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Condensation and varroa! Missing link to survivalists
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biobee
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Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DavesBees wrote:
I think you two chaps need to take a deep breath, go to the nearest Pub, then sit down and extrapolate a pint before you hurt yourselves. Laughing


Very Happy

We will be doing that some time this year, I hope!
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biobee
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

melissabee wrote:
So, do you have a kind of prototype for such a hive in mind? I'm trying to follow your discussion and have some design in my mind as well but I'm sure I've misunderstood something.


My mods are a combination of the 'periscope entrance', good insulation above the bars and a deep floor, filled with wood shavings: all of these should contribute towards a more humid atmosphere and a more even temperature. It's all experimental, though, so don't take anything as gospel.

melissabee wrote:

Could a poly hive be somehow modified in order to get all those features you are telling us?


Wash your mouth out! Smile
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zaunreiter
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Joined: 26 Nov 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Played all day with this VERY useful calculator:

http://www.u-wert.net/berechnung/u-wert-rechner/?cid=HlBBU_aR&lang=en

Pretty good to get temperature and humidity gradients, condensation water included. Although I am getting puzzled what really is going on inside a hive... Rolling Eyes

Bernhard
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biobee
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That looks really useful, Bernhard. If only I could figure out how to use it...

Embarassed
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melissabee
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Joined: 17 Mar 2010
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Location: Germany, Bavaria

PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

biobee wrote:
My mods are a combination of the 'periscope entrance', good insulation above the bars and a deep floor, filled with wood shavings: all of these should contribute towards a more humid atmosphere and a more even temperature. It's all experimental, though, so don't take anything as gospel.


Okay, this resembles my own thoughts.



biobee wrote:
Wash your mouth out! Smile


I should feel embarrassed, shouldn't I?

melli
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biobee
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The more I read about this and the more I think about it, the more I am convinced that this evaporation/condensation cycle is much more important that I had previously considered. It explains some of the more puzzling behavioural phenomena that we see in our hives, including:


    - bearding (relief from over-humid atmosphere)
    - absconding soon after hiving, especially in new hives (lack of propolis on the walls, giving no condensed water for brood)
    - failure to thrive, especially of cast swarms (lack of sufficient work-force to line the walls as well as gather food)


and probably more besides.

So thanks to Bernhard for re-discovering the original paper, and to Mr Edward Clark for writing it some 92 years ago.

A key lesson would seem to be that varnishing the inside of our hives - preferably with propolis, or at least, a natural resin - makes a lot of sense, as it would save the bees a considerable amount of work and most likely reduce the absconding rate almost to zero.

Any offers for a suitable recipe for a propolis/resin based varnish? Anyone managed to crack Stradivarius' recipe?

As far as hive design is concerned, I feel that sloping-sides are vindicated, in that water condensing on them will be retained for longer and thus be more available to the bees, as compared to vertical sides. I am even considering the possible benefits of adding a water-collecting ridge on the inside bottom edge of the side panel, to improve this further.

Having tried an inner lining of wood shavings on top of the mesh floor for a couple of seasons, and now testing the deep floor design, I am ready to concede that a naked, full-width mesh floor is probably too draughty in winter and not sufficiently vapour-retentive in summer, so will be adapting the design of the floor in my plans accordingly; adding a length of 4"x1" to each side, with end pieces and probably some cross bracing, plus a mesh floor, to make a removable section that can be retro-fitted to any hTBH.

Thinking about Small Hive Beetle (not yet in the UK, but probably on its way), which has part of its lifecycle in the ground under the hive (if sufficiently damp) I wonder if this type of floor may have some capacity for thwarting the little pests by creating an environment where earwigs and other potential predators can flourish. I think earwigs (anyone know what they are called outside the UK?) will also tidy up Varroa that fall off bees, while the ability to remove the floor and add to/change the filling, plus the drainage provided by the mesh - preventing a build-up of water - should take care of any potential rot issues.

And as Bernhard points out - the higher humidity resulting from overall better water retention in the hive should make it more difficult for Varroa to thrive and energy-saving for bees .

Looking like an all-round winner to me!
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Gareth
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

biobee wrote:

A key lesson would seem to be that varnishing the inside of our hives - preferably with propolis, or at least, a natural resin - makes a lot of sense, as it would save the bees a considerable amount of work and most likely reduce the absconding rate almost to zero.

Any offers for a suitable recipe for a propolis/resin based varnish?


I'm wondering about the possibility of using shellac. Anyone have any thoughts?
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bilbehr
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Joined: 24 Jan 2010
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:18 pm    Post subject: Earwigs Elsewhere Reply with quote

Earwigs. They're called earwigs.

