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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Annville, Kentucky
    Posts
    5

    Default Should I replace screened bottom board with wooden one for winter?

    Hey everybody:

    I'm new to the forum and a new beekeeper as of this year. I have 5 hives and 2 of them have screened bottom boards which leave the bottom of the hive open. I'm wondering if I should have gotten something when I bought the hives to replace that screen with a wood board for overwintering the hive? Is it okay to leave the bottom of the hive open like that?

    Oh and a side note. Is there anything wrong with feeding bees unfiltered untreated honey which I bought from another beekeeper? They do not treat their bees with any chemicals.

    Thanks,

    Ross Murray
    Annville, Kentucky, USA

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Glen Arm,MD
    Posts
    191

    Default Re: Should I replace screened bottom board with wooden one for winter?

    hi Ross,
    i am also a new beekeeper. my winters are similar to yours. i only have 1 hive and it has a screened bottom board. everyone that i have talked to in my area leaves the bottom open thru the winter. it is good for ventilation. i would put popsickle sticks between the inner and top cover to give a little ventilation up top and leave them like that for the winter.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    191

    Default Re: Should I replace screened bottom board with wooden one for winter?

    Hi, Ross. I'm in my second year. I left my SBB's on (and screened inners as well), wide open last year and both of my hives overwintered well. Some folks from the Blue Ridge Mountains told me they also leave their screened tops and bottoms in place all through winter, since condensation is a much bigger threat to the bees' surival over winter than drafts. I'm going to leave my screens on, and was planning on wide open, instead of using the counting board that comes with the SBB's that you could close them up with. I've been wondering if I should use the inserts and close them up partway instead?

    I've switched over on some of my hives to migratory tops. Should I drill a few small holes in the top (or on the sides of the super at top) for ventillation? (I use a bottom entrance.)

    In short, I've had success leaving the SBB's open. :

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Lititz, PA, USA
    Posts
    710

    Default Re: Should I replace screened bottom board with wooden one for winter?

    This is a "ask 10 beekeepers gets 12 answers" question.

    Last winter, at least here in the northeast, wasn't exactly much of a winter. The temps were way up, flying days almost every week. I wonder if they'd have fared as well had they been off the year before that when we had nothing but cold wind from Jan 1 to mid Feb and 0 flying days in that time. Personally I don't use sbb anymore, and if I did I'd close them up tight over the winter.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
    Posts
    1,957

    Default Re: Should I replace screened bottom board with wooden one for winter?

    The one thing that I like about SBB in winter is that I can tell how many bees there are and where they are in the hive by just pulling the slide out and counting the rows of debris. Then I wipe the slide off in the snow or grass and put it back in until the next check. I have started going back to solid boards because I can't really justify the cost/benefit issues of them. But I do like to be able to count mites and see how many bees I have in each hive over winter.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Annville, Kentucky
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Should I replace screened bottom board with wooden one for winter?

    Quote Originally Posted by crabbydad View Post
    hi Ross,
    i am also a new beekeeper. my winters are similar to yours. i only have 1 hive and it has a screened bottom board. everyone that i have talked to in my area leaves the bottom open thru the winter. it is good for ventilation. i would put popsickle sticks between the inner and top cover to give a little ventilation up top and leave them like that for the winter.
    The covers I am using on the top of the hive have 2 bee sized holes on each end so I'm thinking that would be some ventilation. I hope the winter isn't too bad on them. I just hate to kill them by making a mistake leaving too many and too large of an opening.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Annville, Kentucky
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Should I replace screened bottom board with wooden one for winter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Davidson View Post
    Hi, Ross. I'm in my second year. I left my SBB's on (and screened inners as well), wide open last year and both of my hives overwintered well. Some folks from the Blue Ridge Mountains told me they also leave their screened tops and bottoms in place all through winter, since condensation is a much bigger threat to the bees' surival over winter than drafts. I'm going to leave my screens on, and was planning on wide open, instead of using the counting board that comes with the SBB's that you could close them up with. I've been wondering if I should use the inserts and close them up partway instead?

    I've switched over on some of my hives to migratory tops. Should I drill a few small holes in the top (or on the sides of the super at top) for ventillation? (I use a bottom entrance.)

    In short, I've had success leaving the SBB's open. :
    I assume SBB = solid bottom board? When I bought these screened bottom boards from Kelley's they did not come with wood boards to slide in. Should I get some?

    What's a migratory top? Pardon my ignorance of the lingo. lol

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    owensboro,ky
    Posts
    2,240

    Default Re: Should I replace screened bottom board with wooden one for winter?

