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Hive humidity - what does it mean? (Arnia)


Nice little article here from Arnia, the hive monitor people. Most of this is fairly obvious, but there are some wonderful little nuggets of information in there too:



It was a good read Dawn. Some pointers to use technology alongside physical inspections.

It has been interesting watching my temp/humidity sensors in a two brood box hive as things slow down and we head into winter. Certainly the one box which is being used primarily for brood has a much more stable temp and humidity to the one that is being used for stores.



Hi Dawn, thanks for this post. Does anyone know if there is anything a beekeeper can do to help if humidity is too high in a hive?


Don’t try those packets that you can put in a cupboard to keep everything dry, it turn to a jelly when they are used and I suspect are toxic.
You could try 1cm square cutting a chux up but guess you have thought of that yourself.


I think that is why those in cold climates use quilt boxes to control the humidity in the hive.



I agree with @AdamMaskew, one option when it is cold is quilt boxes.

If it is warm, there are many choices. Change the entrance size (larger or even smaller if you have a full entrance - sometimes they ventilate better with a smaller entrance. If the colony is small, reduce the space they have to ventilate, by going from 10 to 8 frame boxes, or 8 to 5 frame boxes. If the colony is large, consider giving them more space (add a super on top).

Closing or opening a mesh floor is another thing to try, but I don’t like doing that. Bees in nature do not have mesh floors, and they ventilate fine without them.

Just one point of view. :blush:


How does your humidity change going into and out of winter @Dawn_SD?

I’ve only had my sensors in for this autumn. You can see in this graph how they started to manage the humidity differently in the two supers around mid-April. S1 bottom box, S2 top box. No excluder.


80% humidity seems a lot. Do you have rain? Mine are between 25 and 50%, measuring 7 hives, broodboxes only. I already wonder what’s going on if it approaches 60%.
No reason to worry?


No rain it has been a relatively warm and dry autumn to date. I under supered, last inspection S1 is full of stores but no brood or bees other than those moving through. S2 is still cranking brood and bees. I’m not worried at 80% in S1 but will be watching over winter to see what changes from there. It is really interesting that they can manage two boxes on the same hive very differently.



With apparatus to measure hive humidity, it would be a good opportunity to experiment & measure the difference between solid floors vs sbb’s, top ventilation vs no top ventilation, wide entrances vs narrow entrances, etc. etc.


We are actually going to use the monitoring system to see if Mushroom extracts can make a difference to chalkbrood.
Apparently it helps with EFB too, but fortunately I can’t supply that for the research.


Here ya go, @AdamMaskew. Arnia recommends that you put the humidity probe at the edge of the brood box, so that is where mine is.

Here is the weight chart for the same period. You can see that last year we had a short (3 month) but intense nectar flow. This season, it started much earlier with Eucalyptus flowering in December. However the amount of nectar has been much less (much gentler weight increase slope), consistent with the very dry winter we have had:


Thanks @Dawn_SD. It is interesting they suggest putting them at the edge of the brood boxes. I wonder why?

My sensors do both humidity and temperature and I hung them in the middle of frame 4 & 5 in 8 Frame Lang about half way down the frame. Mostly because when I was placing them I was more interested in temperature as an indication of brood performance and levels. I’ll now have to rethink my placement.



I think it is mainly to detect risk of condensation in winter when the bees are clustering. If humidity hits 100%, the inside of the hive walls will be dripping. Of course, they don’t cluster in my climate, although I don’t know about yours.

The brood temp probe on the Arnia should be placed as close as possible to the middle of the brood nest. As the monitor has separate temp and humidity probes, this is not difficult to arrange. :blush:


No clustering for me to worry about (I’m just up the road from @busso)

The tags I’m using are relatively cheap. My friend put 6 in his long hive to see if he could detect anything interesting. Nothing to report so far.