Bill
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biobee
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gareth wrote:

I'm wondering about the possibility of using shellac. Anyone have any thoughts?


I wonder if the bees would resent the use of their coleoptera friends' exoskeletons as varnish? Shocked

How easy is it to get hold of powdered tree resins? Or how about boiling up/steaming fresh pine to extract it?

Is Stockholm tar a possibility? I have used it on horses' hooves - why not beehives?

Very Happy

Or would just painting with beeswax produce an acceptable result? (possibly different coefficient of some-thing-or-other...)
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zaunreiter
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shellac is just a portion of resin and even less than propolis. Why not collecting resins? See: http://www.biobees.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=69468#69468

You can either dissolve it in alcohol and paint that. Or you melt the propolis in a bath of water (resin into pan, pan into boiling water) - boil it to 100 degree Celsius, because this is the melting point of resin.

Take off the pan, stirr in beeswax until it gets a creamy texture. You can paint that straight away. Approx 1 part wax to 2 parts resin.

All the other stuff put in is limited to your imagination....lemon gras oil or such... Wink


Mandy also reported, that resin is pretty useful to get your feeder box sealed up watertight.

Bernhard
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biobee
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There you go - I ask a question and Bernhard posts the answer almost before I have time to click the button!

Don't you just love how this place works?
Very Happy

Nice work, Bernhard!

Now before I get too excited, I MUST get my tax return finished... Rolling Eyes
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MObeek
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Joined: 20 Jul 2011
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been hunting for resin around my small acreage and has been very unlucky. I used to have an old cherry tree from which resin oozes profusely from but it died a while back. Wikipedia said varnish has resin in it. Is there any thoughts on why I couldn't use that to coat the inside of my Warre hives? Thanks.
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newwoman
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Or what about resin used for violins(it is called rosin rather than resin I think and comes mainly from pine trees)-some rosin has things like gold and other metals so you might have to specify no additives but your local music shop might be able to help you
Just a thought anyway-don't know whether it would be suitable or not
Pat
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zaunreiter
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In lack of resins I'd go for http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shellac

Bernhard
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Barry Jackson
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Joined: 27 Jan 2009
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Location: UK, London N2

PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:36 am    Post subject: resin Reply with quote

Mobeek
I thought it was advocated to let bees varnish their own hive insides with propolis, which ends up like varnish and allows the condensation to drip down thereby providing wintering bees with distilled water. In the wild they propolize their tree home like this.
Barry
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MObeek
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To Barry,

As I understand it, according to the experts (Zaunreiter, biobees, etc...), the prime swarm does the preparation of the selected spot including propolizing but the other swarms, nucs, packages, etc tend to find an already prepared hive for them to live on. Biobees wrote: A key lesson would seem to be that varnishing the inside of our hives - preferably with propolis, or at least, a natural resin - makes a lot of sense, as it would save the bees a considerable amount of work and most likely reduce the absconding rate almost to zero.

If I'm buying a package, the bees won't be coming from a prime swarm. So I want to do all I can to convince them to stay when they get here.
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biobee
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 12:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think Ed Clarke said that he varnished the inside of his hives and the bees left it alone, which I took to mean that they did not feel the need to coat it with propolis, which suggests that the varnish was doing the job that they would normally expect propolis to do. I imagine that in those days he would probobly have used a resin or shellac varnish.
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imkeer
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:52 am    Post subject: resin/varnish Reply with quote

Making varnish is considered an alchemical proces. There are many recipes but they are never exact. In general, by dissolving resin in boiling oil, (2 parts resin and 1 part oil) varnish is made. Solvent like turpentine or alcohol is aded afterwards, to apply it. Usually drying oil like linseed oil is used.
I use collected resins, dissolve them in boiling oil and when cooled I add methanol mixed with propolis. This is a good natural varnish. I use methanol because I don't like the smell of turpentine inside a hive.

Luc Pintens
Belgium
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biobee
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the recipe, Luc!
I will do some brewing...
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homestaydon
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Joined: 21 Jan 2012
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 1:26 am    Post subject: General concensuses on what to use. Reply with quote

So do we have a consensuses as to what to use to coat the inside of our hives with. I read the book by Clarke and based on his work I would say he definitely has hit on to something. I'm to new to bee keeping to add any insight other than what I have been witnessing here. I'm convinced enough that I want to coat the inside of my new TBH to see if it helps. I was also thinking about some way to provide a collections point at the bottom of the sloping as mentioned earlier. But right now I was really wondering if there is anything available that would be an acceptable substitute for propolis?
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zaunreiter
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 6:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

See: http://www.biobees.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=7237

Bernhard
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biobee
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have made up some varnish by dissolving shellac in methylated spirit. I tested it on some bare wood and it will need a number of coats to get a good finish, but it is very fast as the meths evaporates quickly and you can re-coat within minutes.

