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Author Topic: Should I use screened bottom board?  (Read 4835 times)
johnwm73
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« on: May 26, 2008, 09:23:19 PM »

I looked at my hives today and saw they have more bearding than they have in the past week. At first they had maybe the bottom half of the 1st deep covered on the front. Now The have all the 1st deep and 3/4 of the 2nd deep covered. It has been in the low 90's the past week. I added a super with screen on both sides so the bees can't get into it but that way I can prop open the top. They have 6 frames drawn out in one hive in the 2nd deep but the other hive has only 3 or 4 drawn out. Is there anything else I can do? I was thinking of buying a screened bottom board to change out mine with but was wondering how they would survive through the winter.
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« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2008, 11:08:13 PM »

It gets colder here in Atlanta than I imagine you get in Texas and I leave my screened bottom board open all winter.  I believe Brian Bray in Washington state has completely open bottoms. 

The SBB helps with ventilation as does a slatted rack and propping the top. 

I'm curious about the super with the screened sides - does that mean the super is open on the sides letting light into the hive?  Wonder what that does to the bees.....hmmmm

Linda T in Atlanta
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« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2008, 12:23:35 AM »

my bottom boards came with a board that slides in for winter.  you will get better ventilation, better moisture run off, and perhaps better mite control, with the SBB.
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« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2008, 12:45:36 AM »

I left my screened bottom boards open all winter up here in western Washington.  It snowed and got down into the teens last winter and my bees did just fine.  The only time I put the tray back in is to do a mite drop count.  Totally recommend them due to moisture control.  It' get's damp up here in the Pacific Northwest.

Sean Kelly
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« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2008, 06:09:02 AM »

I leave my SBB open all winter here in Indiana, where temps are below freezing for weeks at a time.
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« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2008, 06:36:41 AM »

why can't you prop open the top without the extra super?
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« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2008, 07:27:46 AM »

I'm curious about the top propping issue as well -

On my hives I have a screened bottom board, a slatted rack and a big stick propping the top open.  The popped top allows the bees a second (back door) entrance and helps with the ventilation.  Even at that occasionally they do beard when the nights are around the high 80s.

Linda T in Atlanta
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« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2008, 08:20:49 AM »

I have heard of good things about the screened boards. I have one on a hive I have and like it. That hive does seem to be doing better than my other two,(which has solid bottoms).
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« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2008, 08:21:49 AM »

A beekeeper here is thinking of not using a bottom at all.
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« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2008, 08:28:48 AM »

I have screen bottom boards on all 4 of my hives.  It does not seem to have any impact on bearding.  They do it all the time on the strong hives. 
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johnwm73
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« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2008, 08:37:10 AM »

I could prop them open. I just thought I would need something to screen the top so the queen wouldn't fly off. The super idea came from looking at the screened top from Dadant's. I thought being I had the extra super it would create more space for the sun to heat up during the day and also keep the queen from flying away. I my lid propped open on one side about 3 inches. Will it hurt if it rains and some of it goes in the hive? Or do I need to close it on days it might rain?
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« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2008, 09:06:29 AM »

Johnwm73.  Rain MUST not go into the colony, ever, that is the worst thing that can happen to the bees is getting wet.  I think that we need some further clarification on what is going on at your place.  The only time that you would have an issue with the queen flying away is when a swarm occurs, then the colony will leave with the queen.  The queen ordinarily does not ever leave the hive, unless she is a virgin queen and must go out on her mating flight.  But once that mating flight happens with a queen, she never leaves the hive unless it is for swarming to a new location.  I hope this may clarify a little bit your quandry.  Ask more questions if you need further answers and more clearly define what you are saying.  Have the best of this great and most wonderful day, groovin' on our groovy life.  Cindi
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« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2008, 09:17:52 AM »

From what I have gathered the consensus on sbbs is that they are possibly better for mite control, and this, I believe is the main reason beeks use them.

I use both and really don't see a difference with bearding on the hives that have sbbs.

People on here have reported that slatted racks help most with ventilating a hive.


