Fed water droplets/ landing board- they went nuts
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  1. #1
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    Default Fed water droplets/ landing board- they went nuts

    6a cloudy snow on the ground and 40. Experimented with spritzing water droplets on the landing board or around top entrance. They went ape. The nozzle was quite close and they would dive on the droplet immediately. Kept it up for 20 minutes with no sign of slowing down. Tom Seeley said the most enthusiastic waggle dance he had ever seen was for water in winter. I have Bee Cozys on and they provide a blanket of protection for them to drink without venturing too far out. It was quite enjoyable for all of us.
    I'm smart but at the end of the day I'm still the help.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Fed water droplets/ landing board- they went nuts

    Quote Originally Posted by LAlldredge View Post
    6a cloudy snow on the ground and 40. Experimented with spritzing water droplets on the landing board or around top entrance. They went ape. The nozzle was quite close and they would dive on the droplet immediately. Kept it up for 20 minutes with no sign of slowing down. Tom Seeley said the most enthusiastic waggle dance he had ever seen was for water in winter. I have Bee Cozys on and they provide a blanket of protection for them to drink without venturing too far out. It was quite enjoyable for all of us.
    You could place a Sponge mostly in the hive but sticking out a bit in the front of the hive on one side of the entrance. Add water to the sponge when it seems dry the bees will pull out water if/when needed.
    GG

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Fed water droplets/ landing board- they went nuts

    This is why I use heavy top insulation and no upper vent; the bees can reclaim their metabolic water.
    "The amazing thing about the honey bee is not that she works, but that she works for others." St. John Chrysostom

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Fed water droplets/ landing board- they went nuts

    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Goose View Post
    You could place a Sponge mostly in the hive but sticking out a bit in the front of the hive on one side of the entrance. Add water to the sponge when it seems dry the bees will pull out water if/when needed.
    GG
    Really good idea GG. Been wondering how to rig something. Fed even more water today. You could smell honey in the air. My guess is some of their honey crystalized and they needed water to liquify it. It’s stunning how much they can drink.
    I'm smart but at the end of the day I'm still the help.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Fed water droplets/ landing board- they went nuts

    Quote Originally Posted by JoshuaW View Post
    This is why I use heavy top insulation and no upper vent; the bees can reclaim their metabolic water.
    Really appreciate your response. I’m not there yet for my skill level. I had too much condensation my first year. However I’m seeing some heavy insulation no vent models that look intriguing. Some even feed ProSweet all winter with 100% overwintering success.
    I'm smart but at the end of the day I'm still the help.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Fed water droplets/ landing board- they went nuts

    I'm the same - heavy insulation up top, none on the sides, venting via the bottom - but then I'm in a much kinder climate than yourself.

    If you're staying with an upper antrance, then you may find that simply reducing it to a minimum may help to retain some moisture - it's all about finding that balance which works for you.

    A very useful experiment and observation.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Fed water droplets/ landing board- they went nuts

    After a week long period of heavy rains, snow and fog the temperatures dropped to -10C to -5C (15 to 22F). I have had 2-inch foam insulated top covers on with no top vent as I prepared my five-sided insulation boxes. As I have been installing them as I make them. I noticed condensation and even a bit of ice in the top corners. From the sticky bottom board observations I noticed all clusters, five so far, had moved to the sunny side of the hive. Prior two years were insulated early and clusters stayed centered.

    I have three remote weather station sensors in place at the top of the fully insulated hives now. The internal temperatures are slowly rising, currently +5.5 to 7.2 . It is a lot of mass to warm up and the bees were tightly clustered (I think). Typically I expect to see 10C values as a minimum at the top of the hive all winter even in -20C weather.

