Monitoring Hive Temp and Humidity during the winter here in Ohio
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  1. #1
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    Mar 2013
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    Parma, Ohio USA
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    Default Monitoring Hive Temp and Humidity during the winter here in Ohio

    So I am trying some new things this year to prevent the loss I have occurred over the last cold winters here near the Great Lakes. Created a quilt box and hives wrapped in 2 inch foam insulation.

    But the newest addition is a Govee bluetooth temp and hygrometer monitor in each hive. Now I can stand at the back window of the house and get a readout on the temp and humidity levels inside the hive.

    So far it has been working great. I even have alarms set for low/high temp and humidity levels and my phone will get an alert when I sync up if something is wrong.

    HV2.jpgHV1.jpg

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
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    Dane County, WI, USA
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    Default Re: Monitoring Hive Temp and Humidity during the winter here in Ohio

    Quote Originally Posted by kekulpac View Post
    So I am trying some new things this year to prevent the loss I have occurred over the last cold winters here near the Great Lakes. Created a quilt box and hives wrapped in 2 inch foam insulation.

    But the newest addition is a Govee bluetooth temp and hygrometer monitor in each hive. Now I can stand at the back window of the house and get a readout on the temp and humidity levels inside the hive.
    I don't even need to stand by the window.


    Something like this works perfectly fine for the backyard hives (and can just sit right on your computer table - so you can read BS and look at your hive sensor feeds at once):

    https://www.amazon.com/AcuRite-02082...%2C163&sr=8-43

    The thing about "loss prevention" - you will simply see how the temp in a hive will drop abruptly - you will go and check - you will see the dead bees.
    These sensors are largely "reactive" data readers; not "proactive" and can not look ahead of time.

    It is also not a good idea to react every time to temp/humidity changes - you just bother bees for not reason most of the time - most of the time those changes are just a norm.
    Ask me how I know.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
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    Sisters, Oregon
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    138

    Default Re: Monitoring Hive Temp and Humidity during the winter here in Ohio

    How are your mite levels and weight? My short list is 1) mite level low to non existent 2) heavy as lead 3) dry cavity. The tech looks interesting. I love to fuss over them so I get it. I'm seeing lots of space where the indicator is over the cluster. Did you take frames out to take the picture?

    Having said that I'm seriously thinking about a Flir thermal imaging attachment for my iphone. It's non invasive and can indicate a starving hive based on cluster position and some have even discovered mice who moved in.
    I'm smart but at the end of the day I'm still the help.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
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    Default Re: Monitoring Hive Temp and Humidity during the winter here in Ohio

    Do you have data logging? I would be interested to know if temperature excursions will show when the bees decide to move cluster onto new food sources. I have read that it can be quite remarkable. Dont know whether your insulation induced generally higher temperatures will make these moves gradual and not so dramatic.

    Yes also interested to know what the conditions were to led to the previous poor survival. I am 300 or so miles due north of you and wonder where is the point of diminishing returns with insulation regarding stores consumption.

    It has also been kicked around that it might be some benefit to leave a condensation point somewhere accessible for water for the wintering bees to dilute the honey with to prevent possible winter flyout for water in unsurvivable cold. I have seen lots of them in the snow and the colonies survive so that assumption may be just a dramatic piece of guess work.

    Sounds like an interesting adventure.
    Frank

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Parma, Ohio USA
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    12

    Default Re: Monitoring Hive Temp and Humidity during the winter here in Ohio

    The thing about "loss prevention" - you will simply see how the temp in a hive will drop abruptly - you will go and check - you will see the dead bees.
    These sensors are largely "reactive" data readers; not "proactive" and can not look ahead of time.

    It is also not a good idea to react every time to temp/humidity changes - you just bother bees for not reason most of the time - most of the time those changes are just a norm.
    Ask me how I know.
    [/QUOTE]




    Of course the monitors are reactive. By placing them, I hope to be "proactive."

    With the exception of a disaster or some other unpreventable change in the hive's structure, I do not see a sudden change in environment. This will give me the ability to check on humidity and temp levels when the weather changes without disturbing the hive. i.e. Open another ventilation hole.

    It's also my understanding that the bees can survive temperature drops, it's more the condensation soaking them, that will kill them. I am taking precautions both ways. It may help, it may not. But I suspect it will.

  7. #6
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    Mar 2013
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    Parma, Ohio USA
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    Default Re: Monitoring Hive Temp and Humidity during the winter here in Ohio

    Quote Originally Posted by LAlldredge View Post
    How are your mite levels and weight? My short list is 1) mite level low to non existent 2) heavy as lead 3) dry cavity. The tech looks interesting. I love to fuss over them so I get it. I'm seeing lots of space where the indicator is over the cluster. Did you take frames out to take the picture?

    Having said that I'm seriously thinking about a Flir thermal imaging attachment for my iphone. It's non invasive and can indicate a starving hive based on cluster position and some have even discovered mice who moved in.

    No I put in the shallow box because I am going to try the the Mountain Camp method of feeding the bees during the winter. ( newspaper with about 4 pounds dry sugar on top) It's supposed to hep absorb moisture and provide food.

