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Author Topic: Screened bottom board vs. slatted bottom board  (Read 6808 times)

Offline JD

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Screened bottom board vs. slatted bottom board
« on: January 04, 2009, 03:25:52 PM »
I make my own equipment and use a slatted bottom board. I like the benefits I get from the slatted board. Less bearding, they have a place to hang out and the help keeping critters out. Drawing the the brood nest down further, less draft and darker. I like the the idea of a screened bottom board for doing mite counts. So how could a person get the benefits of both worlds. If I had to choose I'm leaning toward the screened bottom board. Anyone know where I could get some plans or a good description would be great. Also what you'd use for sticky paper. I think I read some where some one was coating the bottom with vegetable oil. Any idea's or help is appreciated

Offline Brian D. Bray

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Re: Screened bottom board vs. slatted bottom board
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2009, 10:20:56 PM »
I make my own equipment and use a slatted bottom board. I like the benefits I get from the slatted board. Less bearding, they have a place to hang out and the help keeping critters out. Drawing the the brood nest down further, less draft and darker. I like the the idea of a screened bottom board for doing mite counts. So how could a person get the benefits of both worlds. If I had to choose I'm leaning toward the screened bottom board. Anyone know where I could get some plans or a good description would be great. Also what you'd use for sticky paper. I think I read some where some one was coating the bottom with vegetable oil. Any idea's or help is appreciated

Gee, that sounds just like me on a number of previous posts.  Then I kept the racks and went bottomless and liked it even better.
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Offline fermentedhiker

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Re: Screened bottom board vs. slatted bottom board
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2009, 10:22:05 PM »
I'm not sure the point of your question exactly.  They aren't designed to fulfill the same roles and the two are not mutually exclusive.  By that I mean you don't have to choose between the two.  If you are using a solid bottom board under your slatted rack then all you need to do is place a SBB between the two. That way you can slide a sticky board whether purchased or homemade by smearing something sticky on it, or you could just use a lunch tray like what is found at Betterbee.  I know some people just run the SBB with no solid bottom board etc... underneath.  They just let the debris fall to the ground.  I'm currently running a slatted rack over an SBB over a solid bottom board.  But I've just finished building a couple of elevated hive stands and am going to try running the SBB with nothing under it.  I made the stands so I can slide a lunch tray under it for doing mite counts but plan on leaving it out most of the time.  Alternative I've seen some people on here running slatted racks with hardware cloth of various sized stapled to the bottom of the slatted rack, some omitting a bottom entrance and some making the screen openings large enough so the bees can enter right through it(an OBB of sorts).  I'm thinking of making my next couple of elevated stands leaving out the landing board and SBB and copying the idea of a screened slatted rack with some wine cork sized holes drilling in the front of it for a bottom entrance.  Mostly just because it eliminates some parts I'll have to build.  Simpler is often better......right?  
Are you thinking that you have to choose between them as a matter of cost?  If so you might try something like the last one I mentioned that I'll be trying next year as the only difference in cost and complexity over the slatted rack you are already building is stapling some hardware cloth on its bottom.
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Offline Brian D. Bray

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Re: Screened bottom board vs. slatted bottom board
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2009, 10:29:09 PM »
Quote
But I've just finished building a couple of elevated hive stands and am going to try running the SBB with nothing under it.  I made the stands so I can slide a lunch tray under it for doing mite counts but plan on leaving it out most of the time.  Alternative I've seen some people on here running slatted racks with hardware cloth of various sized stapled to the bottom of the slatted rack, some omitting a bottom entrance and some making the screen openings large enough so the bees can enter right through it(an OBB of sorts).

I use the rack as the bottom board if you feel you need mouse guards use #2 hardware cloth on the bottom side of the rack.  My stands are made to us a slide in sticky board and made out of 4X4s.  I cut the 4X4's the same length as the hive then bridge across them with 2X2s.  Puts the hive about 9 inches off the ground. I recommend mounting the stands on 1/4 inch plywood to prevent grass etc from growing up inside the hive.  If you hive stape the hive to the stand you can move the whole thing in one piece.
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Offline Robo

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Re: Screened bottom board vs. slatted bottom board
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2009, 10:37:19 PM »
Here are plans for slatted racks -> http://www.beesource.com/plans/bottomrack.htm which can be used over these plans for a SBB with insert -> http://www.beesource.com/plans/ipmbottom.htm

I ran this combination (with optional insert installed) for many years until I went to a simpler solid bottom board with slide in rack.


