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Author Topic: Quilt boxes  (Read 339 times)

Offline Honeyeater

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Quilt boxes
« on: June 20, 2020, 11:58:46 pm »
Hi there. I have a question about quilt boxes.

I made a couple of quilt boxes two season ago but I never used them. Mine are a bit unconventional because their base is not cloth ( I thought the bees will chew through cloth), but I built a rim around an inner cover and placed metal mesh over the feeder hole. Most moisture will come up from the centre anyway where the brood is.

Quilt boxes seem to be popular in the US, but not in Oz. Here in Perth it is hot and dry but when it rains I?m having some condensation issues especially on cold nights here in the hills. So I thought I will finally put them in service.

Anyone here in Oz use them? Do you replace the pine shavings often? Do you leave them on in summer for extra insulation - that?s my plan because my hives are in full sun. Or will they soak up too much moisture? What about bottom ventilation - my plan is to go with an open screened bottom because I?m reading good things about them (I do not have SHB here to worry about crawling in.). No top ventilation apart those in the quilt box.


What are your thoughts?
Cheers.




Online Garigal

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Re: Quilt boxes
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2020, 12:50:36 am »
I built a Warre hive once but never ended up populating it as it couldn't fit proper movable frames etc.

When I made the quilt box I covered the bottom with hessian but also made a separate hessian hive mat to go under that. That hive mat had to be doped in starch as per Warres instructions which is supposed to stop the bees chewing through it I think. I had planned to fill it with sugar cane mulch. The Warre quilts have no venting either.

I think they tend to be used more in alpine areas for over-wintering.

Offline Honeyeater

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Re: Quilt boxes
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2020, 02:48:48 am »
I?m pretty sure they are overkill here in Perth.

However it might be the microclimate of my hives? location that?s a bit of an issue. I?m very limited with locating hives but I chose a spot a bit protected from the daily strong easterlies. The trade off I missed is that it is not very airy in winter, and being on clay soil there may be increased humidity.

Won?t that sugar cane mulch get mouldy?

Offline Robo

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Re: Quilt boxes
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2020, 08:04:34 am »
Can't speak for Oz,  but just a little tip.   Stacks of folded news paper works quite well at absorbing moisture and it is much easier to work with than wood shavings.   Any time I have used wood shavings it is always a mess to deal with and end up getting some down in the hive.   With Newspaper I easily pull out the wet and replace with dry in a matter of minutes,  which is nice when the weather is cold.
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Offline Honeyeater

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Re: Quilt boxes
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2020, 08:31:19 am »
Good tip Robo. I actually thought of that and I'm glad you confirmed that would be the case. I was going to put the pine shavings in a hessian sack for convenience.

Newspapers are even easier. I was also considering old cotton rags crumpled up.

Offline FloridaGardener

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Re: Quilt boxes
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2020, 06:42:34 pm »
I've used heavy brown packing paper, crumpled up.  And if I need fuel for the smoker because the pine needles are wet....well what d'you know - there it is, how convenient.

That paper seems to take on moisture then dry out again, over & over for a long time.

Offline Honeyeater

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Re: Quilt boxes
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2020, 08:12:49 pm »
I'll give paper a go then. Thanks for the tips.

Offline Hillbilly

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Re: Quilt boxes
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2020, 09:43:42 pm »
Hi Honey eater. I'm in the Perth Hills also, and have Flow Hives.

I have small vents in the lid, probably smaller than the standard ones on the Migratory tops common around here. Seems to keep condensation under control.

The other hive I have is traditional lang with no plastic frames. The bees sealed up the vents, and have less condensation issues on that one.

I don't know whether the plastic flow frames, being less absorbent, get more condensation on them, or just a fluke.

Offline Honeyeater

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Re: Quilt boxes
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2020, 06:26:22 am »
Hi there Hillbilly whereabouts are you in the hills? Good to meet more people from around here.

My current roof already have some vents but I still get condensation when it rains. My aim is to get rid of top ventilation altogether that's why I want to solve my condensation issues.

