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Lost my TBH this winter and it looks like a ventilation problem. The inside of the hive was damp and so were the dead bees. My question is, should the bars be shoved up tight to each other or should there be a little space for ventilation? There is a follower board and everything fits pretty tight. There were lots of stores left.

Gonna try again with a package.

Thank you

Paul
 

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Just like we have to do with our own homes, in order to prevent condensation in beehives we must insulate, ventilate or do both. I am an advocate of insulating rather than ventilating because I believe that it is better for the bees. First let me say that in order to have true ventilation you must have a way for air to enter at the bottom and then escape at the top. Top or bottom vents only will only suffice if you are very lucky. So, true venting causes lots of air flow, which is akin to leaving the windows in your house open all winter. You wouln't have a moisture problem, but you would be miserably cold. The biggest problem with moisture is that it condenses against the cold roof of the hive and then drips down onto the bees, making it impossible for them to keep warm. If you can prevent that, it'll go a long way toward keeping bees alive, but condensation on walls may still occur if hive walls are too far from the cluster and get excessively cold. This can lead to diseases being more prevalent. These are the reasons that I use Warre hives and I never have had moisture issues. I will say that dow foam is a good idea on the roof since it has a high perm rating which means moisture can pass through it rather easily. So, it keeps the roof warm and allows moisture to escape. It is likely that entire hives of all types could be covered with the stuff to successfully control moisture with little ventilation. Screened bottoms are always a good idea for reasons of Varroa control/monitoring.

Chris

www.thewarrestore.com
 

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Just like we have to do with our own homes...
I'm a n00b and trying to understand how things work...

But arn't our own homes far less densly populated then our homes? When I sleep in a tent or in the back of my car in the winter the amount of condensation that can be produced after just 8 hours of sleeping is pretty impressive. Does a painted wooden box breath enough to let some of that mosisture out? I like the quilt box idea in the previous post since it seems that that would insulate and help to absorb excess moisture.
 

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As I had stated above, I use Warre hives. I agree that quilts work very well to insulate and absorb moisture. Warre hives have quilts. The Warres that I build have xtra-deep quilts with canvas bottoms in which I use sawdust, although I suspect dow foam could be used in them. I have just never done it because maybe the bees prefer natural material. I have never seen wet sawdust in my quilt boxes. All of my hives have screened bottoms, also, but as I stated before, since there is no upper vent the amount of air circulation is minimal. Someone mentioned paint and there is no doubt that painting a hive causes it to retain more moisture. Paint is a vapor barrier.
 

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I SHOULD have said that quilts insulate the hive and allow moisture to escape from the hive...not that they absorb moisture, because they really don't "absorb" it. That's why I believe dow foam would also work in a quilt.

Chris

www.thewarrestore.com
 

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Lost my TBH this winter and it looks like a ventilation problem. The inside of the hive was damp and so were the dead bees. My question is, should the bars be shoved up tight to each other or should there be a little space for ventilation? There is a follower board and everything fits pretty tight. There were lots of stores left.

Gonna try again with a package.

Thank you

Paul
Try taking the follower and using it for firewood.
 

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I SHOULD have said that quilts insulate the hive and allow moisture to escape from the hive...not that they absorb moisture, because they really don't "absorb" it. That's why I believe dow foam would also work in a quilt.

Chris

www.thewarrestore.com
I disagree. any time you put something dry above warm moist air it will absorb some of the moisture. the saw dust has lots of surface area and is fery porus and lets the mousture out into the dryer air. i belive it is called osmossis. the moisture in the air on both sides of the quilt box try to even out. it is just like putting kitty liter on a spill of water on the floor.
 

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Pictures of TBH with Warré-style condensation trap also showing what happens if you try to add top ventiltion to a hive.

In my climate - mostly mild, with the occasional cold winter (like the last two) and fairly damp - solid floors guarantee an accumulation of moisture and dead bees - most likely axascerbated by nosema.

My most successful wintering has been in a hive with no floor at all, and good top insulation, with extra side insulation provided by follower boards. This colony has had only very occasional powdered sugar treatments, and is my strongest this year coming out of winter.

Other climates may produce different results, but in my patch I recommend plenty of top insulation, and ventilation only at floor/entrance level. It works well for me.
 
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