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Water and mould in my hive


Hi guys,
Background: I’m really new to beekeeping. My Flow Hive doesn’t arrive until December, but I got started with a package of bees in a standard 8-frame langstroth super and it’s been going great so far.

The last week has been raging with storms where I live - very wet and very wild (my empty gutters overflowed the storm-drains) interspersed with short periods of sunshine. I’ve been keeping an eye on the bees and they have been happily coming out and zooming off to collect pollen while the sun is shining… then hiding away while the storm rages.

And today the sun was shining for long enough - so it was time to go check on them. It’s been two weeks since my first check. The frames were all good in general - 4-5 with comb with lots of what I assume is capped brood (they were capped, I couldn’t see in, it didn’t look like honey), small amounts of pollen on the outside frames and some more cells with tiny eggs… so fairly happy bees.

However. Lots of water ran off the inside of the roof when I pulled it off, and it was covered in smears of mould.

Now, I know this is isn’t good for the bees… but I’m not sure what I can do. Should I wait until another sunny day - then go in with a cloth and dry it up/wipe off the mould? I hear people say that you could use eucalyptus/tea-tree oil to keep the mould back - and I’d be happy to try that, but inside of the roof came painted… and such oils can sometimes strip the paint.

I would be grateful for any advice… :slight_smile:

Condensation In The Flow Hive

Hi Taryn, don’t worry too much about the mold if it is only on the underside of the hive roof. Now the nasty weather is behind us, the bees will ventilate the hive which will remove the moist air and prevent the mold from spreading. You could on a warm sunny day remove the lid and wash down with warm sudsy water with a little bleach (just a capful in half a bucket) but only the roof, best to keep this away from the other parts of the hive, don’t let any sudsy water drip into the hive.
As long as your hive is on a slight slope so any water inside can drain out the entrance, you should be right.


Thanks @Rodderick - I really appreciate this.
I’m still new enough that I don’t know what things are cause for concern and which are just business-as-usual :slight_smile:

I definitely set the hive with a slight downhill slope - it’s only condensation on the inside of the roof just from continual humidity… but sufficient that a whole bunch sheeted off when I opened it.


This can be certainly be an issue in winter and there are steps to take to minimise the condensation (cross that bridge when we get to it) … with all the rain and cool weather, the bees huddle together & the humidity in the hive just can’t escape fast enough. Best of luck… hooray for warm dry weather for the rest of the week … :grinning:


well - looks like it will be pretty warm this coming week.
it’s still pretty cold up here in the Blue Mountains - but a week of warm weather will certainly help :slight_smile:


Hi Taryn, I have learned over the years that bees are very clever at deflecting water off themselves, including the brood. It’s the water pooling on the hive floor you don’t want as was already mentioned. One day I got a phone call about a swarm, that was just after about 3 days of a lot of heavy wind & rain. I was dumbfounded when I was told that the swarm had been hanging on that tree for 4 days out in the open.


G’day @taryneast is there any way you can insulate the roof from getting drenched? Have you got a flat roof or Pitched?

Normally the flat rooves have an over hang that stops the water getting in and are tin of some sort covered?

Picture of the roof may be helpful.

Make sure the water at the entrance can flow away not into the hive it will pool in the bottom and keep the girls wet if it can’t drain away.

We need picture of your girl any ways!! :wink:


It’s a flat roof with no overhang - a bee-space gap between the roof and the frames and there are ventilation-holes at either end of the roof. It’s just what came with the “starter pack” with the super. I figure it’s good enough til the lovely flow hive arrives - and I’m sure that a lot of the water got in simply because the sideways torrential rain simply blew up against the tiny ventilation holes really hard.

I have a flickr album that I’m putting my photos in - happy to show off my girls’ new home :smile:

The frames didn’t seem particularly wet, so it sounds like Jeff is right about them being able to cope with a little roof moisture. :smile:


Over here you need the overhang rooves - I suppose over there they are normal


Hi Taryn, all my lids are like yours except most of them have no vents. The bees will put propolis all round to seal it off to keep the hive water & wind proof. I don’t even use any bricks or straps to hold them down. The vents in the lid are only there, from what I believe for when you transport the hive. In that case you normally have to get a nail to remove the propolis in order to open the vents up. The main recommendation I’d offer in relation to the type of lid we use, apart from using a vinyl mat to cover the frames, leaving bee space all round, is to paint the lid white to make it easier for the bees during hot sunny days.


Thanks - cool - well when they propolis it up they’ll be more snug :smile: so that’s good to know.
and yeah I have bricks on top because a couple of weeks ago we had winds gusting very strongly (It blew my two wheelie bins down). I was afraid that the whole hive would blow away… especially since the comb was still really new, and so it didn’t weigh very much (especially in comparison to my wheelie bins). I figure a few bricks on top wouldn’t harm anyone and would be good insurance :wink:


Hi & your welcome, I always have some bricks at my apiary to hold the lids down that are freshly painted. Once the bees put propolis around the lid, you don’t need bricks after that, even after you open the hive & close it again.


You hive is looking good with a nice little slope for the water to run out the entrance, well done. Do you have any beetle traps in your hive? You might like to consider some as a preventative measure.


Your hive is looking good. Beetle traps are a good idea in our area (small hive beetle was first discovered in a hive in Richmond NSW by which time it was estimated it had been in Au for a year or so and was well established in the feral bee population). We used the AJ and the Beetletra traps as we’re not keen on chemical treatments but I think Rodderick uses apithor. Since installing the Beetletra we’ve had low numbers of SHB. You can buy all of these these online or through
Our ground was so damp that the temporary hive stand sunk and the hive tipped over yesterday. Not happy bees. Hopefully both your and my bees enjoyed a sunny day.


That’s not good Jasbee, I hope your queen is OK. Apithor + Beetltra + Silver Bullet keeps those little buggers at bay.


Thanks I hope the queen is ok too - if not there was plenty of brood and they should raise another. We’ll check over the weekend.


I like your Buddha Nice Touch


Hi @Jasbee, I’ve had a couple of hives knocked over by cows. When a hive gets knocked over I found it becomes very vulnerable to SHB damage. Mainly because of the possibility of a lot of dead bees between the combs. Also the bees not being able to stop the beetle laying eggs in certain parts of the brood that are damaged. It all depends on which way the hive fell & how hard it fell. The quicker you can check it out, the better. That’s what I found. My very first SHB major damage was a hive that got knocked over by cows. I was a bit slow in discovering it. Anyway, there’s some food for thought. cheers:)


Thanks Jeff we did a quick check but I hadn’t thought about small hive beetle. Will do another soon.


Your welcome, you just need to check every frame to make sure there’s no dead bees between the frames. They lay eggs in dead bees just as quick as brood, I found. It’s mainly if dead bees are jammed somewhere, & the healthy bees have trouble removing them. Also make sure there’s no buildup of dead bees on the floor. If your weather is damp & muggy, that REALLY gets them going.