Screened bottom boards

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by stugger57, Oct 16, 2013.

  1. stugger57

    stugger57 New Member

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    I have been using solid bottom boards on two hives all summer but would like to switch to screened bottoms this weekend. I have heard that this is better for cleanliness and Varroa control. My hive stand is a solid piece of plywood so does this defeat the purpose of the screen not allowing debris to fall to the ground? Does a screened bottom inhibit heating / warmth of the hive? If I do a powdered sugar dusting with this plywood stand will the mites simply return to the hive if not allowed to fall to the ground? Changing hive stands would be a task as I have done a lot to insure ant protection. I live in San Diego so temps at night are mid 50's and day time 70 - 80. Thanks
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    The area between the screen and plywood will be great for raising wax moth and SHB. They thrive on the debris that gathers there.

    Also, save your solid bottoms. Many keeps are going back to solid bottoms after trying the screens for a few years.
     

  3. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Me, me, me! :thumbsup: :lol:
    Natural mite drop is estimated to only be around 15%, so as fas as I could tell the benefit is negligible if you are looking at using them for mite control. They are good for doing mite counts though, but that is not enough to warrant the extra cost and time in making them.
    I have been switching back to solid bottoms.
     
  4. ablanton

    ablanton New Member

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    You may want to consider using the screened bottoms with oil pans under them. That is what I use and I am quite happy with them.

    If you haven't seen one, here is a picture to give you an idea.

    http://ferrisapiaries.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/IMG_0002.jpg

    I build my own which are a little different, but the concept is the same.
     
  5. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    That's what i do Andy, when i have a mite problem:thumbsup:. I have both solid and sbb's, the hives with sbb's make more honey in the hot weather we have here than the ones with sold bottom boards.( more bees can work the fields, instead of cooling the hive.) I feel better about having solid bottom boards in the winter when we have bad ones, i do slide a board under the sbb's, even though they claim bees can take cold weather it has to keep them from using up energy to keep the cluster warm. My hives are in the open in most of my bee yards, the ones in the woods have more shb problems, there are good and bad points in both types of bottom boards IMHO. I have both, so i'll stay neutral on this one.:lol: Jack
     
  6. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

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    I think that the natural mite drop may well be less than that, but I've also read that varroa populations in a hive increase by about 20%/year. So if you can knock them back by 15% with a simple mechanical device and do some drone brood frame culling, and a couple of sugar shakes, you are well on your way toward controlling Varroa. I run bottom boards that are solid plywood, then a 1" space, then a screen, then a 3/8" spacer, then the bottom brood box. The back of this bottom board has a 1/2" slot so that a sheet of white plastic can slide in and out. I clean this plastic off every couple of weeks. Usually there are about 20 to 40 mites down there over that two week period. That accounts for maybe 1000 mites destroyed over the course of a year. The real bonus of this system is that I can slide this white board out and get a snapshot of what's going on in the hive. I can see how many frames are being worked by the bees, whether wax cappings are being torn down, what type of pollen is coming in, etc.
     
  7. Marbees

    Marbees Member

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    That would be the only advantage of having them in my case, built ~50 of those, and will keep them. All of the new ones are going to be a solid bottom type.
    I have "Honey Run Apiaries" style inner covers on all of my hives, so having screen bottom boards for ventilation purposes (the reason I built them) is not necessary in my operation.
     
  8. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I am pretty old school about a lot of things. I think I will keep my tried and true solid bottom boards.
     
  9. blueblood

    blueblood New Member

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    I went back to solids last season.
     
  10. lazy shooter

    lazy shooter New Member

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    Blueblood:

    Do you have 100 degree F temps, and did you see any drop off in production? It's a curious mind thing. Thanks.
     
  11. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I prefer sbb's, I can close them off if we have a hard winter.
    I build my own and got some wonderful plastic sign board sheets I can use for oil trays to trap mites, get a snap shot of hive action. My hive stands are airy - pipes on one pallet on the other. Pallet does get some ant problems under hives but not so much shb or moth
     
  12. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    #1 reason for sbb with a sticky: mystery solved. I had seen 3 bees with dwv, put stickys in the sbbs of 2 hives I suspected might have it (my oldest hives). One I went through had 6 frames of cap brood, checked sticky today, 0 mites. Other one was covered, 100's of mites in 2 days. So I took the mite-y hive apart, found the brood cells mostly hatched out, and painted the little darlins with powdered sugar, after renewing the oil on their sticky. I will know whether there are problems in the rest because I put sbb's under them today, and I can monitor the one with all the capped brood, without opening my hive. That is why I have sbb's.
     
  13. blueblood

    blueblood New Member

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    Shooter, We stay in the low to mid 90's in the hottest month of summer. I harvested what I expected to this season. Some say the proceeding droughts caused the flowers to have less nectar this year. All the keeps I know locally had considerably less honey than last year.
     
  14. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Gypsi, why can't you slide a board in on a solid bottom board just as easily as on a SBB?
     
  15. srvfantexasflood

    srvfantexasflood New Member

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    ablanton- the picture of the tray looks like one of those fiberglass lunch room trays from a school cafeteria. I have access to some of those. I'll have to see if that fits my screened bottom boards.
     
  16. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Iddee,

    I suppose I could but this is easier and I don't have to pull entrance reducers and deal with the front door full of bees to check.

    Besides which I keep my bees in full sun in Texas Ventilation is good thing. and the boards i use are white signboard, lots of nice shb openings if INSIDE the hive, moot point if they are outside the hive. I picked up 4ftx8ft sheets of sign board for $10 a pop the first time I tried to build my own sbb with sticky. Love the stuff.

    Additionally, I put cooking oil on the plastic board. If I put that into my hive on top of my solid bottom board my bees wings would be caught in it and I would kill my bees, but I might catch a few varroa. I see no sense in re-inventing the wheel.

    Especially since I think I own about 2 solid bottom boards and don't plan on buying more. I own 5 or 6 screened bottom boards, and I have figured out how to build them myself. I picked the most expensive one to learn from: a Country Rubes. The sbb's from Mann Lake, etc., simply do not compare, but if I am going to copy I might as well copy the best. The mann Lake's do not have a slot for a sticky board, they are ok, but not worth the money I paid for them.
     
  17. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

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    Gypsi: I have found that there is a huge mite drop right when the last of the winter bees emerge. This happens about three weeks after the queen shuts down for the season. The hive goes from having something like 15 000 sealed brood cells to just a couple of hundred. All the mites just can't find a new home and end up dropping down.
     
  18. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    PistolPete: I suspected that when I compared the mite count on the sticky's of the 2 hives. The one with sealed brood, no mites, the one with lots of mites almost no sealed brood.

    Glad I got powdered sugar out there on probably the most effective day of the year...waiting for the hatchout on the other hives so I can dust them. Loving my oiled stickies...
     
  19. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I have no doubt that what pistolpete suggest also takes place here. It should be remembered that both the varroa and a honeybee are insects and as such they somewhat depend on air temperature to get enough warmth to operate. One of the unique advantages of the honeybee is they huddle together and provide warmth collectively and not so surprisingly or unusual the varroa does not. I see somewhat the same thing here also with small hive beetles.