Where do I start? Most of my "issues" have to do with things that are not explained.
1. It that thing metal? Does it completely fill the box? If so, doesn't that effectively stop the "chimney-effect" ventilation through the hive, exacerbating the problem?
2. Does the little water collection system/hose collect water pooled on the upper side of this device? If so, it is only collecting moisture from above the device. I would think the majority of moisture would be from the bees and honey, below it.
3. If the water collection is from the top of the device, the condensation below would run to either side and down the walls of the hive. Isn't this the same effect gained by tilting the hive slightly forward?
4. What keeps the moisture from condensing on the fabric screen? It may well work fine, I'm just asking.
I understand the concept and I admit, someone put some thought into it.
I just can not connect the dots as to some of the benefits and claims however. I wonder if there were blind studies and research associated with the marketing claims or was this just "assumed" benefits? They do not list any associated study material. Which makes me more skeptical then the normal amount I already am... :roll:
From an engineering view point, it probably works at getting moisture out of the hive. I imaging they intentional don't show much details because it is probably easy to duplicate. If I were to guess, the arced metal sheet has an inverse bead of the ends that act as gutters and route the water to the hoses. I'm not sure that a straight slanted piece with one gutter wouldn't be better. Even a dome will have condensation dripping straight down from the very top.
My feelings are if it works, it is better than an upper entrance which lets all the heat out. Downsides I see are it is yet another piece of equipment and can become costly if you have a lot of hives.
I'm sure there will be some 1-2 hive folks that will use it and believe in it.
I just sent them an email seeing if they would like to join in on this conversation....
When you build, say, a pole barn that is to be heated, and put on a metal roof (directly on the rafters), the roof sweats and you need to put insulation up there to prevent it from raining inside. If you put on wood decking and a shingle roof, I don't think you have that problem.
So... is adding the metal creating more condensation than one would ordinarily have with a wooden cover?
don't you just love the smell of snake oil in the mornin'? the one constant in beekeeping over the years seems to be the volume of snake oil beekeeping generates.
seriously thought, a much better (actually designed and tested by an engineering professor/beekeeper out of canada) and cheaper solution was placed on the market years ago and never really sold very well. I would suspect for most folks an empty shell, a few sheets of newspaper and a 5# bag of sugar would accomplish much the same thing... plus have some added benefits over placing a sheet of curved tin in an empty shell over a hive.
just casually by looking at the picture in the link... what would keep those plastic hoses from freezing?
exactly hobie... I am very likely to have much more problem with a hive overheating (and actually melting down as several did this summer) than anything associated with freezing water.
as to your pole barn comparison... the real question is on which side of the surface does water vapor form and accumulate. so if you did construct a pole barn and sealed in up real well and then via air conditioning equipment remove the water vapor from the air inside the structure you would have no problem with water condensation on the inside of metal on the roof. if you move just a bit further north you would also come to know that first moisture and then ice will form on the underside of solid decks (covered with whatever). the builders call this ice daming which typically occurs at the juncture of tail end of the roof joist area. modern material (roof membranes and insulation) allow current builder to more easily deal with this problem than was possible at one time.
Dennis and I are happy to see the debate generated about our product. The questions and comments raised are all valid. We have attempted to answer these, and other questions that we have received, on our new FAQ page at http://www.smarterbee.com/faq/faq.htm.
We welcome any feedback at our email address and we will also attempt to monitor this forum.
Thanks for coming in, George. Any new equip. on the market will generate questions. I'm glad to see you come in to answer some of them. I hope you not only monitor this thread, but join in the other topics, too. All beeks are welcome as we try to grow the forum.
It may be some good exposure for you at the same time.
Welcome George :hi: I agree with Iddee keep yourself available for questions.
I'm still not clear on what is done when you have a stretch of freezing weather, your supposed to disconnect the hoses from the central piece (aluminum piece?) and monitor the level of water collecting in the channels so it does not overflow, is that right?
When it is bellow freezing point water freezes everywhere. Frost forms on the aluminum sheet as well. Water stops flowing. Many beekeepers reported that lifting the cover in deep cold weather they saw the frost on the inside of the cover. When the temperature raises above the freezing point, ice starts melting everywhere including the hoses and water starts dripping again. The interconnected hoses are there for those who are curious to watch the water accumulating. They may fill up rather quickly and must be drained. For those who do not mind watching the water, our recommendation is to disconnect the hoses from the central piece (not the alluminum sheet) and just let the water dripping to the ground. Will take some close pictures and place them on our site to better understand what I am talking about.
I would think, in cold climates, you would have to disconnect the hoses and allow them to drain. The ice will build up in sheets along the inside of the hoses, and if it is horizontal in any location, it may build up to the point where the hose would be blocked. Then, if the troughs and aluminum sheet thawed before the hoses (very possible due to wind chill), they may overflow inside the hive. Granted, it would be on the sides, but better to prevent if possible.
This speculation is based on a leaky bathroom faucet I have in a poorly insulated addition. The dripping faucet has, over time, managed to freeze the drain line solid in the elbow where it turns to go horizontal under the floor in the uninsulated crawl space. If your hoses were generally vertical, I think ice build-up would be slower. (and, please do not ask me what my thermostat is set at! )
Hobie, you are right. Thinking out loud is good.
Actually the hose are there for fun, just to give beekeepers the idea on how much water can accumulate in the hive. I bet most beekepers have no idea, I did not until a saw it with my eyes.
If some want to really monitor the water accumulation the best thing is to run the hoses into a plastic bottle.
Avoid the rain and snow to get into the bottle in order to get an accurate reading.
Otherwise I recommend to keep the hoses disconnected and let the water drip on the ground.
The pics I promissed yesterday did not make it to the website yet, I am sorry for that. They will be there soon.
I'm one of the 'inventors' of the moisture eliminating device under discussion, I'll try to answer some of the very good questions asked. It's a rather simple structure, but simple is good as long as it works. Here in New England we've developed it over a number of winters. Like the pole barn someone mentioned, the water condenses on the metal surface but is collected in gutters and drained to the outside. It doesn't cause moisture. The moisture is in there from the bee's metabolism. We just capture it and dump it. What if it freezes? It does, and frost forms on the metal but the first warm day it melts and runs to the drain. It doesn't drip back on the bees. The fabric keeps the bees from fouling the metal sheet and cuts down the drafts in the hive. The bees don't seem to care about propolizing it. The hoses shown in the ad serve only to visually judge how much water is collected. Nice to observe but you don't need them. It works without them. This year we have some units in Alaska, Canada and Florida and spots in between. Hoping for some good feedback.