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Author Topic: Ventilation  (Read 3233 times)

Offline Karen J Burnett

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Ventilation
« on: May 08, 2015, 07:02:15 pm »
Hi ya'll.
My husband and I have three 8 frame langstroth garden hives and one Golden Mean top bar. The state hive inspector told us we needed better ventilation on the top bar and it did in fact seem wetter (from condensation) than it should be, and we did loose those bees. However, we also lost the bees in the garden hives. We think it was the local agriculture practices that did us in, but we can't be sure. Anyway - the husband and I have debated (argued) about drilling a few holes, screen covered, to ventilate it better. He says the bees will just propalize over any such hole. I say surely they'll be glad to have the ventilation and they seem smart enough about that kind of thing. 
Any thoughts?
The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
Is aristocracy.

Emily Dickenson

Offline Robo

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Re: Ventilation
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2015, 08:34:23 pm »
I say surely they'll be glad to have the ventilation and they seem smart enough about that kind of thing. 
Any thoughts?

Have you every checked out a feral colony?  They do not want ventilation.   Ventilation is a beekeepers attempt to think they are smarter than the bees.   

I know most will give you a different answer and I often take heat for my position on ventilation,  but I will just refer you back to my first question and what feral colonies do when left to their own.
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison



Offline Karen J Burnett

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Re: Ventilation
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2015, 09:31:25 pm »
Hummm - well - maybe a hollow tree, or what have you, dose a better job  absorbing and dissipating the extra moisture than a closed pine or cedar hive?
The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
Is aristocracy.

Emily Dickenson

Offline Robo

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Re: Ventilation
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2015, 09:50:16 pm »
Ya, that is usually the first reply.   How much moisture do you think was "absorbed" from this feral colony.




Fact is feral colonies living in the walls of abandoned buildings or unheated barns/outbuildings also will seal up all the cracks except for the small entrance hole, and those walls have characteristics very similar to a langstroth.
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison



Offline Karen J Burnett

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Re: Ventilation
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2015, 10:58:19 pm »
LOL - well that looks like it might be better ventilated than one might think! But I get your point. So, what about all the wetness from the condensation? It is not true that a cold ball of bees will be Okay, but a cold, wet ball of bees is doomed?
The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
Is aristocracy.

Emily Dickenson

Offline Robo

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Re: Ventilation
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2015, 11:11:24 pm »
Well, it is kind of a catch 22 with ventilation. First off, where does the moisture come from?  it is a byproduct of the bees consuming honey.  When you provide upper ventilation, you are also allowing heat to escape (just like leaving a window open upstairs in your home).  When heat escapes,  it requires the bees to eat more honey to keep warm.   So the best way to reduce moisture is to reduce honey consumption.  My preferred method is to increase the insulation value of the hive and have the highest insulation value above them.  this way any condensation that does occur will happen on the walls and not above the bees.  Also, warm air holds more moisture than cold air,  so by letting them keep the heat in the hive,  more water stays in the air so there is less condensation.   The best way for a langstroth hive is to use a quilt box like the Warre hive.  It allows moisture to be wicked away without loosing any precious heat.   If you are not familiar with Warre's principles,  a free version of his book can be downloaded here -> bit.ly/warre   well worth the read for many reasons.

Yes bees can survive with upper ventilation,  but it requires them to consume more honey and it a drier environment.  Just like you prefer more humidity in the winter to breath, so do they.
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison



Offline OldMech

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Re: Ventilation
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2015, 01:27:52 am »
I have had this argument with Rob, and have attempted to run langstroths with no top ventilation, and lost some of them due to condensation..
  A LOT depends on your climate and the type of hives you have, as well as how you winter them.
  I have to agree with everything Robo says. You KNOW what he says works, or he would not have live bees any more..  but in my situation, with my climate and my hives, it simply does not work.
   I have been using a top entrance since 1977, and the only time I lose bees is when THEY close that entrance, or I do...

   Bees know best what they want, thats why they close off the top entrance?  I know what I want too, I want Skoal and McDonalds, but neither are good for me.

