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Author Topic: Ventilation Box  (Read 5728 times)
Kris^
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« on: June 20, 2004, 12:57:19 AM »

I modded my hive today in an effort to get some better ventilation, because the bees were acting like they were stifling when the temperatures reached the 90s.  One thing I did was build a screened bottom board, kinda looking at what Beth did and checking out a plan on Beesource, then winging it with what materials and tools I had here.  I used regular window screen, which I've found out isn't really the best for varroa control, so i'll be changing that at a later date when that becomes a priority.  I hope it will still work for air flow.

One other thing I did was bild a ventilation box.  What it is, essentially, is a 4-1/2" super with 1-1/2" holes drilled in the sides and screening placed across the inside of the openings.  A couple pictures of the stack is shown below.  On top of the screened bottom board are two brood supers (the upper one is heavier that the lower one by far, probably 50 lbs.), a queen excluder, a honey super, the inner cover, the ventilation box and the outer cover.  (The feeder jar is water; I quit feeding syrup last weekend.)  The intent, as someone mentioned here earlier, is to get a chimney effect drawing air up through the hive stack.  It's a little early yet to tell whether it will have the desired effect, or whether the residents will like it.

One thing I have a questions about, though, is whether I should place screening over the oval hole in the inner cover.  There are bees in the honey super drawing comb, and they were coming up through the hole before I out the vent box on.  If I leave it fully open, will they eventually come up and start drawing wild comb in the box?  Maybe someone who has made a similar setup might know from experience which way is best.

I'll let you know what the bees think about it when I find out.  smiley

-- Kris

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Robo
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« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2004, 07:51:00 AM »

I would not screen over the hole in the inner cover.  My original DE modification kit, had all 3 holes in the inner cover screened off.  With this, I found the top of the inner cover (ventilation box) area became the perfect home for ants and spiders.  By giving the bees access to this area, they keep it clean.    Unless you really cramp the hive,  they won't build comb up there, in fact even if they are cramped, they would probably swarm first.  I have never had a problem with any comb being built above the inner cover.
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Beth Kirkley
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« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2004, 09:12:48 AM »

Hey Kris-
Well I don't know about how they react with an inner cover in the way, but I know for a fact they'll build come on the tops of frames going upward if given space. They're doing some of that right now with my experimental top bars in the medium super I have.

And this picture is of what my bees did to a lid I have (I've since changed things so they can't do this). But I will mention that they may have done it for a couple reasons: 1) they did not have another super to expand into, 2) there was no inner lid before this, and bees will just sort of keep going with wax above the frames if given the chance. But you can see it's about the thickness of your ventalation lid, just a little more shallow. They sure made an interesting shaped comb. Smiley It was like tubes - wonderfully rounded so it had lots of contact point on the top, and not attaching to the frame tops below it. By the time I found it, they had it filled with larvae and honey.



My situation was opposite in every way from Rob:
Quote
Unless you really cramp the hive, they won't build comb up there, in fact even if they are cramped, they would probably swarm first. I have never had a problem with any comb being built above the inner cover.


Because they did not have more space, were very cramped, had no inner lid (this WAS my poorly built inner lid), and they DID build comb. But you'll find out pretty fast whether or not it'll work. The only reason my girls got away with this much work is that I was off having a mental breakdown Smiley and didn't check my hives like I should. And if it does work for you, it makes a great upper entrance for them.

Beth
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Kris^
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« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2004, 10:24:13 AM »

I remember seeing that picture, and want to avoid that if possible.  I have an alternative, too, that I hadn't thought of before.  I have a propolis trap that I was thinking of putting on this fall, which would keep the bees from getting into the box, but still allow plenty of air flow.  But I don't know whether it would be worth it or not.

Does anyone here have any experience using the plastic propolis trap?  How long does it take for the bees to plug it up?  And of course, there is still the spiders and ants problem Robo mentioned if I keep the bees out.  What to do, what to do?
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« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2004, 11:39:38 AM »

Quote from: Beth Kirkley
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Unless you really cramp the hive, they won't build comb up there, in fact even if they are cramped, they would probably swarm first. I have never had a problem with any comb being built above the inner cover.



My comment on them not building up there was based on HAVING an inner cover.  The restricting of the inner cover would split the colony into 2 serperate brood nest. Which they would be hesitant to do unless they really really had to.


I have and plenty of hives fill the space under the inner cover, but never have had one build above.

Kris,  I would open it up and just keep an eye on it for a week or two.  Give them the correct room under the inner cover, and my bet is you will have no problem.
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mark
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« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2004, 08:39:35 PM »

i've had a ventilation box ( two screened 3/4" holes in each side )  on my hive for weeks as well as a sbb with it turned like a DE hive.  the inner cover has 4 extra screened holes with the center hole with a porter escape which is open completely.  the bees have access to the top box but as yet have not built any comb there. they do go in the top after the ants and they are propolizing the extra screened holes in the inner cover. whether because of the ants or too much ventilation is anybody's guess.
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Beth Kirkley
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« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2004, 09:32:30 PM »

Kris-
I think Rob's advice is probably right. I did get comb, but like I said, I didn't have an inner cover. To the bees that probably makes a big difference. Rob's had more experience than I have.

