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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I was reading a comment on youtube videos where a German beekeeper stated that European beekeepers don't have top vent entrances in winter, (or during the year?).

I was a bit confused by this, in part because I had seen videos where people lost all hives from condensation caused moisture failures.

Why is it they aren't doing top vents and we are? And why is it that some people lose everything without top vents but some people are just fine?

I want to make sure I don't misunderstand this. And I'd rather not make a mistake on it, even if others scoff or laugh.
 

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If you "Need" a top vent then use one.
Apparently in the EU they feel they do not need them. may be a clue in there if you look hard enough.

BTW who drilled holes in the trees above the bee nests for 500,000 years? right, trained wood peckers.

GG
 

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I'll throw my hat in the ring "In most of Germany, the climate is moderately continental, characterized by cold winters, with average daily temperatures around 0 °C (32 °F) or slightly above, and warm summers, with maximum temperatures around 22/24 °C (72/75 °F) in July and August. " where I live we can get weeks of below 0 f, big difference. when the gulf stream moves away from Europe lets see if they have to go to top vents :)
 

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Do you see a top vent in a commercial bee keeper migratory lid? The truth is that most of the bees in the USA also don't have a top vent or for that matter a screened bottom.
 

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So I was reading a comment on youtube videos where a German beekeeper stated that European beekeepers don't have top vent entrances in winter, (or during the year?).
This is incorrect.
Either ventilation is commonly used - top or bottom (but not both at once, naturally).
Don't depend on a statement from some singular person, but rather get a sample of statements/examples.
 

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I had seen videos where people lost all hives from condensation caused moisture failures.
Dead hives have moisture problems, the bodies give it off and there are no bees to exchange the air.
Many mistake this as the cause of death..
now it does happen, but no were near as common.

The truth is that most of the bees in the USA also don't have a top vent or for that matter a screened bottom.
yes, but most bees in the us don't over winter in 2' of snow with the bottom entrance covered either.. location does matter and its important (as Greg hints at) to recognize the difrenance between a vent, and an entrance.

my all time favorite is the people who run the SBB wide open and put on entrance reducers

the issue is were the condensation forms (notice you never hear top bar keepers talk condensation) for many a piece of 2" foam on the lid causes it to form on the walls so it doesn't drip on the bees, and they can still use it
 
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Condensation (read dripping on the cluster) can be controlled by either venting or insulation or a combination. If internal conditions are so dry that there is no free water available to bees for honey dilution, that can become an issue in winter. Local snow / rain conditions can be a colony suffocation issue. Heat loss affects stores consumption.

Lots of variables that can be either additive or cancelling. No one correct answer for all cases.
 

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Quilt boxes are easy to make and work great year round, especially in winter. Drill a couple of 2" holes on both sides close to the top and cover from the inside with 1/8 hardware cloth for ventilation over the shavings and to keep critters out.
 

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This is incorrect.
Either ventilation is commonly used - top or bottom (but not both at once, naturally).
Say what?

I run both a top and bottom entrance at the same time. And, the big commercial keeper I learned from actually recommended drilling a third entrance, partway up the front of the bottom broodbox, just in case the bottom entrance gets plugged up.
 

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I run both a top and bottom entrance at the same time.
Entrance is not the ventilation feature we are talking about.

Screened bottom board is the "bottom ventilation" feature.
Like these:

Holes drilled into the top cover perimeter is the "top ventilation" feature.
Like these:

The main function of the entrances - to let the bees in and out (and used by the bees to ventilate as well).
But this is out of the context.
 

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Entrance is not the ventilation feature we are talking about.

Screened bottom board is the "bottom ventilation" feature.
Like these:

Holes drilled into the top cover perimeter is the "top ventilation" feature.
Like these:

The main function of the entrances - to let the bees in and out (and used by the bees to ventilate as well).
But this is out of the context.
Well, the OP did say 'top vent entrance', did he not? And I certainly didn't get 'screened bottom board' as the bottom ventilation. Did I miss something somewhere?

However, in the Winter I do run a second vent just above the top entrance, which they sometimes use also use as an additional entrance/exit.

I use a screened bottom board in Summer, but it is definitely contra-indicated here in Winter- 50+mph winds combined with as much as -25*F temps kills hives really quickly.
 

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German here!

