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Discussion Starter #1
what kind of ventilation is anyone using on candy boards? i have an upper entrance cut in my candyboards, like the entrance on an inner cover. last year with the wide temperature swings, my candy absorbed moisture and started dissolving in the hives. quite a mess. i have never had that happen before. i was thinking on drilling a one or one and a half inch hole in the center of the candy board and using a short piece of pvc plastic pipe to contain the candy while it cools. any thoughts?
 

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I take slightly different approach with supplemental winter feeding- I place feeding rim and sugar on top of inner cover and let bees come through inner cover hole for feeding. On some hives I leave top feeders on (with dome removed) all winter filled with sugar. In other words my supplemental feed is not inside the hive. If you have moderate honey stores in the hive, then they will not need sugar until early spring. I do not break propolis seal until mid spring.
 

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glennster "candy boards" go listen/watch Micheal Palmer on feeding 2:1 and weighing.
robert, my bees have been on 2:1 syrup since the third week of september. we are getting close to frost at night i have shim boards for feeding sugar bricks and winter patties. i will need to get them off syrup when the temperature drops. that is why i asked about additional ventilation on the candy boards. last year was the first time i ran in to the cany absorbing so much moisture.
 

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glennster - I did the same thigns a few years ago - dripping sugar. You can immediately add a quilt box to help out.

I listened to Palmer and imlemented his advice. I fed 2:1 to weight, typically 80 lb. net for me or more which gets inverted into honey in each hive. I measuring with bottom and fish scales. I have not changed since ( 2 years). I will not feed again until next Fall.

Determine the weight you need to get to the next flow - trial and error, start at 60 lb. min. Weigh your hive gear, estimate bee weight, then weigh the hive and determine how much you need to feed. One gallon of 2:1 is about 10 lb. of stored sugar honey. I based my weight, 80 lb. or more, as measured on a Nov. 1-5 date. If I need more weight I put 2:1 back on. Last year, with my standardized brood chamber, measured hive weights and 2-inch insulation I felt confident for the first time. I never fed again, not even patties, watched weights come Spring, weights went really low, then BINGO, weights went up - "FLOW TIME" and the bees were ready.

If you need to feed when it is cold insulate the feeder - top and sides. Better yet the whole hive as bee-heat will warm the syrup up and they will take it. I have, via in-process learning , fed a nuc in Jan. and can feed anytime.
 

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I put frames that aren't fully drawn on one side in the top box. That gives me enough empty space to fill with sugar bricks. I wintered with one entrance (on top) per hive. It worked well last year. You're taking forever to feed. It should take less than 1 week to feed a small hive 40 lbs sugar. Vent to get rid of the syrup moisture. Then, shrink entrances to winter size.

I've opened hives right after its been rainy/humid. The partially eaten sugar bricks were always completely dry. This year I'm encasing them in paper to stop dust from falling. Solid feed is the best once they have enough syrup.
 

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I do a 3/4 hole on one end. And not pack any sugar in that area. I put one sheet of news paper to hold the sugar in the board. I Never Had a problem.
 

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instead of a "hole" just make the brick shorter at each end by an inch and lots of air will "get past"

the hole you need is presumably due too the feed brick being the whole hive size, just make is smaller.
use a 9 X 13 cake pan for example.

If your process needs the whole size put a hockey puck in the middle till it sets up, then remove, or a sckole can.

GG
 

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I have never put dry sugar above before I put the shavings boxes on. Last week when I started winterizing temperatures were dropping below freezing at night and only getting up to ~50 daytime. I have reflectix foil under my inner covers and telescopic covers. I found water droplets all over under the soft inner cover. With virtually no R Value above that was below the dew point. You dont need very cold conditions to get dripping condensation.

I dont buy the moisture absorbing and carrying capacity of sugar. I know how little water it takes (measured) to make it start to flow. Despite all the written endorsements of it being able to function as a condensation mediator I have never seen the math and physics of an experiment to that effect.

Placed atop the frames in a feed shim space and topped with a shavings box the sugar is still about half free flowing the next spring. I deliberately leave the top front of the upper hive body and feed shim uninsulated for a designated condensation area to supply the bees with a source of water. The feed shims have an upper entrance / breathing hole about the size of the first joint of your little finger.

This has appeared to reduce the numbers of bees flying out and dying in the snow but that is conjecture and needs more controlled observation.

This year I left my feed shim area accessible if I need to add top feed (pollen sub) in March but since I am at target weight I am not going to put sugar on now.
 

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Frank, I j guess I just do not have the moisture to deal with that you do. My ideal state is when the sugar collects enough moisture that left overs can be easily taken off and recovered for syrup in the spring! I admittedly live in a high desert, but top ventilation is antithetical to my wintering methodology. Would you be willing to sell me an average colony and winter them per my direction? I will pay for the cost of alterations and an insulated wrap if you do not use them. I would really like to see a competent test run of what I do in wetter conditions than I experience.
 