    I am going to try the water drop idea as a test of my no-top-vent hives as it warms up next weak while I OAV the hives.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Fed water droplets/ landing board- they went nuts

    Adult bees can eat honey as is but do they need to dilute it to make bee bread? There may be something to the idea of leaving one cold spot in an otherwise warmly insulated hive so they can access it for condensation water. It probably would not need to be a large area.
    Frank

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Fed water droplets/ landing board- they went nuts

    our oregon bee's have more than enough water during the winter here, like 6-7 months straight rainstorms, with a few days break, seriously here more hives are lost to moisture contamination, then next is starving. you really don't need to give them any extra source of moisture. also any bee that see a drop of water will suck it up fast no mater what time of the season.
    my suggestion for the op is she should get involved with the osba the oregon state beekeepers association, and join the osba, and her local bee club sponsored by the osba, then think about taking the OMB oregon master beekeeping program for the apprentice level class., she'll learn all she needs to know about raising bees here in oregon. there's also Bee Girl here in southern oregon who is a wonderful lady, and soba's website, southern oregon beekeepers
    DavidZ

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Fed water droplets/ landing board- they went nuts

    Quote Originally Posted by Apis Natural View Post
    our oregon bee's have more than enough water during the winter here, like 6-7 months straight rainstorms, with a few days break, seriously here more hives are lost to moisture contamination, then next is starving. you really don't need to give them any extra source of moisture. also any bee that see a drop of water will suck it up fast no mater what time of the season.
    I agree: I am being the devils advocate about bees flying out to their death in the snow because their hive has not a drop of water they can access. I can only envision that happening if the if a 2 or more stacked box hive is super insulated top and 4 sides with only a bottom entrance.
    Frank

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Fed water droplets/ landing board- they went nuts

    Quote Originally Posted by Apis Natural View Post
    our oregon bee's have more than enough water during the winter here, like 6-7 months straight rainstorms, with a few days break, seriously here more hives are lost to moisture contamination, then next is starving
    I live in the high desert of Oregon. My climate is much different than yours. I’d like to know more about dehydration death or if its even studied. It seems this year I've learned how to keep condensation off my colonies. The bees are telling me they would like some water fed back to them. That means a lot. Whether other people do it or not is their business.
    I'm smart but at the end of the day I'm still the help.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Fed water droplets/ landing board- they went nuts

    Quote Originally Posted by LAlldredge View Post
    I live in the high desert of Oregon. My climate is much different than yours. Id like to know more about dehydration death or if its even studied. It seems this year I've learned how to keep condensation off my colonies. The bees are telling me they would like some water fed back to them. That means a lot. Whether other people do it or not is their business.

    If your environment is some what unique, then you may need a unique response to it. Is it cold enough that the bees do not leave the hive in winter? if so then you would likely want to pursue an in hive solution. If it is warm enough, like once a week to fly (50ish) then they will go out and find water so an outside source would work .

    Easy answer first, Outside water. use a hose or bird bath in a manner that the bees do not drown in it during the summer, they will know where it is and then go there in winter.

    In hive: So you state you keep condensation off your colonies , hopefully you meant out of your colonies. Condensate on the outside is not a worry.
    So the likely way you removed condensation was with air flow and/or insulation. We do not want water dripping on the bees, so with that in mind the top needs to be insulated way better than the sides. What I have done is insulate 3 sides. , trying to "force" the condensation onto 1 wall, rather than 4 walls. IMO water on all 4 walls would be too much moisture in the hive, I have not got any proof however. So my south facing wall is not insulated, the west north and east walls are wrapped in a foil bubble wrap, here in Mi the wind/storms come from the west , north west, north or north east. so I am trying to keep sleet and rain and snow off the side walls. The next variable in the equation is air flow, too much and the moisture in the hive escapes, too little and we may get wet or not have enough fresh air for respiration. So play with reducing the ventilation, and harvesting the condensation. If it is just too low to work, do not rule out some out of the box approach like maybe a sponge on the bottom board and a 25ml syringe with a needle, like used for giving cattle shots. Give the sponge a 25 ml shot every 2 to 3 weeks to have a place the bees can go to pull water. I guess ponder on it. Most of us need to remove the wet spot in the hive you may need to create one.
    GG

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Fed water droplets/ landing board- they went nuts

    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Goose View Post
    If your environment is some what unique, then you may need a unique response to it. Is it cold enough that the bees do not leave the hive in winter? if so then you would likely want to pursue an in hive solution. If it is warm enough, like once a week to fly (50ish) then they will go out and find water so an outside source would work .

