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Author Topic: Screen Hive bottoms vs Solid and transition questions  (Read 1917 times)
Bees In Miami
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« on: September 23, 2012, 10:08:41 PM »

I am still fairly new at beekeeping (ok, very new) and I received a shipment of three new hives Friday.  I ordered screen bottoms, though my present hives are solid bottoms.  One of my present occupied hives is in need of repair.  Can I transfer the working colony from a solid bottom to a screen bottom hive?  I know temperature control is a big deal for bees, and I am afraid the transition will put too much stress on them?  Honestly, I haven't a clue. 

I understand the screen bottoms help for pest contol, but how do the bees regulate the temp of the hive?  Seems to me it would be like wearing a skirt in winter....brrrr....and drafty.  Is it necessary to have something under the hive?  THe bottoms came with the 'mapping' insert, should I make something more substantial?  I know I don't have a major wintering problem like most folks here, but how will they keep warm with a screen bottom?  I can't help but think the bees are just like people, and get "used" to the heat...

Also, it appears the screen bottom is much like a pollen catcher...How do the bees keep the pollen if they are walking across screen? 

Any major tips for hive/frame assembly??  I sure have a pile of stuff! 

I used the search feature and couldn't find any info...I appreciate any and all input!  TIA!! 
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kathyp
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« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2012, 10:26:32 PM »

did your screened bottoms come with an insert to close them up?  if they did, and you are worried about temp shock, put the insert in.  if they didn't, look under the screen and see if the side boards don't have grooves that are for a board to slide in.  you can use thin plywood, cut up election signs, etc.  

when you put your hives and frames together, it's easy if you have a pneumatic nailer/stapler.    you may wish to use some glue also, especially on the frames. it's a good winter project.  grin  

where did your order come from?
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Bees In Miami
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« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2012, 02:18:21 AM »

Thanks for your reply!  The bottoms came only with the 'mapping' insert...like waxed cardboard with a grid on it.  Seems kinda flimsy when I think of hive warmth.  Your thoughts please?  The grooves seem a bit generous, so maybe a piece of 1/2" ply will fit in there???  Haven't tried it yet, as it would have to be cut and purchased first.   I obviously know in FL, we don't have as many wintering concerns here, but we are pretty rural, and we WILL face a few/several nights below freezing.  I just don't know about transferring a colony in an existing 'closed' hive, to a hive with an open bottom.   That's my main concern at this time I think...I just don't want to put my girls from a 'long johns' hive, into a 'skirt'...know what I mean?  Any input please??

Ironically, the busy season for our bees will be March, when the citrus is in bloom...

I ordered these hive components from Brushy Farms...additional parts coming from Dadant and Miller.  I will be busy assembling the brood boxes and frames tomorrow, as I have a wild hive under a shed I hope to gather and save.  (The hubby wants to renovate the shed, and the bees do NOT take kindly to the Power Drill//screwdriver!!!) 

Thanks for your input!  Much appreciated!
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« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2012, 07:12:36 AM »

I would think in your climate that the inserted mite count board(mapping  Board) along with an entrance reducer would be sufficient to keep them warm.
 Your cold nights are not usually long term as daytime brings better temps. Heck the entrance reducer may even be too much as the afternoon warms if you have a strong colony,
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Joe D
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« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2012, 07:32:16 AM »

I got 3 hives last Dec.,hives were in bad repair.  I made brood boxs, SBB, inter and outer covers.  When I got the home replaced bottom board, inter and outer covers.  On a warmer day replaced the brood boxs, they all made it fine.  Good luck with your bees.



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« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2012, 08:36:29 AM »

You'll be fine just leaving them open all year. You've got plenty of open-air feral colonies around you down there that survive winters.

The bees have to walk through the screen to loose their pollen (#5 screen) and your screen is much too small for that (#2).

Scott
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« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2012, 07:08:32 PM »

Scott, you meant the too small screen as being #8, right? Smiley

BIM, I had a little nuc to overwinter last year.  My first bees.  I'm about 50 miles south of Montgomery, Alabama so a good bit colder climate than you.  I had them on screened bottom boards.  We had some fairly cold, cutting winds move through off and on and I was worried it might be too cold with the screen for 2-3 8-frame mediums.  My hives each sit on two concrete blocks.  What I did was get some heavy roofing felt and wrap the blocks.  This effectively sealed the bottom from the blast of the wind while leaving a good cavity of "air" beneath the hive while allowing some ventilation at small cracks.  It worked for me.  Down in your neck of the woods I'd just slide in the coroplast and be done with it unless you had some type of cold hard winds come through.

