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Hi - I am in the Pacific Northwest where we get over 100 inches of rain per year. For the most part the bees do fairly well getting through the winter, but when I have lost a hive it is usually wet and moldy inside. This year I thought of an idea so I took a very large industrial strength black garbage bag, took off the roof, placed the bag over the top board, then bungy corded it around the top box and put the roof back over it. The rain shouldn't be able to get in through upper air vents or space between boxes. They should have enough air from lower box and the entrance. Now I am worried that maybe putting plastic in there wasn't a very good idea. Any input would be appreciated.
 

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They need dry air to not mold. I would suggest putting the dead outs in a shed or garage to try to keep the humid air down.
 

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My brother has a piece of tin over his hive a few inches larger than the lid in every direction. Really hadn't thought about why until now.

The inside of a hive is a humid place. I've done a foil bubble wrap in an empty box folded into an arch front-to-back allowing for water to run down the outside of the box on the long sides. But we (at 56" of rain annually) are a desert compared to the Pacific Northwest.

It's possible (I'd say probable), that the bees died, then came the mold. IMO

edit: To your original point, I don't think the chems from a bag are going to be an issue, condensation may be a different matter.
 

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Have you considered quilt boxes?

You may have problems with the plastic on the top sealing moisture into the hives instead of keeping it out. I would not be worried about many chemicals coming out of normal trash bags sitting on top of the hive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
My brother has a piece of tin over his hive a few inches larger than the lid in every direction. Really hadn't thought about why until now.

The inside of a hive is a humid place. I've done a foil bubble wrap in an empty box folded into an arch front-to-back allowing for water to run down the outside of the box on the long sides. But we (at 56" of rain annually) are a desert compared to the Pacific Northwest.

It's possible (I'd say probable), that the bees died, then came the mold. IMO

edit: To your original point, I don't think the chems from a bag are going to be an issue, condensation may be a different matter.
thank you - I went ahead and removed the garbage bag..it's only been a couple of days so everything was still ok in there. I have a much better roof now that overhangs quite a bit so hopefully they will be ok.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Have you considered quilt boxes?

You may have problems with the plastic on the top sealing moisture into the hives instead of keeping it out. I would not be worried about many chemicals coming out of normal trash bags sitting on top of the hive.
thank you - I'm learning as I go too! I took the garbage bag off...
 

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Considering many of us use plastic foundation and styrofoam hives now, I would not be worried about plastic fumes long term.. Perhaps an initial air-out for a few days, but I don't think you'd need more.
 

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Good that you removed the bag. It would likely have not worked well.

The problem of moisture in the hive usually comes from inside. A pound of honey yields about .7 pounds of water when it is used as food for the bees. A pound of heavy syrup yields about the same. To get this water out of the hive, bees depend on airflow through the hive. It does not help AT ALL when the outside air is already extremely humid, which makes keeping bees in places where it is wet all winter more difficult. I don't have those problems in Wisconsin, but the sorts of things I have heard people use to reduce condensation in the hive are

adding absorptive material to the top of the hive to absorb condensation,

making sure there is enough airflow through the hive so that the moisture content of the air stays low,

insulating the top of the hive (very important) so warm wet air doesn't come in contact with the cold top which would cause condensation,

insulating the sides of the hive for the same reason, and

building a sloping roof so the water that condenses runs down the inside of the roof to the side of the hive, and doesn't fall on the cluster.

Beekeeping is local. If your winters are mild, increasing airflow would be the easiest thing to do. However if your winters are frequently very cold (0F or lower), that could be a bad solution. It is a good idea to reach out to local beekeepers to see what they are doing. Don't copy blindly, though. Often times my bees survive in spite of my efforts to help them. The same is true of others, I do not doubt.

My current top board is a 2 inch piece of EPS foam (painted all sides) about 24 inches square. With that I have never had any noticeable condensation, except one colony where there was some on the inside side of the hive during spring buildup. But I live in Wisconsin.
 

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I think what Greg means by "Please note your loc in your profile." is to add your location to your Beesource profile. That will show up with every post you make, and therefore others will be able to evaluate your comments in view of your location.

After clicking your Account Profile icon in the upper right of your screen, here is where Location data is entered:

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