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Author Topic: Humidity, Ventilation, and South Carolina  (Read 11245 times)
drgenegarris
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« on: June 27, 2005, 11:58:37 AM »

My bees are in a space expressly dedicated to them.  The bees are surrounded on two sides by our house and there are 6 foot tall brick walls enclosing the 20x20 foot space.

Basically the bees have very little wind and not much air circulation.

This weekend I made topless and bottomless box out of 1x4s and I cut 6 1.5 inch holes in the sides.  I will screen them this evening to keep other bugs out;  I will remove my hive lid, place an innercover with the hole screened on top, then I'll place the vent box, and on top of everything I'll place my original cover.  I'll put some pictures up at my web page as soon as I have it finished.

I noticed a lot the bees hanging out on the hive entrance last night and the heat and humidity here can be oppressive.  

Do y'all think that the ventilation box/lid I am making will allow enough airflow through the hive?

My bees seem to be putting up honey but not much of it is capped.  I am hoping that with the additional airflow the bees will ripen and cap more honey.

How much is too much?  How can you measure the airflow?
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Robo
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« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2005, 02:40:02 PM »

You mean like this...



click image for larger view
 
This is from a DE Langstroth conversion kit.  You cant see it in the picture, but there are additional holes in the inner cover.


click image for larger view

I have made my own with a similar design.  I make them medium super depth so that I can feed with a quart mason jar (like shown in the picture)

I also use two oval holes, perpendicular to the frames and  parallel  to each other and centered in my inner covers (not a round and 2 ovals like the DE).

I also prefer not to screen the holes in the inner cover.  It allows the bees to patrol and keep spiders/ants from taking up residence.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2007, 03:11:34 PM by Robo » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2005, 04:11:52 PM »

Do the bees build comb in your vent-box-feeder?
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Robo
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« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2005, 04:19:53 PM »

I have never had them build above the inner cover.  I do suppose if you crowd them enough you could  get them to.  For the most part, I think they see the inner cover as a boundary and don't want to split their nest.  I think the light coming thru the screen might also deter them,  but that is just speculation.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2005, 07:29:29 PM »

I've built a lot of different attics.  I always try to keep the bees out of them.  Here's one of my hives that moved into the miller feeder.

http://www.bushfarms.com/images/BroodNestInFeeder.JPG

I would not assume they won't.

A lot of  things work for ventilation.  Propping the lid.  Opening a SBB up.  Propping the lid up on the inner cover etc.

I have bought several of the DE kits.  I love them, but they are expensive and propping lids is cheaper.  Smiley
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2005, 07:52:57 PM »

Quote from: Michael Bush

I would not assume they won't.


I never assume anything with bees, or my wife for that matter Cheesy  I find I have more ant/insects moving in when the area is confined which does not happen when the bees have access. In the 20 or so hives I have done this with, I have never had one build any comb in them, but I tend to over super, so they don't have the need.

Quote from: Michael Bush

A lot of  things work for ventilation.  Propping the lid.  Opening a SBB up.  Propping the lid up on the inner cover etc.

On hives without the ventilation boxes,  I like to lay 2 1x1s ,that are longer than the width of the telescopic cover,  on top of the inner cover.  This allows for some cross flow and the bees seem to like hanging out on their covered deck.


Quote from: Michael Bush

I have bought several of the DE kits.  I love them, but they are expensive


So true, that is why I built my own or just take some old supers and drill holes in them.
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drgenegarris
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« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2005, 01:45:52 PM »

I placed the ventilator on top of the hive a few hours ago.  Hopefully it will serve the bees well.

How will I know if there is too much ventilation?

How do you measure success in these things?
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mark
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« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2005, 05:07:18 PM »

if you screened the hole in the inner cover the bees will propolize it closed if they think there is too much ventilation.  
   i highly recommend screened bottom boards.  mine are open all year.
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drgenegarris
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« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2005, 05:17:28 PM »

I decided, based on Robo's experience, not to screen the inner cover hole.  I can always screen it later.  We shall see what the results are and I'll post pics and details of my experience.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2005, 05:20:26 PM »

>How will I know if there is too much ventilation?

On a week struggling hive this is a issue.  On a strong hive in a flow this is never an issue.

>How do you measure success in these things?

When the bees go back inside and stop bearding I figure I succeeded in providing enough ventilation.
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Michael Bush
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bassman1977
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« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2005, 08:55:27 PM »

Right now I have a little bit of bearding going on.  Today was the most I've seen yet.  Just to be clear, if I wanted to add more ventilaton to the hive, aside from adding a screened bottom board or slatted rack (which isn't an option right now), all I need to do is crack open the top cover with some sort of prop (sticks, twigs, what-have-you), correct?
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« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2005, 12:21:37 AM »

That's correct, as top ventilation is more important than bottom.  Hot air rises, and is trapped in the top of the hive, the more boxes you have the harder it is to move that hot air out without an exhaust in the top.
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drgenegarris
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« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2005, 09:23:14 AM »

Last night I noticed that the bees at the hive entrance were all one "bee" thick and not the clump or large cluster as before.

