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oliver90owner 

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I have looked in some of my books and there is no reference to leaving the porter bee escape holes open. Crownboards are also known as coverboards and that seems to indicate 'covered', as in 'no spaces'.

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I looked on the Th*rne website and extracted these descriptions for their crownboards.

Glass QuiltIdeally it should be removed in the winter, as its insulation qualities are poor.

National Crownboard/Clearer Board with two plastic porter bee escapesThis board provides good insulation when in its usual position above the top super and below the roof.


Both those descriptions are fairly self evident re the holes. They are there for fitting porter bee escapes when using them as a clearer board.

They do not advocate, in any way, leaving the holes open and specifically refer to the insulating properties of the two types. It must be clear to most that there will be no insulating properties at all if large holes are left in them (both sides would be the same temperature; thermal energy would not need to pass through the material). In house terms that would be the equivalent of insulating your loft door and then leaving it open!

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Wedmore (back in the1930s) in para. 648 considers warm and cold way frames. He says, with a full entrance, the cold way is better for ventilating in hot weather. That would not be a logical consideration if there were a large hole at the top of the hive.

In the I930s top packing (insulation) was often a porous quilt of some description for moisture control ( no gaping holes) and reference is made (para. 716 of my revised edition reprinted 1948) and it says quote "The feed hole may be covered with porous material and soft packing used above...."

So even then they knew that top ventilation was always through a porous material and not large holes.

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I checked out Hooper, too.

Page 91 shows a piece of wood on the crownboard - presumaby covering the second porter escape hole while using the other for a feeder.

Page 100: he refers to raising the crown board by 1/4 inch so that ventilation is around the sides without draughts affecting the cluster.

Page105: he covers the entire box wit a polythene sheet -so no holes in use there

Page 120: exactly the same - no holes in his crownboard!

Nowhere is there a drawing, or reference, to a gaping hole at any time of the year.

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If anyone could supply me with a categoric reference to leaving a gaping hole in a crownboard (from any of the books accepted as a good reference material), I would be very grateful.

RAB
 

Mike101 

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Interesting thoughts. Of course wild bees in a tree would not have "top ventilation" but then a a tree trunk might have more stable internal temperatures.

Why have a ventilated roof if the crown board in sealed?

Maybe matchsticks under crownboards and vented roofs etc were all good ideas before open mesh floors?

More questions than answers but good thougtht provoking stuff.
 

Finman 

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In new polyboxes the outer cover is inner cover too. Then you should use a plastic above frames that burr is not glued to the cover.

I have a hole in inner covers. It is handy in many ways. If the bees clean extracted frames or I want that bees exit from a box, I put it over the cover.

A big hole attracts mice. They try to make their holes and nest in inner covers insulations during winter.
 

Finman 

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Upper ventilation: I use hole in front wall. There is no idea to ventilate through inner cover. Condensation happens then between inner cover and rain cover.

If you have screened bottom, no need to use upper ventilation.

There is no idea to read 80 years old ventilation advices. What wisdom has been then if we have not learned something in 2 generation.
 
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Howsoonisnow 

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How do bees control the flow of air around their nest as any ventilation or otherwise will assist or hamper the bees?

Holes open/closed/part open to me depends on the size of colony, if there's a flow on and the time of year.

Does anyone know of any studies?
 

nottingham 

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I only use a crown board that has no holes in it at all. So when it comes to taking off a full super, I just shake off the bees and put the frames full off honey into a new super to transport the honey home.

A beek once told me that porter escapes were a waste of time as the bees would find there way back to the super and he added by saying that what sense did it make to put on a porter escape, to only come back to the hive the next day and find bees in the super. He told me that he found the best way was to just take to honey straight away.

I have also found that putting sugar syrup on the hive over winter can bring its own problems if the temperature over winter keeps changing. Winter 2009 it snowed 4 times here in Nottingham and I had a feeder over a hole in my crown board. I found that when it snow as you would of expected the temperature went down to -6'c and a week later once the snow had gone it went up to 1'c. This happened 4 times that year and when it came to opening the hive in spring 2010 mold had grown thought out the brood box.

Last year I gave my bees sugar syrup and pollen substitute a week after taking off the Autumn honey crop. I then in late November put a sheet of polystyrene in the roof of the hive and put fondant directly over the hive frames. I didn't use the crown board over winter at all. The only problem I had is that the bees went into winter with an emergency queen and she now needs replacing. Yet I only found a few dead bees on the open mesh floor come spring.

