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Author Topic: Water and mildew inside hive  (Read 1014 times)
Wocky
New Bee
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Posts: 5

Location: Melbourne, Australia


« on: April 27, 2011, 04:00:02 AM »


One of my hives was four boxes high until yesterday (26/4) (I know it should have been reduced before this, but it's the first chance I've had to do anything to it since I had surgery last month.) When I opened it up I found a lot of evidence that the rain we had recently (in Melbourne) has got in: some of the frames were still a bit wet, there's mildew on the inside of the lid and the sides of the top frame, and I even found some drops of water in there. Some of the frames have swollen a little, too, as they've absorbed water. The boxes and lid were propolised together, as I expected - in some places the propolis was about 1/2mm thick. There are four ventilation holes in the sides of the lid. The bees were in the bottom two boxes, with a token force in the top two. Brood was (were?) in the bottom two boxes, too.

Is this a problem? Do I need to do something else to stop the water getting in? I've used glue and screws on the boxes, and they fit pretty well. Do I need to get rid of the mildew, and if so, how? Normal chemicals (like sodium hypochlorite) are probably too toxic for bees.

Thanks
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yantabulla
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Gender: Male
Posts: 137


Location: Coffs Harbour Australia


« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2011, 04:41:55 AM »

G'day Wocky,

I live in Coffs Harbour & we have a abundance of water here.

I occasionally get mould & mildew in hives.  Ventilation is important as is keeping hives strong & crowded.

It looks like you have migratory lids with ventilation so moisture shouldn't be a problem. 

Is the hive in good condition?

Are your hives level & sloping to the front to let moisture drain out?

If the hive is weak have you reduced the number of supers to keep them crowded?  If you have small hive beetle there they will hammer a weak hive with excess space.

You say brood was there.   Is there evidence of a laying queen? Is the hive in trouble?

You don't need to clean mould off frames the bees will do it if they are strong enough.  Remove mouldy frames & melt them down or put them in the freezer & drop them into a strong hive in the spring.

Sorry to answer your query with questions.

Sounds like the hive is a little weak & can't maintain the excess space.

Let us know how you get on.
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All setbacks are temporary
Wocky
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Posts: 5

Location: Melbourne, Australia


« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2011, 07:31:22 AM »



Hi yantabulla. Thanks for your reply. To answer your questions,

>>> Is the hive in good condition?

Yes; it's less than a year old. Its screwed together, and although the glue I used was water-based (Aquadhere or something similar) it was painted (inside and out) first with a primer, then an undercoat, and finally with a top coat, all of which are meant to be used outside. The timber still appears to be in good condition, and the top and bottom of the boxes and lid align without much of a gap (<1mm.)

>>>Are your hives level & sloping to the front to let moisture drain out?

All slope slightly to the front, for exactly that reason.


>>>If the hive is weak have you reduced the number of supers to keep them crowded?  If you have small hive beetle there they will hammer a weak hive with excess space.

I've reduced the size of the hive for winter. The bottom two boxes are still quite crowded; I added the top two boxes for summer when the population warranted them. I've never seen SHB, nor any evidence of it (smell, ruined honey.)


>>>You say brood was there.   Is there evidence of a laying queen? Is the hive in trouble?

I didn't see any fresh eggs, but there are definitely freshly capped brood cells in both boxes. I didn't see a queen, but I wasn't really looking hard for her.


>>>You don't need to clean mould off frames the bees will do it if they are strong enough.  Remove mouldy frames & melt them down or put them in the freezer & drop them into a strong hive in the spring.

I've put them in the freezer as a matter of course (to combat wax moth.)


>>>Sorry to answer your query with questions.

No problem!  Smiley


>>>Sounds like the hive is a little weak & can't maintain the excess space.

Possibly; as I said above, they're quite crowded in the two bottom boxes, and daily activity seems normal. They've still got enough honey for winter, too.


>>>Let us know how you get on.

OK  Smiley

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