Here’s a quick video that demonstrates the installation and use of a moisture quilt for winter insulation and ventilation.
All of my moisture quilts are built differently because I’ve never put much planning into building them (I have zero woodworking skills). Some are converted ventilation rims that require a rim underneath, like the one in this video. Others have built in rims as part of the design. Some fit perfectly and create a tight seal on the bottom. Some don’t. And it doesn’t seem to matter either way because they all do a great job at wicking moisture out of the hives and keeping my bees dry all winter.
Moisture quilts, in my experience, aren’t necessary in local climates that aren’t particularly damp and foggy and wet. Smaller colonies that don’t produce much condensation from the bees’ respiration don’t always need extra ventilation or insulation either. A piece of hard insulation over the inner cover often does the trick. Moisture quilts can be a bit scary, too, when it seems like half the colony on warm days attaches itself to the bottom screen of the quilt. But for me the pros outweigh the cons. If dampness is a problem inside any of my hives, I know a moisture quilt will fix it.
Empty moisture quilts are excellent ventilation aids in the summer too.
Very helpful information- thank you! I just finished the last coat of paint on mine today and will put them on this week.
My little warning: Like I said, the trickiest aspect of moisture quilts is when the bees cluster between the top bars and the quilt’s screen. Sometimes they fill the entire space — which makes it difficult to add sugar cakes or any other kind of winter feeding. This has been my experience:
They will sometimes cluster above the top bars, but once it gets cold, they’ll head down to deepest part of the hive below their honey stores. That’s your chance — when the bees are out of your way — to dump in sugar for the winter.
However, if the bees don’t have much honey stored away, they may never go down into the hive. In which case you’ve got bigger problems than bees clinging to the bottom of a moisture quilt.
I’m fairly confident my bees won’t need any sugar to get through the winter this year, but I’ll add it anyway.
I have read some beekeepers use a piece of insulation fitted into the telescoping cover, do you?
Yes, I do. Scroll down this page you’ll find a few posts that demonstrate how I do it.
Great tip- I’ll wait for a drop in temperature to add the sugar cakes. They do have lots of honey stored away, even if its all concentrated on one side of the hive. Probably not enough to get through the entire winter but a solid start.