Mold issue with tub style feeder

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by ASTMedic, Oct 18, 2013.

  1. ASTMedic

    ASTMedic New Member

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    Am I doing something wrong here?

    We're in a dearth right now and brood count started to suffer badly. So after talking to folks on here I started feeding both sup and syrup. Brood really took off and things look good for winter hive strength.

    So I've been checking the feed about once a week to add patties and refill the feeder. Yesterday when I pulled the top off the hive I found mold growing on the inside of the inner cover and inside of the outer cover. I pulled them and put them in the sun to dry and took the feeder off. The inside of the hive is fine, the mold was only above the feed.

    Am I doing something wrong? The daytime temps have been in the mid 80's and low 50's at night. Only thing I can think of is that I reduced air flow when I put on the smallest reducer over the hive opening.
     
  2. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Do you have any upper ventilation? With all that moisture being put into the hive, and reduced airflow, you may want to open things up a bit.
     

  3. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    other things that helps limit mold growth is to increase the concentration of sugar in the syrup or to add liquid lecithin (I buy mine by the bottle at the local health food store.. a good 'dollop' in every two gallons).

    if you are any where near the coast I would also suspect Perry observation certainly holds.
     
  4. ASTMedic

    ASTMedic New Member

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    I'm using the Popsicle stick trick to give an air gap at the top of the hive. Worked great till this last time. Only thing I changed was going to the smallest entrance.
     
  5. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    bottom ventilation and upper ventilation. so remove the e/r or open it up a little more.......alot of moisture going on and without proper ventilation, like perry said airflow; moisture creates mold growth in the hive, and what you are seeing on the inside cover and inside of the outer cover. you will also find it on the tops of the frames if not corrected.....:grin:
     
  6. ASTMedic

    ASTMedic New Member

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    I'm glad I caught it before it moved into the hive. I just stopped feeding for now. Should I put it back on or leave them be for the season? Top deep is VERY heavy with stored honey (can see why people don't like to use full deeps for supers) and there is "nectar" stored low along with stored sup.
     
  7. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    ast,
    where exactly are you in northern california?

    should you stop feeding?
    hard to answer because i am not in your climate and am not familiar with your weather, but in general, i would stop syrup feed in a more northerly climate. at a certain temp bees will not consume sugar syrup (too cold) and if they do, they need time to reduce the moisture content.... how much does that hive weigh? is it enough to get them through to your spring? meaning, what is needed for weight in your area? weight.....if you can't lift it from the back or budge it, they should be good to go......i said should.......sometimes we underestimate what is in the hive. you said the top deep is very heavy with honey.....honey or syrup stores?.....also, when feeding syrup, you have to cut it off at a certain point, the bees, as i said, need time to reduce the moisture content in the stored syrup, otherwise you will have more moisture problems in the hive. so, i would cut off the syrup feeding at this point. if you think they are short on stores, then provide them with fondant on the top frames of the hive or winter patties that can be purchased from any bee supply company. the hive can be opened quickly to insert any fondant or winter patties on the tops of the frames. at what temps? the warmer, wind free day the better, but i have opened hives between 35 and 40 degrees on a wind free day to quickly place feed in.
    keep checking your hive, by lifting or budging, if it seems light, add some solid feed.
    also ast, provide the ventilation, top and bottom, don't reduce the bottom e/r to the smallest opening, give them the widest opening on it. and give them top ventilation, and more than what is provided on current inner covers, if you can. the more ventilation, the better. it works. bees don't die of cold, they die of wet and cold; (moisture dripping back on them from improper ventilation) and also, starvation.

    hope this helps. :grin:
     
  8. ASTMedic

    ASTMedic New Member

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    I'm an hour north of Sacramento at about 700' in the foothills. One of the members is only 15min from me and has been giving me very good specific advice.

    My switching to the smallest reducer may have been the problem. After hearing your advice I guess my gut made the right call in telling me to switch back to the larger e/r.

    Top deep is heavy. To the point I worry about my grip on the handles on the deep. Actual weight? No idea. I'm a healthy 34 year old so heavy for me should good supplies. Guess the weight really doesn't matter since I don't know how much honey by weight they will need.

    It's all capped cells of food. Unless I misunderstand how they store honey I thought all capped cells of feed is honey or honey/pollen. I feel good about the weight of the hive (but really what do I know being this is my first season). I'm just glad the brood count is up and they're foraging more than a few weeks ago.

