Stopping Moisture
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
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    Augusta, GA. Usa
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    14

    Default Stopping Moisture

    I took advantage of today's warm weather to take a sneak peek inside my largest, healthiest hive. Found lots of bees and lot's of honey/pollen and unfortunately, lots of condensation. I have a screen bottom and a 3/4 inch opening on the inside cover...but still a good bit of water had pooled on the top of the inside cover. So, what to do next? I was thinking of doing this:
    I have a top super feeder that I used to feed syrup during the dearth...but with large honey stores in the hive it is not being used. I was thinking perhaps putting it back on top of the top super and fill it with straw or pet shavings from the pet store. Then put the inside cover on top of the feeder. My thinking is that 1) the feeder will then act as insulation and 2) absorb any moisture while 3) continuing to allow ventilation.
    Good idea? Bad idea? Anyone got a better idea???
    Thanks!

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Spring Lake MI USA
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    112

    Default Re: Stopping Moisture

    Do you have foam inside of your top cover? That would be my first move. Then make sure all of your ventilation paths are open (top and bottom). Check for dead bees plugging bottom. Hmmm just re read and you said screened bottom board. Are they open? I have mine closed for winter here in Michigan. No snow here but 90 percent humidity

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    NW Florida
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    1,171

    Default Re: Stopping Moisture

    I stapled hardware cloth to the bottom of a super and filled it with shavings. To create vents, I used toilet paper roll tubes. The hives without upper vents still had problems, but those with them are bone dry. I have chickens, so the shaving are aspen that will be recycled to replaced the dirty shavings in their coop.
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Augusta, GA. Usa
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    14

    Default Re: Stopping Moisture

    Thanks for replying.
    I am in GA so I don't have the concerns about temperature as you would. We have "cool" weather here in the winter. Not "Cold" like you have. So my concern is more Moisture than temperature. With that in mind, I don't have foam on the top cover, the screen bottom is open, the entrance is open...in fact, even here in late December they are still bringing in lots of pollen. Our humidity is always high here in the South so there is lots of moisture to condense even on a cool night...right now temps are in the low 40's at night. Even with the screen board open, the entrance open and a notch in the inner cover, I still found about a quarter cup of pooled water on the top cover today. Any advice/opinions are welcomed!

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    NW Florida
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    1,171

    Default Re: Stopping Moisture

    Your weather is closer to mine. Rainy, wet, winters that are more like fall up north, although you do get colder than here. Are you in mountains? Squarepeg is probably very close tot he same latitude as you.

    I don't use an inner cover. Yours probably just saved your bees from having water drip on them in the cold night. Shavings with an upper vent will probably be enough for you. I don't know of many people in the deep south that insulate their hives. Look up the Fat Bee Man. He is close to you and will probably gladly tell you how he winters hives, if he doesn't already have a video about it posted on youtube.
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Augusta, GA. Usa
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: Stopping Moisture

    I am just south of the mountains...so pretty mild here even at night. A few nights each year we drop below freezing but usually only for a few hours for a few days. I'll give the Fat Bee Man a look and see what he has to say. Thanks again!

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Rutland County, Vermont,USA
    Posts
    2,373

    Default Re: Stopping Moisture

    What you talk about making is known as a quilt box. Your plan will certainly help, but you might want to check out other ideas here by searching "quilt box". You do want to vent the moisture out of the quilt box by drilling some holes or propping up the outer cover. Otherwise the straw/wood shavings or other material eventually gets saturated and drip. A piece of foam board will probably take care of most of your moisture issues. I cut the foam board to friction fit on the inside of the outer cover, but some just put a piece on top of the cover. I like putting it inside for a little extra insulating value and it protects the outer cover from getting moldy both in the winter and when you use a hive top feeder. Also no risk of blowing away. J

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
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    2,775

    Default Re: Stopping Moisture

    Tlknghd; You said you had a quarter cup of water on the top cover, did you mean the inner cover? If the inner cover, do you have the hole in the top of the inner cover open or closed? If it is open, close it and put a sheet of foam insulation on top, then put on the telescoping cover. With the screened bottom board open any moisture will exit the bottom of the colony. You will not need any additional methods of removing moisture.

