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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    14

    Default Screened Bottom Board and Top Hive Entrance

    First I want to thank everyone who responded to my previous post regarding Bee Weaver Bees. It's good to have some reassurance that the decisions I'm making are reasonable.

    My next question is regarding Bottom Boards. I am definitely leaning toward top entrances in my hives (8 frame medium Langstroth), especially here in Texas where we have been having record breaking heat in the summers. (Last year we had over 70 days of weather where it got to be over 1000Fahrenheit (380Celsius). My thinking is that since heat travels upwards, it will be easier for the bees to keep things cool. Of course there are also the advantages of being more resistant to skunks and possums, etc. I am also tending toward screened bottom boards as part of being able to keep track of Varroa and improve circulation. Am I being too concerned about circulation and keeping the heat down? We've had a mild winter so far (though thankfully with more rain than in the past several years). If I have a screened bottom board, should I have the hives on a stand that is pretty open below the hives?

    My bees will arrive April 7. By that time we will probably be having days regularly in the 80's and some 90's. I am wanting to do minimal feeding as there should already be an abundance of things in flower. Should I plan on doing just a small amount of feeding to get them started? Perhaps using the baggie method on top of the frames?

    Thanks in advance,

    Paula

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Ennis, TX USA
    Posts
    5,124

    Default Re: Screened Bottom Board and Top Hive Entrance

    I havenít done any top entrances yet. I plan on doing a couple this year though. In the heat of summer I mostly just slide the top box back about 3/8Ē. I have SBBís on all of mine but 1. And on the one that I donít have a SBB on I canít really tell a difference in it from the others. They seem to be doing just as good if not better than the others. But I like the SBBís and donít plan on changing anytime soon.

    I have my hives about 18Ē off the ground and have not a problem with skunks. Only place a bee can get after a skunk is on itís belly. So if your stands are off the ground skunks have to get on their back legs exposing their belly to eat the bees.

    Plan on feeding more than you are planning to. If you are getting packages they will need the feed. They will slow down on the feed when they donít need/want it anymore. I hate the baggie feeding way. It always seems to make more of a mess than anything. I use a mason jar in the top center of the lid. Drill a 2 7/8Ē hole and a small mouth mason jar fits tight.

    http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/MOR...J66?Pid=search




    Dadant and others sell the lids with prepunched holes that fit the mason jars. I mostly just use a nail and put 20-30 small holes in the lid. This method really work well if the bees are in your backyard and you can watch the level of feed they use throughout the day. There are also some nice hive top feeders made that you can buy too.
    Chuck Norris has a grizzly bear carpet in his room. The bear isn't dead it is just afraid to move.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    6,757

    Default Re: Screened Bottom Board and Top Hive Entrance

    Paula, screened bottom boards are excellent for ventilaton, Varroa control, and small hive beetles if you put a tray of oil under the screen. I prefer hive stands of 18 inches to make it easier to work the hive without bending over, improve their chances against ants, termites, and all the other reasons honey bees naturally build colonies above the ground.
    http://americasbeekeeper.org/Hive_Height.htm
    http://americasbeekeeper.org/Inspecting_Gary.jpg
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: Screened Bottom Board and Top Hive Entrance

    Thanks guys! It's good to hear from other southern beekeepers. I'm guessing that wintering is somewhat different down here. We can have some pretty cold snaps through the winter but we also regularly have days in the seventies. (It's supposed to get to 75 here today!)

    Hambone, do you use an inner cover or just the top cover?

    AmericasBeekeeper, What type of oil do you use?

    Thanks again,

    Paula

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Ennis, TX USA
    Posts
    5,124

    Default Re: Screened Bottom Board and Top Hive Entrance

    I use only a top cover.
    Chuck Norris has a grizzly bear carpet in his room. The bear isn't dead it is just afraid to move.

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