bee space issues with Brushy mountain hives?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Omie, Jul 21, 2012.

  1. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Am starting to wonder...
    All my hives have been from BetterBee, and I have never had problems with bees building burr comb under the inner covers.
    My friend bought hive bodies from Brushy Mtn and twice now her bees have filled the space between the inner cover and the frame tops with burr comb.
    She bought all her equipment from BetterBee except the actual deep bodies, which were out of stock, so she got those from Brushy Mtn.

    The inner cover came from Better Bee, is the same on both sides, and has a slight recess. Like the ones I have.

    Are Brushy MTN inner covers flat on one side with no recess, or what? Can someone tell me who has them?

    Trying to solve the obvious bee space problem she is having.
     
  2. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    I have some. They are flat on one side (the side that goes down) and the other side that goes up is recessed so the bees can come and go from the top entrance.
     

  3. kebee

    kebee Active Member

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    Mine came from Brushy Mt, in fact all my stuff are from them, and it is flat on one side and the other recessed as Eddy says. My bees still try to glue the thing down though.

    kebee
     
  4. Dbure

    Dbure New Member

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    Mine do that too Kebee. I use screened inner covers to give them more ventilation and they glue those down and then fill in around the edges so far with propolis. I removed the screens toward fall when the temps started coming down and replaced them with the regular inner covers. Last year I did not have upper entrances but this year we added those and they have worked very well. Congestion in the brood box was eliminated and the frames in the supers were filled out and capped quicker. The question I have is does anyone remove their upper entrances for the winter or do they leave them on all year?
     
  5. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Got to have somewhere for the moisture to escape in the winter so mine stay open up here.
     
  6. Dbure

    Dbure New Member

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    I know where you are Perrybee that it gets quite cold for much longer than it would down here. I would have thought that leaving the upper entrances on through the winter would cause an issue with the hive keeping their heat. Clustering I am sure helps them retain heat, but is there anything else you do to help prevent heat loss? It is my understanding that moisture in a hive in winter can kill it quicker than anything, so I know you are right.
     
  7. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Well this is totally annoying then, because at my suggestion my friend got a really nice ventilated inner cover, which works great for me on all my hives. But it too has a slightly recessed 'ceiling' and an upper entrance. I guess that means we are going to have to add masonite or other thin material to 'flatten' the underside of the ventilated top except for around the upper entrance. Really a pain in the butt! :mad:
     
  8. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    omie,
    in part: " I have never had problems with bees building burr comb under the inner covers."
    you don't know what you are missing :lol: (okay, are not!)

    to answer your original question.....
    just my thinking and insight from my shoes, i don't think it is a matter of whose inner cover we have, or ones we have built. i have many types of inner covers from years of service; a variety purchased from local suppliers and some made myself, some flat, some recessed, and some flat and recessed :grin:, hope i made sense. i am inclined to think it is a matter of what the bees 'think' and do. even with the proper bee space, bees still tend to do their own thing or do as they please to build burr comb, or propolize the living daylights out of anything they seem to think needs to be there. for example, for years i have used the same inner covers with the same oval holes. this year the bees have decided to pretty much propolize that almost shut, and some have built burr comb under the inner cover down to the tops of the frames, more so than other years,not sure why. just the bees way, i guess. bees like to annoy their keepers :lol:

    also omie, i would not use masonite to 'flatten the underside of the ventilatled top' i would use plywood instead.

    dbure said:
    "I know where you are Perrybee that it gets quite cold for much longer than it would down here. I would have thought that leaving the upper entrances on through the winter would cause an issue with the hive keeping their heat. Clustering I am sure helps them retain heat, but is there anything else you do to help prevent heat loss? It is my understanding that moisture in a hive "

    dbure, it is not about heat loss, it is about moisture, which will kill a hive in winter months. the bees can survive very cold temps and stay warm in a cluster more so than we think, but it is moisture that kills them; cold and wet, if there is not proper ventilation/insulation for them. they can stay warm in the cluster in the coldest of temps. utilization of a bottom and upper entrance is good through summer and winter months for many reasons. in winter; do my best to explain simple dynamics of it, the bees cluster and only keep heat in the cluster, not the entire hive. heat rises and meets cold air, therefore condensation and moisture; much like our homes, if there are no vents, proper ventilation, and/or insulation to release the moisture, then this moisture will collect on the inner cover and drop back down on them. heat is not lost through an upper entrance, moisture is allowed to escape from the heat created by the cluster. if that upper entrance is not there it will collect on the inner cover, freeze and thaw, and when it thaws, it drips back down on the cluster....