    Easy answer first, Outside water. use a hose or bird bath in a manner that the bees do not drown in it during the summer, they will know where it is and then go there in winter.

    In hive: So you state you keep condensation off your colonies , hopefully you meant out of your colonies. Condensate on the outside is not a worry.
    So the likely way you removed condensation was with air flow and/or insulation. We do not want water dripping on the bees, so with that in mind the top needs to be insulated way better than the sides. What I have done is insulate 3 sides. , trying to "force" the condensation onto 1 wall, rather than 4 walls. IMO water on all 4 walls would be too much moisture in the hive, I have not got any proof however. So my south facing wall is not insulated, the west north and east walls are wrapped in a foil bubble wrap, here in Mi the wind/storms come from the west , north west, north or north east. so I am trying to keep sleet and rain and snow off the side walls. The next variable in the equation is air flow, too much and the moisture in the hive escapes, too little and we may get wet or not have enough fresh air for respiration. So play with reducing the ventilation, and harvesting the condensation. If it is just too low to work, do not rule out some out of the box approach like maybe a sponge on the bottom board and a 25ml syringe with a needle, like used for giving cattle shots. Give the sponge a 25 ml shot every 2 to 3 weeks to have a place the bees can go to pull water. I guess ponder on it. Most of us need to remove the wet spot in the hive you may need to create one.
    GG
    Yes, I meant out of the colonies. In my winter config I'm using Bee Cozy's on the outside to match the r factor of a tree. I'm also running a small notched top entrance with a vivaldi board with outside venting holes front and back (burlap in the interior over feeding shim) and 2 inches of foam inside and outside of tele cover. On top I'm using coroplast as an awning. All 5 including an August swarm are alive and thriving. Just had a cleansing flight Friday. So this is a "tinkering around the edges" thing. I'm not concerned about flying days at all. Water sources all around. I'm more concerned about the dry parched winter days (no flying) and giving them something supplemental just in case honey has crystalized. FWIW- after feeding water I smelled honey in the air. Not a coincidence. Love the sponge idea. That's just right.
    I'm smart but at the end of the day I'm still the help.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Fed water droplets/ landing board- they went nuts

    In the last while there has been a lot of good discussion on wintering concerns; Discussions that are recognizing the variables due to local conditions and much more acceptance of insulation as an important factor.

    I am comparing this to my recollection of discussions 6 or 8 years ago when there was a lot more decrees that the bees only heat their cluster so insulation was a waste of time! Interesting too is how some seemingly contradictory approaches arrive at a common end result. Bees can do a lot toward self regulating but we can do things that help them or unknowingly make moves that hinder.
    Frank

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Fed water droplets/ landing board- they went nuts

    I have been learning about venting, no venting, thermal control and giving the bees a chance to regulate their internal environment. I have evolved to a no top vent approach and looking at emulating top of hive tree conditions. One observation from both past working experiences and beekeeping is the affects of multiple vents, especially on two different surfaces. If you want forced air convection then place opening on different surfaces and air will be driven from one aperture to the other - forcefully on a wind day. I avoid it especially because of Nor'Easters here which drive rain through the tinniest cracks - loved watching bees lined up along the crack of an experimental cover like it was a water fountain.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Fed water droplets/ landing board- they went nuts

