ID of the creepy powder on my hive's inner cover?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
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    Pitt, NC, USA
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    859

    Question ID of the creepy powder on my hive's inner cover?

    I opened my "strong" hive (a deep and 2 mediums) yesterday to feed the Girls, and wasn't happy to see a greenish-yellow "powder" on top --and beneath -- the inner cover, and a little on the underside of the outer cover.

    Would this be mold or mildew? A result of poor ventilation? There're some natural slits with this hive (the upper box or 2 doesn't fit perfectly atop the one beneath it), and I figured this would give the bees some ventilation; if they didn't like it, they could propolize.

    For what it was worth, I removed the covers, treated them with vinegar [and scrubbed], then dried/stored them, replacing them with "fresh" covers.

    For feeding, I've used 2:1 syrup, and filled a 1-gal paint can with the stuff. The bees've taken to it pretty well this winter.

    This is the 1st time in my 3 winters of keeping that I've seen this situation.

    Any ideas/anecdotes/stories re: the condition would be appreciated .......

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Grand Rapids MI USA
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    1,649

    Default Re: ID of the creepy powder on my hive's inner cover?

    Ya, some mold has set up, it’s a winter thing. Put a couple pennies on the front corners under the inner cover till the weather warms up and the bees can resume their housekeeping duties.
    Rod

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
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    6,176

    Default Re: ID of the creepy powder on my hive's inner cover?

    It's not uncommon for that to happen around this time of year. An active winter colony will produce significant amounts of moisture. Ventilation is important but unless it goes wild and crazy, there's not much to worry about.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Rutland County, Vermont,USA
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    2,491

    Default Re: ID of the creepy powder on my hive's inner cover?

    I sometimes notice mold/mildew when I feed from paint cans in the fall. I think it is adding to your moisture. I can't ventilate at that time due to robbing concerns, but maybe you can. J

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Northern Colorado, USA
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    802

    Default Re: ID of the creepy powder on my hive's inner cover?

    I had a lot of problems with mold my first year. Since then I have gone to quilt boxes and have not had any problems with mold.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Pitt, NC, USA
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    859

    Default Re: ID of the creepy powder on my hive's inner cover?

    Thx a heap, guys. Good input. I haven't seen any issues with the Girls this winter (#s still surprisingly good, SHBs minimal [visually, at least, to me]; then again, it hasn't been much of a winter). I hope your bees're keeping ahead of the curve .....

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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    1,477

    Default Re: ID of the creepy powder on my hive's inner cover?

    I suspect most of mildew/mold is on top side of inner cover. Bees give a lot of moisture metabolizing carbohydrates over winter. It is around 5 gallons. Your moisture problem is further compounded by feeding syrup. Bees are storing it and drying it down.

    Trust inner cover has center 2 plus diameter center hole. You need to better vent top area of top side on inner cover and under side of outer cover.
    1. Place a spacer such as pennies or popsicle stick width on top side of cornesr of inner cover. This slightly raises outer cover and provides a gap for venting of top side of inner cover.

    2. Have the notch in rim of inner cover facing up. Air will rise through center hole of inner cover and vent out notch.

    3. Use a quilt box above inner cover. I have a 3/8 rim on under side of inner cover and this is how I run my hives.

    4. Remove inner cover and use a quilt box.

    5. Place a piece of Styrofoam under or on top of outer cover to keep warmer and minimize condensation.
    Zone 3b. If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Pitt, NC, USA
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    859

    Default Re: ID of the creepy powder on my hive's inner cover?

    Quote Originally Posted by mgolden View Post
    I suspect most of mildew/mold is on top side of inner cover. Bees give a lot of moisture metabolizing carbohydrates over winter. It is around 5 gallons. Your moisture problem is further compounded by feeding syrup. Bees are storing it and drying it down.

    Trust inner cover has center 2 plus diameter center hole. You need to better vent top area of top side on inner cover and under side of outer cover.

    5. Place a piece of Styrofoam under or on top of outer cover to keep warmer and minimize condensation.
    It's appreciated, M; ventilation's always been a tricky idea for me -- I don't want the Girls to get too cold if I over-do the pennies, etc .....

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Bergen County, NJ
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    907

    Default Re: ID of the creepy powder on my hive's inner cover?

    Quote Originally Posted by mlanden View Post
    It's appreciated, M; ventilation's always been a tricky idea for me -- I don't want the Girls to get too cold if I over-do the pennies, etc .....
    In my limited experience, I am yet to see a hive die from "cold". One of the early lessons for me was "ventilate" during winter and I am north of you.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    2,643

    Default Re: ID of the creepy powder on my hive's inner cover?

    DO be certain that the hive is tilted forward about a half-inch so that water will drain out the floor, if you have not done that already.

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