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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is a question for those that live in the Snow belt as in the upper 1/2 of USA and Snowy Canada

For New England Winters, how many inches of shavings are you putting in your top box for insulation.
I just decided to use rockwool that is 3" thick so wondering what others that use shavings put in.
 

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This is a question for those that live in the Snow belt as in the upper 1/2 of USA and Snowy Canada

For New England Winters, how many inches of shavings are you putting in your top box for insulation.
I just decided to use rockwool that is 3" thick so wondering what others that use shavings put in.
zero, never needed the stuff
 

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I use quilt boxes with about 4 inches. My telescopic covers all have 3/4 inch foam that stays there all year. The dew point in midwinter is about half way up the shavings.
Lee
 

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4 inches of shavings is minimum for here. It seems to be enough as some winter with only 4 inches of shavings as top insulation. I figured that I should go to 5 1/2 inches.
 

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Tigger,
My quilt boxes were "cull" boards from Making 6 5/8 supers.
I took another 1 or so off, so 5 1/2.
IF your are going to make them and have the funds and choices, I would go with a 7 1/2 (store bought 8 inch board)
What is the shavings equivalent for 3 inches of rock wool?

I can and do reach in and wiggle my fingers down to the cloth bottom of the Quilt box and use the warmth as a "indicator" for dead outs. At the top of 5 inches of shavings I can feel no heat, at times the bottom is toasty warm, depending on how close they are.
if cool I get the Flir out and if there is 6+ inches of honey over head of the cluster the warmth may not be there.
Lots of warmth also is a flir shot to see if they are up to the top and potentially out of stores.

The Flir is a nice toy, one could compare the rockwool with shavings to see what heat transfer there is for comparison.
My norther most hives have 2 inches of Styrofoam on top of the lid over the Quilt box.

GG
 

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More is more. I have quilt boxes with 4 inches of space and others with 5 1/2 and the better depth is preferred. You can use shallow supers and drill vent holes in the side and cover with hardware cloth. In a pinch I can add depth with baggie feeder spacer from MannLake. Whatever. Many roads to desired outcome.
 

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My quilt boxes were 5 inches. Before I converted my quilts to Vivaldi boards I filled them all the way up to the vent hole, so about 3-1/2 to 4 inches. After the conversion I put 2" XPS foam board around the perimeter and several layers of burlap above the feeding screen. I put a picture of one over in this thread Quilt box vents necessary? a couple of days ago.

I think I'd pass on rock wool. I would be worried about fines falling through the screen.

edit to add: You may wish to review the information here: Mineral wool - Wikipedia

Fiber insulation is fine in a closed wall. Maybe not so fine when openly applied to one of my food sources, especially a sticky liquid food source.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks all. We are getting a few inches of snow tomorrow and 30º's so today was my last shot at this.

I have 3 hives, 2 hives have a medium box and 1 has a deep box (weak hive) for the quilt box. All had window screen stapled inside on the bottom so I could add more dry sugar during the Winter if they used up what I had put in.
I will make proper quilt boxes next year when I find out how well this Winter went.
The Burlap I had in them for the last month was damp so I am glad I decided to take it out.

So it went like this.
Screen, burlap layer (just 1 sheet to stop shavings from going down), about 3-4" shavings, then the 3" Roxul, inner cover with entrance screened over, then cover.
I made a little hole in the front of the Roxul where the upper entrance is for some air exhaust to get out.
The weak hive with the deep got 2 layers of the Roxul. They were a slow late start and held on so I am crossing fingers they make the Winter. They got the Deep box by chance.

On the outside is just roofing paper, 30#
 

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Is all that really necessary?

A early winter photo of some of the hives in a bee yard I have in central MA ready for winter. Homasote sound board under the outer cover with a notch for upper vent/escape and a drilled corner bead mouse guard on the entrance. Winter loses in the teens percentile.
61417
 

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This is a question for those that live in the Snow belt as in the upper 1/2 of USA and Snowy Canada

For New England Winters, how many inches of shavings are you putting in your top box for insulation.
I just decided to use rockwool that is 3" thick so wondering what others that use shavings put in.
Five inches of wood shavings in a converted medium. it has five 1” holes for ventilation . The bottom of the medium is covered in aluminum screening stapled to a wooden cross I glued and nailed so it wouldn’t sag. This quilt board takes the place of the inner cover. So with the surface area I should have plenty of vapor and air exchange. It sits on a 2” feeding shim with a 1/2” entrance hole the serves as an upper entrance and air supply.

