>>>>How we solve this in out homes is to make sure we have adequate ventilation into and out of our attics so the warm moist air that rises can escape instead of piling up in blocks of ice. <<<<
Maybe you should look again. In my house, all attic vents are above the insulation. I have a vapor barrier between living quarters and the attic, with the insulation above the barrier. There is no purposeful heat escape from the living quarters to the attic.
I agree with Robo. Hold all the heat in that's possible. If you can vent above the insulation, fine, but not by letting the heat out.
Your house is not every house.
Yes the vents should be above the insulation. Whether you believe it or not, unless you have plastic between your Sheetrock and insulation(which it sounds like you do), moisture will travel through the ceiling. And to most peoples disbelief, air will even travel through the plastic to some degree but not enough to ever notice, unless your have a dogs nose. Sheet rock and most insulation breaths. I have no need to look again for I have seen thousands of attics and have resolved moisture problems and winter condensation leaks in many of them. Either way, if a colony of bees generates enough heat and gives off moisture like in our homes we have something to compare with and use common solutions. Using a plastic vapor barrier would obviously not be a good idea in a bee hive for the moisture would just condinsate on the ceiling like it already does now. The reason it wont in your home is, it is to warm on the ceiling to condensate.
So you have three options unless you put a dehumidifier in your beehive.
One - use insulation that breaths
Two - Force condensation down the walls and not on the bees.
Three - do nothing
I have never done a cutout so I obviously have no experience with the nature of them. That said of the ones I have seen pictures of, are in wall cavities between the studs. If this is a typical situation then there is not enough ceiling for condensation to build up and drip on the bees but rather run back down the walls instead. There also is one side that should be nice and warm, right.
I think (know) bees like us will burn more calories to stay alive the colder there environment gets. If you get wet it is even worse. So if you can rid the moisture from the hive, then the warmer you can keep it, the better. Simple math should tell anyone that if the bees consume less sugar water or honey to winter that translates to cash in your pocket (so I agree). Like a feral colony in a hollow tree, the tree sucks up the moisture and wood is also a great insulator. A log home built correctly has great R value.
"If you only have a handful of hives, 2 7-watt night lights on the bottom board will keep the hive quite dry, assuming you don't pump it full of syrup after October 1st."
How do you supply electricity to these, will a 12v battery work? I miss your point to the syrup after October 1st?
To all: I mean to debate the issues at hand and never to pick a fight. I don't know why some can get so worked up when a different or dumb view is seen. How would mankind solve anything if we just beat each other up if they did not see things our way. If you don't see something the way I do, fine, lets debate it. Reason should win, but people are people, and people will see things the way they want to. That includes me.