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Author Topic: BOTTOM SCREEN IN WINTER  (Read 3157 times)
fiveson
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« on: December 27, 2004, 09:37:56 PM »

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?!!??

Rob
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« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2004, 09:52:43 PM »

Even though the temps inside the hive are the SAME as outside (minus windchill if you have a well insulated hive) the cluster temp is the important issue. But leaving the bottom open to the weather makes it impossible for the hive to protect itself from winds and that surely will kill the bees.

I'd go as far as suggesting (in areas where the Winters are brutal - as they are here in NJ) that the whole screen board should go and a standard bottom board be used until Spring. Some people will argue the labor aspect that that opinion, but to the hobby beekeeper it shouldn't be a major issue.

I'd replace out the SBBs in the late late Fall, giving them time to help glue the standard bottom board into place and use a large entrance reducer, leaving only an inch or so entrance into the hive.

The only time over the Winter the bees will be flying are cleansing flights and the reduced entrance will be fine for that. But I surely would not leave an OPEN screened board in place without an insert or a protective air barrier in place - I can't see the bees making it through Winter with THAT much exposure to winds.
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fiveson
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« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2004, 09:56:36 PM »

Well I may be screwed because we had a helalacious wind storm with freezing temps the other day - I did however put some blockage so the wind might not have been too direct.

Ill go out there tomorrow and slide something into place. It wont be easy though because in order to lifet everything I am looking at 3 supers - at least two of which have weight.

Lets hope for the best! Thanks

darn
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« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2004, 10:07:00 PM »

I have just been to beesorce.com. Go to their BBS and do a search on ventilation. You might be suprised at what some of them say over there.
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« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2004, 10:28:20 PM »

i know alot of people that leave the SBB on 365 days a year and never have a problem with it , have you ever seen a hive on the outside of tree's limb's before or pictures of hives, they make it through the winters, moisture is the main reason hives are lose during the winter. you must have some ventalation at the top of the hive with the SBB installed so condensation doesn't build up. but you need some ventalation top of your hive anyway. just my 2 cents
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fiveson
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« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2004, 10:33:45 PM »

I have read that you can leave the SBB in pace and if one is using (as I am) the plastic top feeder (empty now) - it acts a a chimney and vents the moisture in such a way that it doesnt drip on the cluster. That was my plan going in.

Now I am really confused.

It seems to me that in nature there wouldnt be such great wind control....?
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« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2004, 11:03:45 PM »

Try these two,

http://wind.prohosting.com/tbhguy/bee/plex.htm

http://website.lineone.net/~dave.cushman/ventilation.html
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fiveson
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« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2004, 11:16:45 PM »

It would appear based on that second link that what I am doing is ok. I knew I had read this - in several places.

I think I willleave as is and become the canary in the mineshaft for the group on this issue.

Just in case though - I am ordering a 3lb box of bees for spring. If my hive expires - I will use half for a recharge and the other half for a second hive (my 16 year old bought me a second hive for Xmas!!!)

If they make it - I willjust start my new hive with the new bees (a strain of crossed Carnolians and Russians from Ca. that are said to be mite resistant).

Time will tell who has fell and who was left behind..... yadda yadda

What did nature ever do before us!???
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« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2004, 01:37:21 AM »

I say go back to a reg bottom bord. I was also reading a thing that says put the card bord back in or use a slatted bottom bord. bye
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Ryan Horn
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« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2004, 02:52:24 AM »

Quote from: fiveson
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?!!??

Rob


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.
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« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2004, 02:39:45 PM »

I and many of our bee club members leave the screen bottom boards in place all winter. We do how ever shut the bottoms up with flashing that is about 2" below the bottom of the frames.







We also make use of wind breaks, My wind break does raise the temp inside it by 5 degrees on a sunny day.



We also reduce the entrance. I reduce mine a bit more than some of the members who reduce from full open to about 4"



We had -14F a few days ago here in michigan but my girls were flying at 31F Christmas eve.

 Cheesy Al
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Horns Pure Honey
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« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2004, 02:44:39 PM »

Sounds like your girls are realy going strong this winter Al, bye
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Ryan Horn
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