Online Garigal

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Re: Quilt boxes
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2020, 08:19:03 am »
Hi there Hillbilly whereabouts are you in the hills? Good to meet more people from around here.

My current roof already have some vents but I still get condensation when it rains. My aim is to get rid of top ventilation altogether that's why I want to solve my condensation issues.

Well the insulated roof with no vents is, in theory, meant to solve the condensation issues; but when I started out it was convention to tilt your hives forward so any condensation would run off as well as stop any rain flooding the solid bottom board.

With the popularity of oil filled trays everything needs to be near level to avoid spillage, I'm giving up on oil and going back to a slight tilt like I used to. I would have thought the Flow hive would achieve that automatically as everything has to be tilted 2.5 deg?

I've never worried about condensation dripping on the cluster too much where I am as I never even get frost, however I have had outbreaks of mold inside the hives over winter which the bees generally clean up themselves. The worst is when you find a slug hiding out in your hive   :oops:

Offline Honeyeater

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Re: Quilt boxes
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2020, 09:07:08 am »
I would have thought the Flow hive would achieve that automatically as everything has to be tilted 2.5 deg?

Everything from the brood box up is tilted 2.5deg, everything below is level.

I know that bees will clean up any mould, but if possible I want to avoid getting the Flow frames mouldy. Previous years they got a bit grubby but not too much. The bees can deal with it, but not me :) knowing that plastic Flow frames are being mouldy, and re-used.

Offline The15thMember

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Re: Quilt boxes
« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2020, 02:52:39 pm »
I know that bees will clean up any mould, but if possible I want to avoid getting the Flow frames mouldy. Previous years they got a bit grubby but not too much. The bees can deal with it, but not me :) knowing that plastic Flow frames are being mouldy, and re-used.
I'm not sure if this would work for you, since I don't know what your climate and temperatures are like this time of year, but I live in a very humid area and am always battling mold.  I use screened inner covers on my hives to help with air flow, and since I started using them my mold growth has really reduced.  I don't use them in the wintertime though, I switch to a moisture quilt box when it gets cold out.     
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline Honeyeater

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Re: Quilt boxes
« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2020, 10:33:39 am »
Screened inner covers are unheard of here. I seen them on some Chinese imported hives and wondered what was their scope. I thought they?re great to have a quick look inside without opening it and the bees coming at you.

Offline Robo

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Re: Quilt boxes
« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2020, 10:52:07 am »
For the most part bees are not fans of ventilation either.
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Offline The15thMember

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Re: Quilt boxes
« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2020, 12:43:57 pm »
For the most part bees are not fans of ventilation either.
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Woah!!  My bees propolize the screened covers a little bit, but it's nothing compared to THAT!   
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline CoolBees

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Re: Quilt boxes
« Reply #15 on: June 23, 2020, 03:44:18 pm »
That is crazy! Great picture Robo.
You cannot permanently help men by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves - Abraham Lincoln

Offline Robo

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Re: Quilt boxes
« Reply #16 on: June 23, 2020, 03:54:52 pm »
That is crazy! Great picture Robo.

In full disclosure, it is not my photo and unfortunately I don't recall where I got it.   I use to use it in my beekeeping thermodynamics presentation.
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison



Offline Honeyeater

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Re: Quilt boxes
« Reply #17 on: June 23, 2020, 08:30:29 pm »
That's a great lookin' screened cover.

If it was mine I let them finish it off, then put a glass over it and hang it on a wall.

Offline Hillbilly

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Re: Quilt boxes
« Reply #18 on: June 24, 2020, 03:26:40 am »
Never heard of screened inner covers, and now I know why LOL. Those bees really did not want it there.

Hi there Hillbilly whereabouts are you in the hills? Good to meet more people from around here.

Sorry for late reply Honeyeater, I don't check daily (forum fatigue) I'm in Glen Forest, off the GEH. Please swing by for a taste of my marri comb honey when you're up this way. Check you PM.  :cool: