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Author Topic: Slatted rack - why stop at 2"?  (Read 1908 times)
phrasmotic
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« on: September 24, 2012, 11:04:25 AM »

I have never used slatted racks before, but am considering using them next year.  Just curious about something... why are most slatted rack designs only 2" deep?  It seems that the much-ballyhooed dead air space is pretty minimal when it's only 2" deep.  Why not 4 inches, or for that matter 6 or even 8?
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kingbee
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« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2012, 09:54:12 PM »

I don't think that the dead air space in the rack itself is significant.  But the dead air space created in the bottom brood box by the slats are were the greatest benefits of a slatted rack comes from.  Or maybe not Undecided
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BlueBee
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« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2012, 10:02:15 PM »

I don’t know about dead air space, but when I have used slatted racks, it seemed like the bees liked to use them as a place to roost.  Once you have a ton of bees in a hive, they have to roost someplace.  I don’t use racks very much anymore because they seem like a good place for pests to hide and get they propolized in the hive real good.
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JackM
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« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2012, 08:22:01 AM »

Well dead air space becomes live airspace if large enough.  For example:  If you take a sheet of foam insulation and put it on a wall it has only the value of the insulation, lets use R4 just for giggles.  BUT if you put a 1/8 to 1/4 air space between the insulation and the wall, you effectively double to R8, same amount of insulation just the dead air space.  BUT if you open that up to greater than a half inch, you are right back to the R4 because air now can move much easier.  Same principal, except we are now horizontal.  The space above the rack is the raising the R2 of the wood of the rack to R4 because of the bee space that is there.  (those are not factual numbers just examples)

Air is an excellent insulator, in fact most insulations provide dead air space in one form or another and that is the insulative power.  So it is not the rack really, it is what the rack creates.  Also the rack turbulates the air as it moves up from the bottom of the hive mixing colder and warmer, better maintaining the bee's natural temps. 

This works both ways, I had no bearding at all this summer even though my hives are painted dark colors, in the sun, and even on 100 degree day no issues presented.  Maybe I am talking out my buns, because it was my first year, so take it an aspririn.
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JackM
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« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2012, 08:24:49 AM »

Oh and there are proponents of a full deep of vacant space under the framed boxes in wet cold environments.  Not so sure how I feel about that one.
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David McLeod
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« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2012, 08:27:29 AM »

A shallow between the deep and bottom board works for me.
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phrasmotic
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« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2012, 08:48:09 AM »

Interesting.  David, with an empty shallow on the bottom and no slats, don't they build comb hanging down off the bottoms of the frames?

Jack, thanks for the explanation regarding dead air space.  I know air is an excellent insulator, but never thought about the idea that it might become less of an insulator if there is too much of it.  Might the following analogy be appropriate?  I worked one winter doing some environmental remediation inside an old warehouse - a very large space of dead air.  Despite there being no air movement, I remember it being frigidly, bone-chillingly cold in there.  Is the same principle at work - that dead air space becomes live air space if large enough?

Basically I'm wondering if I should build a few slatted racks this winter (which would give me the opportunity to make them any depth I want) or simply order some from Dadant or Betterbee or wherever.  I know most sane people would just order them from a reputable company, but I have a strong DIY streak and an irrational desire to reinvent everything.   grin

Thanks!
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JackM
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« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2012, 09:07:46 AM »

Um yeah, an environment of air can create it's own weather so to speak if temps can be controlled. 

I made my slatted and my slats go perpendicular to the frame direction, some commercials go the other way.  The is no turbulation in the parallel version.

Not going to insulate my hives this year, but I am going to create as much dead air space around the bottom side as possible using bags of bark.  They are on a pallet on cement blocks.  So all that will be dead air when I am done, but at the same time, I will have good natural ventilation, which is my actual goal as moisture is more of an issue here than cold is.

It will cost more to make your own than buy the commercial, but you will have the satisfaction of DIY and the way you want it.
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David McLeod
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« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2012, 09:10:32 AM »

Maybe I should clarified a shallow with frames.
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JackM
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« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2012, 10:33:05 AM »

Maybe I should clarified a shallow with frames.
And do those frames have comb?
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David McLeod
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« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2012, 11:17:13 AM »

Yes, when they use them they fill it with pollen. They don't always use that comb but IMO every little bit helps and if they put it there they keep it out of the brood comb.
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« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2012, 09:35:09 PM »

ive started to stack a medium under my deeps for this reason.  ^^ I will rearrange everything in the spring.
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Hemlock
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« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2012, 08:09:30 AM »

Mine are always packed with bees.  It seems they can control air movement and temperature better in a slatted rack than a few bees at a regular entrance.  Robbers have to make it through that gang too before they get to any comb.  Also the queen can lay all the way down the bottom frames.  Which means more bees.

I dont know about dead air space.  The bees constantly move the air.

I take them off for winter though as they're just more space for the bees to heat.


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Michael Bush
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« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2012, 04:04:32 PM »

At 2" I've had them fill the space with comb... but not often.  At more than 2" they will fill it fairly consistently with comb.
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phrasmotic
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« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2012, 08:07:56 AM »

Ahhh, that explains it.  Thanks Michael!  I guess I'll give my woodworking tools a rest and just order a few instead of building my own (which would inevitably lead to unnecessary tinkering with the design).   Wink
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