...JP
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« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2008, 09:18:38 AM »

I hived my packages on April 20 and have used solid BBs up to this point.  As the temps approach high 80s and low 90s, I will switch to the SBBs.  This weekend, I opened the entrance to the larger opening and used popsicle sticks in the rear to lift the inner cover a smidgen.  Yesterday, the temps were 86-87 and the girls seemed to appreciate the additional airflow!  In 2-3 weeks, I plan to remove the entrance reducer completely and install the SBBs.
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« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2008, 10:55:15 AM »

My bees are all on SBB that stay open year around.  You don't need an extra box on top, just prop the lid with a stick to let hot air exit the top.  If the queen wants to leave (swarm) she knows where the lower entrance is.
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« Reply #15 on: May 27, 2008, 11:00:05 AM »

From what I have gathered the consensus on sbbs is that they are possibly better for mite control, and

Some studies show quite the contrary.  Here is one
http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,10753.msg105971.html#msg105971


Bearding can be controlled quite easily without SBB.  Slatted racks, or just more space (supers) on the bottom work wonders.


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tillie
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« Reply #16 on: May 27, 2008, 11:26:56 AM »

What I've learned from reading Michael Bush about swarming is that once the queen or really the bees have decided to leave, there is little you can do about it.  Beekeeping is about working with the bees but not about trapping them!

Silly me, I read your post about the screened wire box and thought you meant that the box had screen on the side, where I think you actually meant it had screen on the top and bottom.

Linda T in Atlanta
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johnwm73
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« Reply #17 on: May 27, 2008, 12:48:23 PM »

Well I got home but only after it had rained hard and was still raining. The bees were in the hive and seemed to be fine. Although there were still about 100 bees on the outside on the front of the 1st deep box. The way my hive faces east and has trees covering it I don't guess they were getting wet. But it confused me to see them still there.
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« Reply #18 on: May 27, 2008, 02:08:37 PM »

Well I didn't beat the rain but nothing got in before I closed the lid. Although there were about 100 bees on the front of the hive. I don't think they were getting rained on or they would have gone in. The hives face east and are covered by trees. I just thought it was weird that during the rain they would be outside. But I am glad the rain didn't get in on them.
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« Reply #19 on: May 27, 2008, 03:37:58 PM »

I am just asking, but what does it matter if they do beard? Is it normal behavior?
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« Reply #20 on: May 27, 2008, 03:57:51 PM »

It is part of bee-ing a bee to use bearding to facilitate hive ventilation, but if it rains, those poor bees are outside clinging to the outside of the box until the interior temp drops enough for them to come back inside.  I like the idea of bees in community as well, so a slatted rack gives them a place to hang out with all the other bees as part of the colony rather than be cast out on the porch.

I'm sure bees in hollow trees also beard in the heat of summer as well....I believe the many, many other posts on this subject in other threads have commented on that....

but to be a bee-keeper rather than a bee-haver, I try to accommodate my bees' needs for ventilation in the hive: SBBs, slatted racks, and propping up the top in the Hotlanta summers, rather than force them into hot, hot situations because I didn't purchase a hive part for them that would make their little lives easier.

Linda T in Atlanta
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« Reply #21 on: May 27, 2008, 06:30:51 PM »

Some rain in warm weather won't hurt the bees, in the hive or out.  Swarms hang in the rain all the time.  Moisture in the hive is a problem when it is persistent for a longer period of time and promotes mold growth, or in winter when the cluster gets chilled.  A leaky top in the summer is little more than an inconvenience.  Even if you top blows off in a storm, the bees will most likely be fine.  If you don't have SBBs, tilt the hive slightly forward and any excess moisture will drain out. 

The propped top let's excess heat out the top, but it also let's humidity out.  This allows the honey to dry faster as well as keeping more bees inside and limiting fanning somewhat.
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« Reply #22 on: May 27, 2008, 06:42:26 PM »

Tillie,

You sound like I do when I'm talking about my bees!  For some strange reason, I almost consider them part of the family instead of some wild insects!  But I agree that we should help them out whenever we can!
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« Reply #23 on: May 27, 2008, 07:42:40 PM »

Bearding is like sweating for us.  It's a mechanism to control the temperature.  But the bearding bees are not productive.  When you prop the lid you often get them to go back inside.  Same with a slatted rack.  Same with an open SBB.  Sometimes all three work well.  I try to make sure there is plenty of room and ventilation and then I don't worry about it.
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« Reply #24 on: May 27, 2008, 08:39:11 PM »

Great point - a bearding bee is not a working bee - and we want them to BEE productive!

