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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today I plan to remove my wood entrance reducer and replace it with 1/2 inch hardware cloth shown. The wood reducer is in the smaller opening position. I am planning to do it for 2 reasons, no mouse guard on now (my bad) and I want to open ventilation up more. Running quilt boards with burlap, which seems to be working but the burlap on larger hive is slightly damp to the touch only above the opening in quilt board. My concern is this too much opening? Inside bottom of QB is dry. Mid Michigan temps. Have been 18f lows to 40f highs on average near freezing most nights. Thanks
 

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I use a similar screen in my bottom entrance. Have for 45 years. Not too much ventilation. I combine my bottom screened entrance with an upper entrance of about 3/8x1 in the front of the inner cover rim. I use foam on inner, others use quilt board. No difference. Just that QB costs too much.
 

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Sounds pretty normal conditions with a quilt BOX. Moisture is migrating up through the burlap and condenses when it hits a cold plane at the top.

Do you have some modest ventilation for the top side of the burlap layers? Put a screened 3/4 inch round hole on either end, near the top of the quilt box, so moisture can get out.

Do put on the mouse guard. Temp is pretty mild and probably doesn't matter what you do about bottom entrance. I would reinstall the entrance reducer to 1 inch wide to reduce air flow upwards through the hive. Just keep an eye on the burlap so it doesn't get soaked all the way through.

Otherwise that styrofoam insulation won't be doing much as with big airflow through the hive, internal temps will be only slightly warmer than outside ambient.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Michael I will proceed with them today then. To be honest I took the design from a Lecture on sustainable beekeeping. My concern was just the big jump from small on bottom to wide open. I do have a small exit hole just below the QB bottom and the walls of QB are slotted with screens over them. I put the foam on due to winds coming off of Lake Michigan. In hindsight I should have used black tarpaper for the micro climate.
 

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Hard to tell from photo, but does Styrofoam impede airflow in your side slots of quilt box????

In my climate, I use 2 inch styrofoam and them a black wrap around that. A black wrap by itself is not adequate, as interior walls get cold, moisture condenses on the surface and turns to frost. On a warm day and sun is shining, the frost melts and soaks layer of dead bees on bottom board. Molds and high humidity resulting in unhealthy bees.

Styrofoam moderates rate of interior temperature swings and keeps interior warmer than ambient, provided air flow through hive is slowed by small bottom entrance and small top entrances. Black wrap on exterior is wind barrier and may slightly warm interior on a sunny day. However, insulation moderates interior temperature rise on a sunny day.

I know Michael Palmer just uses a black wrap and is adequate but seems marginal to me for his climate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks MGolden yes it is hard to see, here's another shot. The foam and top are clear of vents. They are 1/4 tall x lengths shown all 4 sides. Thought i got carried away when I drew them up, but the fact that i have moisture not clearing from burlap on the large colony makes me wonder if there is not enough air going thru it. I put the new guards in and will chk the moisture up top again tomorrow to see if its drying better.
 

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Being somewhat moist at top of burlap is pretty normal. I use 5 1/2 inches of pet shavings and top 3/4 inch is damp and some frost when outside temp is cold. Shavings are dry and warm below. Shavings dry when outside temps moderate and modest air flow over the shavings vents the moisture out.

I would be concerned if burlap at bottom was getting damp.

Even if you open the bottom entrance, I think there will be an adequate but modest air flow upwards through the interior, as you have a small upper entrance and burlap in the quilt box. Keep us posted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Just a follow up. I installed the new screens in place of bottom entrance reducer. Checked the burlap today, it was a lot dryer. I believe the additional air flow helped. Crazy weather here in Michigan. 50f on Friday morning Friday night it was 25F. 90% humidity.
 
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