What is this? (with thanks to Omie for the pic)

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by pturley, Sep 26, 2011.

  1. pturley

    pturley New Member

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    I have a bit of a newbee question, I have seen this woodenware in photos (OMIE's was about the clearest to edit down to ask...) but wasn't familiar with its function.

    What is this box between the bottom board and the brood deep?
    [​IMG]

    Size-wise, It looks like a pollen trap but having read OMIE's posts, I didn't see any reference to one.

    (BTW: Thank you OMIE for the unauthorized use of your photo. Apologies in advance.)

    Curious?
     
  2. hankdog1

    hankdog1 New Member

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    It appears that something simular is on top of the brood box too.
     

  3. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    lol....hi Paul,
    It's just a slatted rack, which gives the bees a little more space to hang out between the bottom frames and the screen bottom board. Since I keep my bottom boards open screen all winter, it also raises the frames up a couple inches from the open bottom and a little more protected from the cold outside. Lots of beekeepers think slatted racks are useless frippery, by the way. But then... I always go my own way! ;D
    Here they are:
    http://www.betterbee.com/Products/BeeMax-Hive-Components/Vertical-Slatted-Rack
     
  4. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Hi Hankdog,
    I have ventilated inner covers on top of my hives. In the summer there is open screened ventilation space (the bees cannot go in that space though) and a top entrance. In the winter I put in a 2" foam board to eliminate winter condensation, and i still keep the top entrance.
    These are them:
    http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/store/all-season-inner-cover-p-232.html
    It's sort of like putting an attic on your house to keep it cooler in the summer and warmer/dryer in the winter.

    Most folks just don't bother with such things as slatted racks or ventilated tops. But I do seem to experience almost no bearding in the summer, haven't had a swarm yet. (won't be surprised though if i have one or two unplanned swarms next spring, despite my best efforts!)

    Here is a better photo from last year where you can see the tops and the bottom racks in place, before I painted everything green:
    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_9fPBEJTqGzw/S_2UcWdJqDI/AAAAAAAAC2A/b9h5CWFlttQ/s1600/new-deeps_1.jpg
     
  5. pturley

    pturley New Member

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    I got it. A bigger front porch. :)
    Lots of surface area and additional space, with gaps too small for burr.

    I could see where this might be of some value. When numbers get heavy in the spring you are giving them more room to congregate inside the hive, without them needing to beard up out front.

    But also where it could possibly come back and bite you. I have always considered bearding (particularly in spring) as a quick sign to look for when walking a yard to indicate the need to split (swarm prevention). Could this possibly mask this indicator, making it more likely to miss an overpopulated hive?

    Obviously this wouldn't be an issue if you are looking in on a regular basis, but in a larger, busy bee yard, this could prove counterproductive.
     
  6. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Yes I agree Paul, it might be less desirable in a big yard of hives. I don't have that issue. ;)
    The argument for slatted racks suggests it actually helps delay swarming to some unknown extent, because the bees don't get as overcrowded for space in the Spring. I did notice on hot days in summer, when looking up from the bottom screen into the area of the slatted rack, that space under the slats was JAMMED PACKED every inch full of bees hanging out in that space. Thousands of them, happily in the shady space in there. Can't be sure of what it means exactly, but they seemed happy, and I had no swarms this year. But I also did lots of splits this year, so that would tend to reduce swarming anyway. Whatever! lol
     
  7. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    Omie writes:
    Lots of beekeepers think slatted racks are useless frippery, by the way. But then... I always go my own way!

    tecumseh:
    you go girl!

    slatted racks... beyond allowing a place for the bees to cluster (and thus decongesting the brood nest and thereby acting as a partial remedy to swarming or at least that was the original logic of the device) they also filter the reflected light at the very bottom of the frames in the bottom box. this encourages the bees to build comb right down to the bottom bar and also encourages the queen to lay right down to the bottom bar. as a comparison on just about every traditional bottom board I have there is invariable a uncompleted gap of about 1/2" and the queen never lays in the bottom inch or so of the frames.
     
