Old bee keeper
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Thread: Old bee keeper

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
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    Parkersburg, WV
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    15

    Default Old bee keeper

    Have been around honey bees since 1952. I am running up to 48 hives. Want to follow the treatment of mites, small hive beetles, and other items such as heating hives in the winter, monitor heat in the hives, using electronic equipment in bee and honey production. Retired after 40+ yrs as a control system engineer.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Byron, Il, USA
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    374

    Default Re: Old bee keeper

    Welcome! Looking forward to to learning from your experience.
    What part of the country are you in?

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
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    Parkersburg, WV
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    15

    Default Re: Old bee keeper

    Parkersburg, WV for past 55 years born in Pa about 50mi south of Penn State and 60mi west of Harrisburg. My dad got bees in 1952 as payment for a funeral. He was and untertaker.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
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    Parkersburg, WV
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    Default Re: Old bee keeper

    I like the new 120vac band heater method of Oxalic Acid . The speed that it can be applied; and the minimizing of "upsetting" of the bees during application are the pluses. The cost and the need for 120vac are negatives. The 120vac on the band heater can become a shock hazard if a short occurs and a good ground is not maintained and/or using a ground fault detector. Depending on the PID controller output, if a relay is used most are limited to 3A max and are mechanical (can wear on pit). Probably the reason some units are limited to 250watts (2+ amps at 120vac). This requires the heat up time to be about 6 mins, but once heated the unit can keep up during usage (~15 to 20 sec recovery after each shot into a hive). I have made my own and can keep up with 3 of them doing 12 hives in groups of 4. I.E. start a unit in hive1, then 1 in hive5, and then 1 in hive9. By this time hive1 is done and the vaporizer is move to hive2, and the nest to hive6; etc. I use kitchen timers with a 10min count down for each hive. As the nit is stuck in the hive, I start a timer. By the time I finish with the insertion in to 12, the alarm is going off for hive1; etc. After 12 are done, take a breather before moving on to the next 12. During application the nozzle may be come clogged and a small "pocket" screw drive can be used to ream them out.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Covington County, Alabama, USA
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    1,541

    Default Re: Old bee keeper

    Quote Originally Posted by jmobee View Post
    My dad got bees in 1952 as payment for a funeral. He was and untertaker.
    Might be the best "How I got into bees" story that I have every heard!!!!!!

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Covington County, Alabama, USA
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    1,541

    Default Re: Old bee keeper

    Look at Broodminder. Their products seem to check some boxes for you.

    https://broodminder.com/

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Vauxhall, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    311

    Default Re: Old bee keeper

    Hello jmobee,

    Also welcome, and yes, the most interesting way to get in to bees, payment for a funeral.

    I am fresh to bees now for five years, simply I never thought about it until this big hip came up with 'the bees are all dying and we will too', so I thought I get me a hive and test this out. One hive is no hive, so now I am on three to four, depending on the year. I am a farmer and farm right up to the hive. I have the broodminders for four years (or five?) and build a 110 Vaporizer, on top I am in the deep freezer of north America.

    BTW, my vaporizer is grounded and I urge everyone that buys it to use it on a GFI outlet, the handle is rubber. I have tested one unit set to 700F, placed on an isolated test table and had it destroyed, the winding melted, the PID faulted and that was it, no current went in to the housing (that would have tripped the GFI). I feel they are as save as your kitchen electric water kettle.

    The Broodminders are great, now, but the batteries don't last long enough, some times one month, some times one year and I am working (for next year) to have them wired with external battery on solar charge. I have two per hive, one on B1 & one on B2. It is great to see how the cluster moves around in a days and in the month.
    Summ Summ Bienchen summ herum

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
    Location
    Parkersburg, WV
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    Default

    Pictures of my 120v vaporizer

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
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    Parkersburg, WV
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    Default Re: Old bee keeper

    As to items on the market, they are expensive if many hives (2 or more?) are to be monitored. My son and I have a way to monitor the temperature on 48 hive and more if required 24/7 every 1min and trend these on a computer located in my basement. It has cost ~ $5 per point. Using a Arduino initially and now a Raspberry Pi for ~$100 and solid state DS18B20 temperature probes (tp) ~$2.50ea and ethernet cable as cabling to them via a printed circuit board (our design 4 tp's per board and daisy chained) back to the Resp Pi at the hives and stored as a csv file. The R Pi is then ethernet injected to the 120ac cable coming back to my house (250ft) and stripped from 120v into a computer in the basement. It can be trended or displayed as a spread sheet. I have collected this data for several years. The big thing is to how to use it! Other info can be collected but moisture probes have to be calibrated and load cells must be Zeroed. Both a headache. The temperature measured through the intercover hole shows that the hives are OK compared to outside temperature because the curve jiggles ever now and then and ride above the outside temperature. The jiggle could be the bees "flexing" their muscles to create heat and the height above the outside temp could indicate where they are in the hive (down low/up high). Up high may mean they are running out of food and need fed.
    Last edited by jmobee; 11-20-2019 at 04:05 PM.

