Screened Bottom Board Questions
I am considering buying some four way migratory pallets that have screens like a traditional screened bottom board. I have read about the advantages of these (on this site and elsewhere) and the price is right on the pallets. The problem is that I am not sure how they will fit into my management plan.
First, I will be overwintering these hives in Northern Michigan so I am concerned about how open bottoms will effect the survival of the bees. I have heard that the improved ventilation will help with overwintering, but I wanted to hear others opinions. I plan on putting and empty super with hay (or other absorbent material) over an inner cover topped with burlap, etc on the top of the hives.
Second, I am looking at using oxilac acid treatments this winter. I have also considered trying Apiguard or Mite-Away II. It would seem to me that I would have to find a way to cover the screened opening for any of these treatments to work. What have others done?
Any ideas and pros or cons would be appreciated.
Do you have a forklift? How are you going to move them full?
I do not own a forklift, but have access to one and flatbed truck etc.
I've heard that absorbing moisture at the top just makes matters worse, though I've never tried it myself. Just allowing for adequate ventilation at the top seems to be the common practice.
My bees also overwinter in Michigan, and I was wondering too how many beekeepers in Northern climates leave SBBs on and open all year round? There's imporved ventilation, but it just seems like it would be so **** cold. I'd like to hear people's success/failure stories.
Only have 6 hives, all on my homebuilt SBB's, In building my SBB's I have made a slide in shelf, drawer, bottom, or whatever one chooses to call it. My sliders are made of rolled aluminum (same stuff the siding contractors use in flashing and window wraps). Because this alum. slider shelf slides under the screen, it also serves as a nice white surface to spray Pam cooking oil on, to do mite counts. I know of a beekeeper near Milwaukee who uses open screened bottom boards year round, with no problems. Being the skeptic that I am, I figured my slider shelf could be installed for winter use if need be. So far all is well! Good luck. I use 1 inch foam under the inner cover for winter humidity problems. Theory here is: any moisture would be collected to sides of hives and not directly above the cluster. Yes, I use the telescoping outer covers too. Cool wet spring seems to have caused the girls to fill the upper deeps, making "reversals" the order of the season. Now they are taking it out and up thru queen excluders to the supers.
The screens must be closed to use Apiguard and Formic. My bees do well in winter on screens, not near as cold here in California during the winter but have heard bees do fine on screened bottoms in the cold. Do you have any pics of these pallets? I was considering making some.