Hi. We are coming into Winter here in Brisbane, Australia. This means overnight temps of down to 9°c and day time temps of 20s still… so not actually cold. I have left my hives as is (single brood box and super, which has some honey in it). But I noticed one of my flow hives has significant moisture in all the viewing windows. Not to dripping point, but a covering of small droplets all over (in the middle of the day, when the sun is directly on it). The hive in question also have chalkbrood (about 20 in the base tray every few days) - and I’msure the moisture is contributing to this issue. I’m wondering what you do to successfully reduce the moisture in your hives? I have have single brood box and super on at the moment (although will probably remove the super next week as their numbers are low and they only actually have about a half frame of honey left, despite an abundance of flowers in my area.). Thanks.
Hi Jaye, I’m in Buderim. I agree that moisture is contributing to the chalk brood disease. Is any moisture getting in via the roof? because sometimes they leak. Hopefully the bulk of the rain is gone, however the Paperbarks around here are heavy in flower, which normally indicates rain. Plus the Nambour show isn’t far away & it’s always boggy when that’s on.
Yesterday I went & reduced all the entrances at my main bee site. I reduced them down to a total of 4". 2" on each side. That’s something you should consider coming into winter. I agree to remove the flow super in your situation. I use migratory lids, which the bees propolize to stop any drafts. I also use hive mats, which contribute in assisting the bees in keeping the brood nice & warm. Also it prevents any condensation from dropping from the roof onto the bees. These are things that helps my bees during winter.
Reducing the volume of your hive by removing the super will be the biggest win. They will control the space more efficiently to the colony size.
Checking to make sure rain/water isn’t coming in, as Jeff says, will help as well. As well as the tip to reduce the entrance size.
I’d then wait a little while and see what happens.
Have you looked into quilting boxes? Basically a medium or 3/4 deep that you staple some fly-screen mesh onto the bottom. Using a hole-drill, make a few holes down the long sides of the box and staple mesh over them. This box sits on top of the super, but under the inner cover.
Aids ventilation in summer. In winter, add wood shavings, burlap sacks or old towels into the box, on top of the mesh. This wicks away the condensation and can be easily replaced throughout the winter without disturbing the bees.
JJJ, have you tried (over winter) tilting the hive so that it is sloping in the opposite direction that it is when extracting honey from the flow box (aka a super). Doing so allows condensation that gathers on the underside of the lid to run towards the end above the entrance, then down the wall and out of the entrance, and hence stopping it from dripping down onto the bees inside. I have done so, and have already noticed on 3 occasions, water on the board where the bees enter and leave the hive from. I believe that water is from inside the hive from condensation.
If it has the screened base with the “normal flow hive tilt” water can do the same to the rear and exit the base through the screened bottom board.