  8. pturley

    pturley New Member

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    That adds up to quite a bit of space:
    1/2" x ~10" wide (laying area), by 10 frame faces (middle five frames carrying the most brood), by 25 cells per square inch (~5 per linear inch avg.)= roughly 1250 more cells per brood cycle.

    I may have to try one of these. I have several 1x2"s left over from making inner covers, I might have build one this winter.
    And, yeah I expect I'll be poking around in my hive(s)** as frequently as possible.

    **=hopefully plural as soon as spring will allow.
     
  9. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Paul just remember you have to follow a plan so that you are not violating 'bee space' under the frame bottoms. The 'space' is under the slats. I have seen a few plans floating around online for free I think.
     
  10. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a pturley snip:
    1/2" x ~10" wide (laying area)

    tecumseh acting as math monitor adds:
    that should be 2 X 1/2" X 18 X 10 X 250 (number of sides X 1/2" X length of frame X number of frames X cells per sq inch). I think that roughly works out to about an extra 100,000 potential cells in the bottom box.

    and just for the record... no I do not use slatted racks.
     
  11. pturley

    pturley New Member

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    Tec, I think your cells per inch is off by an order of magnitude.
    (5 cell per inch linear x 5 cells per inch= 25 per sq. inch.)

    Also, a brood patch "usually" does not cover a frame end to end. It does happen, particularly in spring, but I was trying to calculate more average conditions (~10" diameter brood patch), something you'd be likely to see any given day, not maximums.
    Either way if the claims are true, that equals a very good boost in the number of cells the queen can/will/might lay in.

    FURTHER MUSINGS (yes, I work as an engineer!):
    One possible additional value for the use of these racks:
    Good defensive bees actively harrass beetles that arrive on the landing board of the hive. This additional gap and larger distance of travel could also help to give the bees more opportunities to keep them from making it into the brood areas itself.
    I have spend an extensive amount of time thinking about and designing a bottom board/lower deep assembly that would help control SHB. Properly designed, these slatted racks could provide another layer of exclusion to help prevent SHB from getting in.
    (Dang it, I guess I am not going to get much done at work today!)

    MORE LATER!
     
  12. hankdog1

    hankdog1 New Member

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    I don't know I hear of more and more people using the slatted bottom boards. Seems there may be more interest in them then in the past. I sorta look at beekeeping from the standpoint of how much it costs. Soild bottom boards are cheap and keeps the wife happy. They work just fine in my part of the country and beleave it or not I don't have the problems with mites that others claim I should have. Of course if SHB shows up I may have to change my stratagy.
     
  13. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Hankdog, just to clarify...there are three separate things for the bottom choices: a screened bottom board, a solid bottom board, and a slatted rack. The slatted rack is a whole different item than the bottom boards.

    I am using an open screened bottom board and a slatted rack. but I have extra solid BB's lying around that I'd use in a pinch if I had no more SBB's.
     
  14. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    you are correct Pturley... a guess I will loose my math monitor's badge now :roll:.
     
  15. pturley

    pturley New Member

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    Hey, I'll edit mine if you edit yours...

    What I am now thinking is to make a slatted rack entirely out of 1x3s (or possibly even 1" x 4") instead of the 3/4" x 3/4" slats the Betterbee unit uses. The slats would be spaced evenly in the frame 3/8" apart (proper bee space). This would then be used over a screened bottom board, over a West Small Hive Beetle Trap (Dadant item #: M015404).
    This would give beetles that much more surface area they needed to cover while trying to evade the bees. Once harassed on the vertical surfaces, they would fall (as beetles do when harassed) off the slats, through the screen and into the waiting oil in the West trap.

    The screen bottom and West trap combination is actually Dadant #: B92901W Screened Bottom Board with West Beetle Trap Insert:
    https://www.dadant.com/catalog/images/B ... -WstBt.jpg

    A friend near me is using this set-up (one similar) with great results, but in my hive I have watched more than one beetle run down the front of the bottom deep, around the bottom and back up into the hive. This bit of additional surface area (in addition to extending a cover over a length of the landing board) might be just the trick to further give the bees the upper hand in excluding these pests.