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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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? :s 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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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.
 

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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.
 

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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
 

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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 .....
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
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 .....
 

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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.
 

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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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