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Solar Fan hot air extraction revisited

#21

PS, I also agree with @Peter48 & @Brad13 regarding the mesh bottom boards and am building one for my hive ‘as we speak’ - got hold of that study by RIRDC after seeing the video late last week, but have only skimmed it - still worthy of consideration.

I am also considering a slatted bottom rack that I saw here, but thinking that I might make 2 about 50mm deep and put one on the bottom and one on the top of my brood after reading the comments under the video.

Cheers, Ian

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#22

I thought I should post an update on my mesh bottom & slats.

I have had the mesh bottom board and a 65mm deep slat set under my brood for just over a week now and we just broke the record for March temp @ 37.4 degrees. I had 6 bees come outside & hang off the landing as if they were starting to beard, but that was it - looked rather funny & sorry I didn’t shoot a pic lol. When I stuck my head down near the bottom I could hear the rest madly fanning the hive and assume they were all on the slats, so I would have to call this a complete success as a design to help with heat.

For anyone interested in trying the slats, I used 85x20mm pine from Bunnings & ripped the internal slats down 20mm to 65 [I would have preferred 25mm thick but none available ;-( ]. These I spaced so they sit under my frames (I.m running 9 in a 10 frame super). As there are presently 20mm gaps between the slats, I assume they will build some burr comb but don’t see this as a problem as it’s their home & they can do what they like as long as I get honey.

What I have read suggests that it encourages the queen to lay lower in the frames, and if this turns out to be the case I will post some pics.

Cheers, Ian

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#23

I havn’t used slatted racks yet but plan to make some and try them out. I think they would definitely help especially with mesh bases. The bees do tend to leave the bottoms of frames unfinished or without brood on the bottom edges. I feel fairly confident a slatted rack will encourage them all to work the frames more often at the lower edges. I imagine they might also help reduce robbing, and aid the bees during hot weather giving them an extra space to move into should things get steamy.

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#24

I would suggest taking the time @Semaphore, as I have had a huge issue with robbing that is still ongoing which prevented me getting into my hive for over 11 weeks prior to installing the slats. If you search my other posts I have posted about this with pics of a screen I installed to help my hive defend itself.

Once I had the new screened bottom & slats built, I timed my entry for really early before the robbers arrived, and was dreading what I might find, as you can well imagine. To my surprise, my original 4 frames of bees had filled the other 5 with both brood & honey & if I hadn’t added another super might have looked at swarming.

What I found most interesting was that they had all their honey on the top inch or so of the frames, with brood & pollen below. Obviously, they did this to move the honey as far away from the entrance as possible, and this I believe will only be aided further by the slats.

Due to the robbing, I only made the entrance on my slat section 50mm wide, as a big front door is no longer needed with the bottom screen, In front of this I have a new robber screen [about 200mm high] that has a fully open slot along the front, but blocked with foam to about 20mm on one side. On the top section of the screen I drilled a 7mm hole near the front at each end, as i noticed that robbers get trapped & can’t escape, causing a lot of extra fighting behind the screen & this seems to be letting them out without them getting the goods. They are not climbing to take off - not dropping as they do either, just turning around for another go.

Meanwhile, my girls are coming and going at a steady rate, with no traffic jams like I saw on my first screen. So in answer to your thoughts, yes, most definitely, this setup is good for robbing prevention.

Cheers, Ian

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#25

Brood frames have an arc of honey across the to of the frames and a little further down on the sides of the comb., If that is what you are seeing it is normal. It bring the honey as close as possible for the bees to feed the larvae in the brood area.
Cheers Ian

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#26

On the subject of solar fans Peter, how’s yours going?

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#27

Hey Skeggley, The day I fitted the solar fan lid it started to rain and a drop in ambient temperature and none of the hives have bearding from mid afternoon. So as soon as I can I will do an update it the solar powered fan is a benefit to the hive or not. I’m now kicking my butt because I could have fitted it 2 weeks ago but other apiary jobs put it on the back burner. Just some data, the fan is 35mm dia, the solar panel makes 14.6 volts maximum and the fan has an adjustment for turning the fan on and off. There is 4 vents in the migratory lid, one of which is the fan vent. No bees could commit suicide by using the fan blades.:grin:
Cheers

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#28

When you’re free, please post us some pics of your ‘cool gadget’ Peter :grin:

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#29

Yes the arc is what I saw at the opposite end to the opening on the old frames, but the new ones close to the door had a thinner straight band of honey, which is why I commented. I didn’t get any pics as it was a bit of a drama. I had to move all my frames out of one super into a new one, as the guy I bought the brood from had screwed the super to the base and I thought it better to transfer them than tip it around to get at the screws & spill out the open cells in the process. This was also because I was fighting time, and wanted to do it as quick as possible before the robbers turned up and found my hive wide open.

Glad to hear your fan is doing its job - something to look into here for next summer. :wink:

Cheers, Ian

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