I'll throw my hat in the ring "In most of Germany, the climate is moderately continental, characterized by cold winters, with average daily temperatures around 0 °C (32 °F) or slightly above, and warm summers, with maximum temperatures around 22/24 °C (72/75 °F) in July and August. " where I live we can get weeks of below 0 f, big difference. when the gulf stream moves away from Europe lets see if they have to go to top vents :)
I live about 60km east of Frankfurt am Main. Around 0C (32F) in Winter seems about right, although there a colder years were it gets down to -15C (5F).

22/24C (72/75F) in July and August however does not seem correct. It's more like 35-38C, in recent years quite often 42C and more (95 - 107F) - **** that climate change.

Top venting isn't common here, but most of the beekeepers use screened bottom boards and leave them open during the winter. Recently there is a 'bee influnecer' running around telling that we should use lids that let water vapor through, yet are otherwise quite isolated (called climate lids).

I have some hives with open and some with closed boards. Some with thick lids (up to 4 inches of saw dust and 1 inch wooden lid above - just like the climate lids), some with one half an inch of fiber board. So far I can't tell any systematic differences.

Humidity and molding don't really come up much here. Main concern about overwintering according to the german youtube / forum / beekeeper communities is varroa mites and food storage. The later especially in Feb/March/April. The bees might not be able to get to the food stores at the back of the hive if a cold snap sets in as they don't want to leave the brood to get the food.

We don't supply the bees with food in winter by default. If there is a need for feeding the bees in those month it's either an emergency measure or a (debated) method of getting the bees a head start.
 

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The full open screened bottom board in the winter without any upper vent is an interesting choice.

Is that TOO MUCH ventilation? Good question, I do not know the answer.

I do know that I'd rather have the screened bottom board open without the full bottom open. Shrews see that open bottom and decide it's a buffet.
 

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Well, the OP did say 'top vent entrance', did he not? And I certainly didn't get 'screened bottom board' as the bottom ventilation. Did I miss something somewhere?
I overlooked indeed.
Nothing to argue there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
German here!



I live about 60km east of Frankfurt am Main. Around 0C (32F) in Winter seems about right, although there a colder years were it gets down to -15C (5F).

22/24C (72/75F) in July and August however does not seem correct. It's more like 35-38C, in recent years quite often 42C and more (95 - 107F) - **** that climate change.

Top venting isn't common here, but most of the beekeepers use screened bottom boards and leave them open during the winter. Recently there is a 'bee influnecer' running around telling that we should use lids that let water vapor through, yet are otherwise quite isolated (called climate lids).

I have some hives with open and some with closed boards. Some with thick lids (up to 4 inches of saw dust and 1 inch wooden lid above - just like the climate lids), some with one half an inch of fiber board. So far I can't tell any systematic differences.

Humidity and molding don't really come up much here. Main concern about overwintering according to the german youtube / forum / beekeeper communities is varroa mites and food storage. The later especially in Feb/March/April. The bees might not be able to get to the food stores at the back of the hive if a cold snap sets in as they don't want to leave the brood to get the food.

We don't supply the bees with food in winter by default. If there is a need for feeding the bees in those month it's either an emergency measure or a (debated) method of getting the bees a head start.
Thanks for speaking up. Its nice to hear and study about different techniques and how people do things with their bees! Also the same to the others.
 

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I am wintering single deeps in Alaska with no upper entrance. I do have a 3' hole in the inner cover and a quilt box on. No condensation problems yet. I found the heat loss and where the warm hive meets the cold in a upper entrance can cause massive condensation/ice and frost, in very cold weather. Also adds to the feed bill.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I am wintering single deeps in Alaska with no upper entrance. I do have a 3' hole in the inner cover and a quilt box on. No condensation problems yet. I found the heat loss and where the warm hive meets the cold in a upper entrance can cause massive condensation/ice and frost, in very cold weather. Also adds to the feed bill.
Wow.

It would be very interesting to see what kinds of innovations and adaptations the far north people are doing to keep their bees alive, like Alaska. Hope you post more.

Thanks.
 

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Wow.

It would be very interesting to see what kinds of innovations and adaptations the far north people are doing to keep their bees alive, like Alaska. Hope you post more.

Thanks.
I Posted my methods and set up in the wintering section on Alaska take a look. Still working the bugs out but still alive so far.
 
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