Screened bottom in winter

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by beebuzzed, Aug 26, 2015.

  1. beebuzzed

    beebuzzed Member

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    I am curious who, if anyone out there uses a screened bottom board through the winter. Better with or without? I am more curious if anyone around St.Louis, MO vicinity uses a SBB in winter. I worry about proper ventilation for winter, but afraid of freezing them in our somewhat harsh winters. This is the first winter for me, so I would like to be prepared and informed with peoples experiences. Thanks
     
  2. Guba

    Guba New Member

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    Keep the screen in during winter. It prevents condensation from freezing inside the hive. Last 2 winters have had days below -20*F and the hive came back in the spring. I even had sticks making a gap in the front midway up the hive for more ventilation. However, I should also mention that the original Italian queen that I bought is no more and that the new queen has long been bred from who knows what strain of bee. She sure is hardy! I also leave more honey in the hive than most people do, and I suspect it acts as a heat sink of sorts.
     

  3. ibeelearning

    ibeelearning Member

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    NE Alabama: I still run a few ScBB and can't really tell a difference over wintering. Gurus like Michael Bush say they can't tell much of a difference-- and he's in a cold climate. If/when it gets insanely cold and wet I have been known to slip the board in, or just pick up the back of the bottom board and slip a plas-core "political sign" underneath until better weather.
     
  4. Barbarian

    Barbarian New Member

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    I'm in a milder temperate climate and use a SBB without slide throughout winter.

    My winter set up is. Forward tilted hive. SBB. Under food super. Single brood box. Inner cover. Roof.

    Wax crumbs on the ground under the hive are my indicator that the colony is still alive.
     
  5. indypartridge

    indypartridge New Member

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    I leave mine open during the winter. We usually have at least a few weeks of sub-zero temperatures.
    Do be sure you have a windbreak. You want 'dead' air under the hive, not an airflow.
     
  6. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I had some problems in our hard freezes last winter with my sbb's open, lost bees covering brood in the bottom box on my biggest hive in an early freeze, so I have gone to modified sliding sticky boards that allowed some ventilation through holes but not full open either. (However remove those modified sticky boards in spring or the small hive beetles use them for nesting platforms)
     
  7. David34

    David34 New Member

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    I use only screened bottom for winter but old beekeepers say that bees can survive even without bottom. Must be very strong colonies.
     
  8. camero7

    camero7 Member

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    I got better winter survival with solid bottom boards than with screened. Switched everything to solids.
     
  9. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I think if I used solid bottom boards I would need a top ventilation, and as shb and wax moth can live through MOST of the winter here, I try not to have any top entrances, so I use the screened but need to reduce wind flow through it, so vented sticky boards for winter
     
  10. camero7

    camero7 Member

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    SHB are not an issue here. Wax moth live through the winter in larvae but are not active until around June.
     
  11. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I think the big difference in screened bottom board performance is regional and weather, in other words, they are going to work better in some locations, worse in others
     
  12. camero7

    camero7 Member

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    I agree, we don't have your heat and we have much lower and longer low temps in the winter. Makes a huge difference IMO.