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Josh

NZBF Wet Hive Doctor Nuc Box

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Hi,

 

I had a small colony at the end of last year, and reduced it to a nuc for winter and brought it to my home apiary (better shelter, and winter long urban supplies).

 

Opened it up last week and the amount of water inside was disappointing. I'd even made a corflute roof to cover the hive, and it has all the extra vents added around the sides in addition to front and back. And it smelt a bit meady (wet debris on floor).

 

Despite, it is doing well, but disappointing how wet it is. Never seen this before. It's sheltered from South rain and winds, get some sun every day. Its neighbouring hive is dry.

 

Interestingly at my other apiary of two hives, I left the feeders on all winter. One hive is dry. The other one had about 5L of water in the feeder with a soaking top cover. Underneath it was really strong but again never met so much water before.

 

The wet hive has a sprung lid (I know some think these are leakers) but that doesn't explain the nuc.

 

Any thoughts/suggestions appreciated.

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Different hives produce different levels of condensation . I pretty much solved my soggy winter hives problem a few years ago with ventilated bases. It’s not 100% bullet proof but I rarely see wet winter hives anymore 

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49 minutes ago, Josh said:

The wet hive has a sprung lid (I know some think these are leakers) but that doesn't explain the nuc.

I have a leaking spring lid .

I started storing my top feeder under it and on top of the top cover board .

It kept the hive drier .

I stopped using any internal feeders in my HD nucs in winter .

They cause condensation unless it was a very strong nuc and all syrup was taken up straight away .

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Sorry, I wasn’t clear. 

 

The nuc was wet before the feeder went in. And still they’re very wet. I put a pitched roof of corflute over the top all winter. But that’s not preventing anything it seems

 

I really should make some pitched rooves, they look good and wouldn’t leak. Can’t put  gear on top though...

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26 minutes ago, Josh said:

Sorry, I wasn’t clear. 

 

The nuc was wet before the feeder went in. And still they’re very wet. I put a pitched roof of corflute over the top all winter. But that’s not preventing anything it seems

 

I really should make some pitched rooves, they look good and wouldn’t leak. Can’t put  gear on top though...

Did you transfer the hive to a new dry HD nuc.

I did that and it helped . 

My nuc has a big wooden fames tin hive  lid that fits over it . I have a hive mat board underthe lid .

The HD nuc is also sitting up one a base  8 "" off the ground .

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7 hours ago, kaihoka said:

Did you transfer the hive to a new dry HD nuc.

I did that and it helped . 

My nuc has a big wooden fames tin hive  lid that fits over it . I have a hive mat board underthe lid .

The HD nuc is also sitting up one a base  8 "" off the ground .

I’ll try moving it to a fresh box, don’t know why that hadn’t occurred to me 🤔

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1 hour ago, Josh said:

I’ll try moving it to a fresh box, don’t know why that hadn’t occurred to me 🤔

I had a two box FD hive that often got the top box wet over winter .

I think I really should have squashed all the bees into one box .

But I took the wet box off and replaced with a new dry box .

 

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Typically a wet interior over winter is due to condensation. Warm air from the cluster meeting a cold hive mat or the roof of a corflute nuc. I use polystyrene under all our sprung lids and on top of over wintered corflute nucs. Also tipping the hive/nuc slightly forward helps any water in the base to drain out so it doesn't puddle on the hive base.

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I tried these (picture) on some of my hives this winter.  They are a removable mesh cover over a 25 - 30 mm hole in the inner.  I am in Otago, so winters are cold and condensation is quite a big a problem here.  I run solid floors and  feel that ventilated floors can provide too much airflow here during extreme conditions.  The benefit of this system is that it allows the bees to decide how much ventilation they have.  If there is too much they can (and do) propolis it partly or fully shut.  Some hives propolis them up, others leave them alone.  More importantly, among my hives there was less condensation and the hives were stronger this spring when they were fitted.  They are on all my hives now.

20190908_154958.jpg

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I prefer my hives to be dry but I don't lose any sleep over them if they are damp. I have seen urban hives quite wet and with fermented honey at times and I put a lot of the blame down to winter honey flows and the extreme difficulty hives have with getting rid of the excess moisture from the nectar. Sometimes they can do really well on winter flows and sometimes it's one of the quickest ways of stuffing up a good hive.

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5 hours ago, john berry said:

I prefer my hives to be dry but I don't lose any sleep over them if they are damp. I have seen urban hives quite wet and with fermented honey at times and I put a lot of the blame down to winter honey flows and the extreme difficulty hives have with getting rid of the excess moisture from the nectar. Sometimes they can do really well on winter flows and sometimes it's one of the quickest ways of stuffing up a good hive.

My hakea hive obviously had dry enough conditions through june ,july , early August to mature and cap a super of honey .

All over now , rain,  rain and more rain .

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I’ve found that the Ceracell mats made of ‘Weathertex’ have helped, in a randomised and controlled trial of 1.

