Thursday, 25 September 2014

Hive insulation over winter - did it work?

Back in May I mentioned that we were trialling some insulation on our hive over winter. The previous winter we had noticed that there was a fair bit of condensation in the hive - on the top mat and under the lid.  In an attempt to avoid that this year we used some wall insulation sheeting, laid directly on the frames in the top box, as described here.  Now, almost one month into Spring and with the days warming up, it was time to look inside the hive and assess how well the insulation had worked.

When I removed the lid I was pleased to see that the hive mat and insulation sheet were  both dry, as was the underside of the lid.  This was a big improvement over last year.

Peeling back the insulation I could see that there were lots of bees in the top box. They had glued the insulation sheeting to the top bars in a few spots but it was still very easy to peel back and remove.

I checked the second frame in the top box (second from right in picture above) and it was about 80% capped brood, laid in a good solid pattern.  All looked well. A check of the bottom board showed it was clean and dry.

It seemed that the insulation had done a very effective job of reducing condensation in the hive over winter.  We'll take it off over spring and summer but will definitely use it again next year when we pack down for winter.

Have you had an issue with condensation in the hive?  If so, what did you try? How well did it work?

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