    Ross, I don't know where you got your bottoms but the ones I have from KellyBees have a solid "insert" that one slides in a slot under the screen.
    That system gives one the option to close or open the bottom as weather dictates.
    Most winters here in Western KY I just leave mine open.
    Good Luck, Mike
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    owensboro,ky
    Posts
    2,240

    Default Re: Should I replace screened bottom board with wooden one for winter?

    Sorry I missed your last post while typing,Ross
    My bottoms didn't come with a wooden insert but a plasticized fiberboard similar to a for sale or political sign.
    The bottom itself has two slots, one for the screen and one for the solid insert.
    A migratory top is a simple top of wood (usually plywood )that doesn't extend past the sides so migratory beekeepers can stack hives on a truck with the sides touching for stability and to save space . They work as well for everyday use-I have a few I use.
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Annville, Kentucky
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Should I replace screened bottom board with wooden one for winter?

    I suppose I should call Kelley's and ask about this. I wondered why I didn't get one.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    owensboro,ky
    Posts
    2,240

    Default Re: Should I replace screened bottom board with wooden one for winter?

    Do you have two slots in the bottom?
    They may have changed the design all my equipment is like me - old
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    191

    Default Re: Should I replace screened bottom board with wooden one for winter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ross Murray View Post
    I assume SBB = solid bottom board? When I bought these screened bottom boards from Kelley's they did not come with wood boards to slide in. Should I get some?

    What's a migratory top? Pardon my ignorance of the lingo. lol
    Sorry, Ross, screened. I've seen the abbreviation used for both in the forums, and since we were talking screened I thought it'd be clear. The insert is the same stuff they use for political roadside signs (some folks also use that material to make beetle traps, also). I switched to the simple migratory top, since it allowed me to stack my hives side by side, especially my nucs. Not only can I get more hives in my backyard apiary, but I think the side-by-side arrangement will make for warmer hives.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Issaquah,WA,USA
    Posts
    2,394

    Default Re: Should I replace screened bottom board with wooden one for winter?

    Yes.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Kaysville, Utah, USA
    Posts
    392

    Default Re: Should I replace screened bottom board with wooden one for winter?

    I replaced my SBB, but only because I wanted to take a look at it and possibly build one for my second hive over the winter. Completely taking the hive apart in the Fall was a hassle and slightly unnerving experience. Next year I'll probably leave it on and just insert a wood slide to close it off. I've had beeks tell me that their hives winter just fine with an open SBB.

    Regarding the honey, the beeks I know have told me not to feed honey unless it was stuff your own bees produced. The concern is the spreading of diseases.
    Don't provoke a hive full of angry bees.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    191

    Default Re: Should I replace screened bottom board with wooden one for winter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Splatt View Post
    Regarding the honey, the beeks I know have told me not to feed honey unless it was stuff your own bees produced. The concern is the spreading of diseases.
    Exactly. Always feed your bees their honey, not someone else's.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    central mn
    Posts
    273

    Default Re: Should I replace screened bottom board with wooden one for winter?

    I use sbb and have yet to close any ,, as far as cost ,, I make mine out of 2x4 I like them better then the ones made with 1x3 like you buy ..

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Asheville, North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    552

    Default Re: Should I replace screened bottom board with wooden one for winter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Davidson View Post
    Exactly. Always feed your bees their honey, not someone else's.
    I agree mostly, but my father-in-law keeps healthy bees. His bees' honey saved two of my hives last winter, and helped me start two new hives in the spring. If you trust the source, I see no reason not to use it. It's better than sugar water in my opinion.

    On screened bottom boards:
    I noticed this year that my one experimental solid bottom board hive had brood wall to wall about three weeks before the rest. Just an observation, and I started a thread earlier this year on it.
    Last edited by jadell; 10-12-2012 at 09:53 PM.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
    Posts
    876

    Default Re: Should I replace screened bottom board with wooden one for winter?

    You could leave the screen bottom boards on a couple, and compare them to the ones with the solid bottom boards. Steve
    https://www.facebook.com/stevesbees99
    Please visit my page, Thanks

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    4,160

    Default Re: Should I replace screened bottom board with wooden one for winter?

    This question has come up a lot the last few years, there doesn't seem to be a correct answer. Many people even in cold climates leave them open all winter while others close them.
    We never close ours.
    Dan

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Falls Church, VA
    Posts
    243

    Default Re: Should I replace screened bottom board with wooden one for winter?

    One of my "go to " guys has four Lang hives and leaves the SBB exposed - Mike

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