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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I kind of rushed this out so that I could use it this season. This winter, I'll refit it with a thermostat and a battery pack.

[attachment=0:1bovetko]hivetopcoolerimgs.jpg[/attachment:1bovetko]
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, sorry for the lack of explanation in my first post. The solar panel on top (made from a few 3x6 cells that I split in half to get ~5V @ 1A) powers a small DC fan that exhausts the air out the back of the outer cover. There is a wire screen (hard to see in the top photo) that keeps the bees out of the 'attic space'.
 

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While it may help on some really hot days, how will you know when it is not needed?
Too much ventilation can be just as much a problem as too little.

I would suggest you download and read Beekeeping for All by Warre'. You can find it here(free PDF).
http://warre.biobees.com/

EDIT: Here is a quick quote from the Biobees site:
The importance of the retention of nest scent and heat (Nestduftwärmebindung) for bee health and productivity was discussed by Johann Thür in his book Beekeeping: natural, simple and successful (1946) which also presents Abbé Christ's (1739-1813) hive that is almost identical in concept to Warré's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
After honey season is over this year (in just a few weeks) I will be pulling the design apart and adding a thermostat and a battery pack. For now, it will just run when the sun is out. If we happen to have a cool day, I will cover up the panel. The airflow provided by this small fan is actually pretty subtle; you can't even hear the fan unless you put your head right down next to it.

Also worth your time to read: http://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/Ga ... ase-yields
 

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Interesting article, very worth the time to read. Thank you.
The theory behind the concept certainly makes sense.

(EDIT: OMIT, thermostat already addressed above...)
 

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MJ,

Sounds cool. :D

My first impression was that the fan was something on the order of a muffin fan for cooling a copier, but apparently it's much smaller than that.

Since we've had 65 or so days above 100 (yesterday 107), seems to be something worthy of more investigation. Thanks.

Walt
 

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There are a group of beekeepers in Oklahoma, I believe around Oklahoma City, that are big on solar fans for their hives.

Just not my cup of tea.

Murrell
 

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Walt B said:
MJ,

Since we've had 65 or so days above 100 (yesterday 107), seems to be something worthy of more investigation. Thanks.

Walt
Pretty much the same here, 106 today and suppose to be 109 tomorrow. Since the bees have to cool down the hive when it gets too hot, is it a good idea to pull hot 100+ air into a hive. Seems like when it's that hot, it would do more harm than good by pulling the air the bees have cooled out of the hive? But I'm still very new and may not be understanding completely. I have a vented shim below an empty super and so far they have even been bearding in these temps.
Jim

I meant to say they haven't been bearding in this heat.
 

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In that heat for that long peroid of time, has any one offset their hive box's ?

I didn't this year but I have in the past, they seem to really like it, a lot of bees come out too cool off under each box !

Murrell
 

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Yeah, that could be a problem too.

Since bees regulate temperature and humidity in their hive, do you suppose having an artificial source of forced ventilation would make the bees work harder trying to control what is being effected by the ventilator?

This is an interesting idea and device, but I would like to understand better, or have explained to me, how it effects the colony living in the hive. I tend to like letting the bees do what they need to. I don't even use tecumsehs low tech ventilation device. A stick.
 

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I'm thinking-different geographic regions-different problems. Marty is in Ohio, me too. Here we have high humidity during most of the summer. I did 2 tours of duty in central Texas where high humidity was NOT a problem, rather the reverse was true. As a new beek-in Ohio-I'm very interested in his idea. I also like Murrells idea of off-setting the boxes, but makes me ask if that wouldn't encourage robbing.
 

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the humidity in Texas largely depend on where you are located. I would suspect that even the small distance between WaltB and myself the general humidity condition could vary greatly. Just a bit to the west of me the humidity starts dropping out of the air quick enough you can feel the difference (your sweat actually cools you via evaporation). Houston (southeast maybe 100 miles) always has extremely high humidity (your sweat never evaporates).

as to the solar powered device I think I would worry more about moisture inside the unit created by the drying of nectar which can create a pretty big water splash at the top of the hive (generally centered somewhat on the inner cover or migratory lid).

ps... the natural configuration of a hive creates a 'stack effect' if there is any opening at the top of the stack what so ever.
 

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One local beekeeper near me uses entrance feeders full of water to make it as easy as possible for his bees to cool the hive, make wax, etc.
 

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There is a ditch with cat-tails in it only about 50 feet from one of his hives, even still, last time I visited his bees were covering the feeder. It wasn't even all that hot on the day I was there.

I was curious and asked why he had both a feeder and supers on his hive. He pointed out that in addition to cooling, beeswax is by weight 20% water (I didn't check this fact BTW). He believes it helps them to build out comb as well.
 
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