Ventilation

Basic beekeeping, this is beekeeping after the first winter until about the third or fourth year. You are a beekeeper, but you still have a lot to learn. Talk about normal everyday beekeeping here.
Grappling Coach
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Ventilation

Postby Grappling Coach » Sat Jun 03, 2017 2:52 pm

It has been pretty mild here so far this year, but with summer coming on, it's going to get hot. Temperatures are reaching the low 80 now. Should I start ventilating my hives, and if so, how do you ventilate yours? A friend of mine bought some pieces with screen that covers the top box and strips of wood holding the top cover up. I like them, because he can pull the top cover off and look down inside without the bees flying out. So, what is your technique?

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SiWolKe
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Re: Ventilation

Postby SiWolKe » Sat Jun 03, 2017 3:43 pm

You see some comments here.

I rather do like Nordak, giving them more space.

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=1105
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moebees
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Re: Ventilation

Postby moebees » Sat Jun 03, 2017 4:10 pm

I have an upper entrance.
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

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GregV
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Re: Ventilation

Postby GregV » Tue Jun 06, 2017 10:43 pm

How do you ventilate yours?


Such questions need context.
I am in zone 4/5 but the summers can be hot enough (into 90's F)
If you are in zone 7/8 - that maybe different.

The question is - does the ventilation help or hinder the bees' life-cycle?
Well, no one is ever around to help the feral bees to ventilate; so I am not around to help mine either.
They are fine. They got as much water as needed. Nectar itself is 80% water.

The largest hive I have - few small ventilation slots in the floor and bottom entrance (simlar to Dr. Leo's Layen hive).
The top is ventilated through the sides.
I got insulation on the top bars to protect from the burning hot roof and heat coming from the above.

The nucs I have - no ventilation at all.
Just the small entrances; these are heavily insulated on the top and are inside of my wintering shed.

Here are some numbers:
- the optimal operating temperature in the nest should be 90-95F (32-35C) at all times;
- the optimal humidity should be somewhere in 60-80% range.
- last weekend my two nucs were running 95F and 99F above the bars.
- bees do not need drafts (either warm or, worse, cold drafts); they are able to condition their space the best when no drafts get in a way.

So I don't care about my bees running a bit hot, this is exactly what the nucs need so to raise as much brood as possible with only few bees to spare.
It is pretty easy to condition down few degrees; much harder to stay warm if there are not enough bees.
The big hives can condition themselves just fine as well.

A good source (bees can take a lot of heat - not a issue):
http://fac.ksu.edu.sa/sites/default/fil ... dients.pdf

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Re: Ventilation

Postby SiWolKe » Wed Jun 07, 2017 5:20 am

Tom Seeley made some tests too and the bees increased the water foraging the moment they became hot.

So with sufficient water or fresh nectar around they seem to be content.

Drafts could diminish the ability of the bees to keep their temperature, especially in a small colony with much space.

I have a friend who tried 4 times to establish a swarm into a hollow tree hive he made himself. This piece of tree has not the original natural roof being taken out of a whole tree, but was covered with a board, no isolation.

Makes me wonder if they abscond because the roof being isolated is important to them. A tree normally has much isolating wood on top.
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Re: Ventilation

Postby GregV » Wed Jun 07, 2017 3:17 pm

SiWolKe wrote:.......Makes me wonder if they abscond because the roof being isolated is important to them. A tree normally has much isolating wood on top.

Yes. I feel the top/roof insulation is one most significant part to which the bees have adapted over very long time.
The vertical standing tree provides infinitely high insulation value as well as very large thermal mass just above the colony (a large portion of the tree trunk is usually above). A very well insulated dome (regardless of season) and with no drafts is a good thing. The vast majority of natural bee dwellings are like this. As long as there are side/bottom openings, bees should be able to organize their own HVAC system as they see fit.

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Re: Ventilation

Postby SiWolKe » Wed Jun 07, 2017 7:00 pm

Hey all,

I wonder if foam insulation which insulates the cold too inside the hive could hinder the bees to get warm in winter sun and so not being able to start a cleansing flight.
Or they do not realize it´s a warm day and stay inside.

What´s your opinion?
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Re: Ventilation

Postby GregV » Wed Jun 07, 2017 7:30 pm

SiWolKe wrote:Hey all,

I wonder if foam insulation which insulates the cold too inside the hive could hinder the bees to get warm in winter sun and so not being able to start a cleansing flight.
Or they do not realize it´s a warm day and stay inside.

What´s your opinion?


Most any bees can go 2-3 months without cleansing flights.
The Russians can go 6 months without a flight.
I would not worry too much on that topic.

If there is a good, consistent thaw and average ambient temps stay warm enough, they will go out sun or no sun.
These sun-generated temp jumps are more bad than good, IMO.
Good bees should not be depending on the sun-generated temperature jumps for mid-winter cleansing and such.

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Re: Ventilation

Postby Grappling Coach » Thu Jun 08, 2017 3:34 am

What about in the winter to eliminate condensation?