(I probably bug the heck out of Rob cause I tend to experiment so much and fall into messes sometimes because of it.) LOL

Beth
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« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2004, 09:46:53 PM »

Quote from: Beth Kirkley
(I probably bug the heck out of Rob cause I tend to experiment so much and fall into messes sometimes because of it.) LOL

Beth


Not at all, experimenting is good.  You don't think I was born with my knowledge Cheesy  Just keep in mind all the variables when analyzing your results.  Sometimes the cause of what makes them do what they do can be pretty obscure.

Bees are a social insect.  Just think if you went to a dance party and there was an adjacent room thru a doorway.  People would stay in the main room to be "where the action" is.  But if you could open up the whole wall between the rooms, like a partition wall,  people would take advantage of the now "bigger" room and move into the added space.  Same thing with/without an inner cover.
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Beth Kirkley
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« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2004, 12:20:07 AM »

That makes sense Rob. I do enjoy the experimenting. And I've learned alot from it. More than I would have if I'd just done it the "typical" ways - langstroth hive, regular frames, etc. If I'd done it just like I've been told, all the time, I'd have great success, but not learn as much about the bees behavior either.

Beth
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Finman
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« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2004, 01:42:59 AM »

Quote from: Kris^
I modded my hive today in an effort to get some better ventilation


I use middle entrances in each super. Why don't you use that way. It may be round or right angled. If it is riht angled it is easy to deminish 2/3.

I use middle openings and I live in Finland. Just now we have about 17C degrees a day temperature and they use middle opepings.

"Chimney effect is theory, and like chimney, you may coltrol it.
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Kris^
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« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2004, 11:51:38 PM »

UPDATE:

The colony seems to have adapted well to the modifications I made.  I don't know which change made the most difference, but I suspect it was adding the screened bottom board.  For the first couple evenings after installing the SBB and vent box, the bees continued to hang out on the landing board and up the front of the hive.  We had a cold spell then, with a string of nights going down into the 50s.  During these nights they stayed inside, and since then, they've tended to stay inside.  On the other hand, they've been very active during the days when the temperature has risen into the 80s and 90s.  As for the vent box, I left the hole in the inner cover unscreened.  The colony has not moved into the extra space there; ocassionally when I peeked into the box, there is a little corpse of a worker who went there to die.

I was also concerned about whether the colony would make the move through the queen excluder and begin drawing comb in the honey super I installed.  At first they went down through but didn't come back up, and I thought I'd try putting it on sideways in order to make it easy for them.  But they eventually moved up there and started drawing the comb out on at least four frames, when I last checked a little over a week ago.  They are drawing it a little slower now than in the past, when I was feeding them syrup.  My experience is that they'll take it as long as you give it to them, and because I want them to make honey instead of distilled sugar water, I stopped.  But we still have a few months, I hope, for them to draw out some frames of comb and fill them with honey.
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Anonymous
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« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2004, 08:47:32 AM »

I'm brand new here...first post. And I really like the idea of the ventilation box that Kris has shown. We have two hives we just started this past May with nucs, and they're off to a great start, so far. But I've recently been a little concerned about ventilation. Haven't seen a huge matting of the bees on the front of the hive box, yet, but we've seen small ones with probably the bottom half of the bottom deep covered. I'm supposing that we're seeing a ventilation issue, but perhaps not.

Anyway, I'm tempted to build a couple of the vent boxes myself.

With regard to the question of screening off the hole in the inner cover, I'd think not. The inner cover provides for secondary access and egress (exit) from the hive, right? In that case, I think I'd build the vent box with either aluminum screening covering the entire bottom of the vent box where it sits on the inner cover, or installing a sheet of 1/4" plywood on the bottom of the vent box, and cutting a series of holes in the plywood, just like the one in the inner cover, and then placing the screen over that inside the vent box. The plywood just becomes reinforcement for the screen, as it's probably a safe bet that the bees will try to build something there.

One question I have concerns itself with maintaining warmth in the hive. At what point does one know that the vent box should come off? I'm guessing that the signs are fairly obvious as to when it should be installed. But when to remove it would be what...a guess?

Great place here. Looking forward to learning a lot.
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Robo
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« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2004, 09:07:24 AM »

I wouldn't put to much time and effort into preventing the bees from entering the ventilation box. As was stated before, as long as you have an inner cover under the ventilation box, the bees will not build comb in it.  By restricting the bees access to the ventilation box,  it will become the home of ants, spiders, roaches, etc.

I usually flip mine when the night temperatures get in the 40s.

When you build them, make them the same size as a medium super, that way you can feed with a mason jar.
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saltheart
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« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2004, 09:17:26 AM »

OK...nix the bottom screen and the plywood. We'll try it just as presented.

Thanks.
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Robo
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« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2004, 09:44:14 AM »

You can always add it later if you have a problem,  but I don't think you will.
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Kris^
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« Reply #15 on: July 06, 2004, 03:38:14 PM »

One of the unforseen benefits I discovered is that I'm farther from the "bee action" when I peek into the top of the hive.  Normally, when I lift the outer cover, the inner cover is right there, and the bees can fly right up out of the hole in the center of the cover.  In fact, I got stung above the eye a month or two ago doing just that.  But with the vent box on top, there appears (from the bees' perspective, I suppose) to still be walls around the area, and the bees seem less startled by the sudden opening and less likely to fly up out of the hole at me.  I can look down into the hole without disturbing the workers, and seeing how many bees are walking on the tops of the frames gives me some idea of how heavily the honey super might be being worked at different times of the day without having to do a full inspection.

But then again, my last couple full inspections/manipulations have gone rather well, with very little guff from the girls.

And I haven't had any problem with the bees taking up residence in there.

-- Kris
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