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Author Topic: Bluebees Styrofoam Nucs  (Read 12608 times)
BlueBee
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« Reply #60 on: October 08, 2011, 06:50:29 PM »

Gregted, I use polyurethane glue to glue my foam nucs together.  The PU glue is most commonly sold under the brand name “gorilla glue” here in the US.

Derekm, what about frame rests in your boxes?  How did you implement them?
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derekm
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« Reply #61 on: October 09, 2011, 03:02:21 PM »

Gregted, I use polyurethane glue to glue my foam nucs together.  The PU glue is most commonly sold under the brand name “gorilla glue” here in the US.

Derekm, what about frame rests in your boxes?  How did you implement them?

I used aluminium angle polyester or epoxied in.
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If they increased energy bill for your home by a factor of 4.5 would you consider that cruel? If so why are you doing that to your bees?
BlueBee
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« Reply #62 on: January 06, 2012, 06:20:00 PM »

I haven’t updated the success or failure of my super foam nucs since October, so I’ll report that they’re all still alive; Boyle, Newton, and Ohm. 

We have had a very mild winter so far though so all that insulation hasn’t really gotten put to the test yet.  We’ve only had a couple of nights in the single digits (Fahrenheit that is).  We’ve had plenty of days below 32F/0C, but no bitter cold.  That said, it’s only been warm enough 2 or 3 times since November for the bees to really get out and fly.  Today was one of those days.



I will report that I have been finding condensation under my foam tops.  Hence the top cover must be below the dew point of bee’s breath.  I am using a top vent to vent moisture from the nucs but at the same time it’s probably cooling down the underside of the foam and promoting some condensation. Not sure how to fix that or even if it is a big problem or not.  The bees are not consuming very many stores and hence are not generating as much H2O as they might in a colder wood nuc.  For now, I’m just leaving them be; they seem to be doing fine. 
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derekm
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« Reply #63 on: January 10, 2012, 02:47:42 PM »

An issue with insulation particularly top vented is the higher heat retention couldmean dehydration of the bees in winter.

Warmer air holds more water and generates a stronger convection current. This is conjecture but water replenishment is after confinement in winter is a priority for bees as observed by all.

Some research i've shows a preference by bees for 75% RH.

If this conjecture is correct then insulation and ventilation to reduce moisture may need additonal care  not to go too far with the ventilation.  IMHO the the key thing needs to be keeping the environment inside the temperature humidity control space of the bees, Hence my concern to key the bees reasonably close to the environment in a typical tree cavity nest, while faciltating pest and detritus removal.

I've also found some research that indicates warmer bees are more effective at removing varoa mites.

lots to experiment an look into with warmer hives for 2012
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If they increased energy bill for your home by a factor of 4.5 would you consider that cruel? If so why are you doing that to your bees?
gjd
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« Reply #64 on: January 10, 2012, 08:52:30 PM »

Derekm, can you describe the information you have about a preference for 75% RH?  I'm a newcomer to beekeeping and  have found nothing about humidity in natural hives or preferences.  It seems like a glaring hole in practical beekeeping knowledge, and I'd like to learn more.   Thanks.
Greg
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BlueBee
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« Reply #65 on: January 10, 2012, 09:25:38 PM »

Good points Derekm.  It got up to 50F/10C today, very warm for us.  The bees were out flying again, but not as much as during that 55F/13C thaw last week.  I peeked in the nucs and hives today.  Lots of condensation on the underside of my nuc foam tops.  I used a squeegee to remove the condensation.  Then wiped them dry with paper towels.  Probably 1 to 3 bottle caps worth of condensation.

Despite this condensation issue, the bees are doing well and I kind of prefer a bottom entrance on a nuc since it makes them just a shade easier to inspect IMO.  I’m still chicken to block off my top vents even though they might be contributing to the condensation under the top cover.  Instead I may put a paper towel over my inner cover/screen to catch any condensation that might drip from the top foam cover.  As long as the cold water doesn’t drip on the bees, I’m not too worried about it.  We’re expecting some near normal winter weather next week.
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derekm
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« Reply #66 on: January 11, 2012, 06:04:14 AM »