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Re: Ventilation

Postby moebees » Thu Jun 08, 2017 4:28 am

What about in the winter to eliminate condensation?


Upper entrance and good insulation.
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

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Re: Ventilation

Postby SiWolKe » Thu Jun 08, 2017 4:34 am

GregV wrote:Most any bees can go 2-3 months without cleansing flights.
The Russians can go 6 months without a flight.
I would not worry too much on that topic.

If there is a good, consistent thaw and average ambient temps stay warm enough, they will go out sun or no sun.
These sun-generated temp jumps are more bad than good, IMO.
Good bees should not be depending on the sun-generated temperature jumps for mid-winter cleansing and such.


They can but depending what they used as food is could mean their death. Here the dark melizitose honey, foraged from special louse on fir trees, causes many dead hives if there are no cleansing flights.

I believe you mean the brood brakes in cold as an advantage, Greg. But after solstice the bees start to breed, no matter what.

MB told me once the longest time his bees had no flight was 6 month. Most of them survived, but had diarrhea.

I remember Erik Österlund telling that his monticola bees were not used to flights in the winter sun and chilled coming outside on a warm winter day.
Very interesting topic to me.
Juhani Lunden told on BS he rather prefers the cold overwintering because the bees do not need much food.

Maybe some others post their experience.
I would like to know if the bees realize the outside temps if they are in a "fridge", isolated from warm outside temps.
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Re: Ventilation

Postby GregV » Thu Jun 08, 2017 2:53 pm

SiWolKe wrote:.....I would like to know if the bees realize the outside temps if they are in a "fridge", isolated from warm outside temps.


Sybille, you can google this yourself, but the short resume is this:

Bees winter best at about 4-5C (40-41F) steady temperatures inside the hive (the most efficient food-wise and most stress-free).
In this mode, they can winter for very long time (yes - provided the food is good wintering honey OR straight sugar because sugar generates no poop). Basically, wintering in a well insulated "fridge" is the best.

So these, supposedly nice, winter sun breaks are more disruptive than are good.
If your bees are appropriate for your climate/locality, they need no winter breaks (not many, anyway).
Of course, the Italians are not meant for WI and so they can not hold their poop long enough and need bathroom breaks.
But this is the root problem - the Italians are not meant for WI for resident beekeeping.
Carni/Russian/German type bees are more appropriate for WI.

Back to ventilation - issue of anti-moisture ventilation really comes out of the issue of poor insulation (most importantly - top insulation).
Once the top insulated to the levels R10-R15 (or better even), the condensation over the bee cluster should not be an issue (hence the ventilation is less of an issue as well).

MB told me once the longest time his bees had no flight was 6 month. Most of them survived, but had diarrhea.

About this...
From where I came from, bees had no flight time mid-October to mid-April (6 months).
This was norm. Regular black bees of that locality.
You left them alone and they wintered.
Every time someone tried Italians or Caucasians - those were worthless and lasted only for a summer (and also diluted local stock for no good).

I am not concerned with brood break here - different topic.

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Re: Ventilation

Postby SiWolKe » Mon Jun 12, 2017 5:18 am

From where I came from, bees had no flight time mid-October to mid-April (6 months).
This was norm. Regular black bees of that locality.
You left them alone and they wintered.


How do you know about this?

If you are not at the bee yard every day the temperature rises, you don´t know.
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Re: Ventilation

Postby GregV » Mon Jun 12, 2017 3:10 pm

SiWolKe wrote:
From where I came from, bees had no flight time mid-October to mid-April (6 months).
This was norm. Regular black bees of that locality.
You left them alone and they wintered.


How do you know about this?

If you are not at the bee yard every day the temperature rises, you don´t know.


The bee yard was in the orchard next to our house.
How don't you know this if you see your beehives from the window every day?
Especially if the main beekeeper (Dad) is a retired, stay-at-home school teacher and around the homestead all day/every day.
:D

Look, I am talking real deal here. :)
People keep bees in Siberia, of all places, very successfully, just as we speak.
How long is the usable summer there, you think?
Our climate was not even as harsh as in Siberia.

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Re: Ventilation

Postby SiWolKe » Mon Jun 12, 2017 3:55 pm

OK

my main reflection was about how the bees react to outside temperatures if they are insulated.
Is it different?
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Re: Ventilation

Postby GregV » Mon Jun 12, 2017 5:01 pm

SiWolKe wrote:OK

my main reflection was about how the bees react to outside temperatures if they are insulated.
Is it different?


Well, my Dad ran double-wall square Dadants.
There walls were filled with saw dust I recall.
On the top he piled up some blankets and pillows.
These wintered totally fine outside (we'd pile snow around and on top).

But Dad experimented with bringing them into the house basement as well because then he could feed them easily.
He tried wintering both ways intermittently and I recall wintering in the basement was worse (more losses).

One problem in the basement was that they became too warm and too disturbed often, and yet they could not go out (this is how I also know they were flightless for up to 6 months at a time). Wintering outside was better as they were kept colder and did not get activated too early or as often.