    I'm thinking one more feeding of pollen sup and then leave them be. We should be into the first week of Nov at that point. On my final inspection I'll just leave the e/r as it is now and the Popsicle stick spacers on the inner cover.
     
  9. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    ast,
    sounds like your hive is in good shape, and very cool that you have a member to guide you, this is so helpful when we have someone local to us!
    yeah the smallest reducer, you really don't need to use this unless you have some robbing going on, so good call to switch it to the larger opening. i have left entrance reducers totally off sometimes and the bees do just fine.
    actual weight?.......:lol: hard to gauge isn't it? in time, you will know and be comfortable with this, because you will be checking the weight of the hives as winter months progress.
    in general ast, i usually know what is in my hives before hard cold winter sets in.....and then as winter progresses, when i can't lift a hive , or budge it with a good hip check, i know they are in good shape. you said they were all capped cells.....they should be alright. the weight really for me is how many capped frames the bees have going into winter..... i like to see the top deep full, and i use 9 frames not 10 in my deeps, and then as winter progresses, like i said, i begin checking by lifting or hip checking a hive.

    others may disagree with me, but i would fore go the pollen sub, and feed her pollen sub come early january, there is no need for pollen sub right now. just my HO.
    good luck!
     
  10. ASTMedic

    ASTMedic New Member

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    I did a lot of reading about pollen sub in the fall and went back and forth if I should feed it or not. Their brood numbers had fallen off so sharply a month ago that I was concerned they wouldn't have the numbers to make it through winter. They had just 2 small (palm sized or less) patches of brood in late Sept. Being my first season I really didn't know when or how much they cut back on brood. I figured with the weather still being nice (85 today) it couldn't hurt. Now after feeding the sup brood is looking better but not at the expense of massive numbers that will have to be fed through the winter.
     
  11. ASTMedic

    ASTMedic New Member

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    Found more mold today.

    This is inside on the top of the inner cover. I'm using spacers between the inner and outer cover too.

    [​IMG]

    Inside the hive looks good though.

    [​IMG]

    Inside the inner cover

    [​IMG]

    Should I be worried?

    Should I completely remove the e/r for a week or two? Night time lows have been around 45-50 degrees.

    Since it didn't clear up from last week I'm going to stop feeding sup. I stopped feeding syrup last week.
     
  12. lazy shooter

    lazy shooter New Member

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    Feeding is always a high risk procedure. There are not any fool proof feeding scenarios. I'm feeding two weak splits as I type this, but I hate it.
     
  13. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    the mold in the pictures does NOT look all that excessive to me. I am guess you are feeding 1 to 1 and not 2 to 1 syrup???

    I see something of the same thing here at certain times of the year when I feed syrup (and I always feed 1 to 1). works fairly simple in that as the bees work the syrup the excess moisture rises and collect on a solid surface with a slightly lower temperature and then condenses. at some times of the year it appears the hive will collect the water for their own uses and at other times a bit of mold will form. I don't think it really represents much problem unless it is in large quantities and then generally it indicates what Perry suggested previously. <personally based on the pictures and your explanation I would just leave things alone and keep doing what you are doing and not worry so much about the small quantity of mold.

    Pollen patties (or pollen like product).... most folks suggest if you do feed these you do need to feed syrup at the same time. I would suggest some quick examination of frames for stored pollen would indicate whether you do or do not wish to do this at this point in time. Generally if you know you area and what does or does not bloom.... it is only during those years when you have a serious dearth that stretches over several month that pollen will become severely limiting enough within the hive to limit a hive's growth. If pollen within the hive is not limiting then I would suggest you will see 'more bang for your buck' by adding this in the spring time.... actually starting anytime after January 5... which I guess you might term mid winter if you wanted to argue the point.
     
  14. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    If it's really bothering you (I see some of this myself) just have a damp rag soaked in bleach and water and give it a quick scrub (weather permitting). I don't usually bother.
     
  15. ASTMedic

    ASTMedic New Member

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    Ok so it's not uncommon to see this. That's was my big concern.

    Good point about the moisture forming due to condensation, I never thought about that. Airflow wouldn't improve that since it's being caused by the cool surface outside the bee space.