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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Algonquin, IL, USA
    Posts
    639

    Default What can a bottom board tell you?

    I found the thread interesting about what the activity around the hive entrance can tell you.

    Now, here's my question. What can the crud on the bottom board tell you?

    I have a Screened bottom board, and haven't noticed any mites on the insert. I do, however see a bunch of other stuff like wax bits, pollen balls, red specks, . . . etc. Can I infer anything? I guess I can infer that pollen is being collected. How about the wax bits? Bees being hatched?

    Ken

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Claremont, NH, USA
    Posts
    783

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by c10250 View Post
    How about the wax bits? Bees being hatched?

    Ken

    Brood hatching, honey stores being opened, comb being reconfigured, bits falling through when you work the hive.....

    Bill
    “If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive.” - Dale Carnegie

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    OXFORD CT
    Posts
    60

    Default

    c10250,
    Yes, you can get information from the debris on your bottom board. As you saw for yourself with the saw dust looking wax capping. That is likely from new bees emerging from their cells or bees decapping honey cells. You can also get some kind of idea were your brood chamber is located.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Enfield,Ct.
    Posts
    469

    Default

    You can also tell if there's a mouse in your hive.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
    Posts
    1,922

    Default

    I am not sure that SBB really help my mite situation, but I really like them in the winter to tell me what is going on in the hive.

    You can see the dark brood cappings, the light honey cappings, mites, how many frames of bees you have, liquid that is condensing and falling. I check mine every 2-3 weeks in the winter. I clean them off in the snow or wet grass. You can see hives that are shrinking or growing.

    The best part is that you can tell all of this about your hives and never have to remove the lid or bother them.

    The first winter that I had SBB, I pulled out a tray and was surprised to see 6 distinct lines of cappings. I cleaned it off and after a couple of weeks looked again and saw the same 6 lines. I knew how many frames of bees I had and was hooked from that point on.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Tulsa, OK
    Posts
    3,411

    Default This post makes a good point

    You can tell where the bees are, how much they are doing and other pests that you have. If you spray the insert with Pam it will also kill wax moth larvae and small hive beetle larvae.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Bunker Hill, IL
    Posts
    493

    Default

    were do you guys get your bottom board screens from... im thinking about building a new bottom board that i can interchange with screen etc but wondering about the bottom screen....

    is there a thread about that floating around (i admit i didnt search before i asked)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Woodlawn, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    328

    Default

    You have probably searched by now and found that there are lots of threads on Screened Bottom Boards. Ross has some good plans at myoldtools.com and there are some plans on the Home page of this site. Just click on "build it". This is one area that a table saw and some scrap lumber and a little time can save you a ton of money.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,973

    Default

    snip:
    Now, here's my question. What can the crud on the bottom board tell you?

    tecumseh:
    excessive quantity should tell you quite a bit about problems.... robbing and wax moth/shb being problems that immediately comes to mind. also brood type probem should show up at the front door or under a hive (if the hive has a screened bottom board). quite obviously with the assistance of a magnifying glass some evidence of varroa would also show up in the same place(s).

    I typically tell/teach/inform newbees that prior to internal inspection a good look at external qualities of a hive will tell you quite a lot and should direct your thinking directly in regards to internal examination.

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