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View Full Version : Why not to use a screened bottom board



geblack
07-09-2013, 02:05 PM
Currently, I don't have screened bottom boards. I've been contemplating it, but I'm still unsure. I think I know a lot of the reasons to use a screened bottom board, but from other threads I've seen, some of you clearly don't like screened bottom boards. I'd like to know why you feel a screened bottom board shouldn't be used. I'm also interested in comments from both sides as to effects a screened bottom board would have on ventilation (in both hot and cold conditions).

Thanks!

theriverhawk
07-09-2013, 02:46 PM
I run all screened bottom boards(SBB). I have anywhere from 30-50 hives at a time. For the life of me, I cannot see any negatives to using them...if I reached I can say that I did have a queen fly off a frame and return under the hive for about a week. I figured it out when there were no new eggs but they weren't trying to make a new queen.

Positives:
1. Ventilation...ZERO bearding on hives. And I have no problems during the winter either.
2. Mite drops
3. No accumulation of wax cappings, etc in the bottom. I have seen this especially in solid bottom nucs but some in full boxes, too. . A prime hiding area for SHBs and if a top jar feeder drips too much, I have seen the bottom corners packed with SHB larvae.
4. Drainage. During some heavy rains, IF any water gets in, it just fall through the SBB. I tilt all my hives forward but heavy rains can still push water in with solid bottoms.

gone2seed
07-09-2013, 03:13 PM
I agree with Riverhawk about the positives but you asked about the negatives so;
swarms do not like sbb and will sometimes leave them and ,the queen will often move up and lay in the supers so apparently she isn't crazy about screened bottoms either.Those are the only two negatives I can think of.
I handle the swarm issue by putting a temporary piece of plywood under the bottom board until the swarm is established.An excluder keeps the queen where she belongs.
For me,the ability to do easy mite counts settles the issue.
Now,with that said,consider your climate.Both rh and I are in warm climate areas.

geblack
07-09-2013, 06:48 PM
Would you use a ssb during the winter as well or switch out?

I don't want to use an excluder on a regular basis if I can help it. I do use both a top and bottom entrance though. Not sure how much traffic would attempt to cross through with that configuration.

Wesbee
07-09-2013, 07:31 PM
I made my own, they have a plywwood (drawer) that I keep closed most of the time so it is like a solid ,but , it lets the mites and debris fall thought and I just pull out and brush off
used it last winter and they came thought really strong

John R C
07-09-2013, 09:54 PM
No negatives here and I leave mine open all winter.

BeeGhost
07-09-2013, 11:19 PM
Negatives:
Another easy way for ants to enter the hive.
Lost bees cluster underneath for days.
Another added cost and time to build.
If using any kind of forklift to move they can easily be punctured.
If feeders leak the syrup ends up out the bottom where it attracts ants and could promote robbing.
If debris builds up on a solid bottom board and the wax moths move in to clean it out, that's nature taking its course, like a wild hive. If the wax moths take over a hive, it wasnt strong enough to begin with.
Not enough mites fall through the SBB to really make a difference.

I have both a bottom entrance and a top entrance, very little bearding occurred this year, even with 108 degree temps and hives are in direct sun all day from sun up to sun down.

I started beekeeping with SBB and have since went to all solid bottoms on two hive migratory pallets. I have noticed that their is more brood down lower on the frames as well.

I also treat with OAV for mites, wouldn't work with a SBB.

Just my thoughts since I have used both.

Michael Bush
07-10-2013, 07:47 AM
Assuming a tray for winter... the only issue I have is that I can't make them into free feeders...

NewJoe
07-10-2013, 08:05 AM
Assuming a tray for winter... the only issue I have is that I can't make them into free feeders...

Michael Bush,

I have heard you speak of an oil tray under your SBB for catching beetles and mites. You wouldn't happen to have some good pictures of exactly how they are made would you?

Joe

Michael Bush
07-10-2013, 11:10 AM
>I have heard you speak of an oil tray under your SBB for catching beetles and mites.

I think you have mistaken me for someone else. I have never used a oil tray and never had an issue with beetles.

I do convert them to feeders and that I have pictures of:
http://bushfarms.com/beesfeeding.htm#bottom

NewJoe
07-10-2013, 11:26 AM
>I have heard you speak of an oil tray under your SBB for catching beetles and mites.

I think you have mistaken me for someone else. I have never used a oil tray and never had an issue with beetles.

I do convert them to feeders and that I have pictures of:
http://bushfarms.com/beesfeeding.htm#bottom

sorry...I must have misunderstood

Rader Sidetrack
07-10-2013, 12:47 PM
> an oil tray under your SBB for catching beetles and mites. You wouldn't happen to have some good pictures of exactly how they are made would you?

You can find free plans for a screened bottom board with an optional "closure" board at the bottom here:
http://www.beesource.com/build-it-yourself/ipm-screened-bottom-board/
The plans do not show enough vertical space for an oil tray, but you can simply increase the distance between the screen and the lower closure board to make space for a tray. You will then need to buy or build a tray to hold the oil, and make a wood "plug" to block bee access to the tray while still allowing for maintenance.

