Polyhive OMF leave inspection tray in or partial for winter?

Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum

Help Support Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.

Rivachaz

New Bee
Joined
Sep 14, 2023
Messages
63
Reaction score
11
Location
wales
Hive Type
Other
Number of Hives
2
Hi Everyone,

I have an Abelo poly hive with open mesh floor.

What’s the best advice regarding the inspection tray for overwintering bees?

(1) Kept fully in (creating a closed floor)?
(2) Partially open (1/4 to 1/2 to allow airflow
(3) Fully out and let the bees sort out themselves ?

Any suggestions or thoughts ?

Thank you everyone 🤗
 
This will be my first apiraistic winter. For OMF's all I've read suggests leaving fully open is appropriate for milder Winter temperatures, and partially open is best for colder temperatures, as air flow is required to minimise condensation in the hive.
Generally, condensation is less of an issue in poly hives than timber.
 
This will be my first apiraistic winter. For OMF's all I've read suggests leaving fully open is appropriate for milder Winter temperatures, and partially open is best for colder temperatures, as air flow is required to minimise condensation in the hive.
Generally, condensation is less of an issue in poly hives than timber.
Yes that’s what I’ve heard as well, just wondering what the general consensus is from a wider base of users and their experiences and findings.

Thank you for your comments 🤗👍
 
advice regarding the inspection tray
Almost never use them: one new set-up on a Town Hall roof had them in this spring to help build the colonies, but by mid-summer I'd forgotten to take them out and a few lesser wax moth larvae were wriggling in the detritus.

If bees want to close the mesh floor they will.

Propolised mesh floor 2.jpg
 
Leave them out , as the name implies they are inspection or information trays. Use them for 24hr rapid mite drops after using O/A and in winter one can use them for a few days to determine colony position /activity from looking at any debris seam lines on the board (if one desires to).
 
Let the bees show you what they want. Perhaps leave some in and some out this winter and compare how the colonies get on. As I've posted before, I'm moving back to solid floors (or sealing mesh floors closed) because my bees propolise the floor mesh up if they're left open. Clearly they prefer a solid floor.

Condensation isn't necessarily the demon that the Matchstick Men make it out to be, either. Dripping down onto the over-wintering cluster isn't what you want, but condensation forming on the hive walls is an easy source of water for diluting honey compared with having to fly out and find it.

James
 
Thank you everyone for the comments
 
Hi Everyone,

I have an Abelo poly hive with open mesh floor.

What’s the best advice regarding the inspection tray for overwintering bees?

(1) Kept fully in (creating a closed floor)?
(2) Partially open (1/4 to 1/2 to allow airflow
(3) Fully out and let the bees sort out themselves ?

Any suggestions or thoughts ?

Thank you everyone 🤗
I've got the same set up.

Stopped using the 'inspection' tray or should I say water catcher, which its good at!

If I want to see where all the 'action' is during the winter or bore myself counting varroa, I stick a bit of correx, on the tray shelf.
 
The presence of the open varroa mesh creates increased heat loss at external wind velocities as low as 0.05m/second. It also introduces light into the nest.
 
it doesn't seem to bother the bees
A natural cavity such as a hollow tree is (usually?) dark, well insulated, draught-proof, lined in propolis, and has a small entrance near the bottom into an open space below the comb.

Because of problems with condensation, beekeepers decided long ago not to insulate, to ventilate thoroughly, and to have open floors with large entrances.

For me the best thing about the Forum has been reading about ways to try to align the environment in hives more to natural cavities. So, no top ventilation, insulation above the crownboard, draught-proof smaller entrances under the floor, and a move back to solid floors or sealing out draughts from OMFs. I've also created an empty space above the floors with ekes with slatted racks.

Even with a couple of dozen hives managed this way, and a dozen (which I don't own) managed the traditional way, it's not easy for me to be sure of the benefits to the bees, either way. In one other experiment, I clad one hive on the roof and all sides with a 50mm PIR sleeve. It has done well over two seasons, but I don't really know why. I suppose I could say that if all this were a bad thing, my bees would have died out, but they have generally done well.
 
it doesn't seem to bother the bees

I guess there's the possibility that the bees can cope just fine, but at the cost of increasing the rate of consumption of stores which in turn might go largely unnoticed because late in the winter beekeepers might just heft the hive, decide they're light and feed fondant. Or looked at another way, perhaps the colony could quite happily survive over the winter with less stores on a solid floor, thereby requiring less feeding?

I have no idea if there's any difference and as I've posted before I've made my decision based on how my bees behave. I wonder if there's any research on OMF vs. solid floor in terms of consumption of stores over winter?

James
 
A natural cavity such as a hollow tree is (usually?) dark, well insulated, draught-proof, lined in propolis, and has a small entrance near the bottom into an open space below the comb.
I know of three feral colonies near me - all three have wide open voids below the cluster, so large you can look up and the the bottoms of all the comb. two of them have 'entrances' above the nest
Because of problems with condensation, beekeepers decided long ago not to insulate, to ventilate thoroughly, and to have open floors with large entrances.
No 0 it was all down to a tedious piece of fiction invented by some imbecile called Wedmore
 
No 0 it was all down to a tedious piece of fiction invented by some imbecile called Wedmore
Are you saying that beekeepers didn't ventilate hives to reduce mould and moisture? That they just acted on one man's word?

I've read that Wedmore thought that 3lb honey stores per month were needed to over winter a colony - say18-21lb total. The recommendation now is 2-3 times more than that. I haven't read the book. From here, it seems puzzling that the most famous writer on ventilation did not make a connection between bees consuming more stores and the warmth being ventilated out the roof.

Maybe I'll buy a copy at the National Honey Show. (Or try to speed read it. o_O)
 
Sub specie of bee, imports and cross breeding will have had an effect on food consumption over the last century.
 
Are you saying that beekeepers didn't ventilate hives to reduce mould and moisture? That they just acted on one man's word?

Wedmore had been President of the BBKA a year or two prior to his ventilation book being published and had already produced the (apparently) well-received "A Manual of Beekeeping". I guess that carried a fair bit of weight with some people.

I have read at some point that there were beeks who put a "sack" of chopped straw, wool or woodshavings over the crownboard during the winter. I don't know if that was specifically for insulation or an attempt to absorb some of the excess moisture. Perhaps Wedmore's book put paid to that practice. Seems like it had the potential to be a much better idea, really.

James
 
It was the multi purpose 'war austerity' crownboard with the two gaping holes for porter escapes that started the rot - most people just laid a 'quilt' over the top bars of the hive before then. I think Wedmore, puffed up with his own self importance just jumped on the bandwagon at that point and decided that ventilation was needed.
By all means buy a copy of his 'on the ventilation of beehives' it's a surefire cure for insomnia. It makes Joyce's Ulysses look like light reading (and probably has more point)
Apparently most of the big players such as Manley and the like absolutely panned it when it first came out.
 
I recall sacks stuffed with straw being used by my grandfather in all his WBC hives. Condensation was never an issue. When he got some nationals he always used woollen blankets above the sealed crown board. He never complained about condensation, just the lack of a double skin.
 
I have read at some point that there were beeks who put a "sack" of chopped straw, wool or woodshavings over the crownboard during the winter. I don't know if that was specifically for insulation or an attempt to absorb some of the excess moisture. Perhaps Wedmore's book put paid to that practice. Seems like it had the potential to be a much better idea, really.

James
I put fleece in old pillowcases last winter and it was absolutely soaked when I took it out in Spring. Not impressed.
 

Latest posts

Back
Top