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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Princeton, Kentucky, USA
    Posts
    164

    Default have you switched from screened to solid bottom boards?

    Have any of you guys gone from using screened bottom boards to solid? I started two years ago on screened, but looking to expand the solid sure are a lot cheaper. I'm not too concerned about using the screens for varroa checks, but I do like them for ventilation. What are some ways people increase ventilation when using solid bottom boards?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,947

    Default Re: have you switched from screened to solid bottom boards?

    I've tried several screened bottom boards and the colonies installed with sbb have promptly died out. I am located near the coast and have lots of fog. My suspicion is that the sbb are too open for my environment.

    I drill 7/8" auger holes just below the upper right corner of deep boxes (as you are facing the hive) taking care to avoid nails!
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,341

    Default Re: have you switched from screened to solid bottom boards?

    I have about 100 SBB. I have about 150 solid bottom boards. I am currently only buying solid bottoms and converting them to bottom board feeders for those rare occasions when I have to feed. It saves me buying a feeder for every hive

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfeeding.htm#bottom
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Sullivan, MO
    Posts
    895

    Default Re: have you switched from screened to solid bottom boards?

    I'm in middle Misery and I use mostly only SBB. I have a couple on solid ones, but the rest are on SBB. I don't see much or any difference in survival, but then again the only hive I lost last year, starved in Nov, because they never got any stored due to extended dearth and I didn't check them until it was too late. I do like them for being able to easily check for mite drops and the ventilation. As for cost I find them to be very cheap, especially if I buy in bulk from http://www.carmacksupply.com Prices have gone up a bit, but 9.50$ assembled is still pretty reasonable, and if you buy enough of them the shipping divides out pretty nice. He doesn't send a tray with them, but the groove is perfectly sized for those corragated plastic signs. I leave them open all year around and don't have a problem and we do have winter here in Misery.

    Rod

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Starkville, MS
    Posts
    300

    Default Re: have you switched from screened to solid bottom boards?

    I live in Mississippi, so only screened botttom boards here, otherwise u get dead bees, to each his own, according to location.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    North Salem, IN, USA
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: have you switched from screened to solid bottom boards?

    SBBs for me, open all year here in Indiana. I build my own with standard cuts of wood. 2x4 or 2x6 front (landing board), 1x3 sides, and 1x2 insides (to staple mesh to). Works for me but I am curious about Michael's bottom feeder concept. I have a weak hive from a trap-out that I may use that idea on. Open up an uppper entrance, flop a telescoping cover over, add an imirie shim, put a few pounds of dry sugar in it, see what happens in March.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
    Posts
    4,397

    Default Re: have you switched from screened to solid bottom boards?

    I'm on mostly open SBB. My buddy runs mostly solids. I think I see less moisture problems than he does and fewer die outs. The bigger difference may be at the top. My old migratory tops are getting pretty bad and vent a lot. His telescoping tops are tighter. In our climate, more venting is good. I think that's also why feeding dry sugar on top works so well here in the winter.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,976

    Default Re: have you switched from screened to solid bottom boards?

    I built SBB's last winter and used them this year. They're nice, with pull-out bottoms that are easy to check for mite drops, or to allow ventilation.

    However...

    They were way to much work to make.

    I'm working on a design for solids, which I will make this winter. They will likely have a few holes drilled in the bottom and screened, which I can close or open with corks to allow ventilation.

    Adam

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,901

    Default Re: have you switched from screened to solid bottom boards?

    I believe SBB were developed specifically for mite monitoring, and now people use them for increased ventilation. Solid bottoms were the rule for well over a hundred years and now all of a sudden we need screened bottoms for better ventilation? Increasing the ventilation way more than is needed can cause the bees to have a difficult time regulating the hive temperature I would think. Besides, mites like a cooler hive so you're not helping matters by using SBB's. If you need more ventilation why not just put the four corners of the hive up on blocks and leave the whole bottom open and forget the screen. I honestly can't understand why someone would leave the screen open all winter in a cold climate, why do we think anything we choose to do in the bees interest is really in their best interest? Why do we keep putting our bees to the test? Just to be able to say that they made it through the winter fine with the bottom of the hive wide open?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Bell County, KY, USA
    Posts
    405

    Default Re: have you switched from screened to solid bottom boards?

    I had SBB on mine but switched to the solid.