Unfortunately, Dad was not aware of the "mountain camp" feeding method with dry sugar on top.
He kept trying to winter inside so that he could give them liquid syrup - this was a really poor idea as I understand now.
Too bad, there was no Internet or Google at the time to learn of other working methods.

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Re: Ventilation

Postby SiWolKe » Thu Jun 15, 2017 5:22 pm

I just want to tell you my bees live outdoors now:

35°C.jpg
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Dustymunky
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Re: Ventilation

Postby Dustymunky » Thu Jun 15, 2017 6:16 pm

Looks like a pretty populous hive to have a robber screen


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Re: Ventilation

Postby GregV » Thu Jun 15, 2017 6:38 pm

The screen maybe OK - does not hurt (though unnecessary in this case).

What I do notice is this - there is not sufficient free space under the frames (combs).
Given enough free space under the frames (2-3 inches/5-10cms), these bees would likely hang in there and ventilate the hive.
About this amount of free under-frame space is what I shoot for - for ventilation/humidity management.
Most all natural hives have lots of free space under the combs - helps the bees in thermo/moisture management.

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Re: Ventilation

Postby SiWolKe » Thu Jun 15, 2017 7:16 pm

I tested this myself, Greg, i have some hives with a medium under.
One build comb in every available space under the frames and has worker brood there. This is a mess. Difficult to pull the frames.

Still all bee colonies beard except the small splits with queen.

It´s my first year with closed floors. What amazes me is there is no fanning to be seen on the outside like it was with opened floors.
Just normal traffic and the bees hanging around outside.
They are not even carrying water ( maybe use the nectar humidity ).
The entrance is 15cm.
We have 35°C.

This colony has one deep, and two medium on top. One week ago I put in a medium with foundations between the top one with nectar ready to be capped and the deep.
No ventilation gap on top but insulation.
They dry nectar, this I hear.

I´m using robber screens on every hive now. My neighbor has some bee colonies and will harvest and then let them starve. Last year they were desperately foraging the plum fruits of the tree behind my home, because it was the only source.
I don´t want them to stress my bees.
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Re: Ventilation

Postby GregV » Thu Jun 15, 2017 7:33 pm

SiWolKe wrote:I tested this myself, Greg, i have some hives with a medium under.
One build comb in every available space under the frames and has worker brood there. This is a mess. Difficult to pull the frames.


There is a way to make is so that bees do not consider the extra space under the frames for comb building.
Once I find this design (again), I will post it.
Pretty sure it works. The idea is to make the space accessible for bees so the extra population hangs about in there and ventilates the hive, yet separate enough to be considered outside of the nest space.

With my foundation-less, tall frames they never build all way down to the bottom frame bar, anyway.
There is always some extra space in a lower part of the frames and below frames.
Never observed bearding yet; they are all hang about inside. Might as well do some work and condition the hive.

SiWolKe wrote:I´m using robber screens on every hive now..

Actually, I remember now yet another reason for the screens - cuts down on bees randomly drifting around.
Should be less parasites drifting about as an effect (in theory, that is).

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Re: Ventilation

Postby GregV » Fri Jun 16, 2017 2:28 am

Here you go.
The thing is called "swarm prevention pocket".
But this is really a multi-function thing.
A medium super can be modified into this without much work, I would imagine.

Numbers on pic1:
1)hive wall
2)frames
3)bee space under frames (small enough to prevent comb building)
4)plywood with holes (6-9 holes to allow bees up and down); these holes are, essentially, the "hive entrance".
5)entrance/exit to the outside (this one is visible from the outside)
6)top cover
7)screened ventilation slot
8)wire screen
9)empty space (about 10 cm/4 inches)
10)bottom board
11)landing board

Pic 2 - live example
So basically, instead of hanging outside, the spare bees hang about in the empty space #9.
Because there is only bee space under the frames, they will not be eager to build there.

This setup is said to be a good anti-swarming measure as it prevents over crowding because extra bees just hang out down in empty space.
This is also great during rainy summer days - a ventilated, yet rain-proof hallway for the bees to be

The setup provides for a good hive conditioning by the bees via the plywood board.
The bottom ventilation is good in summer and winter both; the top, naturally, must be draft-proof.
IF they still start building combs in the empty space #9 - this is a sure indication that the hive must be urgently expanded (more suppers up top).

Youtube video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pmx6DFdyDIU
Just ignore language if don't understand. Go to the 4:40 and start watching there for the live example.
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Re: Ventilation

Postby SiWolKe » Fri Jun 16, 2017 5:55 am

What people invent to make the bees do what the beekeepers want ;)
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Re: Ventilation

Postby GregV » Fri Jul 07, 2017 6:45 pm

Well, alternative design of the same is well known and is called - slatted rack.
The same basic idea - additional air cushion below the nest; used for ventilation and excess bee holding area.
Makes sense to me.

Here:
https://honeybeesuite.com/how-to-build-a-slatted-rack/
https://honeybeesuite.com/how-to-use-a-slatted-rack/


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