Is anybody else suffering from condensation like I am? I’m sure it’s what has caused the gap beneath my frames, I’ve had to pack it with foam so the bees don’t come out there. This will be a problem come honey extraction time.
That is a lot of condensation, maybe you should place pennies or small pieces of wood at each corner of your hive top in order to raise it to ventilate the condensate out.
Haven’t experience this but just a thought.
Dave, that’s some serious condensate issue seeing the frames like that. I’m guessing you’ve had some serious high humidity weather lately, true ? The bees also give off a high amount of moisture.
I’d try the penny between the box trick for one n maybe lift the top a dab to help vent upward n out some of the condensate. That much is never good for the honey or your bees. How’s your other hives doing !? Any issue with them ? I’ve diffinately not seen more than an occasional window sweat on chilly days. I vented with penny’s in the corners n that was just enough to rid the issue.
I live in the damp Puget Sound region near Seattle so we do get rain n higher humidity for periods of time. Hope my thots help bro. Good luck … It will take several days or more to dry that situation out so enact something n see if it helps in a weeks.
On a positive note, your bees have a constant water supply!
Have you got the corflute board in the top slot? If you have, take it away?
Ventilation is best left to the bees in my opinion. Rather than forcing a draught through the hive which they cannot control I would lift the brood off the floor with those pennies. The bees will fan the air out as they need to.
I have had my inspection plastic boards in for a quick post treatment varroa check. When I took one out the rush of hot air downwards was overwhelming.
Is your hive located in mostly shade? If so, I would suggest moving it into the sun, this will alleviate much of the condensation issues. Additional insulation in the roof space will also help, I know a beekeeper who swears by putting a broadsheet newspaper (the whole paper) in the roof to increase insulation and act as a quilt to absorb some of the moisture.
Drives the point about microclimates home, doesn’t it!
Nice to have such an array of tips & tools. I’ll be curious to hear what you end up doing & how it works @Dave_Fendley
Is the strip of foam between plastic frames & metal strip a standard part of Flow hive? Could it be trapping moisture, contributing to condensation?
No Kirsten_Redlich I have added the foam to fill the gap because the bees would greet me through the gap as soon I opened the harvest door. I believe that the condensation has caused the wood to swell creating the gap under the flow frames???
Top tips I’ll give them all a go. Thanks for all the input. This morning I couldn’t believe it, the bottom honey cells of the frames are actually full of condensation I took a small video which I’ll upload to YouTube and post a link in a bit, again thanks for all the help.
Quick video showing condensation in cells.
Hi people thanks for all the help.
Where do I put the pennies/matches exactly? Under the brood or under the roof?
Humidity has been high recently yes. My hives are in dappled sunlight south facing near to an Ivy hedgerow maybe this contributes? I will be cutting the Ivy back as soon as I’ve finished typing this.
Condensation does not seem to be an issue in my other hives so maybe the hedgerow’s a red herring.
My core flute was in the top so I immediately thought this was the cause of the problem so moved it down one slot two weeks ago, I have now removed it completely. Next it will be Newspaper in the roof thanks Rodderick for that one.
I have propped my roof open like this for the time being, it will not stay like this I’m just trying a quick fix for now. Here’s a couple of pics.
Good luck, hope you find a workable solution. I think if me I would consider contacting Flow customer service re gap & the condensation?
I’ve just sent flow team an email with a link to this thread so just need to wait now to see what happens.
Thanks everyone for the interest you’ve shown and I’ll let you know when I’ve solved the problem
Under two corners of the inner cover/crown board.
That’s where you and I disagree. Lifting the crown board up that much is a heck of an area.
If you must interfere with the ventilation at the top I would have a couple of mesh covered 1cm diameter holes in the crown. That way the bees can propolise them quite quickly if it doesn’t suit them. If you lift the brood box off the floor the bees can really fine tune their own ventilation simply by altering the number of fanning bees.
Does that provide a gap around the perimeter of the floor?
I thought it just sat between the floor and the box
No. It provides space below the bottom bars of the lower frames - increasing the “dead space” if you like. For anyone who hasn’t seen one, this is what they look like:
Having said that, it is a friendly space for bees to hang out and fan. I haven’t seen any bearding outside the 2 hives which have them this year. It may be that those are both new (and therefore smaller) colonies, but I have an impression that it really does help with ventilation too.
I agree with the suggestions in the other responses however, seeing the condensation in the key slots makes me think you have a leaky roof or some other way of moisture getting in to those slots. That key slot area is separate from the bee space and, while there may be tiny cracks allowing some air exchange between the hive itself and the slots, they would be very small and unlikely to carry that amount of moisture. Of course the quick fix there is to take out the caps and let the slots breathe for a day. I’d check the roof for leaks - and seal the long join between the two roof segments. I also think insulation in that roof area is a good idea.
The gap between the base of the viewing area of the Flow frames and the ‘rattley’ gap between the frames combined is allowing a big enough space for bees to get out. It is possible the extra moisture is swelling the box enough to lift the frames off the aluminium strip, I’m not sure why there is that much ‘play’ in between the frames themselves - perhaps check that the packing strips on each side of the back window (in the corners) are in place.
The foam you have put in as a stop-gap measure (!) is good thinking but where you have put it will stop the bees getting to the ‘honey leak back’ point after harvest. The bees will also chew that sort of stuff away and throw it out the front of the hive. A thin strip of hard plastic, wood, aluminium, etc, just thick enough to fill that gap will do. Basically you’re adding a strip to the strip and then it won’t get in the way of harvesting or the leak back. If the hive doesn’t shrink back over time, you may want to shave a bit off the top rail so the Flow frames drop a bit closer to the aluminium strip.