    I was noticing that some bees would get their heads stuck in the screen and die.
    Moths were landing on the screen. I was worried that they could lay their eggs there & the larva crawl in.
    Orienting bees would struggle to find the entrance, flying under the hive to the screen.
    I worried about the cold.
    I don't have a mite problem.
    Played with the oil trap & ended up killing bees.
    The bees glued the removable screen to the board & when I tried to pull it out to clean stuck debris, the screen was destroyed.
    Good riddance.

    I am over the SBB.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,976

    Default Re: have you switched from screened to solid bottom boards?

    Quote Originally Posted by jmgi View Post
    ...now all of a sudden we need screened bottoms for better ventilation? Increasing the ventilation way more than is needed can cause the bees to have a difficult time regulating the hive temperature I would think...
    I'm totally with you in this regard. I think suddenly gone off the deep end in terms of the ventilation issue. I have small openings on all of my hives, and I maintain ventilation very carefully. I get it in climates of higher temps and during times of intense heat (over 90). But the rest of the time, I'm inclined to keep it tight.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    145

    Default Re: have you switched from screened to solid bottom boards?

    I never got on the screened bottom board band wagon. I live in Minnesota so the ventilation is only an issue for a month or so. I also subscribe to the thought that bees do their own air conditioning by bringing in water, you wouldn't try to air condition a house with an entire side missing?

    I don't doubt that their are parts of the world where screened bottom boards are helpful in hive cooling.

    As far as mite checks I use the method involving shaking 300 bees in a jar with powdered sugar.

    I don't like that the screen creates a part of the hive that bees cannot get to. How much would it stress you out if your kitchen had a screen floor and every time you spilled something you couldn't clean it up?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,901

    Default Re: have you switched from screened to solid bottom boards?

    Quote Originally Posted by casinoken View Post
    I live in Mississippi, so only screened botttom boards here, otherwise u get dead bees, to each his own, according to location.
    Why dead bees?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Marysville, WA
    Posts
    477

    Default Re: have you switched from screened to solid bottom boards?

    I ran 6 screened bottoms last year in 2 different yards along side solid bottom colonies. In every instance the screened colonies were behind the other hives in building up brood in the spring. Slower to start and most never caught up (didn't produce as much). For my wet area of the Pacific NW, I say no to screens.
    Just my experience and opinion.

    Mike
    Beekeeper? Shoot, my bees keep me!
    100 hives in Western Wa State

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    3,430

    Default Re: have you switched from screened to solid bottom boards?

    I don't notice much difference between using screened bottom board or solid. There is an advantage to using homemade screened bottom boards if one might happen to use OA vaporization for mite control. If the opening for the tray is built with about a 3/4" gap, a vaporizer can be slid in on top of the tray and then the opening closed up easily with cloth. This keeps the unit below the screen and prevents any bees from getting scorched. Also you are working at the back of the hive and away from the main entrance. Makes it quick and easy to treat colonies using OA vaporization. It's simple to check mite drops as well with a screened bottom board. To each his own I guess.
    To everything there is a season....

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    145

    Default Re: have you switched from screened to solid bottom boards?

    the fact that solid bottom board and screened bottom board both are abbreviated SBB is slightly inconvenient.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    3,430

    Default Re: have you switched from screened to solid bottom boards?

    Good point, that could make your head spin. I edited my post and eliminated the abbreviations.
    To everything there is a season....

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma dr. Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    981

    Default Re: have you switched from screened to solid bottom boards?

    Mike; good points on having a back entrance to slip the vaporizer in. I will be using solid bottoms but it will be real easy to put another 3" wide slot at the rear just for the vaporizer. Being down on your knees poking things in the front door does not please the bees,

    Thanks,

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,901

    Default Re: have you switched from screened to solid bottom boards?

    mmiller, I am not surprised that you had those results, it makes sense to me that in most cases you would get that outcome with screened bottoms. Your climate is a tough one when it comes to excessive moisture, seems like using full width bottom board opening 3/4" high, and possibly an upper entrance too, along with propping up the outer cover with a small shim should be good enough ventilation, but I don't live out there where you are so I could be totally wrong. John

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Knox Co, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    861

    Default Re: have you switched from screened to solid bottom boards?

    After looking for ways to provide more ventilation I am headed in the opposite direction.

    I sue upper entrances with a slatted rack with #8 hardware cloth on the bottom for a screened bottom board. I just tip the hive and slide a piece of cloroplast underneath to close it off. With all the policital signs out now I will be restocking my supply of cloroplast beginning tuesday night!

    As far as abbreviations go I always look at SBB as being screened bottom board. If if it isn't screened then it is solid.

    Tom

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