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Vance; That is an interesting proposition.

Can you update the forum on the basics of your preps. Functionally they may not be that different from mine. I use the box of planer shavings for insulation and a slow movement of air that can carry off excess moisture. I suspect that the amount of moisture so transferred is relative to the concentration. The layer of planer shavings is about 5 inches thick. Mostly I use mediums supers with screen and burlap for a bottom for the shavings. What is your top insulation and how thick?

Fall can be very damp and humid but in the extreme cold weather relative humidity is very low.

If I remember correctly you use a one inch hole drilled under the handhold cutout in upper box. My 1/2 sq. in. hole in feed shim box puts it a bit higher and a fair bit smaller.

Aside from the one winter with unusual snow conditions and trialling no upper entrance (I lost all but one colony that year.), I had previously only lost one colony over winter in 9 years.

I am likely overboard on insulation but bees are hard to come by and expensive here. With 8 or so colonies I can baby them.

My son with 40 colonies uses a couple of rounds of reflectix foil and a top insulation / vent box with scrap wool and burlap. Quick and dirty and he expects 20 - 25% winter deadout. Definitely does not baby them. Available time is his scarcest commodity.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
i am not sure but i think some are thinking i am referring to sugar bricks, not candy boards. the candy board recipe i use is 15 lb sugar, 1 quart corn syrup, 1 qt water, 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar. heat mixture to at least 242 deg f. then pour mixture into candy boards. this recipe makes 2 ten pound candy boards. when the mixture cools it hardens.
 

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Personally i don't have any vents in my candyboards. Any excess moisture trapped at the top will be absorbed into sugar which will make it easier for the bees to eat when they need it.


Aaron
 

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I use an insulated wrap made on Alan Dicks plans from honeybeeworld.com. He is no longer interested in bees but his diary is a very searchable structure and a trove of useful information. My wrap effectively blocks the lower entrance and is topped off with insulation, either an insulating pillow or 2"epe insulation board of higher R factor than the wrap sidewalls. This is important because i want the cooler sidewalls to condense out excess moisture on the ends of frames and the sidewalls. There it is available for the bees to harvest on warmer days.

At the end of October if and when the bees are done flying most days, I put two sheets of newspaper on the top bars, liberally pour water on them to wet the paper down and pour on a ten pound bag of white beet sugar, because it is cheaper than cane and every bit as good.

An important step is to float a 16X20" piece of feed bag or house wrap on top of the sugar, this is important as it keeps the bees down in the combs when they eat thru the sugar. I used to have a terrible problem with dwindling when the bees clustered by the pound hanging from the lid over the sugar.

Over the sound board, I have an inner cover made of 1/2" sound board. It absorbs any moisture that gets to the top of the stack.

I fold my wraps tight over the sound board sealing off the top completely air tight. I want the top of my hive to be a warm moist bubble.

My top brood box always has a 1" diameter hole bored thru the box. I find the hole thru the wrap with my highly calibrated finger and cut an X with my pocket knife . I have a supply of precut 1 3/4" black plastic pipe or garden hose that I shove thru the X til it hits the frames then retract it about a third of an inch. Then I loosely staple the wrap on two sides to keep it from moving in the wind and pulling the pipe. The purpose of the pipe is to keep the bees from getting entangled with the batting in the wrap. They will block the hole with their bodies if you do not. When you visit the hive in the dead of winter with a cold hard wind blowing, you will see a beard of hoar frost on the opening as the bees exaust the truely excess moisture. If my hives go far under the snow, I consider it a happy day! Wonderful insulation. If it has not melted by the beginning of warm weather in April, I dig them out but not before.

I do visit my hives during the winter. Between Christmas and New Years, I trudge out with a supply of sugar bricks and open my wrap at the top to find those hog hives that did not shut down and have eaten all their Mountain camp sugar. If they have I gently pile on the sugar bricks and close things back up. Those brood heavy colonies that do not shut down will supply brood and bees for three nucs come spring using caged queens as I don't want to promote their genetics.

I start feeding pollen patties mid February but that is not a wintering function but building up populations to split and produce a big crop.
 

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My candy boards are merely 2-inch deep inner covers with a 2-inch deep pass-through hole to the quilt box. I consider the setup to be a pretty high-quality insurance policy for Winter. :)

To make the pass-through wall, cut a block of wood 3 inches wide x 5 inches long x 2 inches deep. Trace the center hole from a normal inner cover onto the center of the 3 x 5 face, and drill it out with the appropriate wood bit, a la 3-hole queen cage style, but all the way through.

Glue it onto the board all lined up with the existing hole, then make the rim pieces 2 inch deep as well. Glue and clamp or staple, clean up with a wet sponge.

Be sure you can control the thickness of your candy as you pour it. It should shrink a small amount as it cools. If it comes out lumpy, you can try to cut it flat, but I can't guarantee it will necessarily work right. It's a texture / stickiness / heat balancing act.
 
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