  11. #10
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    Nov 2019
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    Parkersburg, WV
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    Default

    I have commented on the PID controller. Several types are available. The C100 is generally the least expensive $6 to 15. There are 2 output types available, relay for max amperes & SSR ~5vdc. The relay can be used directly but can be ruined if overloaded & speed of operation. A typical relay is good for ~1M operation and being used on a heater there should be little inductive “kickback” to put the contacts. Using the SSR type requires a solid state relay (SSR) which can handle 120vac and depending on the heat sink, 15 & higher amperes. Up to 5 amps, a heat sink with fins may not be required (.8v drop x 5a=4watts) being produced during heat up and then on off will cause less heat to main use. I have used a SSR for [email protected] bolted to a finned al heat sink in turn to metal electrical box to heat water in a wax melter and them maintain ~170F. The heat sink reached ~150F. The SSR can bee turned on at line frequency (USA 60hz) on both 1/2 cycles. A relay typical no more than once ever 20 to 30 sec so as to not beat them to pieces. The relay will work fine and maintain ~230C +|- 2 Deg.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    Vauxhall, Alberta, Canada
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    311

    Default Re: Old bee keeper

    @jmobee,
    have a way to monitor the temperature on 48 hive and more if required 24/7 every 1min
    While I agree that it is great to monitor the temperature in the hives, I know by now that it only shows the movement of the bee cluster during winter, the humidity sensor shows the actual % humidityifthe sensors are proven to be accurate over time and that part: being accurate over time is the important part and it took the Broodminder fellows some time and learning.

    Only the temp. plus humidity really tells you what is going on.
    Summ Summ Bienchen summ herum

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
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    Parkersburg, WV
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    I run heaters under my screened bottom boards on each hive. Use PID temp with thermocouple (tc) on the 100 watt heater with temp set price at 90F Have reduced entrances and at top let intercover hole open to a homosote (sp) 3/4 moisture board lying on a 1.5 inch rim The moisture bd has ~1.5 x 3 in opening through it to allow moist air out. Have 3/4” sticks on top of board and lid on top that. This causes good ventilation through hive with “warm” air. Seems to keep hive dry. Also, insulate my hives with 1.5” styrofoam strapped on and a plastic bag (no bottom or top) Pulled down over the hive and tucked under drying board and lid. This keeps moisture from behind the foam. Have kw meters on the 120vac. Been runing about $30 to 40 a month per 30 to 35 hives. If it doesn’t help the bees, makes me feel better. The heater in a hive without bees (dead hive) is about 10F above outside (15F vs 25F at temp from top temp probe at top of 3 medium with frames(I use 3 for hive bodies and a empty with intercover; etc above). Has seem to eliminate nozema too???? and maybe save some honey. May allow them to move around sooner as day warms up??? Very hard to qualify these ideas.
    As to moisture probe, my son has several in his house on a raspberry pi monitoring his heating system. Has to set them up with salts and linearizations in the computer. He wants me to try a few that are part of the temperature probe packages (temp probes~$3), but they are ~?$15 per probe. Too much per hive even thoulgh my 1 wire network will work and he has already done the software. If only looking for change, wouldn't have to calabrate???
    Last edited by jmobee; 11-24-2019 at 01:31 PM.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Brooklyn, Connecticut
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    34

    Default Re: Old bee keeper

    did you investigate if moisture is a valid threat to the bees? what makes you think it is? under what specific conditions does moisture become a threat?

    if your goal it to help generate healthier bees by way of reducing stress, i would suggest you collect data from the following; a sealed, reduced volume hive, with only one reduced lower entrance and insulated top(no other holes anywhere). you could compare movement of the cluster on really cold days with ventilated hive bodies. you could also weigh the colony at beginning and end to generate data on food consumption.

    thank you for collecting data for the community but do not be selective with your scientific method expression.
    peace and long life.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
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    4,851

    Default Re: Old bee keeper

    "if your goal it to help generate healthier bees by way of reducing stress, i would suggest you collect data from the following; a sealed, reduced volume hive, with only one reduced lower entrance and insulated top(no other holes anywhere)."

