Dry Bee?

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Julestillhere 

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Hi everyone,
Brand new here and a first year beekeeper with 2 Langston hives in the north east uk.
Our first year was going to plan until just after the stormy weather this week, I am so worried.
We have temperature and humidity gadgets above where we think the new winter cluster is. Both hives were chugging along with about the same readings and all the bees eating fondant and doing cleansing flights. But a couple days ago one hive suddenly increased in temperature from about a regular 9 or 12 degrees to around 15 and now 20 degrees and climbing for no reason I can see. Humidity has actually fallen, yes, fallen from about 70 to 50 percent.
Please has anybody advise? Today I have been reading a book that talks about Dry Bee. Does this exist and could this be my hives problem.
Many thanks
Jules
 

Wilco 

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Check device sensors haven't shifted position and swap the equipment between the hives to see if the readings are consistent or whether it could be equipment malfunction.

Never heard of 'dry bee'.
 

Wilco 

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Nine degrees around the cluster sounds exceedingly low as well.
From the way it's written I uspect devices are above the cover/crown board not by the cluster which might explain it a little?

@Julestillhere do you have insulation above the brood area? If not I'd worry about getting that on more than the readings from the gadgets. Thinking about it, the increase in temperature may be due to the cluster moving meaning your devices are now actually above the cluster, hence increased reading. Slightly higher temp may result in lower RH in that location as any moisture is more likely to condense around cooler areas.
 

Julestillhere 

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Hi Wilco love the pic of rabbit on your profile
Thanks for reply. Exchange over between hives of the equipment was done but only showed us that they were working correctly. The gadgets in mine again increased temperature and reduced humidity ,
Not sure if undertaker bees are just clearing out a back log of naturally bead bees but I picked up maybe 40 dead or in coma bees from the muddy floor today.
This thing with so called Dry Bee, it’s said something like if the keeper doesn’t let enough moisture in the hive then the cluster drys out and bees die, it says they need more water and I may see them leave the hive only to drop to the floor, or I may see them on short frantic foraging trips desperate for water.
Something like that I probably need to try and. Read it again.
If it’s not this what can I be doing wrong?
Just thinking about it the only thing we have changed in many months is about 3 weeks ago with made and placed in the hives identically quilt boxes made with sawdust and potato sack.
Sorry for length of post just don’t want to loose my girls
Regards
Jules
 

Julestillhere 

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From the way it's written I uspect devices are above the cover/crown board not by the cluster which might explain it a little?

@Julestillhere do you have insulation above the brood area? If not I'd worry about getting that on more than the readings from the gadgets. Thinking about it, the increase in temperature may be due to the cluster moving meaning your devices are now actually above the cluster, hence increased reading. Slightly higher temp may result in lower RH in that location as any moisture is more likely to condense around cooler areas.
 

Julestillhere 

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From the way it's written I uspect devices are above the cover/crown board not by the cluster which might explain it a little?

@Julestillhere do you have insulation above the brood area? If not I'd worry about getting that on more than the readings from the gadgets. Thinking about it, the increase in temperature may be due to the cluster moving meaning your devices are now actually above the cluster, hence increased reading. Slightly higher temp may result in lower RH in that location as any moisture is more likely to condense around cooler areas.
Hi Wilco Jules here
Ahh now that makes sense to me. 9 degrees in the other hive is actually quite low and the other hive has a cluster that has moved towards the sensors increasing the temperature reading. And are you saying it’s normal to see humidity fall in a warmer temperature area?
Yes devices area are in roof and there is a lot insulation
Jules
 

pargyle 

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So, can you explain your temperature and humidity measuring set up .. You say the sensors are in the roof... do you have a crown board ? Are the sensors on top of the crownboard ? Where is the potato sack and sawdust - you say a quilt box ? Is that like you would find on a Warre hive in place of a crown board ?

I have to be honest I've never heard of Dry Bee ? Indeed, I've just done some Google searching and I can't find anything at all ? Healthy bees will always find water if they need it - either from condensation or by foraging (and foraging may just be crawling outside of the hive and picking up water from the outside of the hive).

What training have you had ? Have you done any courses or are you self taught ?

