Winter is just around the corner, so it’s time to get the bees ready for winter. Your bees should have been treated now and have low mite counts. Now it is time to think about how to reduce moisture in your hives over the winter months. We saw this idea on the Honey Bee Suite blog. Moisture Quilt levels have been used for years in Warre Hive to stop the moisture that builds up over the winter months. Rusty’s full article is located at:- http://www.honeybeesuite.com/how-to-make-a-moisture-quilt-for-a-langstroth-hive/ Moisture is created when the heat from the bee cluster rises to the top and condensates on the roof of the hive. This forms water drops which drop on the bees. A drop of cold water can kill a wintering bee. The quilt level has a sheet of canvas at the base. This canvas sits above the bee cluster. The box is filled with untreated wood shavings. Ensure you have a bee space between the top of the bees and the canvas. A good way to provide this is by storing a Queen Excluder here over winter. Or you can make a shim that will provide the space. The theory of the quilt is that the drops of condensation drop on the wood shavings and not on your bees. The box has ventilation holes, so the wood shavings have a chance to dry out on sunnier days. Rusty mentioned in her article that only the top of the wood shavings gets damp. The boxes are the same dimensions as a Standard langstroth’s hive box, but are 130mm high. This is so the tin roof doesn’t cover over the ventilation holes. I made three ventilation holes on the sides the holes are 25mm wide and are covered in mesh to prevent other insects making a nice home in the wood shavings. Rusty lives in Washington State in America, so I suspect the rainfall there is similar to the hills of Waitakere. So let’s see if these quilt levels make a difference to our bees this winter. We will try this idea over winter and see how it works out.