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Author Topic: Wet and rainy weather, hive seems really wet, can I swap boxes now?  (Read 1266 times)
yvette97206
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Location: Sandy, Oregon at the base of the Mt. Hood foot hills


« on: November 25, 2006, 12:56:16 PM »

Happy Saturday...it has been raining here in Oregon for about a month straight.  Cold too, right now it is 41 degrees.  I took two supers of honey this year, and am now feeding the girls sugar water.  I opened the lid of my hive this morning, and there seems to be alot of water.  I can't tell if it is inside the hive completely, but the lid was wet and I have a top feeder that looks like it has alot of water in it, not just sugar water.  The under lid is wet and I am just worried.  I think I am going to put in my frame feeder and taske the top one out to prevent freezing, but all frames are in the hive (ten in both boxes) and I have no where to put a frame of brood if I take one out to accomodate the feeder.  Also, I was thinking that a frame feeder wouldn't freeze if the weather went that direction...and it looks like it is going to.  Two questions...should I swap boxes, move the bottom one to the top so I can get the feeder in the top without taking out the frame of brood from the box they are living in (the top) and make them move up again?  I don't know if they are using both boxes right now because it is so cold I am afraid to open up the entire hive.  Also, what do you think about putting a tarp over the whole shebang and leave the front only exposed?  It seems like if they get wet, it will be all over for the girls...
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2006, 01:26:16 PM »

>I have no where to put a frame of brood if I take one out to accomodate the feeder.

I seriously doubt there is ANY brood in your hive, let alone every frame having brood.  Pull an empty frame if there is one (there almost always is otherwise why are you feeding?).

>  Also, I was thinking that a frame feeder wouldn't freeze if the weather went that direction...and it looks like it is going to.

Maybe.

>  Two questions...should I swap boxes, move the bottom one to the top so I can get the feeder in the top without taking out the frame of brood from the box they are living in (the top) and make them move up again?

So they are currently in the top?  The top is where you want the feeder so you can refill it easily.  If they are in the top that works out easily for you.

>  I don't know if they are using both boxes right now because it is so cold I am afraid to open up the entire hive. 

If they are in the top, I would put the feeder there and call it good.

>Also, what do you think about putting a tarp over the whole shebang and leave the front only exposed?

It's already wet.  You'll just make it more wet from condensation.

>  It seems like if they get wet, it will be all over for the girls...

Why are they all wet?  That's the question.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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kathyp
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« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2006, 03:54:14 PM »

you had the same problem i had.  mine got wet because the wind blew the rain up under the edge and then the inner cover was just a puddle.  search "roofing paper" and you'll see the post describing how i fixed my problem.

you are still feeding?  probably no need to now if the frames are full of honey? 

my bees are also spending their time near the top.  don't know why.  maybe it's warmer up there. 

20's next week!  and snow!!!!
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yvette97206
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« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2006, 05:48:16 PM »

" you are still feeding?  probably no need to now if the frames are full of honey? "

Well, they were full of honey when I pulled the supers in September...I am just not sure how much they are eating right now and with the cold snap coming I am afraid they will starve before I got some food to them.  They use alot more to keep the hive warm, right?

Michael, I am so glad you replied to my post, O wise Beek.  They got wet, I think, like my neighbor there in Boring's did...wind got up under the top and soaked the top cover.  It has been windy and rainy to beat heck around here.  So, you think I should take off the top feeder and just replace it with the frame feeder?  Because I was thinking that I should leave the top feeder on as an  extra rain catcher, it is pretty full and I would hate to see that much rain on the girls.

Of course, ok, I didn't mention that I fed them a gallon and a half of one-to-one sugar water a month and a quarter ago.  Could they still have a substantial portion of that left?  So is the water in the feeder actual FOOD, you think? 

I have a telescoping top cover with a pressboard inner cover with a hole in the middle for ventilation with a 10 lb rock on top of all of that.  They should not be getting rained on, I think, but the inner cover is wet and drips when I take it off...I have only the one hive and this is our first winter...all advice is greatly appreciated:)
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2006, 08:48:58 PM »

>So, you think I should take off the top feeder and just replace it with the frame feeder?

Not necessarily.  They probably will work the frame feeder more if it's colder, but it's harder to fill than the top feeder.

