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Temperature Tests 2024

I’ve been fine tuning the testing methods over the last couple of years and am currently getting a few boxes set up for temperature testing in 2024. To hopefully see some different patterns in the charts I’m going with boxes that have significant differences and might start with a chart for January 2024.

The test boxes here so far are the 25mm thick hoop pine box and the 50mm thick Cypress box. These are commonly used box designs with a significant difference so we can see differences in charts.

Photos: Setting up a few boxes with probes


Preliminary Test 17/12/23:

  • 2 hive boxes at 25mm thick hoop pine
  • 2 hive boxes at 50mm thick cypress
  • Each box type seems to be consistent with each other in the chart

Hive No.1. 25mm Hoop Pine box with wood roof. Full sun all day until 4pm. 35c ambient temperature.


Below: Hive No.2 and No.3. Temperature comparison 25mm Hoop pine box vs 50mm Cypress box. These two boxes are beside each other and get full sun until around 1pm in Summer.

Image below: Surface temperature test. 35°c ambient. 12pm. Left 50mm Cypress box / Right 25mm Painted hoop pine box. The painted hoop pine is 4°c cooler on the front surface of the hive.

The large size number on the display is the result. 40°c for the Cypress and 36.2°c for the yellow painted hoop pine.

Image below: Surface temperature on top of the box. Left is the thick plywood “tropical lid” which is quite hot but does provide good protection because it has multiple layers and an air space. Right is the painted hoop pine box. Both boxes will benefit greatly from having good roofs on top.

The large size number on the display is the result. 57.9°c for the darker lid and 50.2°c for the yellow painted hoop pine.

Chart below: A hot one in Brisbane. Perfect for temperature testing! Hives in full sun from 8am to 2pm without roofs on boxes with an ambient top of 35°c. Yellow lines: 2x 25mm thick Hoop Pine boxes, Brown lines: 2x 50mm thick Cypress boxes.

The two 25mm Hoop Pine hives are very similar which is good because it’s a consistent result. The two 50mm Cypress hives brood temperatures are fairly different to each other so there could be a difference in probe position or colony strength. The tropical lid would really help keep the heat off the top for the Cypress boxes.

I think the 25mm hoop pine box painted yellow does a pretty good job and surprisingly well without a roof.

We’ve had poor conditions for bees for a while now with hive owners reporting a few losses. These colonies have been very strong in the past though it looks like they have declined in strength more than usual for this winter. The decline of these test colonies has caused inaccurate results for testing so there has been minimal testing this year.

Photos show how the brood has reduced in size over winter and the probe has ended up outside the brood area giving an inaccurate result. Second photos shows I moved the probe further in to the brood area. This is one of the many challenges that make it very difficult to get an accurate result over a period of time. 1. 50mm cypress box 2. 25mm hoop pine 3. 25mm hoop pine

Chart below shows the 50mm Cypress box. The probe position was corrected. It looks like the bees have accepted the probe in to the brood area and now the minimum temperatures have increased compared to the ambient and honey pot temperatures. An interesting thing is how the honey pot temperatures pretty much follow the ambient for minimum temperatures so there’s minimal insulation from the thick wood and no effort by the bees to create heat outside of the brood. Colony strength is a variable as well.

Chart below:

Comparing the 25mm hoop pine box to the 50mm cypress box over two days. Both colonies have reduced in size over winter and when opened to check the probe positions they appeared to be very similar in strength with a small brood and reduced bee numbers. I don’t think we can pick a winner here for box performance as the temperatures only differ by one or two degrees and have to consider all variables.

Looks like the thermal mass of the 50mm cypress box makes it slower to gain heat and slower to lose it.

On a side note, it’s always good to see the difference between honey pot temperatures and brood, 8 to 10 degrees difference within a distance of 70mm, only separated by the involucrum.

Chart below: 25mm Hoop pine box vs 50mm Cypress box. Both have similarly strength colonies. The colonies have weakened or reduced in size over Winter.

  • Both boxes show similar minimum temperatures in the honey pot area.
  • The heat in the middle of the day warms the 25mm hoop pine box by one or two degrees in the honey pot area.
  • Brood temperatures are similar and differences could be probe position or colony strength.

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