I personally prefer closed bottoms verses open bottoms because the warmer conditions help rear more brood earlier and perhaps help against varroa.  I know others disagree, but I can only share what works best for me. 

Here is some additional reading you might find interesting -> http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,16851.0.html
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Offline fermentedhiker

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Re: Screened bottom board vs. slatted bottom board
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2009, 11:00:02 PM »
[quote author=Brian D. Bray link=topic=19124.msg143467#msg143467 date=1231122549
I use the rack as the bottom board if you feel you need mouse guards use #2 hardware cloth on the bottom side of the rack.  My stands are made to us a slide in sticky board and made out of 4X4s.  I cut the 4X4's the same length as the hive then bridge across them with 2X2s. 
[/quote]

I'd be interested in seeing a pic of one of your stands.  That's a good point about the growing grass, I hadn't really considered that as a serious problem.  Do you find yellow jackets a problem later in the season without using a small opening hardware cloth?


I personally prefer closed bottoms verses open bottoms because the warmer conditions help rear more brood earlier and perhaps help against varroa.  I know others disagree, but I can only share what works best for me. 
Here is some additional reading you might find interesting -> http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,16851.0.html

I hear what you're saying Robo and I have some definite concerns on that front.  But I've decided to be committed to observing OBB style hives for a couple of seasons.  Ideally I'd run both side by side with bees from the same stock.  Who knows, if i catch a couple swarms I probably won't invest in making more stands upfront and that'll give me an opportunity to see them run side by side.  I do have a massive cut out to do if the land owner hasn't bulldozed the building by spring.  A monster hive that has been thriving in the wall of a barn for three years.  Talk about locally acclimatized bees.  When I checked on them in late September the air was literally full of bees coming and going.  My original plan was to do a TBH or a horizon Lang to save money to put the cut out in though.   I may require an extra dose of courage when I go to crack the wall open.  :shock:
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Screened bottom board vs. slatted bottom board
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2009, 11:07:28 PM »
I'd just staple #8 hardware cloth on the bottom of the Slatted Rack and make a top entrance. :) But I suppose you could make an entrance on the slatted rack.
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Offline Robo

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Re: Screened bottom board vs. slatted bottom board
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2009, 11:14:30 PM »
[quote author=fermentedhiker link=topic=19124.msg143472#msg143472 date=1231124402}
I do have a massive cut out to do if the land owner hasn't bulldozed the building by spring.  A monster hive that has been thriving in the wall of a barn for three years.  Talk about locally acclimatized bees.  When I checked on them in late September the air was literally full of bees coming and going. 
[/quote]

Get them in the early Spring when the population (and honey stores) are at the lowest point.  Here is one of the oldest feral colonies I have removed -> http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,9430.0.html
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Offline bluegrass

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Re: Screened bottom board vs. slatted bottom board
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2009, 10:09:05 PM »
I think the slatted rack will make the sbb useless for mite control....instead of all the fall offs going down through the screen most will fall onto one of the slats and just wait to be picked up by a passing bee.
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Offline fermentedhiker

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Re: Screened bottom board vs. slatted bottom board
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2009, 10:30:26 PM »
I think the slatted rack will make the sbb useless for mite control....instead of all the fall offs going down through the screen most will fall onto one of the slats and just wait to be picked up by a passing bee.

That's why I like the one betterbee sells, the slats run in the same direction and spacing as the frames.
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Offline Robo

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Re: Screened bottom board vs. slatted bottom board
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2009, 09:18:27 AM »
I think the slatted rack will make the sbb useless for mite control....instead of all the fall offs going down through the screen most will fall onto one of the slats and just wait to be picked up by a passing bee.


That assumes fall off rate is high enough to be significant.
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Offline justgojumpit

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Re: Screened bottom board vs. slatted bottom board
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2009, 09:08:08 PM »
I think the slatted rack will make the sbb useless for mite control....instead of all the fall offs going down through the screen most will fall onto one of the slats and just wait to be picked up by a passing bee.

That's why I like the one betterbee sells, the slats run in the same direction and spacing as the frames.

The betterbee one would only work that nicely if you ran all ten frames in the brood chambers.  I often run nine as the frames become propolized because it is easier to get the in and out.

