Separate names with a comma.
Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by rail, Oct 15, 2012.
Who uses "Solid Bottom Boards" and why do you prefer them?
I use both screened and solid (more so solid). I prefer solid because they are stronger when strapping and moving hives, cheap and easy to make.
Screened are better for mite counts but that is about it. I actually have 1 still out there that I want to swap out with a solid bottom because every time I pull out the tray it's got ants in it the bees can't get at.
I started with solid then tried a few screened and went back to solid cause I found too many problems with screened such as Perry had mentioned , and 1 thing about Florida we have ants of many kinds.
i use solid bottom boards. i have never used sbb's. i don't do mite counts. and as perry said, a solid bottom board works great for moving a hive. also, i can flip it to use different openings for the hive.
I use solids because grass grew up through the screens all the way to the inner cover.
I use screen bottoms and i leave them wide open year round. I don't do mite counts because I won't treat for mites, so I don't slide in mite count trays either. No big ant problems here in NY and my area doesn't have SHB yet either. I'm a backyard keeper and i don't move many hives around, so that's not a big issue for me either. Amazing how different all our approaches, setups and locations are!
I have mostly screened but if I had it to do over again I would have went all solid. I just dont see much advantage to them
I have some of each.
1,234,980 out of 1,234,975 bees surveyed prefered the solid bottoms because they were free.
Wow, lots of folks using solid over screened. I would love to build just the solids. Less time to build and cheaper not having to buy the mesh. Aside from mites, does the hive benefit more from ventilation advantage? I know it helps in the summer but I could see the screen allowing too much air in during the winter....
Omie uses them Dave, and leaves them wide open all year and it gets COLD there. I think folks' choices are probably more so determined by practicality than any other consideration. Screened bottoms cost a bit more and they are not as easy to "knock off" a bunch.
I have some of each, and really haven't noticed any difference in the population of the hives, the production of honey, or any other advantage of using one or the other. It SEEMS to me that you would have better ventilation with an sbb, but I've never measured it. I am in a similar climate as Omie, but I don't leave mine open all year, at least I haven't yet. I may try it with one or two this winter. As Perry stated, it's easier to strap the hive together for moving with a solid, and they are easier to build for the DIYer.
The one hive that I overwintered on a solid bottom board had a nasty mess of debris on it to clean off in the Spring, I love how there is no mess or debris at all at the bottom with SBBs. Plus, I'm a big fan of ventilation. If a few extra mites get dropped out of the hive, well that's another plus for me.
I started with solid bottom board last year, and switched to screened on hive number 2 (after 1 absconded), when it was August and getting hot and they had a ton of mites. The sbb helped me check mite counts on my hive too small to spare 100 bees for a roll, and helped control the mites, I got them down to almost non existent before I got robbed out.
In April 2012 I quickly built 2 solid bottom boards the day I picked up my nucs, but I have mainly sbb's this year.
MUCH harder to build or more expensive to buy, but I have mite counts pretty near zero, the heat didn't bother the bees as much, the hives are cleaner and fresher. I do keep a sticky in (often without oil - so any bees that get past my messy woodwork don't die).
The sticky lets me have a snapshot view of what is going on in my hive without lifting the lid.
I have tons of ants of all kinds, they love beehives solid or screened bottoms don't matter so I just have to deal with the ants. And I keep pondliner on the ground under my hives, can put ant-block under it, and grass doesn't grow through it.
Three months here in spring I think the bees shiver more hours of the day than they sweat...! I think they can expand their brood area quicker in spring with solid bottoms and very reduced entrance. Our humidity is not high and it is unusual to hit a summer high over 95 F. We have some of both but will not be bothering with more screeened ones. Screened bottoms in their hive just aint natural for bees!:wink:
I use a hybrid. This is a solid bottom board with a 1 inch rim topped with a screen and then another 3/8" rim. There is a slot in the back for sliding in a white plastic sticky board for mite counts. This way mites drop through, but the bees don't get cold feet. In the summer I leave the slot at the back open for extra ventilation.
I had one hive set up very similar to this and it started to get a fermenting buildup on the bottom board that the bees could not get at to clean. I pulled the screen spacer out, scraped the bottom, and in two days the bees had it polished and the smell went away. I thought it was goldenrod smell but it was too early, plus sister hives on plain bottoms did not have the smell. Thought it was my first experience with AFB!
I can see how that could happen with junk building up under the screen. My plastic sticky board in the bottom is a nice tight fit, so whenever I check for mites all the dropped pollen,etc gets removed.
speaking of mites, I get about 3 to 5 mites/day on the sticky board. What does that translate to for a mite count? How many "natural drop" mites would constitute a problematic infestation?
3 to 5 mites a day "natural drop" is fine. Less than 10 is acceptable as far as most provincial recommendations are concerned.
I use both, heh. I have a solid bottom with a screened on top of that. About three times a year when it's still warm, especially first thing in spring, I pull off the boxes and the screen and brush off the solid board of the debris that's dropped there, it never builds up and gets nasty. There's a bit of a gap between the solid bottom and screen so they get ventilation, but we have short summers and long winters, so they're not baking and I don't have to worry about changing anything out for winter. And I can move them, etc. easier, the solid bottom is more solid.
I think if I were in a warmer climate, I'd keep this setup, but perhaps build a divider to have more space between the screen and the solid, and a bigger gap so that I could dust it out more often.