them on all the time, as in year round.

    I will be using some this year and will put them on as I wrap. (The weather has been wacky this year - the first frost was almost two weeks late and we're getting temperature swings from the 20s to the 70s.)

    You won't hurt the hive by putting it on early.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Nottingham, PA
    Posts
    132

    Default Re: When to put quilt box on?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Dewey View Post
    You won't hurt the hive by putting it on early.
    Last year I was a little late and put them on close to Thanksgiving. If there is no harm in putting them on too early I may put them on this week.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Nottingham, PA
    Posts
    132

    Default Re: When to put quilt box on?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Dewey View Post
    You won't hurt the hive by putting it on early.
    Last year I was a little late and put them on close to Thanksgiving. If there is no harm in putting them on too early I may put them on this week.

    (Sorry for double post, I can't figure out how to delete one of them)

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Egg Harbor Township, NJ
    Posts
    67

    Default Re: When to put quilt box on?

    Thank You for all your responses.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Posts
    1,142

    Default Re: When to put quilt box on?

    Putting the quilt on too early isn't going to hurt anything.

    Are your bees still flying and foraging during the day? If yes then I would venture that you don't need the quilt box yet. I looked at southern NJ weather and it looks like your days are still warm. Your humidity in S. NJ is almost certainly higher than here so you'll want to put them on a week or two earlier than I do. (Mine go on the week before Thanksgiving. They come back off fifteen weeks later the first week of March. ) Once the bees start to cluster and subsist off honey stores you need the quilt box because the hive needs to get rid of the water they respirate as they metabolize the honey stores. (For every pound of honey the bees eat they will respirate .08 gallons of water and 10.3 cubic feet of CO2), so 50 lbs of winter honey = 4 gallons of water that has to be vented through the quilt box.

    If you have a SBB and a quilt, close the SBB.

    If you are new to quilts, then here is a tip: Monitor the moisture content of the shavings at least monthly and change part of the shavings out if its getting too damp, wet shavings grow mold. I just slip an ungloved hand down into the shavings and feel the bottom. If they are warm its good to go, if cold and wet I mix it up and pull half out, add new, and mix it up. Seems to work in my climate. As always, remember that advice from beeks in different climates might not apply to your location so adjust as necessary.
    Last edited by JConnolly; 10-17-2017 at 08:59 PM.
    Zone 6B

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Vancouver, B.C., Canada
    Posts
    91

    Default Re: When to put quilt box on?

    Good point that any advice that you get should be adjusted to your location. Here is a quilt that has vent holes to dry the wood chips and upper insulation included. Easy to make. http://strathconabeekeepers.blogspot...ive-cover.html

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Posts
    1,142

    Default Re: When to put quilt box on?

    Good point, make sure your quilt box has plenty of vents. Mine have 6 x 1-1/4" holes screened. Also, if you have a telescoping cover then put a sheet of coroplast or thin polystyrene inside the top of it, otherwise it will still collect condensation and that will lead to mold on the inside of the cover.
    Zone 6B

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