I am getting very insecure. I read that the screened bottom on the hive stays uncovered through the winter - but I just read elsewhere in the group that one fellow puts the cardboard back in place for thewinter.
Am I freezing my bees to death without it?!!??
It is surely difficult to know, what is situation with screened bottom.
In Finland many professionals use screened bottom. The reason is, that when we use polystyrene hives, it collects much condensation water inside hive. The saturated moisture inside hive is unhealty. Many keep hives inside the bar or somewhere in the shelter over winter. There is no wind.
I do not use screened bottom, because I have windy home yard. Wind is worse than cold. I use "soil construction texture" and I cover my hive against wind and snow.
I use finger size upper entrance in my hives and it means same as screened bottom. I have polystyrene hives.
BUT when condensated water goes to the bottom and there are rubbish and dead bees, it makes quite a mesh and mold. That is the advantace of screened bottom. It is dry.
Most of Finnish beekeepers put hives to one box for winter, so box is warmer, and mold and moisture do not harm colony as much.
I made for this winter my first screened bottoms, 5 pieces. I will se what is the advantace. With open bottom you must take upper openings away.
When i use closed bottom, it must be a little hole in the back of bottom. Otherwise it is all the time moist, even at summer.
If you have wooden hive, it takes inside the concensation water and it acts otherwise like polystyre. However, exessive moisture causes nosema at winter.
To some persons screened bottom is like religion.