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That is an awesome insight on how you manage your bees and why. I am moved by your thoughts on this subject of housing bees. I am so tempted to just take one of my hives and do exactly the same thing as I have read into other's thoughts as well, that they keep bees as close to their natural living conditions as they would survive in a tree. Which to say is, bottom entrance only and no top entrance or ventilation. In fact, this is method that Frederic Dunn follows with his hives. He has a you tube channel. He lives in N.W Pennsylvania, which is not to awful far from where I live so the climate conditions are pretty close with the usual Spring, Summer, Fall and with Winters that can go from mild to wild in a moment. Some guys live in Texas where it is nice all the time. ;)
my question would be...bees live in trees, live trees...hives are built of dead wood...so does a live tree absorb moisture that the bees create? and are the properties inside a living tree different than that of a human built hive?..
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
my question would be...bees live in trees, live trees...hives are built of dead wood...so does a live tree absorb moisture that the bees create? and are the properties inside a living tree different than that of a human built hive?..
Humm, now there is food for thought.
 

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I don't have a top entrance, but I do have a screened bottom board, and in winter it's stuffed underneath with polyester floss pad to prevent drafts, but it still allows some minimal ventilation. I didn't have a broodless period this summer,. and my biggest hive apparently sent off a big swarm so I have postponed treating for mites until after I harvest a little fall honey.

On the source of bees @amandabee, when I buy a queen I buy from beeweavers, they are probably less than 100 miles south of me, and they have bred for varroa resistance, hygenic behavior, bees may be a tad bit hotter than a California Italian queen would produce, but I've had good luck with them, and the current Beeweaver hive is on its 3rd generation I think, I bought the mother queen in August 2019. Beeweaver queens tend toward a relatively small winter cluster, which reduces food needs, and build up pretty quickly in spring.

My other hive came in as a large swarm in spring 2017 I think, entered a deep nuc box swarm trap and when I went to put a feed jar on, I gently set the lid back down and got 2nd nuc box with frames on top to give them adequate space, they were quite gentle as a swarm. They produced enough to feed themselves in their first year, and were in a 10 frame deep and medium halfway thru summer, they sent off a swarm on mother's day 2018, I didn't catch it, but they built back up and usually have a very nice honey harvest despite needing 2 deeps and a medium to accommodate their population. This year they sent off a swarm and at harvest time (mid July) there was more brood than honey so I gave them a feed jar and let them carry on.

I will do a fall harvest when there has been a frost and I'm pretty sure they have put up what they can, and I will not take more than they can spare. Then I will treat for mites.

As far as buying bees or nucs, I bought 2 nucs in 2012. I buy queens and did my last removal from a house in May 2019
That was my neighbor, can't imagine how bees found his house - the ones in his house had been robbing my hives for 2 years - I did removal for free. I was more than paid in honey harvest after they were gone. that queen was replaced by a Beeweaver queen
 

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my question would be...bees live in trees, live trees...hives are built of dead wood...so does a live tree absorb moisture that the bees create? and are the properties inside a living tree different than that of a human built hive?..
I think that the humidity in hives is quite acceptable for bees- and being largely a function of air flow, it would rise in fall in parallel with CO2 levels as well. I can't put my hands on it right now but I have some data on CO2 levels and I was surprised at how high it was, and quite acceptable to healthy bees. Propolis is waterproof as mentioned by Rick Bee, however warm air holds more moisture as humidity, and cold air creates condensation. Because bees in 'natural' tree trunk would be insulated and air therefore warm, ergo it could be assumed that by default, in the close and crowded bee world, there will be usually exist high levels of humidity. However, bacterial and fungal conditions promoted by high humidity do not prevail because of antimicrobial propolis envelope. If you want to know about how different a human built hive, I suggest reading Thomas D Seeleys books.
 

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The atmosphere in the supers of a closed top hive is not suitable for brood rearing, so it acts as a queen excluder! :^)
 
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