I think that the vent-box might be working!

It is still hot;  It is still humid;  We remain in South Carolina.
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limyw
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« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2005, 09:48:55 AM »

Quote from: Phoenix
That's correct, as top ventilation is more important than bottom.  Hot air rises, and is trapped in the top of the hive, the more boxes you have the harder it is to move that hot air out without an exhaust in the top.


Can a pack of silica gel (a type of chemical resin to absorb air moisture) to be hanged inside the top hive to reduce air moisture? of course, make sure it does not contact with combs.
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« Reply #14 on: June 29, 2005, 10:17:40 AM »

>Can a pack of silica gel (a type of chemical resin to absorb air moisture) to be hanged inside the top hive to reduce air moisture? of course, make sure it does not contact with combs.

For every gallon of honey they produce you are talking about several gallons of water being evaporated.  The silica can't absorb that much.
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Michael Bush
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drgenegarris
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« Reply #15 on: June 29, 2005, 10:24:22 AM »

Has anyone used one of these devices?  It looks like a vent box with a fan and microcontroller.

What should the humidity be inside the hive?
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Phoenix
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« Reply #16 on: June 29, 2005, 11:32:08 PM »

I have not used one of those particular units, but I make similar ventilated attic boxes without the fan.

The relative humidity in the brood chamber is suppose to be around 50% for proper incubation of the brood. The less humidity in the supers the better, as you are trying to get the moisture content of the nectar down to 18% in order to call it honey.
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Robo
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« Reply #17 on: June 30, 2005, 08:42:46 AM »

Quote from: drgenegarris
Has anyone used one of these devices?  It looks like a vent box with a fan and microcontroller.

What should the humidity be inside the hive?


I have not tried a Bee Cool (too pricey anyway).  But many years ago I did experiment with a couple different versions on a solar powered vented cover.




IN my opinion, the ventilation box is the better bang for the buck.   The solar one only works when there is sun, the vent box works on those muggy nights as well.   The solar one also works when it is cool outside and power ventilation is not needed.  Ya, you could add a thermostat (I think the bee cool has one) and a battery for no sunny times, but your adding a lot of $$$.  You can get many more trouble free years out of a vent box Cheesy
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drgenegarris
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« Reply #18 on: July 03, 2005, 06:45:46 PM »

I did build and place a vent box last week and I inspected the hive today and all seems well!

I have been checking in on the bees nighly thanks to the hive's proximety to a sliding glass door and the bearding is now at a level where I do not have concern.  

I have posted pictures and more comments on my web page below.  Let me know what you think.

Thanks for all your help.
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Robo
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« Reply #19 on: July 04, 2005, 06:37:02 PM »

Ah, another use for popsicle sticks Cheesy


Looks good.   If you have any more troubles, I would add another hole in the inner cover, that's where your restriction is now.
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drgenegarris
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« Reply #20 on: July 05, 2005, 08:39:19 AM »

Are quite the bargain at the dollar store.  I purchased them originally to use as glue spreaders and they work well as braces to hold screens over 2" holes.

The popsicle sticks do not work well as rafts in my poultry feeder for the bees.  The sticks waterlog too quickly and sink... like little Titanics.
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #21 on: July 05, 2005, 09:54:56 AM »

dip the "little Titanics" in melted wax. They will never sink.
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« Reply #22 on: July 24, 2005, 11:57:02 PM »

I deviced a modified inner cover that serves several purposes:
1.  The modified cover is actrually more like a tray, having 2" high walls
2.  the bottom board on this tray is interrupted by a 2" wide gap at the midlle, running perpendicular to the top bars.  I can peek through this gap into the hive and assess what the population is like.  The gap provides ample bee acces to the tray area.
3.  the tray holds up to four 2 quart baggies, which is my preferred method of feeding.  The baggies, if properly filled and tied, are less than 2" thick, so my telescoping or other cover will not put pressure on them.
4.  the tray has a big notch cut out on one of its rims, and mesh is nailed on the outside to keep robbers out.  The notch acts as a wide breathing port, so ample ventilation is provided.
5.  The tray will hold any amount of burr comb or propolis that is sraped during inspection, when no bucket is available.  Any burr comb that contains nectar or honey will bel cleaned out by the bees, so tha next time you visit the hive it will be clean, dry wax.

The tray rims are 1 x 2s  and the tray bottom is 1/4" plywood.  Hot parafin can be used to coat the tray bottom, so that syrup spills will not rot the wood.
I have never had bees build comb in these trays, nor have I found ants or roaches building nests in them.  It is a great accessory and easy to build.
I have not learned how to upload pictures, but as soon as I do, I´ll share some.

Ventilation does not only speed up nectar ripening, but helps in the overall temperature and humidity control that is vital to brrod incubation.
I beleive bees are extremely capable of regulating hive atmosphere, but they certainly cannot dry out water sogged wood.
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