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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Amelia, VA
    Posts
    34

    Default Screened bottom boards in a TBH, yes? no?

    going to make the switch to top bar hives. planning ahead for this winter's building projects. I use screened bottom boards (SBB) and inner covers in my Lang's, and like it for the summer swelter. I see designs for TBH with and without SBB. I know what the weather is like in Kenya's Summer. Doubt they use SBB. How 'bout the TBH Beeks here in the states? All input appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,973

    Default Re: Screened bottom boards in a TBH, yes? no?

    Not me. I've tried to keep it on the simple side. After two seasons, I'm still not inclined to add them on future tbh's.

    Adam

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    6,801

    Default Re: Screened bottom boards in a TBH, yes? no?

    My Kenyan TBH and Langstroths have screened bottom boards for several years.
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Portland, OR, USA
    Posts
    637

    Default Re: Screened bottom boards in a TBH, yes? no?

    No screened bottoms on any of my 12 horizontal top bar hives.

    Cheers,
    Matt

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Denison, Texas
    Posts
    510

    Default Re: Screened bottom boards in a TBH, yes? no?

    My top bar hives have fully screened bottoms. I also have them built to where I can cover them with a solid board
    for winter and when starting packages or swarms. I have screened bottoms because, that's what was recommended
    to help with varroa control.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,427

    Default Re: Screened bottom boards in a TBH, yes? no?

    I built a few with them and then made a tray for them. Most of the ones I have bees in now do not have one and I will not bother to put one on again. They do little for the Varroa and if they aren't blocked (with a tray or something) they create too much ventilation.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Findlay, Ohio
    Posts
    524

    Default Re: Screened bottom boards in a TBH, yes? no?

    My best top bar hive has a sold bottom that cannot be removed.

    My other top bar hives started out with screened bottoms, but I ran into a few problems in cooler and cold weather. At least in Ohio, do not leave a top bar hive with a screened bottom open during the winter. Either the cold will kill them from having to consume more to keep warm, or some critter will rip open the bottom and knock out the combs. Make sure there is a way to close off the bottom of the hive.

    Currently I have 1 top bar hive with a solid bottom that cannot be removed and it has done very well this and last year.

    I have 2 others that started out last year with screened bottoms that I allowed to stay open all winter. However, after finding 2 other hives with the screens torn off on Jan. 1, 2011 with all bees dead and combs ripped out, I boarded up the bottoms of my other top bar hives. Currently I have only one top bar with a screened bottom that is open. This will be closed off before winter and probably not removed again unless I need to clean out the bottom of the hive.

    ALso, use metal screen and not nylon. I used a plastic/nylon screen and it is easily damaged by critters trying to get in. Not a problem with a large number of bees during the active season, just when it gets cooler and solid bottoms are not installed.

    I also do not believe that a screened bottom does much for vorroa control. My fullest top bar hive going into winter had a heavy mite load along with that screened bottom. By heavy I mean over 30%. A good mite treatment does better than just having a screened bottom.
    Nick Hubbell
    www.findlaybee.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Amelia, VA
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: Screened bottom boards in a TBH, yes? no?

    Outstanding feedback. Thanks to all responders.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Cloverdale, B.C., Canada
    Posts
    27

    Default Re: Screened bottom boards in a TBH, yes? no?

    We use a screened bottom with a wooden bottom board that can be left fully closed, partially open or completely removed. See this link for details http://thehoneybeat.com/2011/07/our-...-bottom-board/

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Branson, MO
    Posts
    573

    Default Re: Screened bottom boards in a TBH, yes? no?

    My screened bottom has a hinged door to open or close. When the weather was extemely hot here I left it opened and not near as many would beard and I think it helped my comb. As it cools down I just close and latch the door.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Murfreesboro, TN, USA
    Posts
    318

    Default Re: Screened bottom boards in a TBH, yes? no?

    I have one TBH with a screened bottom and four with solid bottoms. The only benefit I see to the screened bottom is that I can pull out the removable tray and see about where the bees are working the comb by the wax "dust" on the bottom.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Shirley, MA, USA
    Posts
    109

    Default Re: Screened bottom boards in a TBH, yes? no?

    I use a SBB in summer because of advice about varroa, but have no opinion what you should do. However, I've followed the exploits of someone in Africa working with beekeepers there, training them to build cheap TBHs. Don't base your decisions on them. It's different. Their motivation was mostly reducing hive cost (paying someone to use power equipment to cut the bars to exact size was a problem), the competition is hollow logs, the bees are extremely durable and will nest anywhere and swarm often, and harvesting often takes place at night to reduce bee aggression. I do not believe they do routine inspections. They simply don't need to, nor is it feasible with aggressive bees. Set up hive, wait for bees to find it, remove honey later.

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