 I have two sheets of polycarbonate in an ecke(shim?) to feed the bees fondant and so I can occasionally (once a fortnight)  look in and not get them cold. The bottom sheet has 4  holes near the edges to let the bees in. Any condensation (never had any) cant fall on the bees on te comb.
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If they increased energy bill for your home by a factor of 4.5 would you consider that cruel? If so why are you doing that to your bees?
derekm
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« Reply #67 on: January 11, 2012, 10:26:44 AM »

Derekm, can you describe the information you have about a preference for 75% RH?  I'm a newcomer to beekeeping and  have found nothing about humidity in natural hives or preferences.  It seems like a glaring hole in practical beekeeping knowledge, and I'd like to learn more.   Thanks.
Greg


Be careful you might end up with a collection of scientific papers
its in this abstract

Derek

Hygropreference and brood care in the honeybee (Apis mellifera).
Michael B Ellis, Sue W Nicolson, Robin M Crewe and Vincent Dietemann J Insect Physiol 54(12):1516-21 (2008) PMID 18822293
Terrestrial organisms need to limit evaporation from their bodies in order to maintain a homeostatic water balance. Owing to a large surface to volume ratio, arthropods are particularly susceptible to desiccation and have evolved behavioural and physiological mechanisms to conserve water. In social insects, water balance is also affected by the interactions between nestmates and by the architecture of the nest. For honeybees, humidity is particularly important for the brood because it affects the hatching success of eggs and because, unlike ants, honeybees cannot relocate their brood to parts of the nest with more favourable humidity. To advance the understanding of the water economy in honeybee nests, we investigated whether workers exhibit a hygropreference when exposed to a gradient of 24-90% relative humidity (RH) and whether the expression of this preference and their behaviour is affected by the presence of brood. The results show that young honeybee workers in the absence of brood exhibit a weak hygropreference for approximately 75% RH. When brood is present the expression of this preference is further weakened, suggesting that workers tend to the brood by distributing evenly in the gradient. In addition, fanning behaviour is shown to be triggered by an increase in humidity above the preferred level but not by a decrease. Our results suggest that humidity in honeybee colonies is actively controlled by workers.

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If they increased energy bill for your home by a factor of 4.5 would you consider that cruel? If so why are you doing that to your bees?
windfall
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« Reply #68 on: January 23, 2012, 12:30:54 PM »

Got up to 43F here today so I finally got the nerve to open the foam nucs and take a peak.....I am pretty sure they are history.
Being new, I have not seen a winter cluster before, but I assume there should be some movement. All the bees I saw in both were cold and still even when I dug down a few bees into the group.
Lots of stores still from what I could see. Both Nucs were clustered over the frames that had brood in them when I closed it all up in fall but i won't know if they had brood at death till I dig some more.
Time to read up on postmortems....

I believe it is often recommended not to do the clean up till spring when they are "warm and dead"...I imagine this is more true for a full sized hive? I think if I leave things in these foam boxes till it gets warm it will be a moldy mess. Without the bees to ventilate it I think it will stay mighty wet in there.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #69 on: January 23, 2012, 07:21:51 PM »

Windfall, I feel your pain……



I found this today in one of my double decker foam nucs.   That was a 5 frame deep + 5 frame medium nuc with 2” thick foam walls, bottom entrance, and small top vent.  Weighed the dead bees; that’s 2 lbs of bees.   No signs of brood and the bees were still mostly in the bottom box.  The cluster was spanning the gap between the deeps and medium frames.  I got out my magnifying glass to check for varroa; none seen.  Bees all looked healthy, except for being dead.

It looks to me like they got stuck against the front wall of the nuc and they hadn’t packed the sides of the frames full with honey.  My diagnosis is they starved.  I’m a little surprised this many bees in a nuc got too cold to move to more stores (There were lots of stores to their sides and above them.)  2lbs of bees should be able to generate at least 5 watts of heat and in this super insulated nuc, it really shouldn’t have gotten colder than 32F/0C inside the nuc.  We had a few days of bitter cold weather that seemed to do these bees in.  It got down to 0F for a few nights.

As noted before; moisture has been a concern in my foam nucs.  The dead out had a fair amount of mold (white mold) growing on the sides away from the bees.  I’ll copy some photos to my photobucket page later for those wanting to see a bunch of dead bees.  

