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Who uses quilt boxes over winter?


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Been watching some YouTube videos on quilt boxes, or a box that replaces your top cover on a hive that has something in it that absorbs moisture, such as wood chips or cloth for the winter period, I'm thinking about making one because when I last checked my hive in Featherston, there was moisture under the top cover, not dripping on the bees or anything but was quite wet, the area where the hive is, is mostly shaded in winter and dosnt see a lot of sun, when it a nice autum day anywhere else, the area where the hive is has wet grass and a bit boggy due to the valley. Here is a link to what I have been watching.

Any one use a box like this?

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I use plolyesterine between the hive mat and lid stopped the the damp. Think others that have tried the quilts found they did not help much as there is a lot more moisture in the hives than you would think. Hopefully someone will explain better

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As it gets cooler we are putting 100mm of newspaper on top of hives by way of insulation and moisture control. I am sure there is some condensation under a steel lid, every evening, but it is not that much, the volume of air below the lid and above the cover is a very small volume, so the amount of water in that air is even less. The main issue is to keep the ceiling of the hive warmer than the walls (sides). Thus water vapour inside the hive condenses on the inside walls and runs down. That is as opposed to condensing on the ceiling and dripping cold water on to the cluster. A steel lid can whick away warmth faster than bare wood, so even with a small air gap, the inner cover could be colder than the sides (at times). A block of polystyrene would be just as good or better than newspaper. I imagine a quilt box could end up doing the same job, but the condensed water in the hive is a drinking water source for the bees and is better on the walls than hanging above as a soggy ceiling that might still drip. If the quilt box was made waterproof at the bottom and filled with polysytrene or paper then it would become one and the same. Our main reason for using paper is that we get surplus newspapers free (FREE), whereas we don't have a source of free polystyrene..

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100mm?? Is that a typo?

I don't measure with calipers, but it is 100mm on the top bar hives because that is the gap to the roof. Whereas on the Langstroth hives the steel lids have less than 100mm overlap down the sides of the hive, so thickness of those is a good handful, as much as they can take for the individual lid. If HSV_Darren made a quilt box from 100x25mm boxing it could sit on top of the inner cover and could be filled with cheapest insulation material.

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sounds like a bad wintering spot, @HSV_Darren . no alternative since it's only one hive?

in some of my worst spots i use paradise poly boxes. the better the insulation the less the condensation.

It's a 10 acre forestry block that backs onto Tararua Forest Park, the only flat area is at the bottom of the hill, I have built a shelter with roof, and have a mesh floor on the hive, the hive won't get rained on as well. This is a pic before the roof went on, also wild pig proof as them come in and turn everything over looking for grubs.

image.jpeg.92750d281d64716ca5ed065d6ba0377a.jpeg

image.jpeg.92750d281d64716ca5ed065d6ba0377a.jpeg

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If you have a mesh floor you do not need a quit box. Actually you have to seal the top properly. The quilt box allows the top ventilation.

When you are ready to close the hive for winter(stores are okay, finished the treatment) cover the frames with a plastic sheet(my sheet is overhanging the box on each side with a 100mm-ish and I use a tape to fix the edge of the sheet around the box like a hat).

Next I ad the hive mat + the lid with a 25mm polystyrene inside of it. The bees will build some bur comb on the top of the frames to rise the plastic sheet so they can maintain/rotate an excellent air flow and all the excess of moisture will leave through the mesh floor.

I do not have moldy frames/comb in the spring.

 

I am not sure if that roof of the stand is necessary for your hive.

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@HSV_Darren: I have two hives in a similar spot (Nelson Creek - West Coast) and observed last year, before getting hives, that the autumn and winter was (locally) damp and prone to air frost. Not having too much winter sun the trade off was good position for rest of year. I was concerned about condensation and insulation.

 

I looked at quilt covers and funnily enough checked out the same blog :) After lots of research took the plunge and built these; 5992eb5893bb0_2016-04-1012_58_29.jpg.d0d7445c4347acac16fc94194f199e40.jpg

The hives are about 200mm off the gound and well sheltered. The mechanics and logic of the "how" the covers worked ticked the boxes for me.

 

The bees started to take out lots of the woodshavings, so in v1.2 I put some carded wool on top of the screen and then the shavings on top....no more bees carrying out bits of wood! The mesh is garden wind break netting.

 

Will see how they go this winter and consider keeping them on for coolness in the summer.

5992eb5897ddf_2016-04-1013_11_30.jpg.767699f08f4005439682004a918f5593.jpg

5992eb5893bb0_2016-04-1012_58_29.jpg.d0d7445c4347acac16fc94194f199e40.jpg

5992eb5897ddf_2016-04-1013_11_30.jpg.767699f08f4005439682004a918f5593.jpg

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@HSV_Darren: I have two hives in a similar spot (Nelson Creek - West Coast) and observed last year, before getting hives, that the autumn and winter was (locally) damp and prone to air frost. Not having too much winter sun the trade off was good position for rest of year. I was concerned about condensation and insulation.

