I made a solar powered hive cooler for hot weather

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by mjrice, Aug 19, 2011.

  1. mjrice

    mjrice New Member

    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    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]
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Walt B

    Walt B New Member

    Messages:
    1,146
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Is that a fan to exhaust the heat?

    Walt
     

  3. mjrice

    mjrice New Member

    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    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'.
     
  4. pturley

    pturley New Member

    Messages:
    419
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    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:
     
  5. mjrice

    mjrice New Member

    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    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
     
  6. pturley

    pturley New Member

    Messages:
    419
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Interesting article, very worth the time to read. Thank you.
    The theory behind the concept certainly makes sense.

    (EDIT: OMIT, thermostat already addressed above...)
     
  7. Walt B

    Walt B New Member

    Messages:
    1,146
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    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
     
  8. srvfantexasflood

    srvfantexasflood New Member

    Messages:
    910
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I hope my bees don't see those pictures. They have to cool their hive the old fashioned, low tech way.
     
  9. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

    Messages:
    6,487
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    thanks for sharing. kind of puts tecumseh and his stick to shame? :oops:
     
  10. Murrell

    Murrell New Member

    Messages:
    382
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    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
     
  11. jim314

    jim314 New Member

    Messages:
    586
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    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.
     
  12. Murrell

    Murrell New Member

    Messages:
    382
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    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
     
  13. sqkcrk

    sqkcrk New Member

    Messages:
    840
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Would you expect this device to lower the humidity in the hive too? If so, seems like the bees wouldn't have to work as hard at drying honey.
     
  14. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

    Messages:
    8,996
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Catch 22... Will it lower the humidity enough to kill the larva?
     
  15. sqkcrk

    sqkcrk New Member

    Messages:
    840
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    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.
     
  16. gunsmith

    gunsmith New Member

    Messages:
    1,249
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    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.
     
  17. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

    Messages:
    6,487
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    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.
     
  18. pturley

    pturley New Member

    Messages:
    419
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    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.
     
  19. sqkcrk

    sqkcrk New Member

    Messages:
    840
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Paul,
    does your friend notice that the bees use the water very much?
     
  20. pturley

    pturley New Member

    Messages:
    419
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    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.