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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    New Castle,Indiana
    Posts
    27

    Default solid vs screen bottom

    Oh boy , many sources I studied say a screen bottom allows for ventilation which in turn prevents water condensation and wet bees.
    now I am reading that closed bottoms allow for higher humidity inside the hive,resulting in a decrease in Varroa mites and happier bees since they dont have to work as hard transporting water.
    our humidity in this area usually stays arround 70-80% year round(its currently 40 degress temp and 72% humidity)with even higher ranges durring parts of the summer.
    Wouldn't the humidity be excessive with closed bottom?
    Is anyone working with the extended bottom with shavings? If so how is it coming? Also wouldnt it result in the larvae of the SHB staying inside the hive base to hatch.
    In trying to do right for my bee companions before introducing them to their new home I find myself asking more questions and certainly expanding my horizons

  2. #2

    Default Re: solid vs screen bottom

    Find some local...long term, successful beekeepers and ask what they use.
    My bet is the answer will be solid bottoms.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    6,910

    Default Re: solid vs screen bottom

    Bees only need 50 percent humidity so you are way over that.
    The reason screened bottom boards were introduced is to reduce Varroa load as the mites drop through the screen and do not reattach if there is a 3/4 inch gap. They are that lazy.
    Shavings on the bottom are the worst place as SHB, wax moths and all the hive trash accumulate there into a breeding festering mess.
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,862

    Default Re: solid vs screen bottom

    If you are concerned about varroa population in your hives, you would do better to use solid bottoms, keeps higher humidity and higher temperature during the breeding season which is harder on varroa, the screened bottom was just a knee jerk reaction to eliminating as many mites in the hive as possible by way of them falling through the screen and not being able to climb back up. Before varroa a screened bottom was unheard of. John

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,066

    Default Re: solid vs screen bottom

    What Muddymom didn't say specifically above (it was on another thread) is that she is planning on using Top Bar Hives, so consider that in your responses. EDIT:Oops, I just noticed this is posted in the Top Bar forum, but note that sometimes members don't consider the particular forum when composing their reply.

    If you do choose to put in screened bottoms in your TBHs, make sure you have a way to close off the screen bottom with a solid board at times. There are quite a few threads on Beesource where new beeks have experienced absconding with newly installed packages in open screened bottom TBHs. Close off the bottoms at least until the bees have established themselves and built a significant amount of comb.

    IMHO , new beeks, especially those that want to be "chemical free" would do well to study all pages of Michael Bush's site. Here is some info on the screen bottom issue.
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beeswinter.htm
    Last edited by Rader Sidetrack; 11-18-2012 at 08:02 AM. Reason: update
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Ga,Madison county
    Posts
    51

    Default Re: solid vs screen bottom

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    Find some local...long term, successful beekeepers and ask what they use.
    My bet is the answer will be solid bottoms.
    Dan, as I respect your opinion n knowledge , Do you suggest solid bottom boards in our Ga locations?

  7. #7

    Default Re: solid vs screen bottom

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted adams View Post
    Dan, as I respect your opinion n knowledge , Do you suggest solid bottom boards in our Ga locations?
    Kind of you to say Ted. I prefer solid bottoms. The initial studies suggested slightly lower (around 15%) mite populations when using screened bottoms. Other studies conducted since have had mixed results. To my thinking any improvement is inconsequential. On the other hand, from personal observation, I've seen small have beetles come and go through screened bottoms...evading the bees' efforts to sequester them. Add to that any small hive beetle larvae that fall from the comb are sure to end up in the soil beneath...which is exactly where they want to be. On a solid bottom they must run the gauntlet of bees to pass out the entrance and get to the soil.
    So...to make a long story short...I don't think screened bottoms make a positive difference.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  8. #8

    Default Re: solid vs screen bottom

    Instead of spending money on unsustainable materials why not simply go with a Top Entrance like M. Bush does. I will do the same on my new hives since I too live in an area of high humidity.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Denison, Texas
    Posts
    510

    Default Re: solid vs screen bottom

    I only theorize (not enough to prove it) that my screened bottoms help with reducing swarm urges. My bigger hives started acting
    like they were getting antsy to swarm until I dropped all the bottoms on the populus hives. I noticed a reduced amount of queen cups
    and incoming honey that was starting to build up in the broodnest got moved to the back of the hive. I think the increased ventilation
    reduced their perception of crowding. This is the first season I was able to do this. It's not a pattern yet. But, for me, Saint Patrick's
    day this coming spring will be spent dropping the bottoms on several hives. I hope.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland County, AR
    Posts
    1,076

    Default Re: solid vs screen bottom

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    Find some local...long term, successful beekeepers and ask what they use.
    Only prob there, BMD, is long-term in these hyar parts often equates to "set in their ways."
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  11. #11

    Default Re: solid vs screen bottom

    How do you choose which gadgets sold by the bee supply folks that you are going to add to your hive?
    You don’t trust the old timer, local beekeepers opinions. You ask on Beesource and get conflicting opinions.

    As far as screened bottoms. They were introduced…around ten or twelve years ago. UGA/Clemson U conducted some joint studies that suggested that a screened bottom board could reduce varroa populations by as much as 15%. Various studies since have had mixed results. I believe it was Cornell that decided that they made no difference.

    Regarding improved ventilation. I am not aware of any studies that indicate that the increase in ventilation improves the well being of a bee colony. Logic would tell me that if they increase summertime ventilation….they increase winter ventilation. Opinions are polarized. They reduce winter condensation. They add unnecessary chill to the bee cluster. Which will you buy into….and why?

