Thursday, September 19, 2013

You Have To Be Ruhl To Be Kind

This late summer I bought some additional equipment with my honey money. Most beekeepers in the Kamloops area prop the top cover up on their hives. Kamloops can get hot in the summer. And most keep the top propped up during the winter for ventilation. Propping the top seems to be a wide-spread phenomenon in other regions as well. Propping tops seems to be inefficient for cooling or ventilation. In the late summer it can exacerbate robbing. This led me to wonder if there was some sort top cover that was ventilated but screened, and based in a design that more closely resembled principals for ventilation of structures. I think I have found one in the Vivaldi Board from Ruhl Bee Supply in Portland. It can replace a current inner cover. The Vivaldi board is a couple of inches in height. It has a hole in the inner cover, which can be closed off with an optional screened cover. There is a screened ventilation space cut out of either end of the board. During the winter, burlap can be placed in the Vivaldi Board to provide insulation and moisture wicking. I use large top covers from Ingram Apiaries in Westbank, and they fit perfectly when laid flat over top of the Vivaldi Board, allowing the ventilation cut-outs to remain unobstructed. I like the Vivaldi Boards a lot, so far.

Ruhl Bee Supply deserves a special mention. I was travelling from Kamloops to the Lower Mainland (Vancouver) and Bellingham region, so I placed an order with them that I could pick up at my mailbox at Package Express in Sumas, Washington. Timing long distance travel with delivery is critical, so I ordered online one afternoon and called them the next day to confirm shipping options. It shipped the same day I called, and was delivered the next. Standard shipping. Awesome!

Ruhl Bee Supply also carries a slatted board that is placed above the bottom board (in my case screened). I decided to give it a try at least for the winter and spring. Kamloops had a mild 2012/2013 winter, but who knows what the upcoming 2013/2014 winter will bee (sic) like. Since I am entering winter with screened bottom boards this year, I was a little worried whether the screened bottom boards would be making the hive too drafty. The slatted board appears perfect to provide a little draft resistance and insulation to the bottom of the hive.

Below is a photo of two hives scraped from the Ruhl site. The hive on the right has a slatted board. Perhaps there is some benefit year-round as well.

Video of the equipment:


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