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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Pomfret, MD, USA
    Posts
    242

    Post

    I'm trying to make some screened bottom boards and I have a question about size of the entrance gap. Looking at the plans posted here for making your own, it shows the gap from the bottom of the first brood box to the screen as being 3/8". However, when I look at pictures of commercial screened bottom boards the gap looks much larger...3/4 of an inch wide or even larger. What exactly should the entrance gap be?

    Thanks in advance,
    Kai

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,341

    Post

    Anything from 3/4" to 3/8" will work. 3/4" will give more cluster space at the bottom. A 3/8" entrance will give a more defensible entrance. I would do the 3/4" myself.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Pomfret, MD, USA
    Posts
    242

    Post

    I'm thinking of using slatted racks to provide cluster space. Would I then go with 3/8?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,341

    Post

    I have my slatted racks on Brushy Mt. SBB which have 3/4". It's been working fine for me.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Evansville, IN, USA
    Posts
    2,837

    Post

    Greetings Kai,

    I made ALL of my woodenware (incl frames) and have done a lot of research on construction details. I wanted to make things according to industry "specifications" where possible.

    A "standard" bottom board as described in the 1992 edition of The Hive and the Honey Bee, p543, has a 3/8" entrance and a 7/8" entrance. Somewhere, I read that the floor should be 1" below the bottom of the frames. (Frames being 1/8" above the bottom of super) Ill bet that a 3/4" entrance would be OK.

    I made my SSB to the specifications of a "standard" board (7/8") and regulate the opening w/ an entrance reducer. My sides are much longer and have attached PVC legs. Now I have an "elevated hive stand" that sits in cans of oil to keep out ants. The screened floor pulls out (from rear) for easy cleaning and can be exchanged for "solid" floor if desired. My pull-out "Mite Monitoring Board" sets below the floor board.

    Have you given any thought to how a Slatted Rack will effect mite-drop numbers?

    Dave W

    ------------------
    A NewBEE with 1 hive.
    First package installed
    April, 2003.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,947

    Post

    I cut two 3/8" high X 4" wide slots in the bottom of my Slatted racks for the entrance.


    [This message has been edited by odfrank (edited November 05, 2003).]

  7. #7

    Post

    Hi there. I had a couple of the screen bottom boards that I purchased from Kelley's. I think that there is too much space. The bees build alot of drone comb there on the bottom of the frames. Also they have alot more gaurd bees that could be out getting me some honey. It is just to much space. I made some of my own and used the dimension from the small side of a standard bottom board and I think that it will work great.

    [This message has been edited by greenbeekeeping (edited November 05, 2003).]

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Pomfret, MD, USA
    Posts
    242

    Post

    Dave W, et. al.
    No, I hadn't given the mite fall issue any thought when using slatted racks. Thanks for pointing that out to me.

    Basically I made these bottom boards out of two deeps that I cut down to mediums. I took the 3 inches that I cut off, cut in a 3/8" entrance, and nailed on a nice long landing pad. Next I put rails all around the inside at the level of the landing pad and nailed 1/8" hardware cloth down for the screen. Then, my intention is to set these on wooden pallets with 2' legs with space cut out of the top of the pallets so the mites will fall through the screen and onto the ground, or onto a sticky pad that I can set on the bottom part of the pallet.

    At this point, I think it would probably ruin the bottom boards if I took off the landing pad, the screen, and the rails, just to increase the entrance. So, I'm going to just use them as they are and hope for the best. It's warm in Southern MD for most of the year (we had 80 degrees yesterday, which is unusual, but happens!) so I think the bees will be fine with the smaller entrance and less cluster space.

    I'll definately have to rethink the slatted rack thing.

    Thanks again, and please criticize, give advice, or praise. I need all I can get with this new hobby!

    Kai

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,341

    Post

    I think the benefits of the slatted rack outweigh any loss of mites falling. But I'm not expecting the SBB to solve all of my mite problems.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Evansville, IN, USA
    Posts
    2,837

    Post

    If you have been doing regular mite drop counts and at some point add a slatted Rack, seems the qty of "drops" would be less. That could give the false impression of having less mites. When in fact, some mites are collecting on the "slats". Maybe most of the mites fall while bees are under the rack.

    Im sure I dont understand the FULL benefit of a Slatted Rack, but know they are used to increase ventilation by giving the bees more room to cluster (under frames). Maybe the effects of an open SSB might actually provide more true ventilation.

    If additional room under frames is needed, why not increase the sides (and back) of the bottom board. The wide front board in a SR might be useful in blocking light (coming thru entrance) to encourage queen to lay more toward front and/or bottom of frames, but, why are slats needed?

    Sorry wishthecuttlefish, I have wandered from your question about SSB entrance size.

    Dave W

    ------------------
    A NewBEE with 1 hive.
    First package installed
    April, 2003.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,341

    Post

    >If additional room under frames is needed, why not increase the sides (and back) of the bottom board. The wide front board in a SR might be useful in blocking light (coming thru entrance) to encourage queen to lay more toward front and/or bottom of frames, but, why are slats needed?

    Without the slats the bees will just hang comb off of the frames down into that area and there will not be any cluster space. The slats are spaced apart 3/8" (max beespace) and the space underneath the slats has been maximized to the size where bees usually won't build comb under there.

    Without a SSB the slatted rack causes more ventilation without a draft at the entrance. With a SBB it probably only gives more cluster space and breaks the entrance draft a bit. But the extra cluster space really helps prevent swarming and gives that "bee beard" on the front somewhere to spend the night indoors.

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