Linda T having fun in Atlanta
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« Reply #25 on: May 29, 2008, 01:01:09 AM »

A beekeeper here is thinking of not using a bottom at all.

I don't use bottoms any more but it does take a different type design for the hive stand.  I stack 2 4X4s on to each other and place them the distance apart of the inside the box.  In tall grass 3 4X4s would be better.
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« Reply #26 on: May 29, 2008, 10:07:05 AM »

Brian, I was thinking about what you were saying about stacking two 4X4s.  Does that make a precarious hive stand? I would worry that the blocks of wood would fall over.  What about drilling a hole and putting some rebar or something to hold the 4X4s together? 

After seeing the stuff that was on my solid bottomboard after this winter, I seriously may consider not using any bottoms on my colonies at all, not even screened bottomboards.  Are you planning on leaving the colonies screenless too even this winter?  I am listening, learning, making choices.....have a wonderful and most beautiful day, Cindi

I was shocked at what was on the bottomboard after the winter in the deep spring cleanup -- and it kind of gave me the willies, I am not kidding you.  There was even some sort of ugleeeeeeee larvae that hatched since the last time that I cleaned them, which was about a month ago.  I did take some pictures, but haven't got them internet-friendly yet.....they were hideous and ugly, kind of orange and I didn't like the looks of them at all.....pictures will be here soon to show you what they looked like, scarey stuff to me!!!!!
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« Reply #27 on: May 29, 2008, 11:24:35 AM »

Is there a problem with going bottomless year around? After reading the replies it looks like that some do it instead off screened bottom boards. Trying to make a decision and any information would be helpful.
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« Reply #28 on: May 29, 2008, 02:52:55 PM »

I go bottomless year round, and I also leave my SBBs open all year round.
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« Reply #29 on: May 30, 2008, 01:09:38 AM »

Brian, I was thinking about what you were saying about stacking two 4X4s.  Does that make a precarious hive stand? I would worry that the blocks of wood would fall over.  What about drilling a hole and putting some rebar or something to hold the 4X4s together? 

I tie them together by building  cross bars on top of the 4X4s out of 2X2s, also putting a piece of veneer across the bottom keeps the feet from kicking out and keeps the grass from growing up into the hive.  I'll show you when you come down for Labor Day.

Quote
After seeing the stuff that was on my solid bottomboard after this winter, I seriously may consider not using any bottoms on my colonies at all, not even screened bottomboards.  Are you planning on leaving the colonies screenless too even this winter?  I am listening, learning, making choices.....have a wonderful and most beautiful day, Cindi

Yeah, even with SBB the floor can get covered with crud quickly and block a lower entrance.  Screenless and bottomless, aka no pants, no shorts--only a slatted rack (kilt) to keep out the draft.

Quote
I was shocked at what was on the bottomboard after the winter in the deep spring cleanup -- and it kind of gave me the willies, I am not kidding you.  There was even some sort of ugleeeeeeee larvae that hatched since the last time that I cleaned them, which was about a month ago.  I did take some pictures, but haven't got them internet-friendly yet.....they were hideous and ugly, kind of orange and I didn't like the looks of them at all.....pictures will be here soon to show you what they looked like, scarey stuff to me!!!!!