    The hive was very healthy going into the cold. I treated with oxalic acid prior. I used the Scott Bee Farm vaporizer wand - would recommend.

    The thermal imaging sounds great. would it work through the insulation panels I have the hive wrapped in?

  8. #7
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    Mar 2013
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    Parma, Ohio USA
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    12

    Default Re: Monitoring Hive Temp and Humidity during the winter here in Ohio

    Quote Originally Posted by crofter View Post
    Do you have data logging? I would be interested to know if temperature excursions will show when the bees decide to move cluster onto new food sources. I have read that it can be quite remarkable. Dont know whether your insulation induced generally higher temperatures will make these moves gradual and not so dramatic.

    Yes also interested to know what the conditions were to led to the previous poor survival. I am 300 or so miles due north of you and wonder where is the point of diminishing returns with insulation regarding stores consumption.

    It has also been kicked around that it might be some benefit to leave a condensation point somewhere accessible for water for the wintering bees to dilute the honey with to prevent possible winter flyout for water in unsurvivable cold. I have seen lots of them in the snow and the colonies survive so that assumption may be just a dramatic piece of guess work.

    Sounds like an interesting adventure.


    I am pretty sure the bees got wet in the past. Found the cluster in early spring and the looked soaked, There was still food source (fondat) that was not consumed. I did not wrap the hives. This year I did and using a quilt box with pine shavings and the Mountain Camp feeding method. I also have Saskatraz bees which are supposed to be more cold hardy and mite hygienic.

    Yes, it can data log and I can graph out the changes in humidity and temp. What I liked about these monitors is it reads out on my phone, more mobile if I want to show data, not a dedicated monitor . They will store up to 20 days of data in between syncing

  9. #8
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    May 2011
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    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
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    Default Re: Monitoring Hive Temp and Humidity during the winter here in Ohio

    There have been quite a few variations of quilt box usage that all seem successful at eliminating the deadly condensation drip on the cluster. On common denominator is at least a small upper ventilation even 1/2 a square inch. Enjambres even contrives a wind baffle in front of hers.

    With your setup you are prepared to monitor and control moisture/ventilation. Keep a record of how much area appears necessary. Moisture production should be relative to stores consumption so look for a big jump when broodup commences late winter. People with data logging scales indicate consumption only a pound or so a month until that time then a jump to near 10 pounds when brooding starts.

    I think you will have live bees in the spring and some good information to relate.
    Frank

  10. #9
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    May 2015
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    Vauxhall, Alberta, Canada
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    Default Re: Monitoring Hive Temp and Humidity during the winter here in Ohio

    The temperature pickup point needs to be in the center and top of the frames, preferably one in B1 and B2 so one can monitor the position of the cluster. The humidity should be taken from the same position. Having this on the side of the boxes does not serve much other then monitoring the wall temp. where no bee will bee unless it is warm outside. Next thing, the bees will propolis the s.... out of your system. I use the broodminder sensors and after one year, they are covered with propolis, 'glued-in-place'.

    Please keep reporting, specially battery life. Would be good to have a verifying way to make sure the transmitting instrument does not change accuracy.
    Summ Summ Bienchen summ herum

  11. #10
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    Mar 2013
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    Parma, Ohio USA
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    Default Re: Monitoring Hive Temp and Humidity during the winter here in Ohio

    Quote Originally Posted by Biermann View Post
    The temperature pickup point needs to be in the center and top of the frames, preferably one in B1 and B2 so one can monitor the position of the cluster. The humidity should be taken from the same position. Having this on the side of the boxes does not serve much other then monitoring the wall temp. where no bee will bee unless it is warm outside. Next thing, the bees will propolis the s.... out of your system. I use the broodminder sensors and after one year, they are covered with propolis, 'glued-in-place'.

    Please keep reporting, specially battery life. Would be good to have a verifying way to make sure the transmitting instrument does not change accuracy.

    Good point

    But I tested the monitors indoors for a few days and they were consistently giving the same readings. Both hives are equally insulated with 2 inch foam board and last night I checked them at 21:20 with outdoor temp at 35 F. One hive was at 49.9 F and the other at 57 F . Humidy levels also varied at 74% and 65% - it has been dreary and rainy here. So I believe I am getting a fairly good representation of the environment inside the hive with placement.

    Also the monitors are on the quilt boxes which will come off in springtime, so I am not anticipating too much propolis during the colder months - figure they will concentrate on the drafty areas if any. They have been in for over a week with the weather being in the high 50's prior with no propolization. But we'll see I guess.

    Battery life (indoors) has been reported at 2- 3 years. We'll see what I get in the hive.

    I also was reminded that the bees don't like a flashlight shining at the entrance. Even at 35 F and dark they let me know....

  12. #11
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    Aug 2018
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    Sisters, Oregon
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    138

    Default Re: Monitoring Hive Temp and Humidity during the winter here in Ohio

    Quote Originally Posted by kekulpac View Post
    No I put in the shallow box because I am going to try the the Mountain Camp method of feeding the bees during the winter. ( newspaper with about 4 pounds dry sugar on top) It's supposed to hep absorb moisture and provide food.