The ones made of hardboard absorb water and get a bit sad.

It hadn’t occurred to be before but the comment from @john berry may be the reason. Outside of late summer/autumn there is a continual slow flow and it’s damp already and the bees are adding to it. A lot of the water is definitely coming from inside the hive.

If it gets really bad I switch out the boxes and dry them in my basement as they can be completely waterlogged.

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These nucs have thin walls almost zero insulation- I over winter bees in them a lot and they manage just fine, but water is an issue for sure and I assume it all comes from condensation. Can’t stop this without putting insulation around them somehow to stop condensation forming on the cold inside wall.  As far as I am aware, because it is likely condensation as the cause, roofs/covers aren’t going to help. 

 

 However I ignore it, set them up so they have a slight fall towards the door and any condensation runs out.  Any that have damp or trash sitting on the floor in first spring round late August get replaced, cleaned and sterilised as a matter of course.

 

the bees, as always, are fairly tolerant of our meddling. Cheers

Edited by Pinnacle
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All corflute nucs get wet in winter. I slope mine a little so the water will run out the front door to get rid of the worst of it.

 

Realise corflute does not breath, and is a perfect surface to collect moisture from the hive air, when it's cold outside. Just like the windscreen on your car.

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On 7/09/2019 at 8:35 PM, M4tt said:

Different hives produce different levels of condensation . I pretty much solved my soggy winter hives problem a few years ago with ventilated bases. It’s not 100% bullet proof but I rarely see wet winter hives anymore 

Do beekeepers change floors throughout the year depending on conditions?

I had a Hive Dr floor on one of my hives this year. Springtime the hive was strong and dry.

The other hive with solid floor was weaker and had mouldy frames up top.

Certainly makes me question?

I have various solid floors. 2 Hive Dr's ( Not sure what sort? Got them 'cause someone didn't need them) and a Kiwiamana vented floor.

I really like the idea of the K vented floor, but the bees tend to build comb underneath? 

The Hive Dr has quite wide slats and when I had the robbing problem bees were getting stuck in them.

I wondered about laying down some nylon fly screen mesh over floor? It is soft and durable and would possibly make it slightly warmer? 

 

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38 minutes ago, Wildflower said:

Do beekeepers change floors throughout the year depending on conditions?

I had a Hive Dr floor on one of my hives this year. Springtime the hive was strong and dry.

The other hive with solid floor was weaker and had mouldy frames up top.

Certainly makes me question?

I have various solid floors. 2 Hive Dr's ( Not sure what sort? Got them 'cause someone didn't need them) and a Kiwiamana vented floor.

I really like the idea of the K vented floor, but the bees tend to build comb underneath? 

The Hive Dr has quite wide slats and when I had the robbing problem bees were getting stuck in them.

I wondered about laying down some nylon fly screen mesh over floor? It is soft and durable and would possibly make it slightly warmer? 

Ask 5 beekeepers a question and you will get 7 answers.....heavens..how many answers from a forum?

I can answer from my observations only. I have 2 ventilated and the rest are solid. In my location and the weather we have had this winter- I would favour the ventilated to keep the hive dry however other years I would not have come up with that answer. There could be other factors at play- like site position, wind direction, colony strength....

I have been taught spring time initial maintenance is to give the hive base a good clean out, scraping with the hive tool.

 

Getting a hive through winter in good condition  is one of the bigger learning curves. I have often been told that's its ventilation rather than warmth that is the important factor.

 

Edited by Mummzie
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My wettest hive in 3 years has a ventilated floor, it’s also my strongest. My driest hive is ventilated. My nuc which is wet with a solid floor, but it is also doing better than its ventilated floor neighbour.

 

Who knows....

I solved the wet nuc... squashed the failing/underwhelming queen next door and merged the two hives.

Edited by Josh
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Yes, spare floors and boxes are useful. I try to assess health and move frame by frame, rather than heft by the full box: yep I’m a bit of a girl’s blouse with a middle aged lower back. With 3 hives you can. 

This first sunny-day warm spring looksee I moved each of my 3 hives, 1 frame at a time into empty dry boxes on dry clean floors, basically moved the house contents into new houses. Even the hives on HD bases had a mingy-wet south west wall in their top boxes. I think its the spring lids letting in water and they were bringing in winter nectar and bringing down 2:1 syrup from the top feeder during stormy weeks and condensing these down. My one solid hive floor (made originally by Brian Alexander, a thing of simple beauty) had kept my weakest one box hive in really good shape over winter. That solid hive floor and wooden entrance reducer is just great, perfect dimensions and functionality, I must make copies -and fix my leaky spring lid situation.

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2 hours ago, GoED said:

and fix my leaky spring lid situation.

It doesn't take much, just patch the corners with a bit of black sticky tape, it hangs in for ages.

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2 hours ago, yesbut said:

It doesn't take much, just patch the corners with a bit of black sticky tape, it hangs in for ages.

AAhh of course! Thank you. 

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