Once you see what I'm doing I think you'll change, very easy maintenance.
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« Reply #30 on: May 30, 2008, 09:04:40 AM »

Brian, good, seeing is the best way for me to learn something, always has been.  Show me something once and it is there in the cobwebs of my mind for time and eternity itself.  Beautiful day, awesome day, Cindi
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« Reply #31 on: May 30, 2008, 10:25:48 AM »

Going bottomless in Texas is a risk.  Since we have summer dearths, robbing is a continual issue.  Bottomless works for the strongest hive in the yard.  For the others, it can be disaster.
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« Reply #32 on: May 30, 2008, 12:52:59 PM »

i like the SBB.  it gives you options.  you can close up if you need to, or leave open.  true, you have to clean off the bottom board from time to time, but i see that as a +.  you can see how many bees have died.  you can see if you have nasty things like chalkbrood starting.  i don't think bottomless would be a good option in my area, and i have tried the solid bottom boards.  those are harder to keep clean and seem to encourage things like mice, etc.  they give no option for leaving open.
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« Reply #33 on: May 30, 2008, 02:29:40 PM »

The way I see it, bees don't have a bottom board in the wild...they are in a hollow tree (or a wall etc).  Putting a solid board on the bottom seems unnatural somehow to me.  Having the screen doesn help with pest control and robbing I think though.

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« Reply #34 on: May 30, 2008, 04:38:11 PM »

Any time bees are in a cavity they in effect have a bottom board, and an entrance they can defend.  You don't see many bees build comb exposed on a limb.  That would be the equivalent of no bottom board. 
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« Reply #35 on: May 30, 2008, 05:03:10 PM »

Going bottomless in Texas is a risk.  Since we have summer dearths, robbing is a continual issue.  Bottomless works for the strongest hive in the yard.  For the others, it can be disaster.

That is why I built my stands with the ability to slide in mite boards.  Sliding them in leaces a 1/4 inch high entrance that works like a entrance reducer.
I do need to make boardsmore though.
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« Reply #36 on: June 02, 2008, 02:05:21 PM »

I love the SBB's from Walter T. Kelley.  I used to buy mine from Brushy Mountain until I discovered the ones from Kelley.  Instead of having a seperate hive stand, they have a sloped landing platform built in.  There are two slots accessable from the back, one has the plastic cardboard used for mite counts and closing up the board.  The other is the screen which can be pulled out the same way as the cardboard.  Makes it WAY easy to go bottomless or to clean off the dead bees and debris on the screen (especially during the winter).  My boards from Brushy Mountain have a fixed screen and have to be removed from the hive to be cleaned off which is a major chore in its self.
Still need to try out slatted racks, I keep hearing wonderful things about those.

Sean Kelly
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« Reply #37 on: June 02, 2008, 10:36:39 PM »

I love the SBB's from Walter T. Kelley.  I used to buy mine from Brushy Mountain until I discovered the ones from Kelley.  Instead of having a seperate hive stand, they have a sloped landing platform built in.  There are two slots accessable from the back, one has the plastic cardboard used for mite counts and closing up the board.  The other is the screen which can be pulled out the same way as the cardboard.  Makes it WAY easy to go bottomless or to clean off the dead bees and debris on the screen (especially during the winter).  My boards from Brushy Mountain have a fixed screen and have to be removed from the hive to be cleaned off which is a major chore in its self.
Still need to try out slatted racks, I keep hearing wonderful things about those.

Sean Kelly

I'll show youo slatted racks 1st hand when you come up on Labor Day.
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« Reply #38 on: June 04, 2008, 10:25:33 PM »

I really like the SBB  from  Walter T kelley also. I really like the way they are made. If you need to replace the screen just slid it out. You dont have to take the whole hive apart. If you want it closed just slide it the bottom to it. Good options I think.
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« Reply #39 on: June 05, 2008, 09:53:02 AM »

I'll show youo slatted racks 1st hand when you come up on Labor Day.

I'll hold you to it!  Cant wait, it's gunna be a blast!!!

Sean Kelly
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"My son,  eat  thou honey,  because it is good;  and the honeycomb,  which is sweet  to thy taste"          - Proverbs 24:13
poka-bee
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Gender: Female
Posts: 1651


Location: buckley wa

I am NEVER bored!!


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« Reply #40 on: June 05, 2008, 11:40:35 AM »

Sean, I have slatted racks, not like Brians but then you can compare.  Besides, you & the girls still need to come over & feed the koi & torment chix!! Maybe your next "girl" day if it's nice we can have a tea party???  Will be ralaxing for your wife before the big day.  Jody
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I'm covered in Beeesssss!  Eddie Izzard
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