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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm still pretty new at this. Last year, in preparing my hive (only have one right now) for winter, I read someone had used a quilt box, llike the Warre hives use. This sounded like a good idea to me, so I built one. The idea is that in cold weather, condensation occurs on the inside of the inner cover and drips down on the colony. So... most folks say to leave ventilation at the top, to let the moisture escape. But this also lets out warm air, and when warm air exits, cold air has to come in to replace it. This cold air then has to be warmed by the bees. The idea of the quilt box is that, not only does it provide an insulating layer over the box, but the wood shavings (or straw, or whatever is used) also absorbs moisture from inside the box. This absorbed moisture is allowed to escape through ventilation holes in the side of the quilt box. And you're not letting warm air escape. Sounded like a good idea to me.
Well, my hive came through the winter in good shape, with no sign of moisture having been present, so I think it worked quite well. I'll be using it again next winter, and building more quilt boxes for additional hives.
I'd like to hear from anyone else using this method, or similar solutions. I took off the quilt box and reinstalled the inner cover when warmer weather came. Seems like they will definately need the ventilation for hot weather. Also built screened bottom boards and going to give that a try.
 

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I too used quilt boxes. Above my hives i placed a 25# candy board, then the quilt box above that, then the covers. I know the sugar absorbs a fair bit of moisture as well as the cedar sahvings. before winter broke, the wood shavings were slightly damp on some of teh hives, so they were certainly doing something. I lost 2 of 6 hives. one of them was weak, and the other had a migratory cover that warped and allowed moisture in. i could see the streaks of hardened sugar from where the water dripped down through the candyboard. Otherwise, the bees came through pretty well and my losses are not a severe as many of the folks in my area. I"m not sure if the quilt box is what made the difference or not, but i will continue to use them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Above my hives i placed a 25# candy board, then the quilt box above that, then the covers. I know the sugar absorbs a fair bit of moisture as well as the cedar sahvings. QUOTE]

Just curious... did the candy board completely cover the hive body? In other words, was the quilt box shavings in contact with the air in the hive, or was is blocked by the candy board?
I've not used a candy board. How much of yours did the bees consume? Do you know if they exhausted their honey stores?
 

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Think it is very good and cheap insurance to have food above the frames in the form of a candy board, candy blocks in a feed rim or sugar in mountain camp method. The cluster will not get stranded and will have this food supply to tide them over until temperature warms and the cluster can move to honey frames.

I have a 3 1/2 inch round hole in the center of the candy board. I temporarly place a jar in the hole when I fill the candy board and then remove the jar. I have a 3/8 rim on top side of candy board and a 1 3/4 notch open at front front. This allows modest ventilation of top side of candy board and exhaust any condensation.

Then put quilt box above this. Be sure quilt box does not sag and block the hole and also have two 1" screened holes per side in the quilt box to allow moisture out of the quilt box. And you may have to raise outer cover a popsicle width to vent top side of quilt box.
 

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I used quilt boxes...wood shavings wrapped in burlap. Interestingly none of them ever felt the least bit damp.
 

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I am a firm believer in quilt boxes. I did not use one on my first hive and lost it during the winter of 2012. After reading up on Warre hives I built and put a quilt on the package I hived in the spring of 2012. I keep the quilt on year round. If I think the hive needs more ventilaton in the summer, I scoop out a hole in the cedar shavings in the quilt. The package from 2012 has now survived 2 winters and I had another hive that was a small swarm make it thru this past winter as well. When in the hives I see no evidence of mold or moisture damage. I will continue to add a quilt on any hive that I have.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I have a 3 1/2 inch round hole in the center of the candy board. I temporarly place a jar in the hole when I fill the candy board and then remove the jar. I have a 3/8 rim on top side of candy board and a 1 3/4 notch open at front front. This allows modest ventilation of top side of candy board and exhaust any condensation.

Then put quilt box above this. Be sure quilt box does not sag and block the hole and also have two 1" screened holes per side in the quilt box to allow moisture out of the quilt box. And you may have to raise outer cover a popsicle width to vent top side of quilt box.
Is this a great place to trade ideas, or what?
I'm glad to see the responses and similar experiences expressed.

Mgolden, I think I understand that you make a candy board with a large hole in the middle and a ventilation slot in the top of that board. So the bees could potentially use that as a top exit, is that correct? Would also be an entrance for robbers or other pests, I guess.
So do you think that ventilation slot is really needed with the quilt?