Ed
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« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2012, 08:17:02 PM »

First off I do not like SBB other than for a beetle trap. Were it not for beetles all of mine , and most are, would be on solid bottoms, but that's JMO. Now as to open or closed for winter, many far further than than I leave them open all winter. Miami, FL (no disrespect intended) doesn't have a winter to speak of so for the handful of nights that the ambient temp drops to sweater weather the enclosed box above the screen will hold a nicely warm pocket of air.
BTW, you funny you mention a skirt. As a regular kilt wearer I can attest to the warm pocket of air in frigid surroundings personally. I'm quite comfortable in a kilt as my loins are girded in the finest scottish wool with my shanks covered in even more woolens to just below the knee. My kneecaps being exposed do get chilled but otherwise I'm fine. So to extrapolate this to the bees be sure the sides and top can hold and maintain this pocket of air and they should be just fine.
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« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2012, 08:35:57 PM »

First, I know beeks in New York that leave the screen bottoms open all winter, so in Miami you will not have a problem.

Secondly, a screen bottom with the insert in it for more than a few days makes a perfect breeding ground for SHB and wax moths.

Conclusion, leave the screen open all year other than when doing a mite count, or use all solid bottoms.
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« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2012, 10:04:24 PM »

What iddee said made me think, too, that there's one other option...an oil tray.  In your neck of the woods you're going to have to deal with small hive beetles sooner or later (most likely sooner).  An oil tray beneath a screen will help with the beetles and give you some isolation from the temperature/weather, too.

Ed
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American blood spilled to protect the freedom and peace of people all over the world.  320,000 USA casualties in WWI, 1,076,000 USA casualties in WWII, 128,000 USA casualties in the Korean War, 211,000 casualties in the Vietnam "conflict", 57,000 USA casualties in "War on Terror".  Benghazi, Libya, 13 USA casualties. These figures don't include 70,000 MIA.  But, the leaders of one political party of the United States of America continue to make the statement..."What difference does it make?".

"We can't expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism."..."The press is our chief ideological weapon." - Nikita Khrushchev

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« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2012, 07:22:29 AM »

[First off I do not like SBB other than for a beetle trap. ]

How come?
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David McLeod
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« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2012, 08:03:32 AM »

Mainly because bees don't like SBB. Try dropping a fresh swarm on a SBB and your liable to have to go catch them all over again. I also like my queens to lay from bottom bar to top bar with a SBB she'll avoid the bottom. I actually do it even one better and set a shallow on the bottom and then the deep and get full frames of eggs.
I can see the deal with the mites falling off but if that was all I had to rely on I've already lost the game. I actually don't mind the mites so much as I want the sorry weak bees in my yard to go ahead and die. Not really but IMO we need a stronger bee and the only way that is ever going to happen is to quit propping up weak genetics. BTW, if I ever suspected my bees had a genetic resistance to beetles the oil trays would be gone as well.
The other arguement of ventilation falls flat on it's face as I have never taken a colony out of a wall or tree that had a screened bottom. BTW most of those seem to be hanging on just fine without the need for heroic measures in spite of the mites.

Now all of this is JMO and not gospel according to David. If you ask ten beeks a question you'll get twelve answers and they'll all be right.
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« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2012, 01:41:14 PM »

I've noticed that my queens avoid the bottom of the frames near the screen bottom and wondered if the decreased temperature control may have something to do with it. In the 2ND box, they lay full frames.
I just started this year and being scared to death of mites and beetles, I used all screen bottoms. But, so far, I haven't even seen a mite and only a few beetles. I don't know that the screens are helping, or that the colonies are taking care of themselves.
I've been thinking about trying a few solid bottoms, to see if there's any difference.
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annette
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« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2012, 01:47:28 PM »

I get freezing temps here for about 2 months and I leave the screened bottoms open all year round. Cold doesn't kill bees, moisture kills bees.

If you would like to watch a video on how to assemble your frames and supers, watch Linda'a Bee Blog. She has video's on how to do most everything.


http://beekeeperlinda.blogspot.com/2008/01/how-to-build-hive-box.html


http://beekeeperlinda.blogspot.com/2008/03/how-to-build-frame.html
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Bees In Miami
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« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2012, 02:59:27 PM »

Thanks everyone for your replies!  Now I am even more confused!  grin  I fully understand everyone has 'their' preferences...I have learned that very well in the Grill/BBQ world (anybody else here have a Big Green Egg?)  I think the warmth issue is probably a mute point here in Miami.  More of a concern though when I hear of the queen activity (or inactivity) toward the bottom of the frames.  I am thinking about making a pine insert for the open area, but I will give the SBB a try for a couple weeks.  (In all honesty, I ordered the SBB by accident...so I'll give it a try before modifying them)
Thanks again!  I have learned so much from this forum!  I use the search feature a lot, and have learned so much reading prior posts.  Bee well, everyone! 
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« Reply #15 on: September 25, 2012, 03:37:06 PM »

Where in Miami are you? Understudy (Brendhen) is Prez of the club in West Palm and puts on a great gathering every spring. You should send him a PM...I'm sure he'd be willing to help you with any questions.

Scott
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