Hi All, I live at Tuross Head in the south east coast of Australia and have an issue with condensation showing in the windows of my flow hive 2 super. Some of the outer combs have mould in them. I have taken the Wooden plug Out of the inner cover and am hoping this will dry the place out. I noticed the same in my second hive today for the first time and am planning on taking the plug out of its inner cover too. It has a cork mat in the roof for insulation. We’ve been having warm sunny weather with temps ranging from 16-22 during the days and down to 6-8 at night. Any other tips out there to get rid of the condensation? Will the bees fix the mould situation once it dries out?
Yeah they will clean up the mold once the weather warms up again and they are on a good flow.
I’m currently using insulated lids with bottom ventilation only, seems to be working well so far but one hive is always a bit damper, different hives seem to maintain different humidity levels.
Do you have vents in your gabled roof? I’d be adding some and meshing over the inner cover hole so the bees can’t access that space.
Either that or leave the top vent closed and open the vent slot in the Flow base so they can keep the heat in and drive the moisture out if they need to. That’s what I would do, but condensation isn’t as big an issue here as we don’t have freezing temperatures.
It’s good to find you back on the forum Shayne.
JeffH introduced to me using hive mats sitting on top of the super frames and I have added extra air flow thru the hives by adding roof vents at each end of the roof. Both of those tricks have been a help in reducing mold and made the hives drier.
The other modification I have done to my hives, both the Flow Hives and the Langstroth’s is reducing the hive entrance to 75 to 100mm from the full width. That may be a help in reducing moisture in the hive but I did it to reduce the risk of robbing and free up more bees for other jobs.
Removing the inner plug is a positive move as a help to better air flow. With the plug removed if you find bees building comb in the roof that is a warning sign for you to take an action. Either the hive is honey bound or the bee colony is too strong for the space they have. So extracting is needed or a split taken or adding another super as a fix.
Is it normal to leave the super on over winter in your area Shayne?
I’m not great at monitoring and using technology and that’s why I haven’t been in the forum lately. I’ve just gone into instagram but am hopeless at monitoring and posting stuff because I’m too busy communing with nature and the bees. I do a lot of research and reading and follow a lot of bee keepers on utube as well as subscribe to their newsletters etc so u get a lot of different and similar opinions then make my own decisions. My girls get out every day and really live it when the sun comes into their hives. I’m going to take the plug out if the inner lid and put mess over it the same as I’ve done in the other hive and if it doesn’t improve I’ll bee drilling holes in the roof.
I’m getting withdrawals as I leave them over the winter months but I still visit them during the days multiple times to watch their comings and goings. They don’t call me bee obsessed for no reason.
I’ve been making my reusable Beez Whacks food wraps to replace cling wraps, hair and beard pomade and hot sweet chilli sauce from the hundreds of chillies that the bees seem to love and won’t stop pollinating. I’ve been overrun by chillies and it’s a big job de-seeding them. At least I can have a rest from processing them till spring when I’ll overrun them them again!
We’ve had a very warm winter down here and all the plants are flowering and emerging at odd times. The seasons are all mixed up and the plants are confused
How have you been and your bees? How many hives are you keeping these days and are they all thriving?
Bee Obsessed Honey
Yep we’ve always left the supers on through winter with cork tiles in the roof for insulation and back vent open for ventilation. We’re going to take the plug out of the inner cover under the gabled roof and put some fly screen over the hole and keep the cork in. If the condensation persists we’re going to drill a couple of small holes in the front and back of the roof like the langstroth hives have. It’s been an unusually warm winter at Tuross (bee paradise) this year, it’s almost like Spring! I’ve got bibles coming up and a whole bunch of stuff flowering that should be flowering in Spring
Do you take the queen excluders off?
QX stays on in my Flow Hive. I don’t fancy searching through a Hybrid Super and a Flow Super looking girls HRH.
