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Author Topic: Slatted, Screened, Solid?  (Read 3216 times)
Mairzy_doats
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« on: April 07, 2009, 08:55:21 PM »

I bought screened bottom boards. I bought screened inner covers as well. I'm starting to think that might have been a bad idea. Obviously once I put the screened bottoms on, it will become a huge pain to change them over, requiring me to lift the boxes, so is that something I can leave on year round, or no? And about the tops> should I get a regular inner cover for winter? Or is it ok to leave both top and bottom screened year round?

~mary
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ArmucheeBee
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« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2009, 09:43:14 PM »

Mary

I am new but use screened bottom boards (SBB) here in N. GA which is hotter than you.  I took a piece of that 1 inch foam insulation board and cut it to fit snuggle but slide under my screen.  It holds itself in there because it is flexible but snug.  If I push it up it closes off the screen or I can not have it touching the screen and still provide some air circulation.  The big plus is that I can see what is falling down from above such as mites or beetle larva.  I sprayed some sugar water on it which makes it sticky but still organic.  The foam board sells in sheets 4x8 feet, relatively inexpensive and can be used for many other purposes.
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« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2009, 11:16:57 PM »

I over winter my bees in bottomless hives (slatted racks only) and use to cover for the hive during the winter.  With Temps sometimes into the single digits for days at a time I've had no problem with loosing hives due to cold.  Moisture and Starvation are the real enemys of clustered bees.  Dampness can kill the bees by freezing them in a coat of ice, starvation will kill them due to a lack of stores or a vlery late winter or early spring cold snap.  As many hives are lost to starvation in the spring as are during the winter.  The cold itself doesn't bother the bees much.  I use bottomless hives with a vented top (reversable bottom board upside down with smallest entrance opening) to keep the moisture build up that can occur due to resperation vented to the outside so it doesn't condense on the inner coover and rain on the bees and then it freezes that night.
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Natalie
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« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2009, 11:18:44 PM »


Mary, you do not need to take the bottom boards off and change them you can order the plastic inserts that slide right under the screen from any of the supply houses for a couple of dollars.
Mine came with it and you can coat it with oil or petrolium jelly to get mite counts.
You just slide them in when you want to cut out some of the ventilation for winter, some people leave them off all winter as well.
As for you other question regarding ventilation, I don't have that answer but I am sure someone here will.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2009, 06:06:41 PM »

Buy some corrugated plastic (or find some old political signs) and cut some trays.  If the bottom board has nothing to hang the tray from, staple or nail some twine on the bottom in a "Z" or an "X".  Cut it to fit.  Slide it in when you don't want the ventilation, pull it out when you do.
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« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2009, 06:14:27 PM »

i use SBB.  they come with an insert for winter. 
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« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2009, 05:40:22 PM »

 Seeing as my bees are Fl. bees, I figure they are like me. Wimpy when it comes to really cold weather, so I slide inserts in. When I didn't, they drug out more than normal larva. Genetics may play a part in it or just acclimatization.
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« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2009, 11:46:08 AM »

Here is one I made last night from cedar. It has #8 hardware cloth screen with a plastic (coreplast) mite tray, the tray is removable from the back.



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« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2009, 01:59:14 PM »

   I use SBB's since my SHB's slide down into the veggie oil and drown.

...DOUG
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JP
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« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2009, 02:05:02 PM »

I have used both types and am going back to solids. I noticed that most of my dead outs were the ones on sbbs.


...JP
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« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2009, 02:28:09 PM »

Has anyone with SBB noticed their bees NOT building up as fast as those in solids?  Also, I just put a swarm into a top bar hive with a SBB and they left after 2 days.  Does anyone think the SBB might have caused them to leave?  be swarm too.
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Stephen Stewart
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« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2009, 02:46:19 PM »

Has anyone with SBB noticed their bees NOT building up as fast as those in solids?  Also, I just put a swarm into a top bar hive with a SBB and they left after 2 days.  Does anyone think the SBB might have caused them to leave?  be swarm too.


On the package bees I installed on monday I left the sliding board in place, decided I wanted them to get going before I open it up. Same on my TBH, I have the bottom closed but once they are established I will open her up also.
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Mairzy_doats
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« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2009, 09:06:13 PM »

Thanks y'all. My SBB did come with a corrugated insert, which is enough to close it up when it gets cold. I'm guessing my screened inner cover is okie-dokie? I just assumed the more ventilation the better; I mean, I like to open the windows when it gets hot  grin

~mary
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2009, 01:17:04 AM »

Has anyone with SBB noticed their bees NOT building up as fast as those in solids?  Also, I just put a swarm into a top bar hive with a SBB and they left after 2 days.  Does anyone think the SBB might have caused them to leave?  be swarm too.



