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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
    Posts
    2,001

    Default Simple oil tray mod for sbb's...

    Ok, I finally worked on my idea to get some oil trays under my screened bottom boards. I went over and visited with my mentor a while today and we talked about a lot of things. He doesn't run oil trays but he has in the past and I believe he will again. He encouraged me to try my idea so here's what I came up with this evening...

    My idea is to use the cement blocks that I use as hive stands and the bottom side of the bottom boards as a "slot" to insert an oil tray into. Naturally the tray needs to be "bee-proof". My idea is to make the top of the tray to fit closely to the bottom board rather than to seal the entire area that the tray rests in. The seal needs to be tight at each end and on the sides. Yelp, I'm re-inventing the wheel.

    I had stressed over finding a tray that would work and wasn't that too expensive. Joe, a beek over in Mississippi, had suggested that I check a dollar store. Well, I'm hardheaded and waited until I was at Wallyworld to look (we're about 20 miles from it)...they only had a couple of scratched up ones that I thought might work but I passed on them. I've looked at the heavier trays, the thin disposable trays, etc.,.

    I was actually going to paint some woodenware yesterday evening but the oil tray project kept bugging me so I decided to tinker with modding the bottom boards instead. I got some good measurements from the bottom boards and headed to one of the local dollar stores.....SHAZAM!!!!!!!!!!....NICE BAKING TRAYS!!!!! Nice, unscratched, heavy-duty, 17.3"x11.2"x1" inside dimensions with nice handles/lips extending out about 1" on each end, and $5 each at our local "Family Dollar Store"!!!....thanks for the suggestion Joe! I don't know why I didn't look there earlier!!!!

    Here are the major parts of the mod...complicated, eh? (Oops, I left out the two little pieces of quarter-round "stops" that will keep the tray from sliding too far forward and the two 3/16"x3/4" wooden runners that will be glued to the bottom of the tray...I guess it's even more complicated than I thought. ) The two long pieces of wood are some 1-1/8" pieces that I ripped from a piece of 1x6 treated pine...this will raise the bottom surface of the bottom board up 3/4".


    This is the bottom after adding the shims to the bottom rails and nailing on the two stops...a bead of glue and three nails to each rail and a little glue and a couple of nails for each stop. The "stops" allow the tray to slide in completely beneath the bottom board with about 1/4" of the bottom board covering the end of the tray...this hopefully will help keep rain from entering the tray. I'm hoping, also, that the rolled lips of the tray will help divert any rainwater that might run on the lower surface of the bottom board. Another rain concern I have is water coming in through the lower entrance...I have the hive slightly tilted but a blowing rain could enter and run off into the tray...later I may saw most of the porches off. The stops also correctly position the tray so that the entire screened area is above the tray. The length of these trays are just right for Rossman's 8-frame screened bottom boards...while the width of the tray is a touch wider than the screen....the trays will probably work with other bottom boards, too. Nice handles to pull the trays out with, too.


    A simple shot of the tray pulled out a bit.


    This is an "end" shot. There is a gap that is a touch less than 1/4" between the tray and the bottom board. With my little experimental tray I made from some metal roofing I know I don't want to give the bees a chance to get into the tray. I didn't lose but 7-8 bees in that home-bent tray but that's too many for me if it can be avoided. Rather than fill in this gap I'm going to put some runners on the bottom of the trays and thus raise the tray up higher on the cement block bringing the lip of the tray up close to the bottom board.


    I haven't finished this part yet, but this is what I'm intending to do to fix the gap between the tray and bottom board. That is a 3/16"x3/4" piece of molding...roughly 15" long that is laying on the tray. I'm going to epoxy one on each side of the bottom of the trays. This will lift the tray up higher on the cement blocks and close the gap between the tray and the bottom board. I believe it will be a snug fit and I may or may not have to sand a bit of wood off. It should definitely make it close enough to keep any bees out. I've cut all the runners to length and sanded each end to a sloped edge to make it slide easily on the cement blocks. Just gotta sand a little on the bottom of the trays and epoxy the runners on. When I set my hive stands I placed the blocks 9 inches apart (if I remember correctly!). This distance between blocks should work out well for the trays to slide on...the trays are very rigid and need no support beneath the center of them.


