questions and thoughts on screened bottom boards

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by riverrat, May 25, 2012.

  1. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    ole rats been doing some rethinking on using screened bottom boards and have a few questions and thoughts I want to run by the panel of experts. 1st people who collect pollen often worry about taking to much pollen from the colony using traps, however, isnt a screen bottom board stripping pollen off just like a trap except it doesnt have a collection tray. 2nd does those that do regular mite inspections with a sticky board find a considerable amount of pollen on the boards after the check is complete. 3rd this one is far out there but with pollen being knocked of the legs of bees as the enter the hive and piling up beneath the hive on the ground. Would this be an added invite to atract small hive beetle to the hive. Im just wondering if a screen bottom board may be causing unseen problems and will one day be done away with as bees learn to deal with the mites. bring on the comments:thumbsup:
     
  2. pturley

    pturley New Member

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    I am not an expert by any stretch, but did want to reply.

    In a pollen trap, in the ones I've looked at, they walk through a ~1/4" mesh screen to enter the hive. The bees have to pass through a narrow gap. In the process, the wires dislodge some of the pollen as the bee passes through which then falls into a collection tray.

    On a screen bottom board, the bees simply walk across the top of the screen. I suppose if their leg falls though the gap when they pull it out they could drop their pellet, but IME it doesn't appear in any significant amounts on the sticky boards or oil traps beneath (nothing approaching a level of concern to be sure).

    It's an interesting question though. Experiment a bit and report back.

    I'd like to try several differnet mesh sizes/wire diameters for my bees as I've seen more than one SHB walk right across a #8 wire mesh.
     

  3. CeeGee

    CeeGee New Member

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    snip :
    isnt a screen bottom board stripping pollen off just like a trap?

    CG: No, as pollen traps (at least the cheap one I have) force the bees to squeeze through, and thus strip the pollen. The SBB just allows stuff (e.g. mites, etc) to fall through. Yes, you will find some pollen on the sticky, as pollen does fall off occasionally. As to attracting beetles, I dont know. I havent had to contend with them yet. In my case, the ants ususally clean up under the hive.
    But...I am a huge fan of the SBB as it aids in ventilation. The last couple years I havent even put the sticky board on for winter, and they have done better ever since. These are, however, just my own experiences.
     
  4. Murrell

    Murrell New Member

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    If I may;
    To the best of my knowledge, screen bottom boards use #8 wire, bees do not enter from the bottom, they use the regular entrance or a top entrance.
    The sticky board is placed a little below the #8 wire.

    That'show mine are any way !

    Murrell
     
  5. heinleinfan

    heinleinfan New Member

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    I would have to find pictures of the screened bottoms and solid bottoms I use, maybe to really show what I'm talking about here...but I use both on each of my hives. I've the screened bottom and then under that the solid, and there is a gap big enough for the bees between these, and that gap is where I slide in a sticky board. So my screened bottom isn't directly open to the ground under the hive. I can leave things this way for overwinter and not have the bees with no bottom and it's freezing out, I just cover up the gaps.

    My actual hive entrance has um...like a landing pad leading into the hive and it extends a few inches in before it turns to screen, and so they could come and go without ever actually touching the screen.

    Under my hive entrance it's open to the bottom board, so they can actually get into that gap between it and the screened board. I regularly see a few my ladies down in that space puttering around; maybe they're just lost, heh, but it's pretty clean down there, so either they or the ants seem to regularly remove the pollen and dispose of dead bee parts from there.

    I do not keep a sticky board under mine all the time, I only put it on when I'm sugar dusting and leave it for a couple days. If I ever saw a lot of mites, I'd leave it on longer, but I've not had a mite problem yet. *knock on wood*
     
  6. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    there is nothing to look at, screened bottom boards and solid bottom boards are exactly the same, bees enter through the front in the conventional way with no interference at all unless your using a entrance reducer to narrow down the entrance--even then not so narrow as to remove pollen to any degree at all. What a screened bottom board does is provide debris from the hive (including mites and SHB ) to fall through to the ground or sticky board, also provides ventilation during the heat of the summer or air flow in the winter to remove moisture inside the hive--this is something solid bottom boards don't do.
    Barry
     
  7. vermillion

    vermillion New Member

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    We use the screened bottom boards with an oil trap, and there is a very small amount of pollen that drops through, along with mites, SHB and odd bee bits. The pollen is not a significant amount.
     
