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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    millersville, pa, usa
    Posts
    2

    Default overwintering w/screened hive bottoms

    A few years ago, I bought some blown plastic hive bodies which came with screened bottoms for mite control. I've got eight hives and no mites at least at a problem causing level. I've lost two hives per winter the last two years...the two with the open bottoms! I know these hives are said to be just dandy for overwintering, but how can that really be true? Common sense says they're going to get frigid in the Pennsylvania winter and that killed them. Maybe it would be ok just to slip a piece of plywood inside the hive over the screen?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,670

    Default

    Hot air rises, cold air sinks, so the screen bottoms in this respect should not be an issue for over wintering. The condensation moisture inside the hive in winter conditions is not as big of issue with screened bottoms as the water flows right out the bottom screen.

    Breezes and winds are another matter, they could cause cold air to move up into the hive, I would imagine, in an open screen bottom. Puting a piece of plywood over the screen or leaving the sticky board in over winter might be an option.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,142

    Default

    Mine came with corrugated plastic trays (like the stuff the political signs are made of). I put them in from the first hard freeze until I see them bearding in the early summer or late spring. It gets very cold here and we got some howling (60 mph) winds sometimes (as evidenced both by the weather service and by how often shingles blow off my roof). If I lived somewhere warmer or calmer, MAYBE I'd consider leaving them out. Maybe not. There is always some air leaking around the edges and I think that is adequate ventilation with a reduced top entrance.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    Posts
    5,159

    Default

    If you get enough snow cover to cover the bottom of your hives all winter then the trays would be of little value. Here we get very little accumulated snow and the cold wind is ferocius at times so we need to have the trays in.
    Bullseye Bill in The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    www.myspace.com/dukewilliam

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Wheatfield, IN
    Posts
    2,069

    Default

    I have left SBB's open all winter. They survive fine.. However, they were usually my slowest colonies to build up come spring. Placing something to block the drafts especially in early spring seemed to really help reduce the stress on the small clusters trying to kickstart brood rearing in the spring.
    Dan Williamson
    B&C Honey Farm http://www.flickr.com/photos/9848229@N05/

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Orlando, FL
    Posts
    1,313

    Default

    I have to say I agree with Dan. I'm in Florida, and it doesn't even get that cold here. Maybe it is the moisture here.

    If I put solid bottoms on in the winter and leave them on until the flow begins in early March, my bees are stronger and more plentiful for the Orange Blossom flow.

    So all I know is that blocking the bottom (or temporarily switching to a solid bottom) sure helps kick start them in the spring.
    Troy

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Lycoming New York
    Posts
    193

    Default Plexi glass

    I have used plexi glass it is cheap and thin. Now you can buy the unbreakable stuff. Tony

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