    I wouldn't agree with this advice unless it includes some very strong warnings. If you are in a heavy snow area, certain weather conditions can result in suffocation! Usually a snowed in hive will melt a breathing hole around the hive but drifting snow or wet heavy snow can pack them in solid. I lost colonies to this last winter. The first time I had tried the zero top ventilation idea. I had been shoveling them out but after receiving over 3 feet accumulations of snow, the banks I shoveled up around the hives became 5 foot high funnels that filled with drifting snow followed by a heavy rain.

    Normal fall of dead bees can also block a reduced bottom only entrance to the point where a totally sealed hive can suffocate.

    Juhanni and Littlejohn use this system but their setup incorporates a very open screened hive bottom. LJ gets next to no snow; not sure about Juhanni. It was bad news for me this past winter.

    I have super insulated but there is a one inch hole below the handhold cutout in the top box and a 1/2 X 1" slot in the feed shim. The bees have propolized them down to about a finger sized hole! The bottom entrance is 3" X 3/8 inch.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Frank

  16. #15
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    May 2015
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    Vauxhall, Alberta, Canada
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    Default Re: Old bee keeper

    @logicallycompromised, not clear whom you address. Clearly, if moisture is around 75-80% on top of B1 & particularly B2, all is good, but if B2 increases to 80-90%, their is problems brewing. I have seen this in February this year at minus 40C. I can inspect from the top telescopic lid with a 2" hole and SS gate. That is where my jar feeders with insulating EPS blocks sit, so I can inspect and act if needed.

    @crofter - I take the reducer out by-weekly and scoop-out what collects.

    Joerg
    Summ Summ Bienchen summ herum

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
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    Parkersburg, WV
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    Didn't mention that I have 3/4” hole in most of my supers just to left of handholds for upper entrance in winter and summer. The front insulation, in winter, has a ~3 x3” hole to allow bees in and out of the 3rd super( run 3 - 8 fr mids for my hive body) only time I plug them is to prevent robbing mainly in the fall. Also, have 1/2” to 3/4 gap around top cover to allow moist air out from under lid. Have been around bees since 1952 in center part of Pa. My dad had them, Mean black (European?)honey bees. Got away from them ~1963 and was never going back. But, in ~1973 I got back into it. Got back into a big garden too and married. This was on outsid of Parkersburg, WV. Had bad shows back in 70's and 80's. Had ~20 hive of Italians but mite got the in 1990's. Quit until ~2003 and got in to Russian hybrids. They have been a real nice bee for me. I always work with a veil. Had a bad sting in 1961 and got hives and reaction for about an hour. Dad said later that should hve got to hospital. Took about 2 wks to get over. Went to my wife tobe high school graduation prying my eyes open. Took great procautions when starting in 1973, but if sting only had a small pin head water blister after ~1hr. Just use standard work clothes with gauntlets to keep bees from going up my **** sleeves and gloves if bees start to sting. I take a few changes when wondering around the hives to see what is going on and may lift a few lids with out veil, but still don't like stings.
    Only time that I see moisture is when feeding sugar water in the spring and still have cold nights. The moisture boards show the stains and a few drops.
    In winter run an enpty super on top of 3 with bees frames and honey and inner cover on top that. This allows me on a warm day ~50F to like in see how the bees are doing. If they are there looking at me I can start to feed sugar patties and/or pollen patties starting in Feb to start buildup for splits in Apr/May. Got yo careful give right amount as to allow room for Queens to lay. Can generally see the honey in the frames and if get to ~60F may remove the empty and pull a few frames to see what is going on. The heaters seem to help with this, and the bees are flying some too. Have not mentioned that I am 77 yrs olds and probably set in my ways??? But I do take in new ideas that make sense. Only started to put empty super below inner cover this past year and the temp probes hang down into ths super just above the frames in 3rd supper. On cold nights -10f to 25f) depending where bees are and amount of bees, say at 15F at reference TP, the hives bees can be 40 to 75F. hard to know how big the ball and where it is. Try to note where the bee are on a warm day and they are flying by lifting lid and using camera or lifting inner cover to see if bees are up top.
    Last edited by jmobee; 11-24-2019 at 07:57 PM.

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
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    Default Re: Old bee keeper

    I believe that moisture is a problem if it condenses on the inner cover, rains back down on them and then gets cold and freeze on the outside of ball. Thsi will conduct the heat away from the inner part of the ball. They may need some moisture to convert the honey/sugar into consumable food but too much?? is not needed and best gotten out of the hives.

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Scott county, Arkansas, Usa
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    1,490

    Default Re: Old bee keeper

    Water robs a body of heat 25x faster than air.

    Alex
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

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