I guess I get the ball rolling in THE LAB
since I'm thinking this will be be my new favorite spot.
Here is what I call a deep sceen bottom board (DSBB). It is one of my latest experiments. The main inspiration for it was driven by discussions of feral colonies being more resistant to mites possible because of the open space below the comb and entrance. Even though a traditional screen bottom board allows for mites to fall through, there is still a certain amount of area covered by the screen that can catch the mites. There was also an interesting article in Bee Culture (mar2004) on bottomless beekeeping that provided some inspiration as well.
Some of the things I wanted in the design are:
1. Large alighting board for easier access for heavily loaded bees.
2. Access to combs directly from the alighting board (no climbing the sides of the supers to get to the comb)
3. Easily measure mite drop rate.
4. Easily seal off hive for oxalic acid vaporization
5. Ventilation and more ventilation
6. Restrict access of rodents, while still allowing debris to fall through (bees won't be able to remove debris that falls below the entrance.)
7. Accept entrance pollen trap
8. Box joints for Al (just kidding :D )
Unknows but hoping;
1. In order for dead bees and debris to fall through the screen, I had to use bigger openings than the normal screened bottom boards. Bees CAN go through the bottom screen. The hope is that the bees will find the entrance more convenient.
2. I'm hoping the bees will not build comb under the bottom of the frames and below the entrance. If they do, I will have to try using a piece of flourecent light diffuser to prevent it. This has proved effective in top body hives to limit how low the bees build comb.
I did build a prototype and have it under a hive right now. It is to early to tell yet because they are still building up. I did however make changes to the design based on some of my experience to date.. Here is my latest concept.
I have no idea if this will work, but I am an experimenter by nature and if nothing else, I'll learn more of 'what not to do' :)