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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We're having a heck of a week or two of rain here in the Bay Area, and my unfinished hives have started to grow a very thin film of black which I assume is mold. The black started on the exposed nail heads, then spread to the exposed endgrain of the box joints, and is now dotted accross the faces of the sides of the supers most exposed to the rain. I've also peeked between supers and I have moisture and mold in the seams between supers (bottom surface of top super sides and lower surfaces of bottom super sides) and some starting to collect and grow on the frame rests and frame ears.

Is a bit of mold in the hive a problem? I'm thinking of tossing a Hefty garbage bag on the hive (with a large hole in the top for ventilation) as a temporary 'rain coat' to keep the rain, moisture and hopefully mold out of the hive, but before I go to the trouble, want to know if anyone else has experience and/or an opinion on this.

Bees in the wild don't have paint and wood preservative on their hives, so I imagine that moisture from rain and some mold accompanying it must be a natural part of their environment... Is a little mold in the hive anything I should be concerned about (bees look great other than this).

-fafrd
 

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I wouldn't put a plastic bag over them, but if you are concerned, put an old quarter sheet of plywood, or insulation board on top of the cover to act like an umbrella, vs a raincoat. Where I'm at we are a close second to Seattle for rain, so mold can be a problem. Properly ventilated hives usually don't have mold problems for me...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Jeffzhear,

I've got a pretty good roof on them now (English-style copper top which has a cross section at least as big as a quarter-sheet of plywood.

The problem is that the rain comes in at 45 degrees or worse due to the wind (sometime practically horizontal!) and so it hits one side of the hive especially hard and with enough forse to penetrate beteen supers.

Why would you be concerned about a plastic bag (with a large hole at the top for ventilation and stopping short of the entrance)??

I suppose I could sacrifice some plywood as a vertical barrier in front of the exposed face of the hive, but with the high winds, it seems like a large plastic bag would be easier to secure to the hive (and less of a loss if it blows away :).

Is mold considered a problem in your area? Do you know what bad things it can cause? Do you ever have driving rain, or is protecting the hive from the penetration of water from above the primary challenge?

-fafrd
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Honeydreams,

thanks for the input. Is that something you heard directyly from Ross or is there an article of a post you can point me to?

-fafrd
 

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If you put the plastic bag on, it would probably cause a bigger mold problem than you already have. The moisture would be trapped in there in a warmer environment.

We just need some sunshine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Dan,

I sure agree with you about the Sunshine!

I am not planning to leave plastic on in the sun, just to drop a bag over the hive before a big rain storm. The bag will be on top of the inner cover and under the outer cover, with a large hole cut into it surrounding the matching vent holes I have in both covers (my outer cover is an English-style with vent holes under the eaves).

With the cut-outs in the bag to allow ventilation through the cover and with the bag ony in place during rainstorms (and certainly never in the sun), would you still have a concern about a bag causing more mold than nothing?

Honeydreams,

thanks for the reference - always looking for another good book on bees!
 

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I would not add the bag, they are right, it will cause a LOT more moisture to build up, and even then, it would take a while for the hive to dry out, even if it is ifor a short time. The plastic will hold the moisture, which will in turn cause the unpainted wood to absorb the water. This is my opinion, but I have a humidifier in my sons room. Ran it for about 3 hours and there was so much moisture the next morning it took WEEKS to totally dry out the room. If you touched the walls, the paint would come off in your hand.....opened windows during the day and everything. I have some mold like you, but theres not enough to worry about.
 

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No bag! It sounds like you need some more ventilation. Mold itself is not much of a problem in and of itself, but is symptomatic of a ventilation problem. Poor ventilation can contribute to chalk and make it hard for the girls to process nectar. I'm guessing you're not running screened bottom boards, if you are remove the sliding tray. Otherwise put a couple twigs or popsicle sticks on the edges of the inner cover to hold the tele cover up off it a bit and allow damp air to chimney out the top. Alternately, or additionally, auger a half-inch hole in the top box as a top entrance and to allow some ventilation.

You can't really over-ventilate a colony (well, not easily). I left my SBBs open so far all winter, and the girls are smilin' and kickin' even after all our sub-zero weather.
 

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As stated in the OP, the mold is on the outside of the hive and working it's way in. How can you improve ventilation on an exterior surface?:s
 

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Just a suggestion: you could duct tape the exposed joining points, seams.
How wide is your entrance?
A word of caution about the black mold , It's name is Aspergillus niger and it can grow in your ear canal.
You could wipe the mold off with a 10% bleach solution which is 9 parts water and 1 part bleach. be sure to wear some protective gloves
Ernie
 

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Thanks -- should I dispose of any honey on the other side of this frame? Is it dangerous if it is digested by either bee or human?
 
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