SBB and Bottomless hives are fine for established hives or splits that are used to the "airy" condition.  They are not for packages or new swarms.  If using SBB use them with board in place for packages and swarms until the become established then remove them gradually by pulling the board a little further out every few days.  I always start my swarms and packages on what might be considered solid bottom boards.
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ArmucheeBee
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« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2009, 05:11:42 PM »

Thanks Brian

I suspected as much.  My other swarm is on a SBB but I put in two frames of brood to hold them there.  I am starting to see that frames of brood are priceless when moving hives, swarms, etc.
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Stephen Stewart
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« Reply #15 on: April 13, 2009, 06:47:38 PM »

I have used both types and am going back to solids. I noticed that most of my dead outs were the ones on sbbs.


...JP

I went back to solids a few years ago as well.   I know climate is a big factor, but I find solid bottom hives build up much quicker in the Spring.   I also do a lot of removals of feral colonies,  and I have yet to see one that hasn't attempted to seal up all the crack  tightly.  Personally I look to the ferals as a good indication of what bees prefer and the ones in my area overwhelming prefer nice sealed off spaces.

rob...
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« Reply #16 on: April 14, 2009, 11:45:11 AM »

I have used both types and am going back to solids. I noticed that most of my dead outs were the ones on sbbs.


...JP

I went back to solids a few years ago as well.   I know climate is a big factor, but I find solid bottom hives build up much quicker in the Spring.   I also do a lot of removals of feral colonies,  and I have yet to see one that hasn't attempted to seal up all the crack  tightly.  Personally I look to the ferals as a good indication of what bees prefer and the ones in my area overwhelming prefer nice sealed off spaces.

rob...

They probably prefer no varroa as well  grin
You could always use a screened bottom and just keep the cover in place, that way you still have an effective trap for varroa that drop off.
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« Reply #17 on: April 14, 2009, 01:08:50 PM »

They probably prefer no varroa as well  grin

I'm not sure about no varroa, but they do enjoy having a manageable level.   I don't treat and I'm sure they prefer that.

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You could always use a screened bottom and just keep the cover in place, that way you still have an effective trap for varroa that drop off.



That assumes the drop off rate of varroa is significant, which I'm not convinced of.  Yes, it sounds good, but reality is often different. One thing for certain, it does provide a safe haven for wax moth larvae to breed if you don't keep them cleaned out.  I don't attempt to monitor mite drops anymore,  so it is just added cost and complexity to the equipment and more time and effort to manage.


Perhaps heat and humidity is more significant than natural drop off huh
http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,16851.0.html
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« Reply #18 on: April 14, 2009, 01:49:18 PM »

I'm not sure about no varroa, but they do enjoy having a manageable level.   I don't treat and I'm sure they prefer that.

Robo -- thx for your input. If you could summarize, in your experience, what you see as top 2-3 keys for keeping your bees as healthy as possible without treating, that would be good stuff to hear. Smiley
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« Reply #19 on: April 15, 2009, 03:55:04 PM »

Robo -- thx for your input. If you could summarize, in your experience, what you see as top 2-3 keys for keeping your bees as healthy as possible without treating, that would be good stuff to hear. Smiley

Let me start out by saying I don't have all the answers, but I can tell you what works for me.  I do believe one of the biggest challenges for beekeepers is climate.  What works for me,  may be detrimental to a beekeeper in another geography and vice versa.  We often forget that we get into such discussions.

I believe my biggest factor is my stock is all from acclimatized feral colonies.   I use to struggle like a lot of folks when I purchased commercial queen from the south (nothing against southern queens, it just the climate difference thing).  I notice an improvement in survivability when I started buying queens from Canada, however that was stopped years ago with all the red tape crossing the border. It was at that time I started raising my own queens and focusing on doing feral colony removals. 

Another thing I'm a firm believer in is colony heat retention.  I found that a warm hive seems to be a fast building, healthy hive.   In fact,  I have had really good luck overwintering small hives with supplemental heat which I learned from a Finnish beekeeper that use to be a member here.  He used terrarium heaters, but I have done all mine on the cheap with night lights.  As you have seen in my previous posts, I have returned back to solid bottom boards in an effort to allow the bees to regulate the temperature and humidity as they do in a feral colony.   By simply using a slatted rack, I have no issues with bearding.  I have also found that polystyrene hive bodies keep the colony roughly 10 degrees warmer in the winter and use at least 25% less stores.

I have also done quite a few colonies on HSC, but have to admit,  I have some colonies on 20 year old large cell comb that are untreated as well,  so that is why I put the feral stock higher on my list.
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