 

I looked at quilt covers and funnily enough checked out the same blog :) After lots of research took the plunge and built these; [ATTACH]13652[/ATTACH] [ATTACH]13651[/ATTACH]

The hives are about 200mm off the gound and well sheltered. The mechanics and logic of the "how" the covers worked ticked the boxes for me.

 

The bees started to take out lots of the woodshavings, so in v1.2 I put some carded wool on top of the screen and then the shavings on top....no more bees carrying out bits of wood! The mesh is garden wind break netting.

 

Will see how they go this winter and consider keeping them on for coolness in the summer.

This is what I had in mind, do you sit the hive mat on the circular pieces on the corners and then put the roof on? I figured that the moisture I've seen in the hive so far, I have to do something to improve the situation, plus I don't mind building things.

One thing I still don't quite get is some people put polystyrene on top of the hive mat then put the roof on, how does this stop moisture building on the hive mat?

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If there is wetness in the top of the hive on the mat and polystyrene insulation is fitted, it might make the top drier in that there is no liquid water present, but it does not make the hive cavity any less humid. I suspect an absorbtive layer of something like woodshavings or straw etc may result in a drier hive (less humid) because it while it insulates it also "breathes" which poly does not. I still think from past experience that if there is obvious moisture in a hive it needs to be moved to a better spot if possible.

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This is what I had in mind, do you sit the hive mat on the circular pieces on the corners and then put the roof on? I figured that the moisture I've seen in the hive so far, I have to do something to improve the situation, plus I don't mind building things.

One thing I still don't quite get is some people put polystyrene on top of the hive mat then put the roof on, how does this stop moisture building on the hive mat?

I put the quilt box on top of the super and then the sprung lid on top of that. The wee circular things are an addition to lift up the sprung lid clear of the ventilation holes I put in (too low) to air the shavings.

 

Not sure on the poly addition either other than as an insulant rather than/as well as reducing mositure.

 

@yesbut - the absorbative layer, from the research I have done, does (help to) reduce the mositure and also acts as insulation. Agree the best remedy would be to relocate the hives, but I'm keen to see how they go this year in situ and see if I'm unduly clucking about the damp air/frosts locally to me...either way the addition of the quilt box can benefit all year round I understand :)

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I put the quilt box on top of the super and then the sprung lid on top of that. The wee circular things are an addition to lift up the sprung lid clear of the ventilation holes I put in (too low) to air the shavings.

 

so you don't put a hive top cover on the quilt box? I guess it probably wound not matter if there is one there or not, or maybe without one there would be more air space to let the wood shaving breath and dry out.
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In sports shops there are lots of shiny bits of metal. Some of these are designed to catch fish, but most of them are designed to catch fishermen. Most of the add-ons you can get for hives don't do any harm but hives can and do live quite happily without them.

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In sports shops there are lots of shiny bits of metal. Some of these are designed to catch fish, but most of them are designed to catch fishermen. Most of the add-ons you can get for hives don't do any harm but hives can and do live quite happily without them.

That is a good point! When you think about a hive that has swarmed and setup house in a tree or a old shed wall etc, it's usually in a cold damp spot with little or no sun such as under bush canopy, and the bees just manage the situation. Being a hobbyist, I want be bees to be comfortable as I can manage.

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If the tree you refer to is a large one, there could be a foot or more of solid wood around the hive, that provides an enormous amount of insulation and probably ######all ventilation in nearly every direction. But the bees are masters of ventilation and the warm moist air in the hive will condense lower down on the sides first where it is slightly cooler. That is a good supply of drinking water and avoids overhead drips on the cluster. All you need to do is replicate an old large hollow tree :) So, I don't think you should be at all worried about water condensate in a hive provided it is in the right place and I don't think it has much to do with whether the outside conditions are damp or pouring with rain. The hive is always generating moist air through the natural process of bees living.

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I've never used a quilt box. But from the posts and the video it sounds like a sponge which is going to absorb water and which itself then needs drying out with ventilation. So in a damp location a quilt box could be worse than useless. Where I am based it is very dry but what I've read is enough to put me off ever wanting to try one.

 

Unless I am wrong nobody posting on this topic so far uses them(?). So, I am wondering if anybody else does use them and if they could explain why?

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Have used quilt boxes. Wool retains the moisture and keeps things wet. Shavings wood bee beta. 40mm polystyrene as effective as quilt.

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If you take a candle out to your beehive on a still night you will soon see how the ventilation in a hive works. It's really quite a fun experiment and something every beekeeper should think about doing at least once.

I have to admit I have never used any sort of quilting or insulation on my hives so I can't really comment except to say that they survive fine without it. If I had to make one comment on how to keep bees happy in winter then I would say provided you have treated the varroa, dealt with any wasps and left them plenty of winter stores the best thing you can do is just leave them alone.

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