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  1. #1
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    Jan 2010
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    Default Are SBB essential to treatment free beekeeping?

    I have time to think this time of year. I really start to think, am I doing this right? Why am I the only one doing something?
    So, are Screened Bottoms Essential to treatment free? Larry Connor and others seem to think so. I am on the learning curve. I have not used screened bottoms because I bought one and killed some good hives on the same bottom. I chunked that one, and am considering putting some under drone hives to keep varroa in check. Are the really what they are hyped up to be?

    Thanks

    Mike
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
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    4,804

    Default Re: Are SBB essential to treatment free beekeeping?

    Last year my SBB hives had more losses, this year the SBB hives have fewer losses. I have a side by side LC vs SC setup, the SC hive with the SBB died out in mid summer, the LC hive on a solid BB lives on thru winter. In the five or more years I have had SBB on some of my hives, I have not seen a decided advantage.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    Gilmer,TX USA
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    1,830

    Default Re: Are SBB essential to treatment free beekeeping?

    What are LC and SC?

    Good, i am not a total nut job!

    mike
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
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    3,560

    Default Re: Are SBB essential to treatment free beekeeping?

    It is debatable for sure.
    If you use powder sugar dusting or dribble method oxalic or that type of treatment then yes, the sbb's are needed. If you are using vapor type treatments such as oxalic or formic vapor then they work agains you.

    I've seen bees block off the entire sbb's by clustering on it in the cool spring when there is brood in the bottom box. In that case, that open ventilation may not be so good huh? Is it good to have in summer for ventilation? I say that is also debatable as the bees can't micro manage the hive environment as well with all that open bottom. Do bees prefer an open bottom in the wild? I'd have to say no, as they always seem to look for enclosed cavities. I think they like to micromanage their hive environment better than what an open bottom environment provides. So do sbb's help in dropping debri exiting the hive? I'd have to say yes to that one. Especially the smaller debri, which there is alot of from a hive at least at times.

    I use all sbb's and have for the last ten years or so. Just last year and this I am using some solid bottoms again. I can't say that they are a needed item if you are not doing the powder sugar dusting or dribble method treatments. I started using them because it sounded like it might be a good idea, and I was doing powder sugar dusting back then. I now question my using them, mostly because it causes hardship on the bees for managing their hive environment, at least at times, and I'm not doing powder sugar or dribble treatments so am thinking of going back to solid bottoms for all.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  5. #5
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    Jan 2010
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    Gilmer,TX USA
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    Default Re: Are SBB essential to treatment free beekeeping?

    Right now I do nothing to the hives. No dusting etc. Do they really help with natural mite drop?

    mike
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
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    Default Re: Are SBB essential to treatment free beekeeping?

    If you have VSH in the bees and if they are cleaning mites off each other, I'd think they'd bite or kill the mites and drop them and then house cleaning bees would carry it out of the hive. If you have sbb's then they'd not have to carry it out but carry it down and drop it. I don't see much difference myself.

    If they didn't actually kill the mite, and then also if they didn't carry it out of the hive live, then maybe it would drop out the sbb, but I would think it would have to have been dislodged from near the bottom bar area of combs. Otherwise it's just going to re-attach to the next bee it hits on it's way down.

    These are just my thoughts. I know of no testing having been done but I don't get around much to know. I think it's up to each of us to test ourselves and make our own conclusions.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Oregon City, Oregon
    Posts
    988

    Default Re: Are SBB essential to treatment free beekeeping?

    I would lean more to their importance as a way for moisture to be eliminated, If I where in the south in humid climates I would think them to be more beneficial if in the cool north not so much, my 2 cents
    Honeydew

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,432

    Default Re: Are SBB essential to treatment free beekeeping?

    I went to all SBB (50 of them) for a while and then when I expanded again, I went to solid bottom boards so I could avoid buying feeders.

    http://bushfarms.com/beesfeeding.htm#BottomBoardFeeder

    So now I'm at 50 SBB and 150 solid. I see no difference as far as Varroa, but then I have no Varroa issues anyway, so it's hard to say if I did.

    The SBB are nice on a hot summer day when you can pull the tray, prop up the lid and get the bearding bees to move back inside.

    The SBB are nice IF you are treating with anything as the weakened (or dislodged) Varroa can't crawl back up.

    The SBB are nice for monitoring mite levels.

    Since I don't treat and I quite monitoring levels, I find having a basically free feeder is worth more to me.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
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    Jan 2010
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    Gilmer,TX USA
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    Default Re: Are SBB essential to treatment free beekeeping?

    I am continuing my treatment free program. I am looking at what i am doing. I think I will need to do do sbb under my drone hives so that i can do powder dusting. I am thinking about this because Larry Connor said in front of a large group of people "Mike is wrong on SBB don't listen to him". I keep mostly vsh crosses and purvis. Then ferals and mutts.

    mike
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    roswell, georgia, USA
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    720

    Default Re: Are SBB essential to treatment free beekeeping?

    My SBB's are #6 mesh over oil pans that are enclosed within their own box. During winter I tape the back of the box where the pan slides out to shut off this source of draft.