   This is what works here;
http://www.outyard.net/wintering.html
 
39 Hives and growing.  Havent found the end of the comfort zone yet.

Offline Robo

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Re: Ventilation
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2015, 08:56:43 am »
I have had this argument with Rob, and have attempted to run langstroths with no top ventilation, and lost some of them due to condensation..

Have you tried a Warre-like quilt box? 
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison



Offline Rurification

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Re: Ventilation
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2015, 09:18:07 am »
OldMech - thanks for that link on overwintering.    We're in a tricky microclimate here and I'm already planning for winter.   I'm rethinking ventilation/winterization totally.
Robin Edmundson
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Offline Robo

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Re: Ventilation
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2015, 09:57:38 am »
Quote
Use caution when reading and watching videos.  When you have 20 people agreeing on a method, and ONE person adamantly swearing your bees will die, it is best to ignore the minority until You are confident in your beekeeping skills. I have lost too many hives in the past because of my experiments in trying things that "might" work elsewhere, that do NOT work here.
Ouch!!!

I often wonder what if skep beekeepers felt the same against Langstroth.

My advice to anyone is study what your local feral bees are doing and try to mimic it,  not what some beekeeper tells you.  Beekeepers believe they are of a higher power and know "better".  Stand back and rethink anything you are doing that the bees are fighting against.  As Micheal Bush says "Bee continue to survive despite our help".


"Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison



Offline Karen J Burnett

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Re: Ventilation
« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2015, 10:00:09 am »
We did put a quilt (warre type lid) on the tall hives this past winter and it made a huge difference for the better. But I wouldn't know how to make one to fit the top bar. The husband just told me he is thinking about it.
The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
Is aristocracy.

Emily Dickenson

Offline Robo

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Re: Ventilation
« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2015, 10:15:42 am »
Karen,

Please update your profile with your location, it helps with discussions like these.

In reality,  horizontal top bar hives are another creation on man and not the bees.  It is the bees nature to move in a vertical motion.  Think of a feral colony in a tree.  They start the spring at the top and over the summer work their way down.  As they collect nectar for honey, they store it above and force the brood nest down.  When fall comes, they are at the bottom with all their winter stores above.  As they go through winter, they consume the honey and gradually work their way up.  Having the stores above them allows them easy progression without having to break cluster to move to another area.  It also allows the stores to be pre-warmed as they get closer.  It is a very smooth flow.   Horizontal top bar hives don't allow this.   If you think of the origin of the horizontal top bar hives, it was in climates with little to no winter,  so the movement is irrelevant.  They are cheap and easy to build which is the key to the design, not what is in the best interest of the bees.
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison



Offline Robo

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Re: Ventilation
« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2015, 10:37:51 am »
You could also try putting rigid insulation board over the top of the top bars under the top cover.   By increasing the insulation value above them it should keep warmer than the sides of the hive.  This way condensation will happen on the sides and run down verses dripping on them.  In addition to that, you may want to try making a quilt like follower board (horizontal quilt board).   This would hopefully remove some of the moisture as well.
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison



Offline Karen J Burnett

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Re: Ventilation
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2015, 09:16:22 am »
Yeah, I kinda figured out it wasn't really ment for our area. I wanted it because I felt like I could manage it myself. I didn't know how interested in the bees my husband would get, and thought I might be working them alone much of the time. This turned out not to be the case, but I still like the top bar and for the same reason. It is more "mine". The rigid insulation idea is a good one. I have some handy from some tropical fish orders I've recently made. It will work very well, I think.
The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
Is aristocracy.

Emily Dickenson

Offline Robo

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Re: Ventilation
« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2015, 11:38:59 am »
This turned out not to be the case.

Well that's a good thing. It is always better when a spouse gets involved....
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison



Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Ventilation
« Reply #15 on: May 11, 2015, 09:08:48 am »
Moist air rises...
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm  em portugues:  bushfarms.com/pt_bees.htm
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