    I figure I can use this setup for mite counts and even to simply close the bottom off during really cold weather (we do get chilly sometimes down here in Dixie. Smiley ). Anyhow, that's where I'm at with the oil trays. I've still got painting to do but I think these will work good, but the proof will be in the pudding. Now to find some cheap mineral oil...too many possums, raccoons, coyotes, etc,, around here for vegetable oil.

    Ed

  2. #2

    Default Re: Simple oil tray mod for sbb's...

    What you've done certainly looks like it will work.

    I don't know if you've been to the Ashley's Bees website, but they have plans and a step-by-step instruction page with pictures on how to make one.

    He also says you can put 5 or 6 squirts of dishwashing soap in a gallon of water to use in the tray (although it evaporates after about a week).

    Having zero carpentry skills myself, I bought two traps from him and am waiting for delivery before putting them on.

    On a side note, one thing I like about SBBs is the increased ventilation coming up through the bottom, even when using an entrance reducer. One of my hesitations of using these new traps is that it seems that it will block that ventilation path off. Have you thought of that?
    Greg Whitehead, Ten Mile, TN
    Blog - http://gregsbees.blogspot.com/

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Hamilton, AL
    Posts
    61

    Default Re: Simple oil tray mod for sbb's...

    Cool idea.
    Thanks for sharing.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
    Posts
    2,001

    Default Re: Simple oil tray mod for sbb's...

    Greg, I basically can pull the trigger on a drill and a skilsaw. The boards I ripped using an old worn-out Skil saw...they aren't exactly furniture-grade dimensions. I'll quote the much used phrase..."If I can do it, anybody can do it!" I have indeed thought about the ventilation factor. There are a good many people who still use solid bottom boards and I figure the tray won't be a complete air seal against the bottom board. I've also thought about using a shorter tray that will slide into the slot and up against the stops...this would put the oil trap at the entrance where the beetles enter but would leave a portion of the sbb at the rear of the hive open for ventilation. I'm thinking the first part of the season when the beetles don't have a large population to go with the Beetle Jail Jrs inside the hive and leave the bottom board open...install the oil tray as beetle population increases...I still like the idea of the shorter tray, though. I would need to attach a space on top of the rear lip to keep bees out of the tray.

    Hope it helps, shadow!

    Ed

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Papaikou, Hawaii, USA
    Posts
    90

    Default Re: Simple oil tray mod for sbb's...

    That looks great. I have some homemade SBB with oil traps that I use, and just stapled a strip of screen to the back to give a little extra protection for the bees. they seem determined to get in there.

    As to the water/soap idea. Some of us have tossed that around and worry about adding to the humidity in the hive. But its more humid here overall, so maybe its more of an issue for us than in your part of the world.

    We also spraypaint those trays white to be able to see the mites better....

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
    Posts
    2,001

    Default Re: Simple oil tray mod for sbb's...

    Well, I got the runners epoxied to the bottom of the trays. You can see how the tray is positioned under the bottom board.


    The tray/runner assembly is a little tight, though. I need to sand the runners down a bit. The sides of the tray are a tad taller than the ends. Sanding the runners down will increase the size of the gap that you see in the end. That is a really small gap and it being a little larger still will not let bees enter the oil pit. A positive note is that a slightly larger gap will increase ventilation some. I'm thinking that if beetles crawl through the gap that it's a 50/50 chance that they'll go down into the oil...hoping that's what they do, anyhow. I'm concerned about the tightness of the fit because I figure the weight of the hive may compress the wood fibers some in the bottom board and further increase the tightness between the bottom board and cement block. I'll sand the runners down some to be safe.

    Looking at the picture it looks like the tray is holding the bottom of the bottom board up off the counter top...the counter top is old and not completely level...though the runners need sanding down, they aren't holding the bottom board up as much as the picture would have you to believe. I think it's going to work ok and if everything works out I'll have these tray systems beneath two of my hives Saturday.

    Ed
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