The end result is very similar to Country Rubes pre-made version:


http://www.beesource.com/ads/CountryRubes-ad4.jpg

http://store.countryrubes.com/

One option for a pre-made metal tray is a 1/2 half sheet cake pan (13"x18") similar to this:
http://www.globalsugarart.com/cookie-sheet-pan-half-sheet-cake-pan-by-fat-daddio-39-p-26437.html?gclid=CJbK8Yy-pbgCFUlp7AodHDcADg&gdftrk=gdfV25706_a_7c2149_a_7c8 856_a_7c26437 (http://www.globalsugarart.com/cookie-sheet-pan-half-sheet-cake-pan-by-fat-daddio-39-p-26437.html?gclid=CJbK8Yy-pbgCFUlp7AodHDcADg&gdftrk=gdfV25706_a_7c2149_a_7c8856_a_7c26437)

Plastic cafeteria/lunchroom trays are also available in a 12"x18" size, generally at a lower price than cake pans.

.

kbfarms
07-10-2013, 07:27 PM
Same here. Open all winter.

DRUR
07-10-2013, 07:43 PM
1. With bottom entrances, you lose a good bit of pollen on the screens which seem to act as a pollen trap. I now have top entrances for most of my colonies and this not a problem anymore.

2. I have used trays but don't anymore because my theory is that our fire ants take better care of anything that hits the ground then the trays do. That being said, especially during the winters and early spring, the queen doesn't lay in lower part of the frames towards the screened bottoms.

3. I have a few solid bottoms and the colonies seem to overall do better; but I am small cell and don't have mite problems.

4. Since I have top entrances, seems to me like during cold weather there is to much of a draft from screened bottoms.

5. Screened bottoms are more expensive and harder to make.

Kindest Regards
Danny Unger

julysun
07-21-2013, 09:24 PM
My problem with SBB was lost bees hanging onto the screen. I think they were being fed by the house bees. Now I have been boring four, one inch holes in my solid boards and screening them. I just want them for fresh air. We will see, so far there has been little fanning and bearding on the new board. Here,we have a summer of 95 degree plus days with 65 to 90 percent humidity. I am surprised that bees can cool a hive and dry honey here at all, so I do like vents. I use screened inner covers also.
I noticed one hot day many bees fanning on a standard Lang, standard inner cover, solid BB.. I put 1/4 inch sticks under all corners of my flat top. The fanning stopped within minutes.

Specialkayme
07-21-2013, 09:51 PM
I tried SBB in the past, and didn't really see any advantage to them, so went back to solid. Last year I bought some hives off a guy who was operating all SBB. It was too late in the season to switch bottom boards, and the bottoms were stapled to the boxes, so I just left them. The end result left me with SBB and solid bottoms side by side. Here's what I noticed:

1. Minimal difference in bearding. The solid beards a little bit faster, but the SBB hives still beard. In 90+ degree weather, you can't tell the difference. No benefit to me there.

2. Grass grows straight through the hive on SBB. Bees don't seem to care, just found it interesting. Obviously doesn't happen with solid.

3. With solid, the hive debris falls on the bottom board, and the bees clean it out. With SBB, it falls to the floor, and anything that is there to get it does. I had a massive "above ground" ant hill grow under a SBB hive (and I mean MASSIVE. the size of three or four cinderblocks, and made of leaves, grass, and anything else they could find, all directly under the hive). The ant hill ended up taking out the colony. So yeah, I have bigger ant issues with SBB.

4. The queen avoids the bottom box with a SBB. Whether it's light, or air, or whatever, it makes unusable space. Don't have that problem with solid.

5. Feeders occasionally leak. If it leaks on a solid, the bees just eat it. If it leaks on a SBB, someone other than the hive eats it. When it runs out, they sometimes go to the hive to get more (either ants, as read above, or robber bees).

6. Slightly more difficult to clean. A deadout on a solid I just run the hive tool down the bottom board, and it's done. Won't work on a SBB. Have to use a hose, or a brush or something to get off all the crud that sometimes appears after a dead out.

7. I have to spend more time observing temps and knowing when to close off the SBB, when it gets too cold out, and when they could use more cool air in the spring time. Open the SBB to early and they spend alot of energy keeping warm that they could be using elsewhere. I don't have to monitor that with solid.

8. I can't do mite drops on a solid. I have to give it up there for SBB.

Paul McCarty
07-22-2013, 04:23 PM
I quit using them too. Didn't make much difference in my operation. Just gave me ventilation issues, mostly in winter when the cold mountain winds be blowin'. I have found a vented attic to be better with some cedar chips as a blanket.

I have never had and still don't mite issues, so guess they didn't do much for me in that regard. I do agree they are just one more place to let in the ants - which are BAD where I live.