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Offline fermentedhiker

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Re: Screened bottom board vs. slatted bottom board
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2009, 09:28:27 PM »
The betterbee one would only work that nicely if you ran all ten frames in the brood chambers.  I often run nine as the frames become propolized because it is easier to get the in and out.
justgojumpit

Betterbee makes a 9 frame version as well.  Although it's my understanding that running 9 frames in a 10 frame brood chamber would violate the natural space between brood comb.  Not as much of an issue in a super but seems like i've read about it causing problems with the bees drawing comb because of the excess gap.  I've never run 9 frames so I can't comment from direct experience.
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Offline Brian D. Bray

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Re: Screened bottom board vs. slatted bottom board
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2009, 01:05:14 AM »
A slatted rack must run the same way as the frames (combs) or it is self defeating for it's intended pursposes.  Bees like the festoon the same directions as the comb so having a rack that runs at a 90 degree angle is pointless.

As far as a hive stand is concerned try this set up, it'll work with bottomless, SBB, or any other configuration dear to your heart.


The small x's are 2x2 and the large X's 4x4 with a veneer on the bottom to keep grass etc from growing up through the bottom of the stand.

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Offline slaphead

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Re: Screened bottom board vs. slatted bottom board
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2009, 09:22:09 PM »
I've built a slatted rack based on the plans on Beesource.  The slats on those plans run 90 degrees to the frames.  Is there any hope for them or should I start again and build a new one?

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Offline Robo

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Re: Screened bottom board vs. slatted bottom board
« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2009, 10:10:32 PM »
I've built a slatted rack based on the plans on Beesource.  The slats on those plans run 90 degrees to the frames.  Is there any hope for them or should I start again and build a new one?

I've used slatted racks that run perpendicular to the frames for years (as you can see in the previous pictures) and have no issue with them.  I know some will claim it prevents mites from falling through the SBB, but I personally question the fall off rate of live varroa and their ability to reattach.  Even if you believe the rate is significant enough,  I then find it hard to believe that your slats are in line perfectly with the frames and do not block some of the space between the frames.  Bees don't built perfectly even comb, and frames don't hang perfectly straight.  In the worse case,  the frames could be off enough to entirely block the fall-thru zone.  At least with the perpendicular slats, you are only blocking off half of the zone regardless of the comb and frame orientation.  Then there is also the fact that some of the mites will bounce off the slat and fall thru anyway.   If you use the slatted rack for what is was originally designed for,  perpendicular slats work fine, if not better.  I say better because it reduces the draft up thru the frames and allows brood to stay warmer, but once again that is my personal observation and others will disagree.
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Offline woodchopper

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Re: Screened bottom board vs. slatted bottom board
« Reply #16 on: January 27, 2009, 02:04:09 PM »
I've built a slatted rack based on the plans on Beesource.  The slats on those plans run 90 degrees to the frames.  Is there any hope for them or should I start again and build a new one?

I've used slatted racks that run perpendicular to the frames for years (as you can see in the previous pictures) and have no issue with them.  I know some will claim it prevents mites from falling through the SBB, but I personally question the fall off rate of live varroa and their ability to reattach.  Even if you believe the rate is significant enough,  I then find it hard to believe that your slats are in line perfectly with the frames and do not block some of the space between the frames.  Bees don't built perfectly even comb, and frames don't hang perfectly straight.  In the worse case,  the frames could be off enough to entirely block the fall-thru zone.  At least with the perpendicular slats, you are only blocking off half of the zone regardless of the comb and frame orientation.  Then there is also the fact that some of the mites will bounce off the slat and fall thru anyway.   If you use the slatted rack for what is was originally designed for,  perpendicular slats work fine, if not better.  I say better because it reduces the draft up thru the frames and allows brood to stay warmer, but once again that is my personal observation and others will disagree.
Thanks for taking the time to explain this. It makes sense and now I feel better about the ten I just assembled and will soon paint. I used the search feature and was starting to get worried reading back post that I had made a mistake buying them until I read your post Robo. Thanks again.
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Offline tlynn

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Re: Screened bottom board vs. slatted bottom board
« Reply #17 on: January 27, 2009, 09:02:09 PM »

Offline Brian D. Bray

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Re: Screened bottom board vs. slatted bottom board
« Reply #18 on: January 28, 2009, 12:38:46 AM »
I've built a slatted rack based on the plans on Beesource.  The slats on those plans run 90 degrees to the frames.  Is there any hope for them or should I start again and build a new one?

Take a look at those at betterbee, they will suit you much better and come in either 8 or 10 frame.  The racks run the same direction as the frames, which IMO, is the only logical way to do it.  It makes festooning of the idle bees within a hive more natural and replaces bearding.  Or, you can come up and see some of mine.
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Screened bottom board vs. slatted bottom board
« Reply #19 on: January 28, 2009, 06:49:01 AM »
>Is there any hope for them or should I start again and build a new one?

I would use the ones you have.  I don't think it makes that much difference at all which way they run.
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