You may be worrying unnecessarily but your set up sounds a bit unconventional .. I spent years measuring the temperature and humidity in my hives but comparisons are of little use unless the set up and conditions are like for like. A bit more information would help.
 

Wilco 

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Hi Wilco Jules here
Ahh now that makes sense to me. 9 degrees in the other hive is actually quite low and the other hive has a cluster that has moved towards the sensors increasing the temperature reading. And are you saying it’s normal to see humidity fall in a warmer temperature area?
Yes devices area are in roof and there is a lot insulation
Jules
Hard to be sure without seeing the bees but wouldn't want to do that at current temperatures. May be worth making clear crown boards for next year so you can see them if you're worried.

Humidity is complex as it's a little linked to temperature so yes I'd suspect in this case the rise in temperature may be causing a convection current which carries moisture away from the sensor. It condenses when it hits a cooler surface, meaning the air has lower moisture content when it convects back to the original warm spot ready to begin the cycle again. I would tend to ignore humidity readings from above the crown board as the data should really be from within the hive/cluster.

Normally bees generate moisture in the cluster and this will follow the same principle as above, leading to condensation on the exterior walls which the bees then drink. I believe Langstroth are usually solid floor so the internal environment shouldn't be too much of an issue?

Did you treat for varroa? I'd be curious as to whether this is really the issue with dead bees due to depleted fat.

Sawdust is OK for insulation and better than nothing but there are better materials, if you can go skip diving and make some form of insulation board based device they'll thank you for it.

One question with the devices-- do they give a material benefit at this time of year? As in, given the data is not actually from the cluster, if something goes wrong will they actually inform you and how will they cause you to change what you're doing such that the survival of your bees improves? I've nothing against using them, but like to think I'm relatively pragmatic.

Thanks WRT profile pic. Everyone seems to be changing theirs for Christmas so it amused me to pinch that one from Wikipedia!
 

Murox 

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Hi everyone,-----------------Please has anybody advise? Today I have been reading a book that talks about Dry Bee. Does this exist and could this be my hives problem.
Many thanks
Jules
Please share the book title and author - like others I have never heard of something with that name.
 

hemo 

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Dry bee smells like amercanism terminology.
The quilt used above filled with a material to soak up any residue moisture is vey old hat and that which used to be carried out in the UK many 10's of years ago, today we use better insulating materials to prevent excessive damp from above.
 

pargyle 

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oliver90owner 

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Normally bees generate moisture in the cluster and this will follow the same principle as above, leading to condensation on the exterior walls which the bees then drink

Amazing how all these ideas proliferate.

I can just see bees leaving the warmth of the cluster to get moisture,from a very cold hive wall, in the middle of winter. Can you provide evidence? Thought not.

Likely result would be another dead bee. Metabolising sugar creates water and carbon dioxide; honey is 15-20% water; even fondant is about 12% water. Bees don’t really need extra water, until brooding starts, as they are either resting or exercising to produce cluster warmth. So nothing ‘normal’ about it at all.

Most condensation, on the inner walls, will either drain away or pool at the lowest point. Bess retain water for cleansing flights - or the effects can be seen from nosemic colonies with dysentry.
 

elainemary 

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Tom Seeley gave an interesting talk to Scottish beekeepers last year: Thirst of a hive - how honeybees control their water intake. Unfortunately no longer able to view on SBKA website (could view up to sept 21)

What made an impact on me was his research that has shown the most vigorous waggle dances (for water collection) have been observed in observation hives in the depths of winter. Seeley stated bees can become their thirstiest in winter. Specialist water collectors (there is a genetic link) fly down to 4.5C to collect water but below this become thirsty, as even when just subsisting, still need some energy to vibrate Wing muscles to keep core cluster temperature at optimum. So water is needed in the depths of winter to dilute small amounts of honey

Couple of options to provide water when bees may be thirsty mid winter, I’ve thought about. Read about providing a small container of damp (not wet) moss next to fondant or can place upside down over feed hole. Moss naturally hangs onto water but haven’t tried this. What I do is my kingspan is cut slightly short at the edges c 0.5cm, this provides water droplets around the edges of the clear crownboard which either runs down the inside of the box and out, but I’ve also observed bees collecting water from the edges when not tightly clustered. As mine are in polys and WBCs the cluster is less tight so regularly see this happening
 
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