Icicles in Hive

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BeeSting 

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I've just been up to the bees, looking under the hives through the mesh floors I can see a scattering of dead bee's in each hive (not piles of them).

In two hives there is an icicle hanging from the bottom of the frames, coming from between two of the center frames.

Now I assume that this down to condensation freezing in the hive. I did not put match sticks under the crown board corners in autumn (thought mesh floors was ventalation enough).

The ground is covered in snow and it's minus 5. Should I risk opening the two hives with icicles applying the oxalic acid i've been waiting to do, matchstick the crown board (so the whole hive doesn't sit damp when it thaws) and place the fondant on the crown board that I plan to do as stores insurance?

My worry is that if I dont do a quick open up and take the above action then if the cold weather continues the frozen area will increase and the hives will perish.

Your help and advice is apreciated!
 

drstitson 

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relax.

you don't need matchstick approach with OMFs.

read some of Finmans posts - he has hives full of ice/snow but with cluster happily sat in centre.
 

BeeSting 

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Thanks, it's my first winter, I've got 4 hives and a nuc. I started from a nuc I bought in April and a swarm i caught (from outside my area) in June and had a great first year and am worried it's all going to go pear shaped this winter!

Thanks again

R
 

Cazza 

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Hi BeeSting
DR S is right. Forget the matchsticks, you'll just make a draught.

The weather forecast for later in the week is for warmer weather so why not wait a little longer for your oxalic? ( Not sure where you are located but I think Britain is due to warm up all over?)

Try not to worry.

Cazza
 

oliver90owner 

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Question which arises is: How well have you insulated over the cover boards?

As long as the icicles are not from condensation on the coverboard, dripping down, they should not be a problem.

Regards, RAB
 

wilderness 

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The weather forecast for later in the week is for warmer weather so why not wait a little longer for your oxalic? ( Not sure where you are located but I think Britain is due to warm up all over?)
Cazza
Where does everyone now stand as to whether to treat with oxalic acid after this cold weather?

My thoughts are that during this prolonged cold snap, the bees will have been clustering to keep warm and the queen will be in the middle doing majesterial things not laying.

How long does a female varroa mite live? Weeks, months?

Do you reckon there will be many living mites left in the colonies now?

I'd rather not subject them to more stress if it is not necessary.
 

Finman 

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Ice sticks become from condensated respiration air. Hanging ice sticks are usual in bottom bars of frames.

Don't add ventilation. Make ventilation smaller. Stuck the mesh froor so that there is only 10 cm x 1 cm gap or something like that.

The water does not come from inner cover. It is moisture of respiration air. Go and blow from your mouth onto cold glas what happens. It is same phenomenom: warm moist air meets cold surface.

Bees do not suffer from that. Take it easy.
 
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Cazza 

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Hi Wilderness
I will not be using oxalic this winter but not because of the cold weather, though I can see your point regarding stress.
C
 

Finman 

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Thanks, it's my first winter, I've got 4 hives and a nuc.
R
If you have 5 or less bee frames in the nuc:

Give insulation around the nuc and deminish the bottom mesh if you have that one.

You may put the nuc inside the bigger box and then add some insulation into the gap around.

You may do a plastic foam bow with polyurethane glue. Spray a little water mist onto connection surface. Put board pieces together with nails and soon you have a light good box.
 

wilderness 

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OK, I've done some Googling after my post above and found this

Female mites produced in the summer live 2 to 3 months, and those produced in the fall live 5 to 8 months. Without bees and brood, the mites can survive no more than 5 days. They can, however, live in a comb with sealed brood at 68oF for up to 30 days. from here

https://agdev.anr.udel.edu/maarec/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Varroa_Mites_PMP2.pdf

So it looks like the varroa tuck themselves up with the bees - very cosy.
 

Finman 

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How long does a female varroa mite live? Weeks, months?

Do you reckon there will be many living mites left in the colonies now?

.
Dead rate of mites during winter is same as bees. About 50% die. - In Finland we have 7 months brood brake.
 

Skyhook 

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Where does everyone now stand as to whether to treat with oxalic acid after this cold weather?

My thoughts are that during this prolonged cold snap, the bees will have been clustering to keep warm and the queen will be in the middle doing majesterial things not laying.

How long does a female varroa mite live? Weeks, months?

Do you reckon there will be many living mites left in the colonies now?

I'd rather not subject them to more stress if it is not necessary.
I'm planning to treat mine tomorrow- forecast 5 C. If a cold spell could kill off varroa, I don't think Finman would be bothering to treat.
 

BeeSting 

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Hi Finman,

Here's me worrying about our cold weather when you're keeping them fine over there, well you know how everyone panicks in this country when we get a frost, our country's infrastructure collapses, and us new bk's do similar.

Do you insulate above the crown board or not. On the basis that very few tree cavities come complete with kingspan or rock wool and that the rest of the hive structure is mearly 19mm of ply with no cavity wall (unlike the old WBC) then I saw insulation in the roof space as pretty futile and didn't bother. Is my thinking right or wrong?

Thanks for your help
 

Finman 

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Hi Finman,

Do you insulate above the crown board or not.
First, we need to use whole insulated hive boxes. Food consumption is so big that during hard winter too many hives die.

So the crown board must be insulated too. Otherwise it is coldest surface in the hive and it collects condensation water.

I use 10 mm wood board plate + 70 mm used foam plastic matress piece.

Stonewool or glasswood deliver tickling stuff everywhere and mice love to make nest into it. Avoid everything which makes dust into the hive.

Many use soft "paper fibre insulating board", as we say "weather board". Bees bite it too much and I do not like it. Even newspapers is good insulation stuff.
We are too in trouble now in Helsinki. There is not enough space for that snow.
On airports we have no problems for our snow



 
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Finman 

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This is common machine in snowwork outside the towns
[ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33BTf1ysSrY&feature=related[/ame]

n towns this kind of systems

[ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xhb5ucn4I8&feature=related[/ame]
 
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Skyhook 

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Do you insulate above the crown board or not. On the basis that very few tree cavities come complete with kingspan or rock wool and that the rest of the hive structure is mearly 19mm of ply with no cavity wall (unlike the old WBC) then I saw insulation in the roof space as pretty futile and didn't bother. Is my thinking right or wrong?

Thanks for your help
You're right, not many tree cavities have kingspan. But a lot of them will have another 20' of tree, and I think you'll find that insulates pretty well.
 

Poly Hive 

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You are very wrong.

20ft of tree is very right.

Therefore with an OMF floor top insulation is part of the whole, not a maybe.

PH
 

RoofTops 

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The first place to start insulating a house is the roof - because heat rises.
 
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