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Built some quilt boxes for winter

I’ve been meaning to try out quilt boxes for ever and finally got around to making some using scrap wood and fly screen. Pretty simple just shallow boxes with vent holes on the sides. I used pine wood chips- about two inches deep, on top of layer of cotton. I have filled the boxes to just below the vent holes so hopefully the air and moisture can move freely out of the hive without losing heat. That’s the idea.

Here in Adelaide we tend to get a lot of condensation in hives in winter due to very cold nights. Frames tend to get blackened with mold. Hive mats alone help keep the brood dry but I’m hoping these will work even better.

Emptied if chips these boxes will also work well as ventilated kids for moving hives and possibly as feeder boxes. I think they’ll help in summer too to keep radiant heat off the top box.


Hi there Semaphore. I just made a couple quilt boxes myself. I’m in Perth where it’s not really humid like other places, but I’m having some unexplained condensation issues with one of my hives. Could be the micro climate of the location, or a leak of some sort.

I’m not sure wood chips are the best fill for them. Probably pine shavings are better for the increased surface area. Elsewhere I was told that newspaper really work well… but are hard to come by these days. I ended up using hemp pet bedding which was cheaper then pine shavings and a lot more absorbent. I placed them in a burlap sack so I won’t make a mess when taking the boxes off with the fill spilling all over.

My intention is to keep them on in summer, where I’m hoping they will be most useful here - they should make excellent insulation from the radiant heat during heat waves.

I have a question about the vents - I’m not a fan of top ventilation so I don’t have experience with them. Do you think that rain can leak through them? I bought cup handles and covered my vents to make sure rain (when it’s windy) won’t leak in. They should also reduce excessive drought.

Looks like nice work, Jack! I use aspen shavings in mine but pine should be okay too. The aspen ones are mainly for the chicken coop so I always have some around.

You’re right - lots of other uses for these, including perhaps as a way to draw up moist air from the Flow super in summer :thinking: @Dawn_SD has recommended placing a regular super on top of a Flow super that’s taking awhile to be capped due to too much humidity. I just did this to my two with exactly that problem, and BAM, in two and a half days there’s finally capping on the outer frame and filling along the back ends! Like magic!! So your post has me thinking that if you have a late season situation like that, would a quilt box be a good solution to add ventilation without adding empty space?


Hello there,
I am not too worried about rain getting in as I angled the holes upwards slightly- and they are relatively deep (2cm). I suppose in a big storm with high winds some water could work it’s way in. My hope would be that it would be absorbed into the wood chips and then dry out. I only put four vents on each box- and am slightly concerned that the water in the wood chips won’t be able to get out fast enough- but the lids above are also vented so hopefully that will do the trick. Prior to adding these boxes there was a lot of moisture on the inside of the roofs- so I will keep an eye on that and see if it reduces.

The idea is that the when conditions are damp the wood chips absorb all the moisture and then the air can freely flow over the top of the chips venting out the water without losing too much heat. Another concern that I will have to keep an eye on is that these quilt boxes will make lovely heated ants nests…


Ants!! Speaking of those little hosers I lifted the inner cover of one hive for inspection the other day and found a mass of their eggs plus attending ants, spanning almost a third of the underside :triumph::face_vomiting: Guess it was a good thing - very easy and satisfying to dispose of! Time to replenish my borax traps…also going to try the flea med-laced cat food trick! …sorry to hijack…back to quilt boxes - I haven’t had ants in mine so far, but a good point to look out for!

Just beautiful! I hope it does great too!