My other nucs and hives looked fine today.  
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tefer2
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« Reply #70 on: January 23, 2012, 09:08:33 PM »

Bluebee, don't like seeing that in my neck of the woods. I have 10 two story nucs this year, have only lost one so far
I have five pushed together with insulation on top, back, and both ends. I have my upper and lower entrances on the same side. I think it gives me better air travel pulling the moisture out.
We really have not had our normal winter, so they are not really a true test for overwintering.
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derekm
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« Reply #71 on: January 24, 2012, 05:18:37 PM »

can you tell me the cross sectional area of both the bottom entrance and the top vent - collecting data
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If they increased energy bill for your home by a factor of 4.5 would you consider that cruel? If so why are you doing that to your bees?
BlueBee
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« Reply #72 on: January 24, 2012, 08:39:21 PM »

Here’s a photo of the deadout nuc with dimensions marked up.  This hive really had a small area for a top vent, maybe too small? 



Here’s a photo looking down into the deep body of the nuc as I examined it. 



I uploaded a few more photos with dead bees and mold into this photobucket album:
http://s1082.photobucket.com/albums/j365/MichiganBee/Dead%20Out%20Foam%20Nuc%20Jan%202012/
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tefer2
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« Reply #73 on: January 24, 2012, 09:03:12 PM »

BlueBee, looks just like mine did, classic starvation. I made this winters out of stacked 5 frame medium boxes. Have already made next years, and they will be 6 frames per box.
Entrances
bottom 3/8 x 1 1/2
top 3/8 x 1
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windfall
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« Reply #74 on: January 24, 2012, 09:21:29 PM »

I will get photos up soon as well.
No mold inside the hives for me. Light frost in the corners. Actually the unvented hive seemed to have less...but minimally so.

IN mine the empty cells under the cluster are nearly completely filled by bees. But there is often honey in the adjacent cell..Huh

Our temps were a bit colder -14f a few nights. I am wondering about the bouncing of temps we are seeing and if that came into play.

Bluebee, back in the summer I sort of laughed at your foam gaskets knowing you were going to also vent them.....not so much now. The only place I had significant moisture/ice was in the wide joints between foam pieces like bottom board to hive body. I don't know if it wicked in there and froze or was deposited as vapor escaped and cooled.
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tefer2
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« Reply #75 on: January 24, 2012, 09:56:25 PM »

BlueBee, I would think that's enough venting. The nucs I had last year were surrounded with styrene and I lost them all . This year I began to think that having a few cracks is a good thing. Will see if they make it.
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derekm
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« Reply #76 on: January 25, 2012, 07:24:45 AM »

Be aware of dehydration rather than starvation in a top vented insulated hive. I'm going to do the numbers on the convection and post the results.

  However, a warmer insulated hive will have higher air flows through a similar top vent than a colder hive . That warmer air will also have a greater water carrying capacity.

I would strongly suggest going for a closed top  with a larger bottom entrance /vent in winter if you are  insulating significantly.
 Bees must have the feed back mechanisms for this as this is tree cavity config.

Dont take my word for it lets do the maths and the experiments
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If they increased energy bill for your home by a factor of 4.5 would you consider that cruel? If so why are you doing that to your bees?
windfall
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« Reply #77 on: January 25, 2012, 07:38:20 AM »

Derek, I understand your point, but I think if Bluebee is getting mold that is a pretty strong indicator that dehydration is unlikely, at least for his configuration.
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windfall
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« Reply #78 on: January 25, 2012, 08:46:14 AM »

Here are Pics of the dead nucs:

https://picasaweb.google.com/107355150238360566862/DeadNucs?authkey=Gv1sRgCMTWgtKG19eJ1wE#

They don't show much of the construction...sorry.

I have also posted this in general beekeeping. Let's try to keep any general info/thoughts on what I can learn from this on that thread and comments specifically regarding the foam nucs and any impact they might have had here....
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windfall
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« Reply #79 on: January 25, 2012, 09:10:01 AM »

Looking at the pics again I should make one comment. The moisture and mold seen on the inner cover on nuc 1 is actually the top of the inner cover. I meant to close off the feeding hole but forgot. Vapor was moving into the space above between the IC and the foam lid and then condensing and dripping down. The hive side was dry, no mold. the vent was on the hive side. It almost acted as a moisture trap.

The feeding hole was at the far end from the cluster while in use.
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