    If you are interested how well it is working cut a piece of 4 mill plastic sheeting and put it under the inner cover between the cover and the top bars of the frames. On a cold day remove the outer and inner covers and you will see where moisture has condensed on the inside of the plastic sheeting. There will be little condensation and what there is will be in the box corners and around the very edge of the box.
    42 + years - 24 colonies - IPM disciple - Naturally Skeptic

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Boston, MA, USA
    Posts
    262

    Default

    I second adding foam between outer cover and inner cover. this reduces condensation on the inner cover by keeping it at the same temp as the inside of the hive.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Northern Colorado, USA
    Posts
    704

    Default Re: Stopping Moisture

    Quote Originally Posted by Tlknghd View Post
    I have a top super feeder that I used to feed syrup during the dearth...but with large honey stores in the hive it is not being used. I was thinking perhaps putting it back on top of the top super and fill it with straw or pet shavings from the pet store. Then put the inside cover on top of the feeder. My thinking is that 1) the feeder will then act as insulation and 2) absorb any moisture while 3) continuing to allow ventilation.
    Good idea? Bad idea?
    Thanks!
    I dont think this will do much since the top feeder is mostly solid and will not allow much air flow. A quilt box or insulation as mentioned above will work much better.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Rutland County, Vermont,USA
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    2,373

    Default Re: Stopping Moisture

    Yikes! I somehow missed that it is a feeder and thought the OP was using a super. That will not work. The moisture has to be able to rise up and escape. J

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
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    NW Florida
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    Default Re: Stopping Moisture

    Quote Originally Posted by Fivej View Post
    Yikes! I somehow missed that it is a feeder and thought the OP was using a super. That will not work. The moisture has to be able to rise up and escape. J
    I was suggesting a super. It should work great in this environment. I have many of the same moisture problems. My recent mistake seems to have been not having vents above the box in all hives. Something I am fixing.
    TL let us know what you try and how well it works.
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
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    Portugal
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    Default Re: Stopping Moisture

    I saw this video https://vimeo.com/209667268 for the first time about a year ago. I found the content very interesting and with good tips for my context, especially the care to avoid the upper ventilation.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
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    NW Florida
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    Default Re: Stopping Moisture

    Quote Originally Posted by Eduardo Gomes View Post
    I saw this video https://vimeo.com/209667268 for the first time about a year ago. I found the content very interesting and with good tips for my context, especially the care to avoid the upper ventilation.
    Thank you for posting the video. A few things to note... the research was done in British Canada. He talks of scraping open an upper entrance. He is also dealing with much lower temperatures. Our high for today is est. 68 with over 90% humidity. Humidity is a massive issue in the deep south and we have many more flying days during the winter. I have been struggling with moisture. Peters mentions that wrapping and insulating the hive handles the moisture problem there. It is rare to wrap down here. The op is in the bottom right side of Georgia. When putting an upper vent on mine, I had the concern that is mentioned in the video that hot air will escape. The upper vents I did have were all above the quilt box of shavings. Mild winter, lots of rain, moisture problems. The only dry ones had upper vents above the insulation. Those hives are strong and are starting build up. It rained the past two days, so I'll try to give an update on the ones that I opened up by putting a thin shim under the telescoping lid. FWIW, Fat Bee Man has a December winter video up and none of the hives are wrapped. Wrapping might be a good option like the video Eduardo posted, but it may not be needed down here.
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

  16. #15
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    Apr 2017
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    Aylett, Virginia
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    4,599

    Default Re: Stopping Moisture

    Sorry guys and gals, I can't help but chuckle a little when I hear ya'll discussing the use of quilt boxes IN GEORGIA! We got nearly an inch of rain yesterday and the apiary is a soggy mess. Every single one of my hives was bone dry inside today. I believe that ventilation is important along with keeping the water out in the first place. Hives are tipped forward by using a strip of 1x in the back, SBB w/insert, tele tops w/inner covers. 10 frame hives have a styrofoam feeder on top, nucs do not. No additional insulation yet because I have been too lazy to cut up the sheet I bought at Lowe's.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  17. #16
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    Jul 2017
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    NW Florida
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    Default Re: Stopping Moisture

