Hive Quilt Designs

Continuing the discussion from Methods to Reduce Winter Die Offs:

I am planning on a hive quilt for my bees. San Francisco is very damp, even if it isn’t cold.

Beethinking has a shallow super that is 5.75" (@14.5 cm) Which seems a bit deep to me. What experiences have you all had with different depths for quilt frames?

Think that would work or would it need to be shallower?

Winters here in Sydney are very mild, the lowest temp is around 5 degrees C (40 degrees F), but we still have a major issue with condensation in the hive, so much so the tops of the frames were going black from mold and the timber was starting to rot. At the beginning of winter (June) I put a quilt in and Wow, problem solved! I used a standard hive lid surround (about 2.5 inches tall) without the top as it only cost a few bucks from the local beekeeping store.

I have a lot of damp weather here at Buderim. What I do is make sure water can’t collect of the bottom board. My lids have a decent bee space 40-60 mm. I place a vinyl mat over the frames so the bees have access to the bee space from all sides. That works really well for me. The bees need a nice wide entrance, away from cold wind, so they can circulate air right throughout the hive. In one side, out the other. Keep the population strong & the bees will do the rest.

50mm of PIR insulation works well to keep hive warm and dry.
Ohhh and a poly hive is good too.

I have some Compressed Foam but it is more for insulation not condensation @dangerous should that be OK in the Midlands? I also have a Slotted rack below the Brood box for circulation.

Hi valli
Recticel is good stuff. The aluminium foil faced compressed foam stuff. It is insulation. If you keep the hive warm you do not get condensation. Open floor closed top with insulation.
Slatted rack I have no experience of. It’s an American thing supposed to help bees hang out and help in swarm control?

Thanks @dangerous I have a Verroa Screen Floor, Slatted Rack and Foam insulation on the Wooden Langstroth, also I have a poly Langstroth just arrived and I believe they are quite warm as well.

OK I can get offcuts of Recticel from my builder friend

Something like 2.5" is what I was thinking as well.

I wanted to get it from Beethinking because I like the cedar, and so it will match the rest of the hive. Since this will be in a very central VERY tiny urban backyard it needs to look pretty nice. I will be using tung oil or figuring out how to do a resin wax hot dip, so the cedar will show.

Matt @beethinking suggested cutting the shallow box down and I could get that done. But, you know; Lazy ; -)

I am also thinking on base material under the quilt. Burlap or Hardware Cloth or Screening. Insulation material sifting below might be an issue?

Bit of an old topic it seems, but i will post anyway. Built both a hive quilt box and a so-called Vivaldi board for my two hives. One question I’m not finding an answer to is re. ventilation: does one pile the wood shavings high enough to cover the holes in the quilt box? If not, won’t too much warmth escape there? And what about the roof lid that goes on top of that? Leave those holes open too, or cover up to prevent warmth escaping? I am in Melbourne, Australia. Winter is approaching. I have one Langstroth hive with two brood boxes (flow super recently harvested and removed), slatted rack and now added a hive quilt. Hive two is single Langstroth with slatted rack and now added a Vivaldi board (no fondant as yet). Both have solid bottom boards and regular flat lids. Photos to follow soon.

I think you are on the right track with solid floors. Leave the vents open, however the bees will probably block them. If that happens, leave them blocked. The only thing I would do down there is make sure the entrance is facing away from cold winds & reduce it to half, assuming it is full width now.

Thanks Jeff! The only issue is that the bees don’t have access to those vents - they can’t get into the quilt box (or outside of the feeding area in the Vivaldi board. So I’m going to have to make an executive decision on that one. :wink:

This photo shows the Vivaldi board, with wood shavings piled high enough to cover the vents (3 small holes about 1cm diameter on each side) - I’m hoping this will make for a very gentle ventilation and minimum heat load. The idea is that excess moisture gently gets vented out. There are 8 holes drilled in the middle of the feeding box, which is blocked off on the top with fly screen. Haven’t put in any feed as yet.


I made a similar quilt last fall, with a tea towel bottom & same sized vent holes as yours. One thing I’d mention is maybe you want to sceeen over the vent holes, to keep other insects from going in.

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Thanks for pointing that out. I was also wondering - is there any danger the bees could chew through the cloth and wood shavings fall into the hive? Probably just being paranoid here…! :slight_smile:

I love my quilt boards. I noticed the bees covered the screen below the cedar shavings with propolis. I moved my inner cover below the quilt board to slow the air flow. The bees seems happy and my overwintering has very successful. I leave the holes on the side unblocked with shavings. The top 1/2" (1.5cm) is soaking wet and the open vent holes allows them to dry somewhat.

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I don’t think they can chew cloth. I tacked my tea towel onto a frame & set it inside the bottom of the shallow box to allow bee space between it and the tops of the frames in the brood box. This way, there was also room for a pollen pattie or dry sugar on newspaper.

I know Quilt boxes are used to help with wintering but I am curious if anyone has knowledge of using them in the summer?

In the summer, many BKs will crack their top lid to improve ventilation. However this forces the colony to now defend another potential entrance. So I was curious, what if the QB remained on? The side ventilation holes would allow better ventilation but would also not create a new potential entrance for robbing.

Anyone have some wisdom on this?


I don’t use quilt boxes as they are largely unknown in the UK
What I do use is decent insulation on top which keeps the top warm and condensation free (so no need for anything to mop up moisture)
The insulation remains in place during summer
Bees ventilate the hive perfectly well through the entrance. They fan the air up through the entrance, through the hive and back out again.