    someone else can maybe explain this better, but a basic concept :grin:
     
  9. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    just guessing Omie since I have never bought anything significant from Betterbee or Brushy Mountain but it would be my guess that the rabbit on the boxes are somewhat differently cut that what you seem to be use to. I often times can get a good idea of the relative position of the frames (high or low) by looking at the clearance at the top and bottom of the box. my guess is the box(s) in question have more space at the bottom of the box and less at the top.

    in this regards not all boxes are made exactly the same. actually if you start with the two choices of covers and logically work yourself down thru the stack these critical dimensions SHOULD NOT be the same.

    ps... at some point if a hive gets populated enough and no new room is added at the top of the stack almost any hive will build burr comb at those unused space at the very top and the very bottom of a hive.
     
  10. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    I figured out the problem Omie.....we try to keep a 3/8 bee space right? Well, these are european honey bees........they use the METRIC system....:lol:
     
  11. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I think eddy has it...

    the metric system is french and your friend has frenchy bees....
     
  12. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    "frenchy bees" :lol:

    Hives can be different even in similar settings. My hive #13 is a propolis machine. The front edges of the bottom of my frames near the entrance are always propolized. I can almost take a golf ball sized chunk off each and every frame of the 10. For whatever reason this hive wants to close off or greatly reduce the front entrance and yet there are hives all around it that do not.
     
  13. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    I keep thinking that bee space is being violated and they are filling the additional space with comb. Not talking propolis mind you. These are actually my bees and my queen from last year that I gave her- the very same bees & queen weren't doing that in my boxes a few houses up the road, just in her new box setup. Something's giving them too much space and I think it's because the frame rest ledge is lower on Brushy Mtn boxes, and they make bee space right by having an inner cover with one FLAT side. The other side (with a recess) says "This Side UP". Unfortunately all our (non-BrushyMtn) inner covers have both sides recessed by about 1/8".

    Perhaps if I glue a 1'8" shim on top of the frame rest ledges of her B.M. hive bodies, then we won't have to fill the inner cover recess.

    Riverbee- do they even sell 1/8" thick plywood? Maybe balsawood would work, or the plastic political signs cut to fit?
     
  14. Papakeith

    Papakeith New Member

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    Omie, 1/8 inch plywood can be had at most hobby shops.
     
  15. jb63

    jb63 New Member

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    Would putting a piece of canvas on the top bars solve the problem.I have the same thing going on, so may be I'll try the canvas.
     
  16. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    If it is larger than bee space it will get wax comb, if smaller than bees space filled with propolis.

    You can expect the canvas to be stuck pretty good next visit, plus the bees can not get to the top to keep other critters out, plus you loose your top ventilation. As tech said, for every plus there is a minus.
     
  17. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    thanks folks, I'm going to have a look at them again this afternoon.
     
  18. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    As I think you have realized , mixing wooden ware from diff suppliers results in variances between them, and the bees will work these differences. .

    When making my own boxes I try to measure the bee space , but I have noticed that even frames have some differences , and that affects the bee space too.

    I buy frames from Dadant, Brushy and a local supplier, all have some variances on thickness of top bars, mostly because some taper the surface that meets the supers, this helps minimize the contact surface which helps in levering them up when propolised.
     
  19. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    I used 2 nice clean pieces of corrogated plastic political sign to fill in the recess in the insulated cover's 'ceiling', thus eliminating that extra 1/8". I just have a gut feeling this will work well rather than fuss with the frame rests. We'll check them in 2 weeks again. Lesson learned.
     
  20. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    I do hope you sealed the open ends of the signs, would make a great hiding place for the SHB.

    Just a thought!