I used 8 mesh hardware cloth for the screen on the bottom of my quilt box, so it doesn't sag much. As a "just in case" measure, I added a 3/8 inch strip below the hardware cloth, to space it up a little. Mine went on directly above the top hive box, right over the frame top bars. The quilt box has ventilation holes just like you described, and Imade a very small ventilation space under the top cover by putting thin strips of hardware cloth lying flat, between the quilt box and the cover.

Phoebe, WBVC, and Wilcoma, thanks for your input as well. I used pine shavings in mine, only because it was kind of a last minute project last winter, and I couldn't find cedar shavings quickly. I did not see any evidence of moisture in the shavings or in the hive.
Did any of you three use a candy board, or feed them at all?
Thanks,
Sonny
 

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sonnyk...........I am not using candy boards, may try Lauri's recipe this fall, but I used the mountain camp method. I built spacers ~2 inches high and put between the top box and the quilt. I then put down the newspaper and added 4 lbs of sugar in December. I dampen the sugar with 1-1 sugar water with a little HBH added. I then cover the spacer with my plastic screen and then the quilt. The newpaper in each hive also absorbed a lot of mositure. During one of our last cold spells I had a lot of frost on the inside of my outer cover. When it melted of course the quilt absorbed the mositure and kept it away from the bees.
 

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I use quilt boxes on all my hives and no excess condensation ever and plus I think it helps them dry the honey down faster due to less moisture in the hive just seems to be a little less battle for the bees.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
sonnyk...........I am not using candy boards, may try Lauri's recipe this fall, but I used the mountain camp method. I built spacers ~2 inches high and put between the top box and the quilt. I then put down the newspaper and added 4 lbs of sugar in December. I dampen the sugar with 1-1 sugar water with a little HBH added. I then cover the spacer with my plastic screen and then the quilt. The newpaper in each hive also absorbed a lot of mositure. During one of our last cold spells I had a lot of frost on the inside of my outer cover. When it melted of course the quilt absorbed the mositure and kept it away from the bees.
Hi Wilcoma
Let's see if I understand correctly... the 2 inch spacer is just an open frame? ... the newspaper is laid right on top of the top bars of the frames? ... then sugar on the newspaper, then the screen and then the quilt.
Do the bees eat through the newspaper? And does the sugar then leak down into the frames?
Is there any sugar left over when warm weather arrives? If so, is it a bit messy removing it?
Lots of questions, I know.
 

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"Mgolden, I think I understand that you make a candy board with a large hole in the middle and a ventilation slot in the top of that board. So the bees could potentially use that as a top exit, is that correct? Would also be an entrance for robbers or other pests, I guess.
So do you think that ventilation slot is really needed with the quilt?"

Top of quilt box shavings and vent holes in quilt box get covered with frost in really cold temps. And bottom entrance may get blocked by dead bees. We only get 2-3 flying/mortician/cleansing flight days for some 5 months. I worry about adequate ventilation and fresh oxygen.

So back up ventilation is a 3/4 round hole in a 2 1/2 feed rim and air exit through notch in upper side of rim on candy board or inner cover. Only used both candy board and feed rim on one really light hive. Normally have feed rim with 3/4 round hole and inner cover with notch up. Top entrance is round hole and notch.

No robbing problems in winter as minimal flying and no pest troubles other than mites.
 

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sonnyk............The 2 inch spacer is just a box that is 2 inches high that fits on the top brood box. I leave a small gap along the long side of the frames on each side when appling the newspaper. The bees can move up to the sugar along either edge. I suspect that they could chew thru the paper but in my case this winter that did not happen. Once the sugar is moistened and is in the hive with the moiture the bees are creating the sugar turns into a hard chunk. One hive started to work the sugar in Feb.. The other hive did not use any at all until Mar. Believe this hive was more frugal with their stores and also contained fewer bees. I removed the little remaining sugar a couple of weeks also. The sugar that was left was a solid block and easy to remove from the hives. I construct my quilts using course cloth on the bottom of the box to hold the shavings. I then place a section of black plastic window screen over the top bars and let it extend over the edges of the box, and then place the quilt on the screen. Preping for witer last fall I removed the screen and replaced it with new since the bees had covered the whole screen with propylis. I cut the screen into strips this spring and added to my swarm traps for added scent.
 

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When quilt boxes came up in an unrelated thread last week, one responder said she made hers from and empty shallow. I'm guessing anything you have on hand that's got enough volume to work is fine? Just fill excess space with the "quilt" and the bottom can be for sugar, candy, fondant, whatever?
 
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