Tree resin should also dissolve in meths and if you can throw some real propolis in there as well, I think that should do the trick nicely.
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homestaydon
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 3:55 pm    Post subject: Making Varnish for the inside of the hive Reply with quote

Luc, Bernhard and Phil and others who care to chime in.
So as I understand it we should varnish the inside of the hive to create a water proof barrier to provide an place for condensation to occur. Ingredients for this varnish to include at least the following
2 parts tree resin collected or purchased.
1 part oil. Here is were I have some questions, Oil types. Is any plant derived oil OK? I read Raw Linseed oil but not boiled linseed oil. There was the mention of Olive oil. Any others appropriate?
And some propolis Thought here Could small amount of beeswax be substituted and if so any idea as to how much. My thinking is propolis is a mixture of resins and beeswax or at least that is my understanding.
I'm reading that alcohol is added to the final mix. I would guess to thin it to a spreadable level. Is it better than mineral spirits or turpentine because of the odor. Would denatured alcohol commonly available be OK to use.
The procedure for making the varnish
The oil and resin are heated to incorporate the resin into the oil. Then the alcohol is added probably after the oil resin mix have cooled somewhat. Then this mixture is applied to the interior surface of the hive to create a water proof surface to allow condensation of the moisture with in the hive.
I'm I on track so far?
To summarize my main question centers around the types of oil and alcohols that are acceptable?
Don
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zaunreiter
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Olive oil confuses bees or at least "can confuse" the bees. I don't think they like it. As suggested use alcohol to dissolve, brush on and the alcohol will aerate off.

Bernhard
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biobee
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think there is any need for oil - what is needed is to imitate what the bees do themselves: a water-impermeable skin. Shellac varnish (a.k.a. French polish) is a suspension of resin in spirit, which evaporates leaving the resin to form a skin, which can be built up in layers as required.
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imkeer
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, probably the safest way is to dissolve propolis and resin (or shellac) in alcohol.
Two weeks ago I made varnish in this way: Boiling resin in linseed oil, added beeswax , then added propolis dissolved in alcohol. While it was cooling down it was getting too thick, so I then put turpentine in it (had nothing else handy)
I painted the inside of 8 new hives with it. I'm glad the turpentine smell disappeared together with the linseed smell in 2 days. In one layer I got a nice layer that smells like home. (resin and propolis)
I'll see how this recipe works soon enough, because most of the hives will be used as bait hives...

Luc Pintens
Belgium
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homestaydon
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry for all the questions guys. I'm just not the brightest crayon in the box.
Phil What is meant by spirits? I can purchase Denatured Alcohol or should I use a cheap vodka? What is your source of methylated spirit? Does denatured alcohol leave any harmful substances after evaporation?
Isn't Propolis a combination of resin and beeswax?
Luc can boiled linseed oil be used or should it be raw?
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imkeer
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To boil something in it, boiled linseed oil is good...
So raw is not necessary.
Just make sure it's pure. Sometimes stuff is aded as a drying agent. Don't take that one then. Only linseed oil.

Luc Pintens
Belgium
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homestaydon
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Luc. Just checked the Material Data Safety sheet. Only ingredient in the Klean -Strip Boiled linseed oil is linseed oil. So that's good to go. Know to get the information on the alcohol and propolis.
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R Payne
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 2:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

homestaydon wrote:
Thanks Luc. Just checked the Material Data Safety sheet. Only ingredient in the Klean -Strip Boiled linseed oil is linseed oil. So that's good to go. Know to get the information on the alcohol and propolis.


One thing about MSDS sheets is they don't have to list all ingredients only hazardous ones. They don't say if the oil is modified or not or how they "boiled" the oil. The most common way is to add dryers which may or may not need to be listed on the MSDS.
The best bet to know for sure if they add dryers or heat the oil is to call the company and ask.

There is raw linseed oil available but you frequently have to order it. The principle difference in how it acts is the boiled cures faster (a few days versus a week to 10 days). You can boil it yourself. It doesn't actually have to boil, but heating the oil will kick-start the curing process.

For the alcohol part, you should be using something with as little water in it as possible (denatured alcohol or everclear).
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