So as far as I see it, there is never any need to have a crown board with holes in it.

Duncan
 
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oliver90owner 

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I have been looking for any references advocating leaving gaping holes in the crownboard.

I, as expected, have found none anywhere in the reliable texts that I have checked out so far. I suspect there is none anywhere in any tome from any reliable author, but that is what I am asking for. Have you any? Some surely must, as that is how they have learned to operate their hives?

RAB
 

edjex 

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In the Th*rne catalogue, they list both a 'polycarbonate quilt, plain' and a 'polycarbonate quilt with bee escape'.

Collins Beekeeper's Bible shows a plain wooden panel for the crownboard in their photo of hive parts - no holes for feeders or bee escapes at all.
 

oliver90owner 

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So as far as I see it, there is never an need to have a crown board with holes in it.

Thanks for that, Duncan. Like me, you would not be following any literary recommendations for leaving crownboards open.

I only checked because of the number of beeks out there being told to do this, or actually doing it, and could find no references at all - only to the contrary. I thought I must have missed something somewhere in all the books I have on my beekeeping bookshelf, so I am asking for those references.

Regards, RAB
 

Moggs 

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Though don't leave Porters in - propolis and Porters don't go well together!
 

Howsoonisnow 

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Rab

On a massive hive on full flow that is fanning furiously at their entrance, would you see a need for additional ventilation?

If people only ever followed what they read (from decades before), society would not evolve.

Good observation is a beekeeper's best skill.

Each to their own.
 

nottingham 

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Rab

On a massive hive on full flow that is fanning furiously at their entrance, would you see a need for additional ventilation?

If people only ever followed what they read (from decades before), society would not evolve.

Good observation is a beekeeper's best skill.

Each to their own.
If you need additional ventilation in the summer months, it begs the question as to why the crown board is being left on at all. It's not like a crown board would stop the queen from entering the super, that's what a QE is for. Once more ventilation is needed I just take the crown board off.
 

Howsoonisnow 

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No crown board at all - that is radical!

I too have done a similar thing on occasion but I find that the crown board helps reduce bee death when the roof is replaced.
 

BILL.HEARD 

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With a large number of hives we used to have an Ashforth type feeder on each, they were left on 12 months of the year, this gave some dead air space above. We also put two matches at the rear of the feeder in the autumn between it and the B.C.
Bee always winter more successfully in this country if they are cold and dry. If there are holes in a crown board just put a piece of per. zinc or plywood to cover them.
 

nottingham 

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No crown board at all - that is radical!

I too have done a similar thing on occasion but I find that the crown board helps reduce bee death when the roof is replaced.
I have taken the board out the crown board frame and replaced it with mesh, the same as used in an open mess floor but if you had a lot of hives this would not be cost affective.
 

Howsoonisnow 

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Bill

I agree that bees winter best when cold and dry over winter; this year was a good one for them.

If you use match sticks for a modicum of ventilation, when you say placing a cover over the crown board holes, would this not go against you're own advice?

For me, winter roof insulation in winter is at best unnecessary and a waste of money and at worst detrimental to the bees when removed in the spring and the bees then have to adjust again (some leave insulation on all year round).
 

Howsoonisnow 

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An open mesh crown board _ I love it!

How do the bees react to it with reference to propolis?
 

MuswellMetro 

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I have taken the board out the crown board frame and replaced it with mesh, the same as used in an open mess floor but if you had a lot of hives this would not be cost affective.
i would have thought you would end up with lots of uncapped honey as the bees would not be able to raise the temperature in the supers to evaporate the nectar to honey

bees fan mainly not becuase they are hot but as work to evaporate the water off the nectar, if they are hot they beard on the outside of the hive
 

nottingham 

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An open mesh crown board _ I love it!

How do the bees react to it with reference to propolis?
They normal only cap the mesh in a kind of O shape. The first nuc I bought had a mesh top to it, as the beekeeper kept the nucs under cover a shed with pipes on the entrances.

Not ever thing new works but I find that most bees are not willing to try new untested things. I keep a close eye on my bees, I only inspect as need but I sit near the hive and watch my bees everyday.
 
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