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Holcombe View Post
    I have been learning about venting, no venting, thermal control and giving the bees a chance to regulate their internal environment. I have evolved to a no top vent approach and looking at emulating top of hive tree conditions. One observation from both past working experiences and beekeeping is the affects of multiple vents, especially on two different surfaces. If you want forced air convection then place opening on different surfaces and air will be driven from one aperture to the other - forcefully on a wind day. I avoid it especially because of Nor'Easters here which drive rain through the tinniest cracks - loved watching bees lined up along the crack of an experimental cover like it was a water fountain.
    Robert,
    I also have had very hard winds for several days at 0 to 10 Degrees F, with entrances as you describe the hive can get drafty. I "think" I have found the way to winter only to discover that the hive size seems to also matter. What works great on a larger hive will not work on a smaller hives, and vrs visa. Larger hives, I use a very small 3/4 by 3/8 upper entrance, for "Some" air exchange, but the smaller ones do not even need that much. still having dead bees plug the bottom entrance, on some hives. Work in progress. Early indications for me in Mich is they like some moisture inside the hive to presumably re use for a winter water source. finding a way to stop it is somewhat the current project. At times I think I have too much. Ideally a reservoir filled with sponge that has an over flow would work. A short copper tube angled down works as the over flow, Until it freezes up then I get Ice in the reservoir. And last year had a couple big hives, lots of condensate get 1/2 inch of ice on the bottom board virtually blocking the entrance. Warm enough in the upper hive to run, cool enough on the bottom board to freeze. Intervention with a torch helped that one to resolution but ideally I want it to be good with the setup for the season and I can just bugger off for the winter. I am starting to tilt toward a winter bee shed Like Ian Steppler in Canada uses. Do 1 thing with the shed instead of 1 or 2 things with 20-50 hives. Keeping the shed at 38-42 would not be too difficult. then no rain, no snow, no wind, no ice in the hive etc. the mechanics of moving everything 2 times a year is the only hold up at this point. I am still all manual labor at this point. So really the size of my operation will also drive how this is best dealt with for me. Do I stay at 20ish hives and manual ,,or do the jump to 60ish hives and get more "tools" mostly a lift and a truck.
    Interesting discussion.
    GG

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Fed water droplets/ landing board- they went nuts

    I have not seen a ice plugged bottom entrance for more than a day. Nor have I been buried in snow since I started beekeeping as I am in my fifth winter now. I have been thinking about closed up bottom entrances and what I would do. I currently use a home-made, recycled-plastic slide gate the width of the landing. Plastic, with low specific heat, warms up faster. When I finish this winter I am building new bottom board assemblies that are more suitable for deep winter conditions, OAV applications, sticky board counts, and yes, an alternate bottom vent adapter. Eventually, I am getting older, I am heading towards a shed or small sheds, 4'x8', spaced out with a "warm mother earth cellar"; two hives plus a nuc per shed. I like Ian Stepplers' messages and approach except for one issue - all the eggs in one basket and disease risk. Very small I know but I also like to walk around and check my hives.

    I have changed over to 5-sided, 2-inch insulated box shapes with a 1/2-inch clearance all around. Box height leaves the bottom board / entrace exposed and a few inches of bottom box. The hives now a airspace between the walls and insulation. I am going to test various effects of changes to the boxes ( tiny sheds?). I was late getting it done as I was installing in 22F weather. The resulting effect is neat and predictable as the temperatures at the top of the hive have slowly gone up, 8 to 20F over 4 days( time, hive size and activity?) - lot of mass to heat up. My humidity sensors are inaccurate but show the humidity dropping (increasing vapor pressure?).

    I am guessing that the "air gap" will be around 40F if I close off the bottom with fiber glass insulation. And the bees will suck water out if it in the early spring!

    Getting accurate humidity data inside a hive is very difficult, the very top is easier. Getting temperatures and humidity values in the air gap will be a lot easier. Maybe I will try a top vent into the air gap for moisture control. There is a very accurate Swiss made temperature humidity sensor element - cheap. Maybe I can create a sensor package suitable for bee hives.

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Fed water droplets/ landing board- they went nuts

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Holcombe View Post
    loved watching bees lined up along the crack of an experimental cover like it was a water fountain.
    After seeing them dive on the droplets I can understand the enthusiasm. Anecdotally, a few days after this they all had cleansing/water gathering flights and calmed down considerably. Not a peep out of them. Peeped down the top to see them deep in their honey combs and purring like kittens.
    I'm smart but at the end of the day I'm still the help.

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Fed water droplets/ landing board- they went nuts

    Start watching at 12:45 - wintering under plastic film and on the thick, crystallized honey (sunflower) - water is welcome (else the bees will die of hunger and thirst).
    Six over six - double Dadants.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GutgIHAXHy0
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Fed water droplets/ landing board- they went nuts

    That was interesting. I didn’t see any top entrances on his hives either. Do you have plastic covers over your frames?
    I'm smart but at the end of the day I'm still the help.

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