    The hive was very healthy going into the cold. I treated with oxalic acid prior. I used the Scott Bee Farm vaporizer wand - would recommend.

    The thermal imaging sounds great. would it work through the insulation panels I have the hive wrapped in?
    Got it. So the box is giving you space for feed. Many people use a feeding shim and upper entrance in this type of config. I would love to hear a more experienced person comment on the overhead room. Seems excessive to me even if you have 4 pounds of feed on. I would personally want a little less overhead room or fill it with a pillowcase of shavings. 75% of heat is lost overhead. Yes, thermal imaging can see through my insulation if the reports are accurate.
    I'm smart but at the end of the day I'm still the help.

  13. #12
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    Mar 2013
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    Parma, Ohio USA
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    12

    Default Re: Monitoring Hive Temp and Humidity during the winter here in Ohio

    Quote Originally Posted by LAlldredge View Post
    Got it. So the box is giving you space for feed. Many people use a feeding shim and upper entrance in this type of config. I would love to hear a more experienced person comment on the overhead room. Seems excessive to me even if you have 4 pounds of feed on. I would personally want a little less overhead room or fill it with a pillowcase of shavings. 75% of heat is lost overhead. Yes, thermal imaging can see through my insulation if the reports are accurate.

    So really not a lot of added space. More that have the box is divided by a burlap filter holding the shavings. Only added about 2- 2.5 inches above the top frames and I insulated inside the top cover also. I have 1 inch diameter holes drilled for airflow and have corked all but one of them off but can open or close as needed. My hives back up to my shed, and 3 feet away from a six foot wooden privacy fence so the wind exposure is cut down.

    The sugar is spread or flattened on the paper so doesn't take up much vertical space.

    I also plan on using my Ridgid snake camera to tale a peek at the inside of the hive at times through the ventilation port.

    It would be interesting to see if the thermal images just provides a generalized glow or if it gives an accurate cluster size and location.

  14. #13
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    Aug 2018
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    Sisters, Oregon
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    Default Re: Monitoring Hive Temp and Humidity during the winter here in Ohio

    Quote Originally Posted by kekulpac View Post
    So really not a lot of added space. More that have the box is divided by a burlap filter holding the shavings. Only added about 2- 2.5 inches above the top frames and I insulated inside the top cover also. I have 1 inch diameter holes drilled for airflow and have corked all but one of them off but can open or close as needed. My hives back up to my shed, and 3 feet away from a six foot wooden privacy fence so the wind exposure is cut down.

    The sugar is spread or flattened on the paper so doesn't take up much vertical space.

    I also plan on using my Ridgid snake camera to tale a peek at the inside of the hive at times through the ventilation port.

    It would be interesting to see if the thermal images just provides a generalized glow or if it gives an accurate cluster size and location.
    Really glad to hear about the space overhead and the burlap and shavings. I’m testing my HVAC right now and have 5 vent holes drilled in front and back. I’m inclined to leave all open. Didn’t catch if you’re using an upper entrance. I took mine out before winter last year and deeply regretted it. They need to expel the C02 and excess moisture.

    The camera idea sounds like a gas if it doesn’t disturb them. The thermal attachments have gotten more sophisticated. Looking at the Flir Pro model.
    I'm smart but at the end of the day I'm still the help.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Vauxhall, Alberta, Canada
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    311

    Default Re: Monitoring Hive Temp and Humidity during the winter here in Ohio

    I use Temp. & humidity monitoring for three years and I will give a few observations:

    Biggest problem: battery life!

    I have Broodminders as already said and the company is first class with service and help. I bought in when they did crowdfunding to get going and I received six G1 sensors that showed later problems with the humidity sensor and got replaced for free. One nasty part is to replace the batteries every 6 month and they are not cheap (or the cheap once don't last six month). So, replacing the batteries six times in three years takes it toll on the housing. They are flat, only about 3/8" thick, but I have long thought to run wiring to each and to a central battery with solar charge-up, but have not done it, yet.

    Anyway, I have three hives, two sensors in each, one on top of B1 & one on B2.

    My readings from today, ambient temp. 40, humidity 51%:

    Hive G B2 77 66%, B1 55 66%
    Hive O B2 81 69%, B1 56 71%
    Hive W B1 91 55%, B1 78 57%

    I am still feeding with frame feeders and my own insulated jar feeders on top of each telescopic lid. The lids are special build to fit over normal hive size plus 2" EPS board all around. All gets wrapped in mid November with insulation blanket. The feeders are on all the time and I inspect the hives from the hole in the telescopic lid.

    My hives with visitor (sadly departed). The EPS blocks have a 5" hole, top is closed of course, to fit the jar feeder, with plastic lids and three small holes. Some hives feed in Dec. & Jan., others don't touch it.
    10300107.jpg and one more visitor in the night 10310125.jpg

    With two sensors, one can see on the temp. readings where the cluster is.

    Your temperatures are really low in my HO, I am in -40 to plus 104 country and I have seen winter temp.s stable around 66 where the cluster is.
    Summ Summ Bienchen summ herum

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