    Because of the larger mesh size, thru-out the rest of the year I find mites, SHBs, ants and a lot of other weird things floating in the oil (no bees). Whether they were DOA or drowned... I just feel that these are creatures that would otherwise, for the most part, just pick themselves up off a solid bottom board and make their way back up into the hive.
    EAS Georgia Certified. "Tradition - Even if you have done it the same way for years doesn't mean that it is not stupid."

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Brandon, MS USA
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    1,585

    Re: Are SBB essential to treatment free beekeeping?

    I certainly do not think that SBBs are essential to a treatment free program, especially when attempting to breed bees that can better cope with pest and diseases on there own. I've never seen bees naturally build colonies above pools of oil... In any natural situation the pests could crawl back up and the bees would have to stay on top of controlling them... thus I must warn of the concern of future troubles that long term sbb use in breeding selection colonies could cause... While we are all trying to breed stronger, better bees, SBBs just seem to give the bees an unnatural advantage that would lower the need to protect and clean the hives.

    Not saying they are bad for most people, because they arent... I just look at them as a possible "crutch" that I wouldnt allow my bees to use while I am promoting their natural hygienic behavior.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    roswell, georgia, USA
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    720

    Default Re: Are SBB essential to treatment free beekeeping?

    Evolution is a wonderful thing. And that is why the majority of us hobbiest keep cheering you breeders on who have the resources and vested interests -so you can provide us with the resistant stock that eliminates all of the IPM tools we now have to use to keep our little tiny 'operations' alive.

    Sampling a loss of 50% when your talking 2 hives is what I call luck. Out of 100 hives is something to take notice of. A lot of us don't have the tools (time primarily, or funds) to do anything but react to the immediate situation - when we start over, it is from scratch, with nucs and packages from breeders. We're not out capturing feral swarms, splitting VHS hives or grafting queen cells.

    I totally support the approach of nature defending itself, but I just have to use the tools at hand to try and make it from one winter thru the next.
    EAS Georgia Certified. "Tradition - Even if you have done it the same way for years doesn't mean that it is not stupid."

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Edwards, Ms, USA
    Posts
    59

    Default Re: Are SBB essential to treatment free beekeeping?

    Sbb I've used in the past for a study. To note I've never had a problem with mites. Sbb did show the rise in shb count in my hives. While I did see less bees ventalating the hive at the same time. If sbb does reduce mites it does increase shb in the hive. I sugest better bees than sbb.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    roswell, georgia, USA
    Posts
    720

    Default Re: Are SBB essential to treatment free beekeeping?

    Since there is no certification that I know of regarding what might be 'better bees', do you have a criteria by which others might use in the selection of their starters or replacements?
    EAS Georgia Certified. "Tradition - Even if you have done it the same way for years doesn't mean that it is not stupid."

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Brandon, MS USA
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    1,585

    Re: Are SBB essential to treatment free beekeeping?

    SunKists fair well against SHB compared to other strains... no bee on the market is "beetle proof", but Tigers have not yet fallen to SHB.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Dexter, Missouri USA
    Posts
    96

    Default Re: Are SBB essential to treatment free beekeeping?

    If you're not breeding resistant hives and are after honey production you might as well use them. They are proven to reduce mite load. Bees with less mites on them will not be as stressed. With lowered stress, they should be healthier. Healthy bees make more honey.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Are SBB essential to treatment free beekeeping?

    I started using sbb a few years ago. I’ve since returned to solids. In my neighborhood shb are a problem. Sbb allow them to evade defending bees and allow their larvae to escape the hive easily to pupate in the soil below.
    On the other hand…I was considering getting Certified Naturally Grown recently and was reading their bee requirements. If you plan on this certification you must either be all sbb or moving toward it. They have some reasonable requirements but also a few that I think are not.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    Gilmer,TX USA
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    Default Re: Are SBB essential to treatment free beekeeping?

    Dan, correct me if I am wrong. Would SBB not give the SHB one more place to hide???? With the solids in my yard, I have eliminated all the hiding spots for SHB. I use no inner covers, I have hardly any plastic frames, and there is nowhere to hide in the bottom

    mike
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  19. #19
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    Jan 2010
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    Gilmer,TX USA
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    Default Re: Are SBB essential to treatment free beekeeping?

    Forgot to add, today is the defining moment if what I am doing is working, me and FarmerFraizer are mite testing all the hives. Got to make sure all looks good for inspection in a few weeks.

    mike
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  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Dexter, Missouri USA
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    Default Re: Are SBB essential to treatment free beekeeping?

    [QUOTE=beemandan;617993]I started using sbb a few years ago. I’ve since returned to solids. In my neighborhood shb are a problem. Sbb allow them to evade defending bees and allow their larvae to escape the hive easily to pupate in the soil below.

    Makes sense. We have shb in Southeast MO. I always notice adult beetles in my hives, but never see larvae, or the slime I've heard a lot of people mention. I just try to keep the colonies strong enough to protect themselves. If the queen starts failing she's replaced. Unless she has some specific traits I want to preserve.

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