This week I want to share some more variations of the moisture quilt that were sent in by readers. Each of them has been customized for local conditions or unique problems. Today’s rendition was sent to me by Herb Lester in Tennessee.
Herb starts by making a candy board with a hole in the center. The hole has two purposes: to provide a way for moist air to escape, and to provide a quick way to check sugar levels and add protein patties if necessary. He places a quart mason jar over the hole in the candy board to keep the sugar from flowing through and removes the jar once the candy has hardened. His candy board holds 20 pounds of hard candy. He writes:
I place the hard candy facing down on the frames next to the bees. I add the candy near the winter solstice, on or near the 21st of December each year. I have found that 20 pounds will provide more than enough food for most hives through the winter. Some will completely eat the hard candy while others do not feed on it at all.
Whatever is left after the winter is removed in the spring. I number and refurbish the units, wrap each unit tightly with a heavy-duty trash bag and store it in a dry area for the next winter. I try to place the units back on the same hives they came off of the previous winter in hopes of not spreading any problems. During the winter of 2013 this worked very well.
On top of the candy board, Herb places a moisture quilt where the wood chips are enclosed with fabric on both sides:
The winter ventilation unit is placed on top of hard candy unit. I place cloth on both sides of the frame to hold the cedar shavings in place, which makes it easy to keep the shavings for re-use each winter. I number and store them during the summer months. I replace winter quilts with a summer ventilation unit as soon as the temperature at night stays above 50 degrees F.
Thank you, Herb, for sharing your ideas and photos. Nice job!