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Author Topic: Bottom board selection  (Read 1785 times)

Offline Grandesa

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Bottom board selection
« on: February 20, 2006, 11:03:30 PM »
I have noticed that there are a multitude of bottom boards on the market. There are screened, solid, slatted, etc., etc. Can someone explain what the benefits are of the different kinds?

I now live in Connecticut, So I am in a cold winter area with snow, and warm, humid summers. Is there a particular type that would be suited best here? Or does climate not dictate the type of bottom board to be used?

Thank you.

Offline amymcg

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Bottom board selection
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2006, 11:35:04 PM »
There are plain bottom boards, which are basically just a board. Then there are screened bottom boards which are very good for integrated pest management and monitoring varroa.  Alot of beekeepers are using these now.  

The slatted rack is not a bottom board,but is used in addition to a bottom board.  Back when there were only solid bottoms, the slatted rack was used to help control the ventilation near the bottom of the brood chamber and encourage the queen to lay in the bottom front frames where it was typically a little drafty.

I use both a slatted rack and screened bottom. Mainly because my kit came with both, so I figured what the hell.  Others have said that if you leave the screened bottom open all winter, then the slatted rack helps control the ventilation a little bit, not sure about that. . .

Offline Ymbe

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Bottom board selection
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2006, 07:17:08 AM »
Mesh floors are also known as Varroa floors - as the bees groom and move around within the hive Varroa mites get dislodged and fall to the floor. If you use an open mesh floor you can monitor mite drop to estimate infestation levels and also reduce mite population build up. About 20% of mites fall off the bees in this way - with a solid floor they have the opportunity to get back in.

Just make sure there is a big enough gap between the hive and ground so that mites cannot make their way back into the hive and if monitoring use a sticky board (reach for the Vaseline and put a smear all over the board if you like, or just around the edge so that the mites cannot crawl over it).

I cannot speak for your climate, but I have heard that colonies with open floors tend to enter the spring with slightly fewer bees, but are as fast or faster to build up. The theory being that the weaker members of the colony are effectively culled over winter - if this is the case these weaker members would most likely be those carrying disease, such as the viruses vectored by Varroa, thus reducing disease presence in the colony at the same time.