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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We've had a spell of rain here in Northern California. I have migratory and telescoping covers and the standard 4 piece plus bottom boards, some with screens some with-out. Nothing is occupied at the moment. I did a lazy-mans test during this rain.

All migratory covers were once painted but now are in need of paint and all leaked into the chambers. Some telescoping covers displayed heavy condensation on the underside. I'm ready to switch to one solid piece of ply wood on both top and bottom. All bottom boards aren't tight in fitting together which of course means air space.

What is your preferred hive cover and bottom board?
 

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Inner cover with a hole in it and a telescoping cover. To me with this set up you can always provide some ventilation, and if you cut a notch in the bottom rim of the inner cover and slide the outer cover to the front you will also have an upper entrance.

I use solid bottom boards at the moment but will be making some screened bottom boards for spring to help combat mites and beatles.

Sealing up the top and bottom could lead to over heating and condensation problems. Seems to me the plywood would have a tendency to warp when it got wet and started to dry either from rain or condensation. If you are using a single piece for the bottom how are you making an entrance.

Just my 2 cents worth.

G3
 

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I use a migratory covers and bit of plywood with a rim for a bottom board. Both are very much hand made. with the addition of a entrance reducer (essentially an old top bar with a small slot cut into it) nailed in place I sometime use the bottom as a top (dual purpose tops and bottom kind of thing). I don't really care for those old bottom boards with the gaps... that can create it's own problem. more so here now that we have the small hive beetle. before the small hive beetle the gaps could provide opportunity for the wax moth.

Northern California is known not only for rain but for coastal fog. until all the joints are sealed by the bees with propolis you would expect blowing rain or fog to wet the interior space.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
ran across this after posting the question, viewtopic.php?f=14&t=1323

The bottom board is a reversible, has a 3/8 wood strip tacked on it where the box sits except for the entrance, basically the same as it now with plywood.

I figured the inside would change with some propolis build up I'm just not happy with what I see on either of what I have with-out a colony. To me, it says problems this next winter. Ventilation noted, will give it some more thought.
 

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I use migratory tops with a 1' lip hanging down front and rear. Kinda of a telescopic with no sides. The front and rear lips are more for my convenience than any thing else when reinstalling. No inner cover. I use homemade SBB's. I can use as small a reducer as I need and still ventilate with the top all I want with shims if necessary. Very rarely do I ventilate that way nowadays after watching a moth go in a propped up cover one evening. I figured that was an open invitation for beetles also.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well, I signed in to share what type of sbb are installed right now. Hives that didn't seem to need ventilation and survived for a some years were those that did have a sbb. They also had deep and or a super with honey stores depending on how big the colony was.

The migratory tops didn't leak like they are now. I must admit I didn't have much faith in the telescoping cover to begin with because I thought the metal would absorb too much heat. I tried them out anyway in partial shade, they do work.

The screened bottom board I've used came from dadant. The image below is what I have, plans can be found here http://www.tc.umn.edu/~reute001/Plans.html if wanted.

 

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my son found plans using 2x4 to make a sbb ,, its a stand and sbb all in one.. but no landing board or as Michael Bush called it ,,, mouse ramp .. I like the 2x4 sbb cause it seems like it will hold up a lot better then the lighter ones . and when I move the hive its one piece not two ,, less to worry about .
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
yes, this version of the sbb is very lite. Of course the landing board is the bottom board it self. they were installed on stationary hives. I've noticed the size of landing boards in trees and buildings varies.
 

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Re: Traditional landing boards.
I read somewhere recently that the angle of a landing board matches closely with the angle of a heavily laden bee in flight. Wonder if this is why it was made that way?
 

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Hobie, I saw that and wondered if it was just justification for spending money on an angled landing board. Mine don't seem to have a problem with a flat one, nor do thousands of commercial bee hives.
In the picture ms, I don't think the entrance is long enough, my opinion.
 

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hobie writes:
Wonder if this is why it was made that way?

then rast writes:
I don't think the entrance is long enough, my opinion.

tecumseh:
some folks think the landing board/front entrance is human's projection on a bug life. thus the landing board is a human understanding of what the front porch should be for a social insect. in the wild/feral environment the entrance is typically a whole about the size of a silver dollar. I have never noticed any formal entry/landing board in any hive I have ever found in a tree. the bees in the trees seem to have had no problem landing in these feral nest sites for the past several million years.

a lot migratory northern beekeepers use bottom boards with only a small notch (perhaps 2" wide) for an entry. In the southern us of a you might wish for more ventilation than this, but if you used sbb this concern is likely misplaced.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Not sure if anyone needs or wants to see this but thought I'd take a moment and post some pictures of how I had the sbb on my hives. Hope the images aren't too big.


I removed the wood strip shown here on the new sbb from dadant


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then nailed (tacked) down some 3/8 high by 3/4 wide strips for a rim


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The screened bottom sits on top of the 3/8 by 3/4 rim


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optional wood shim to block entrance a top the sticky board.


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sbb attached to a reversible bottom board. yes I know the bottom board needs to be replaced


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loose fit Inside view
 

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My prefered BB and Cover is a 4 way pallet w/ solid bottoms that have a holes drilled in one corner to allow any water to escape. The covers are 5/8 inch plywood cut to size. That way I can stack pallets of hives on top of each other when they are moved from yard to yard or from NY to SC. Having consistantly even and standardized equipment is very important for what I do w/ my bees and their hives.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
As somewhat of an experiment, I bought 7 sbb's, used 3 as is out of the box, 3 with the 3/8 by 3/4 rim and left 3 hives with-out. The new sbb in the picture is one I didn't put to use yet, it's the same age as everything else. Nothing fell apart while in live use then again, nothing was moved.

I will be switching to plywood tops and bottoms - however, I don't want to let what I do have go to waste unless a part is flawed beyond use for one reason or another. As far as moving hives, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it but I do understand the demand of uniformed standards and durability.
 

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thanks for the pictures ms. the pictures suggest you have two bottom boards right... one screened setting on top of a solid bottom board? and the two connected to the bottom box with hive staples?

I would suggest the solid bottom board constructed of tongue and groove material may represent a LARGE potential problem. most especially so in how it is now shielded with a screen from the bees above. those small imperfections in the material where the tongue and groove material meets is going to be a nice place for both the small hive beetle and wax moth to congregate. since the bees (from above can not 'now' remove these invaders I think the consequence will or should be quite obvious.

I notice some problem here last year with screen bottom boards and small hive beetles (other folks equipment and not mine) in that if the wire size was right (say 1/8' hardware wire) the small hive beetles would just duck thru the wire to cease being molested by the worker bees. I speculated at the time if the same boxes had been equipped with a sticky board a bit of pam (or any appropriate sticky material) and a good bump would have been an excellent means of eliminating a lot of small hive beetles quickly. all hypothetical mind ya'.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
yw... they are cedar tongue and grove common from dadant. I'm not comfortable with idea of using just a screen for a bottom board.

top entrance I question but this is just plain simple



 

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"I'm not comfortable with idea of using just a screen for a bottom board."
That's all I have, the only time I put slides in is when treating for mites in the late summer/fall.
 

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You've got my curiosity up, M.S. Your profile says Ca., but your website says Georgia. Did they move Georgia to Ca. without telling anyone??
 
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