 

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I also use my inner cover below the quilt box all winter, I find it easier to get the bees off when I open the hive top to check on sugar blocks. The bees can get a tight grip on the 1/8 mesh screen and burlap.

My inner covers have a 3 1/2 inch round hole(screened) in the center and an upper rim of 3/8 strip of plywood. There is then good air flow up through the round hole and spreading to the underside of the quilt box.

I have never had a problem of the inner cover forming a condensation plane. The top of the interior of the hive is warm so condensation just does not occur on the inner cover, Also moisture is being well exhausted by the quilt box so there is not excess moisture to condense.

As Vance recently stated-perhaps my interior is too dry with quilt box and bees have minimal source of water over the winter.
 

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On my not using an inner cover- I’m surrounded by ocean/salt water bays so yes I’m probably overcompensating for a high humidity environment. We never have a dry morning. Anything and everything outside is always soaking wet until midday.

I will probably do a change up in early spring and add in an inner cover & empty medium to do syrup feeding.

I like the idea of having an “attic” in the summer and will probably put together a 2” Vivaldi board with nothing in it but dead air. It may aid the bees in curing honey and protect them from the few hot days we get.
 

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After converting to all mediums back in 2007 we began using some of our old deeps as vent/feed boxes during the summer and warming boxes during winter, in that we place three 2" foam boards (6 inches), cut to size inside each deep box and placed above inner covers keeping the tops as warm as possible. Temps were in the 40's yesterday with ample sunshine...we had bees flying, pooping and seeking the impossible/improbable nectar.....unless a dead out is found.

We are located in Northern Wisconsin where its been relatively mild....so far.
 

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I have seen quite a few posts that seem to have reasonable suggestion that the bees can reduce in hive relative humidity to levels below external surroundings if we do not interfere too much with our imposed conditions. If this is so, then allowing excessive air circulation is hurting rather than helping their game.

Similarly, if in hive conditions are below optimal and bees are suffering for lack of free water for honey dilution, bringing in more frigid cold air would not be helping them unless it created a small condensation area that was accessible but not able to drip on them.

Higher R value of hive top insulation seems to be all pluses though. This upper insulation can be air permeable or not, and moisture wicking or not. These latter properties are wild cards that confuse the concensus by beekeepers. Research such as what is being done by people such as Etienne Tardif that provides repeatable conditions data will eventually make it less of a guessing game.

There are so many local condition variables in the equation though that I doubt the optimum winter set up will ever be a one simple answer question.
 

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Here in Pennsylvania I use 3 inches of shavings on top of the inter cover with two one inch holes drilled in the front and back with 1/8 hardwear over the holes..
 

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"The Burlap I had in them for the last month was damp so I am glad I decided to take it out." Have you considered additional holes for air flow?
 

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Here in Pennsylvania I use 3 inches of shavings on top of the inter cover with two one inch holes drilled in the front and back with 1/8 hardwear over the holes..
Doing the same here in Central NJ but am using scrap 1 x 5-nominal 4 1/2" with a 1" pink foam top, in the box under the cover. 1" holes covered inside and outside with No 8 hardware cloth to keep the vent clear on the inside and friends on the outside. Probably overkill in here in NJ
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
"The Burlap I had in them for the last month was damp so I am glad I decided to take it out." Have you considered additional holes for air flow?
I actually think it is because we had some very long heavy rains with too much moisture coming in. That and burlap does hold onto the moisture. I have it because in the garden you can wet it and it will keep moist for the plants for an extended time. I should have thought about that when I put them in.
I don't want to put any more vents up top for fear of having Too much air. Plus I don't want to drill any holes in the boxes.

Seeing how it works this year will help me plan for next year better
 
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