Damp Warré Quilt

I would appreciate some guidance regarding the condition of my Warre quilt.

Early March, when I checked my Warre hive, I found that the straw lining in the quilt was ‘wet’. Not sure why this happened as I had expected moisture to evaporate. I replaced the straw with sawdust / wood shavings and also replaced the hessian on the top box.

Yesterday, I discovered that the quilt was again ‘wet’ plus one side of the box (shady side). The lining was, however, quite warm to touch. Is there something wrong or am I worrying needlessly?

The bees themselves appear to be in good condition with increased numbers, comb building and a few drones appearing … This is my first hive and was established last year from a 6-frame nuc.

Steve Davies

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4 Responses to Damp Warré Quilt

  1. johnmkubwa says:

    Steve, quilts can get damp if the moisture cannot diffuse through the mouseboard part of the roof. Warré used sawn planks with gaps between abutting planks but I have often seen sheet plywood used for the mouseboard. The layers of glue in the plywood prevent vapour passage through it. The solution is to drill numerous small (3mm) holes in the mouseboard to let the vapour out . Alternatively you could lift the roof a couple of millimetres by putting a match stick across the corners of the quilt box.
    John H Stockbridge Hants.

    • diyslave says:

      Thank you for your advice. My mouse board is made of sawn Red Cedar and when I examined it this morning, it was completely saturated and the quilt wet. I have put a spare roof on whilst the original one dries out and have placed some matchsticks underneath. If this doesn’t help, I will then drill the holes and possibly resort to both!
      Many thanks for your help, greatly appreciated.

  2. simplebees says:

    I have found in several Warrés that wind-blown rain wets the outer edge of the top cloth and bottom cloth of the quilt box. (Probably due to insufficient overlap of the roof beyond the bottom of the quilt box.) The resultant moisture can spread quite a way across the top cloth/quilt cloth. Interestingly, the wood shavings in the quilt box remain dry.

    I tried drilled ply mouse boards in the past and found that the underside of the ply became very wet with condensation even with holes present. Turning the board from time to time allowed things to dry out. Due to this, last winter I went with no mouse boards at all.

    Gareth, Cotswolds

  3. diyslave says:

    Thank you Gareth, no mouse boards is an interesting concept which I hadn’t considered. As my bees are a relatively new colony, and I am very much a new beekeeper, I have decided to progress slowly by using matchsticks to raise the roof slightly as suggested by John. I’m grateful for both pieces of advice as this now gives me an understanding of the problem and a sensible course to take.
    ‘My’ bees can only benefit ….
    Thanks to all for the help.

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