  8. Barbarian

    Barbarian New Member

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    In the UK, when SBB's (we call them Open Mesh Floors--- OMF's) were first introduced they were used with solid bottom boards (UK -- solid floors). There was one important difference. The solid floor was turned round so that its entrance was at the rear of the hive. The bees entered the hive at the front onto the SBB. The sticky sheet was slid under the SBB from the rear via the solid floor entrance. This rear entrance could be closed, if needed, with an entrance reducer. The sticky sheet could be removed and replaced from the rear of the hive and the bees at the front entrance not disturbed.

    This system has largely been replaced by the single OMF with a rear removeable slide.

    Please note ---- we do not have SHB. . . . LONG MAY IT STAY SO.
     
  9. Tia

    Tia New Member

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    Love my screened bottom boards--I'm one of those who believes ventilation means everything in a hive. As has been said above, I do sometimes find pollen bits on the screen, but not enough to worry about. Makes mite monitoring so easy and I love the fact that all that junk that used to sit on the solid bottom board until I cleaned it is now falling to the ground where my chickens gobble it up. Happy bees, happy hens, happy Tia.
     
  10. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    I'm with barry42001 on this one. :thumbsup: I make my SBB's and in doing so i run the front landing board inside the hive 2 in., i have watched the incoming bees walk in the front and fly up to the bottom of the frames without ever touching the #8 screen. When i inspect my hives the only bees i see on the screen are Guards and the cleaning crew. Jack
    PS. i also have a top entrance on all my hives year round.
     
  11. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I think the screen bottom board and excessive ventilation is well over-hyped and will be fading out as the mite resistant strains of bees replace the mite susceptible ones. I used them for a few years when they came out, but soon went back to the solid ones.
     
  12. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    as to be somewhat expected... I guess???? Exactly what Iddee said.

    and for the newer folks to the bee thingee.... I will add that quite often fads come and go on some fairly regular frequency in beekeeping and invariable the benefit of 'the fad' is ALWAYS over stated and the downside TOTALLY ignored.

    not so long ago I was looking at some pallets of my good neighbor to the south built quite a bit like pallets (with screened bottom boards) show on another thread here and ask the owner if they represented any benefit and he told me directly they represented 'the best money he had ever wasted'. so even well seasoned bee keeping folks can get caught up into fads from time to time.
     
  13. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Well the way I see it is - just about anything could be described as a fad, depending on your time frame reference. Bees survive and bees die, under many variations of management.

    I have both solid and screen BB's. I used a solid once a couple yrs ago, and that hive died over the winter. The year after that- two open screen BB's, and one died, one thrived. Last winter I used 4 open screened BB's and one solid- none died over the winter. Not much of a 'trend', but my small experience seems to favor the open screen so far.
    I am seeing no disadvantage in leaving the screen bottoms completely open, so I'll continue to use them. For me they are just routine.
     
  14. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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  15. ablanton

    ablanton New Member

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    Do you see specific advantages to the solid boards, or did you simply not see any worthwhile advantages to the screened boards? I understand that some of you see the screened board as a fad. I guess I am looking for a little more elaboration from you experienced beeks as to why you like the solid boards more.

    I'm new at this and I don't really know the value of one or the other. Right now, I'm kind of looking at this debate as Coca Cola versus Pepsi. People raised on one seldom switch to the other; but, does that make the other less of a success?
     
  16. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I didn't see an advantage to one over the other for quite some time. Then I went into a hive one day and decided the screens had to go.

    I removed the telescoping cover, removed the inner cover, pulled the grass from the super that had grown through the screen, the deep, and the medium, and was curling under the inner lid. That's when I saw the advantage of solids.
     
  17. ablanton

    ablanton New Member

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    Gotcha! That makes sense. I started with screens on an arbitrary decision after reading some pros & cons. I don't have any grass/plants around mine and I keep ash under the hive. We'll see how it goes...
     
  18. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    an Andy snip..
    I guess I am looking for a little more elaboration from you experienced beeks as to why you like the solid boards more.

    tecumseh:
    screen bottom boards were first presented as means of assisting a hive with varroa. evidence now suggest they do not work very well in this regards. other negative aspects may be 1) they may allow enough light at the very bottom of the hive that a queen will not lay down to the bottom edge of the bottom bars and 2) if you are trying to rear treatmentless bees screen bottom boards may mask any measurement of varroa resistance and 3) screens to large get propolized and the net effect is you have a solid bottom board... screen to large and you have built a 'safe house' for adult small hive beetles.
     
  19. Murrell

    Murrell New Member

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    That's why I also use a " fad " item, a slatted rack !

    Murrell
     
  20. Murrell

    Murrell New Member

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    Iddee;
    I believe I asked you before sometime back and didn't get a answer;

    What kind of grass will grow that high in the darkness of a hive full of bees, and how long did it take ?
    Just wondering !

    Murrell