Bee Quilts

Bee Quilt photo by Jessica Dally

Many years ago a home that was once owned by a farmer in the city of Seattle was being cleaned out.  An entire basement was filled with supplies.  Old boxes, some 8 frame some 10, miscellaneous bits and pieces of equipment and that “thing” you see in the picture above.

But what was that thing?  There was no way for bees to get in our out of the thing so it couldn’t be some sort of screened bottom board and besides, at that time varroa didn’t even exist here in Seattle.

As you can guess by the title of the post, it’s a bee quilt.  But what is a bee quilt and what would you use it for?

One of the big killers of bees in the winter isn’t cold but moisture.  Moist air from the hive rises, condenses on the inner cover and then drips down onto the bees making them cold and wet.  Not a good formula for a happy winter.

A bee quilt is used to help prevent this problem.  Not much more than a very shallow box with a screen on the bottom the quilt is filled with wood chips and put at the top of the hive.  The moisture still moves to the top of your box, this time to your outer cover, condenses and falls on the wood chips rather than the bees.  Usually only the wood chips on the top of the hive become wet thus your bees are spared from the “raining ceiling” syndrome.

A bee quilt would be quite easy to make and would be a good addition to any hive expected to weather a cold and potentially damp winter season.

Have you used a bee quilt before?

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