> Because I was thinking that I should leave the top feeder on as an  extra rain catcher, it is pretty full and I would hate to see that much rain on the girls.

I doubt it will make any difference.  You must have a gap if the rain is blowing in.  Maybe you need to figure that out and block it.

>Of course, ok, I didn't mention that I fed them a gallon and a half of one-to-one sugar water a month and a quarter ago.  Could they still have a substantial portion of that left?

It's easy to find out.  Just lift the hive and see how heavy it is.

>  So is the water in the feeder actual FOOD, you think?

Likely.

>I have a telescoping top cover with a pressboard inner cover with a hole in the middle for ventilation with a 10 lb rock on top of all of that.  They should not be getting rained on, I think, but the inner cover is wet and drips when I take it off...

You will get condensation on an inner cover.  Is the inner cover on top of the feeder?  Underneath the feeder?  I wouldn't have it on at all with a top feeder.  If it's on top of the feeder, then it's just condensation from the syrup.

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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Paul Andersen
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« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2006, 11:39:39 PM »

As a neighbor in the Porland area I can sympathize with you, we are having record rain, wind and the humidity is really high.

Your problem is probably condensation do you have any ventilation near the top of your Hive? With a telescoping top cover and inner cover you should. The Inner cover should have a Notch on one edge, you need to be careful not to block this notch with the telescoping cover. Place the Notch to the front of the hive and slide the top cover towards the front.
Also, is your top cover covered with sheet metal?

As for feeding,  sugar syrup has a lower freezing point than pure water, and keep in mind the temperature will have to be below that freezing point for fair period of time before the temperature of the suryp actually drops that far enough to freeze. For an interesting test you could put a little sugar Syrup in a jar outside and see when it does freeze.

You said you were using a 1 to 1 Mixture, we usually use a 2 parts sugar to 1 part water mixture  this late in the year. This is a saturated sugar solution and the bees have less moisture to deal with and it should also reduce your hive humidity and condensation.

Good Luck,

Paul
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Paul
Cindi
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« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2006, 09:09:32 AM »

Yvette
I am a pretty new beekeeper, learning stuff all the time too.  We live upcoast of you quite a ways, but we have had the rain and rain and more rain, and high humidity goes along with that.  To add on to what Michael says, there is probably no brood in your hive now.  It should be explained that the queen takes a break from laying usually around mid-November to some time in January.  This is pretty much standard.  That is why you probably won't have brood.  Winter is the time for rejuvenation.  Even us humans get rather lethargic wouldn't you say.  LOL.  I know I kind of love winter for just laying low, getting ready for the work I know that is coming in spring.  From what I am hearing, if you fed the bees sugar syrup for awhile, they probably have stored enough for the winter, you probably have pretty mild winters, like we do up here.  When fall feeding, next year, feed 2:1 sugar syrup, 1:1 is too light for winter food, 1:1 is used in the spring up here to encourage the queen basically to start to get busy laying, I think it mimics the nectarflow.  the bees need 2:1 s.s. in the fall so they don't have to work so hard to reduce the moisture content to store it in the cells, it is more like honey than 1:1.  There is so much to learn when first learning to keep bees, but keep on learning.  Ask questions like you are, it will be one of your biggest and most wonderful tools you can have.  And read, get a good book on bees, and read.  I would not feed them anymore sugar syrup at al Evette, the bees can get dysentry from too much moisture.  If you are still worried about them starving, if anything at all, give them some dry sugar on top of the inner cover, this is emergency food.  I was gleaning information about the winter feed, and it sounds like Robo has a great idea in case of emergency for the bees.  That is to make a sugar board that has hard sugar candy that is made for the bees.   The way it is situated it is in contact with the bees at any time that they need food, in an emergency, it seems to me to be a very logical way to feed.  The bees never have to break cluster to get to it.  Go on his website if you want to find out about it.  I am not an expert, but I have learned a few things about emergency winter food that I find may help us, as unseasoned beekeepers, out to take away worry about winter starvation.  Good luck and great day.  Cindi
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2006, 10:50:19 AM »

>you need to be careful not to block this notch with the telescoping cover.

Or, if you have a top feeder on and it's on top of that, make SURE you block it or you'll have a top feeder full of drowned bees.

Better yet, if you have a top feeder on take off the inner cover.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
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