Just to clarify, late August last year when we opened up after winter our first flow hive 2 was honey bound and brood bound. We extracted most of the honey in the super and put a second brood box on with 8 frames of foundation. The bees quickly drew them out and the Queen layed them up with brood. We wanted the girls to draw the frames because I’d ordered a new Queen with a view to splitting the hive. Our Queen arrived late in the post and despite giving them a whole new brood box they decided they were going to swarm and there were lots of Queen cells in both boxes so we were forced to split before my new Queen arrived. That makes 2 hives. We lost 2 swarms anyway despite giving them space, some times you can’t stop it if they’ve decided to swarm no matter what you do. The 1st swarm I suspect ended up in a tree on the waterfront and good luck to them, I walk past them when I walk. The second, a virgin swarm, I caught, it was my first and sold to a member of our club with five frames. In the meantime the original hive that wintered with their super on requeened itself and when my commercially produced Queen finally arrived, late ie end October, I was forced to split again, ha ha ha and ended up with 3 hives all thriving with brand new Queens. I sold one whole hive which is still booming on the Deua River and have 2 thriving hives myself. I would’ve kept the third but my husband, who says he’s the cheap labourer said he would go and live with one of our sons and only come back when I’d gotten rid of the 3rd hive. I decided the 3rd had to go do I sold it with 8 frames and it was booming when it left me. Last season was a huge learning curve for me. I can laugh about it now looking back, it was a time a great research, utube investigations, reading and subscribing to some fabulous Beekeepers. I’m prepared for the worst this spring but am confident nothing will happen because my queens will be having their 1st birthdays. That said I’ve got 2 spare brood boxes, lids, bases, 2 nucs and a Corflute swarm catching box so bring it on!!! A bunch of other stuff happened during last spring to do with suspected queenlessness hive and merging all that went belly up, was aborted, I got stung for my trouble but even that ended up happily ever after. More research done, mistakes made but everything turned out much better than I could’ve dreamed. Lucky I love those little girls so much!
Nice warm days!
Maybe try a top mat made of vinyl, taking the inner lid off altogether.
Your days seem plenty warm and maybe the queen is laying more after winter solstice…and they’re keeping everything toastie during your cold nights.
Dunno… I’m down in Tassie and have suffered massive problems with condensation before. Although these have been in ideals.
Air flow, insulated lids…open bottom boards… it’s all up for debate ATM.
I’m quick to replace any mouldy frames or effected wax.
Hi Gez, hadn’t thought of taking the inner cover off all together but that could be something. I’ve got a vinyl mat in the hive already Between the two supers. I’ve been feeding my girls 2:1 sugar syrup but they’re not interested in it so I’ve taken it off, they’ve had it for five days and they know it’s there but there must be plenty of real food in the environment that they don’t need it. We visited tassie just before the Covid it’s an amazing place and we plan to revisit in the future. Cheers Shayne
Hive mats should be placed on top of the frames in the top box directly under the lid, not between supers.
Generally and commonly this is the case but on the advice from a retired DPI Biosecurity Officer in his winter video his advice is to put it between two supers so it is closer to the brood especially when the top super is pretty empty and you don’t want to take it off and store it over winter, that way there is less empty space to heat. My other hive which only has one super has the mat on top of the frames as you rightly advise.
Awesome. I haven’t put bees in my flow yet, but always give the bee’s access to the roof in my ideals.
Have never fed sugar syrup ever. I’ve always left some full framed over our freezing winter. It’s literally freezing ATM.
Your day temps are warm, and air flow is such a tricky thing to get right.
Cold winters make our bee season important to get right…so giving plenty of winter stores and not cracking their sealed lids till it gets nice and warm. Bring on spring!
Yeah I have read that somewhere too, but it was more in reference to having a place to store boxes of extracted ‘stickies’ on the hive over winter, as an alternative to sealing them up and storing them with fumitoxin off the hive somewhere.
I’m always worried about taking the flow super off in winter and storing it if there’s honey in it. I don’t like feeding honey back to bees even if its their own from last season. We bought a chest freezer to store frames in especially over winter if it’s uncapped, capped but haven’t been brave enough to take the super off and do that yet. I must say I don’t like the condensation or the mould in the flow frames though because I’m a heat freak! Hopefully the bees will clean them up in spring.
I have had timber frames with green & black mould at the end of winter, it was gone by the time the spring flow got going. They can strip paint from the interior of a hive so cleaning off a bit of mould doesn’t worry them.
Hi mate, from my experience the mould in the Fframes will not be removed by the bees. It doesn’t seem to alter the colour or taste of the honey but does look a bit ordinary.
I am having a lot of damp in hives this year- recently I inspected my flow hive and found that the inside of the peaked roof was very wet and moldy. I have the hole open and covered in mesh. I had some very small ventilation holes in the roof but they were not adequate so I drilled two larger holes at each end. This has reduced but not eliminated the damp. I am in the process of adding quilt boxes to all my hives and hope this will further reduce moisture build up.
yeah- once they have blackened they never get clean again- and it is not easy to wash it off either. I have had limited success soaking the frames in warm water nappy-san- and blasting them with a high pressure hose. I would really like to figure out a way to keep my frames nice and dry and clean looking. Hopefully my new quilt boxes will do it.