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    Sorry guys and gals, I can't help but chuckle a little when I hear ya'll discussing the use of quilt boxes IN GEORGIA! We got nearly an inch of rain yesterday and the apiary is a soggy mess. Every single one of my hives was bone dry inside today. I believe that ventilation is important along with keeping the water out in the first place. Hives are tipped forward by using a strip of 1x in the back, SBB w/insert, tele tops w/inner covers. 10 frame hives have a styrofoam feeder on top, nucs do not. No additional insulation yet because I have been too lazy to cut up the sheet I bought at Lowe's.
    I know it sounds odd. After moving boxes, they just don't seem to be sealing up well. The propolis is hard and the bees don't see to be doing anything about it. My guess is that is where some of the moisture is coming from. The shavings were soaked in several hives without top vents. You are right about telescoping lids. No more migratory going into winter.
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    York, York County, SC
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    291

    Default Re: Stopping Moisture

    Im 30 minutes south of Charlotte, NC over the line in SC. Ive never heard of beekeepers running quilt boxes in these parts. With over 14 inches of rain in my area we are saturated. I worked my home yard today and it was like walking on pudding covered in grass. To help with moisture I simply add a penny in each corner of the top box and the inner cover to add ventilation. Bees cant get in and the telescoping cover "shields" the crack from wind. I run a mix of SBB and solids. No issues with moisture.

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Seattle WA
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    1,240

    Default Re: Stopping Moisture

    Living in Seattle I know nothing about rain and moisture. A few years back I tried migratory covers on a few hives with insulation and come spring, the inside was covered in mold and slime and wet as could be. The bees survived but did not prosper. Quilt boxes were a pain in the neck. I finally settled on a modified tele cover with the front side removed. This gave extra ventilation outside of the actual hive but over the inner cover. Since the opening is on the same side as the front entrance, it does not create a breeze through the hive. It works for me here but I would not recommend it in the colder parts of the country. It is cheap and easy to build. In the summer, I put a small piece of plywood over the hole of the inner cover to stop potential robbing. We have very few cold days (below freezing), little snow, and minimal sunshine through the winter.

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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    1,473

    Default Re: Stopping Moisture

    Quote Originally Posted by dudelt View Post
    I finally settled on a modified tele cover with the front side removed. This gave extra ventilation outside of the actual hive but over the inner cover. Since the opening is on the same side as the front entrance, it does not create a breeze through the hive. It works for me here but I would not recommend it in the colder parts of the country. It is cheap and easy to build. In the summer, I put a small piece of plywood over the hole of the inner cover to stop potential robbing. We have very few cold days (below freezing), little snow, and minimal sunshine through the winter.
    Can you add to this? Trust you are providing some ventilation for top side of inner cover.

    Is it as simple as interior warm moist hive air is rising and exiting through hole in center of the inner cover, venting upper side of inner cover, and exiting out through open notch in upper lip of inner cover? The notch in the upper lip on top side of inner cover is unimpeded as a result of modifications to front side of telescopic cover.

    I realize a Vivaldi board is another piece of hardware but does it achieve same end goal with ?less heat loss? See minute 4 in video in attached link.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WaidqYALcaI
    Zone 3b. If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
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    NW Florida
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    1,171

    Default Re: Stopping Moisture

    Quote Originally Posted by dudelt View Post
    Living in Seattle I know nothing about rain and moisture. A few years back I tried migratory covers on a few hives with insulation and come spring, the inside was covered in mold and slime and wet as could be. The bees survived but did not prosper. Quilt boxes were a pain in the neck. I finally settled on a modified tele cover with the front side removed. This gave extra ventilation outside of the actual hive but over the inner cover. Since the opening is on the same side as the front entrance, it does not create a breeze through the hive. It works for me here but I would not recommend it in the colder parts of the country. It is cheap and easy to build. In the summer, I put a small piece of plywood over the hole of the inner cover to stop potential robbing. We have very few cold days (below freezing), little snow, and minimal sunshine through the winter.
    Sounds like you have done the rounds on methods. The shaving boxes were suggested to soak up moisture fast and hold in heat, but it is the ones with vents that are driest. Unfortunately, I probably only have one inner cover, but I think I'll switch one to vent with no shavings and see how dry it stays. That will make it easier and cheaper next year.
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

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