    I’ve still got about fifty of them. I recently sold about a hundred for half of what they cost…..and I say good riddance. I tried them. I don’t like ‘em. But if you figure I’m an old guy….stuck in my ways….so be it..
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland County, AR
    Posts
    1,076

    Default Re: solid vs screen bottom

    Quote Originally Posted by beemandan View Post
    But if you figure I’m an old guy….stuck in my ways….so be it..
    BMD, My opinion of someone set in their ways is one who rejects new ideas without trying new ideas. (And I really don't know how old you are; didn't read your bio; just a general comment - sorry you thought I was being personal.)
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,079

    Default Re: solid vs screen bottom

    Muddymom, screened bottoms are not necessary, nor do I recommend them. It is as jmgi said in post #4.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  14. #14

    Default Re: solid vs screen bottom

    Quote Originally Posted by Seymore View Post
    BMD, (And I really don't know how old you are; didn't read your bio; just a general comment - sorry you thought I was being personal.)
    I didn't take it personally. There isn't anything on these boards that gets me upset. Most days I think I'm thirty but the calendar says I'm sixty one. I know, in the long haul, the calendar will prevail....but for the moment I still think I'm a kid.
    It is a curiosity to me how, if you don't trust the old local beekeeping geezers for good advice...who can you trust? Many of the new beekeepers will tell you what they think...with absolute conviction but all too often they are expressing uninformed opinions. And on Beesource...the opinions will run the full gamut. So, where does one go for good advice?
    I tried screened bottom boards...with a vengence and didn't like them. But that doesn't mean you won't love 'em.
    Good luck.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,496

    Default Re: solid vs screen bottom

    Quote Originally Posted by Seymore View Post
    ... someone set in their ways is one who rejects new ideas without trying new ideas....
    Unfortunately, I do find it is true between many beekeepers. No personal offense there! I find that communication with such individuals is difficult - they are nice to you only if you agree with all their teaching/mentoring. Once you challenge them with simple question "why?" many of them got offended and the best answer would be "because!" On the positive side, I have to admit that as long as you behave as a 1st year student, many of them would be happy to share their expertise, teach you... I am very grateful for all teachings beekeepers provided to me.

    As for screened bottom - I decided on it against many experts opinions and very happy with my decision. I am using a sandwich: screen-space-solid board. Space used for sticky board or oil pan if necessary. Space may be closed by solid board (never happened). I am using windows aluminum screen, which has probably smaller mesh than #8 recommended. It means, that nothing could get into the hive from outside. I am not sure about SHB. Never saw one. I feel that mesh is just about the size of SHB, it may be good or not. But, it is for sure that SHB larvae could escape through the screen (for good or not). When I had some wax moth problem, oil tay solved it very quickly. I found that thick layer of oil on the sticky board works very well on wax moth also.

    In my opinion, the major communication problem between bee-people is that commercial beekeepers sometime are trying to impose their experience on small-scale hobbyists. It needs to be understood that hobby is not a manufacturing process. Please, excuse me for my statement - it has no intention to offend anybody; I just present my position on this matter. Sergey
    Серёжа, Sergey

  16. #16

    Default Re: solid vs screen bottom

    @jmgi
    The Neonicotinoid pesticides attack the bees nervous system and they dont function right. They stop grooming and some cant even find their way home. Bayer sells a Neonicotinoid against termites which attacks the termite's nervous system so that they stop grooming themselves from soil fungi and get infected by them. Bees are similar colony based super organism as the honeybees and most farmers use seeds coated in Neonicotinoid which enters the pollen.

  17. #17

    Default Re: solid vs screen bottom

    Quote Originally Posted by Che Guebuddha View Post
    @jmgi
    The Neonicotinoid pesticides attack the bees nervous system and they dont function right. They stop grooming
    So...if my bees aren't in an area where neonics are used....I don't have to worry about varroa?
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    rockford,mi
    Posts
    32

    Default Re: solid vs screen bottom

    I think we have to remember what bees do naturally-find a spot and build a hive. It must be warm enough, and safe enough, dry enough, etc. If they're in a tree, I'd suspect they could be below or above the hole, with ventilation possibly only that 1 hole. They do fine. No insulation, nothing. Some die, most live. An old dead tree may start opening up with gaps, holes, and they leave it-too much air coming in, etc. A solid good tree may be tighter than a drum, with a bottom hole, and last for years, in cold climates, or hot. I think we try too hard to think about how 1 set of rules will be the 'best'...I do that too. For me, I'm going to just try and imitate a tree hive the most, and let the rest fly. I'm going to build a heavy sided hive, and put it in the shade. I'll probably paint it a tree color, grayish brown, and have it up off the ground. The rest? Don't care. A tree bark would naturally be somewhat warm in winter sun, and, shaded during summer. Bees in hot hives out in fields seems to me to be a stresser that they just don't need. 3/4" wood isn't very thick...So anyway...

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,365

    Default Re: solid vs screen bottom

    I have mostly screen bottom boards only because that was all the talk when I started 3 years ago. Now I'm wondering since there is absolutely no difference in mite load or hive performance with my solid board hives. Actually, the solid boards are producing more honey.

    I placed a piece of plywood under all my screen boards which leaves about an inch of space between the screen and the plywood. I agree with erik that I think it's best to mimic a tree and I've never seen one with a screened bottom.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  20. #20

    Default Re: solid vs screen bottom

    I have mostly screen bottom boards only because that was all the talk when I started 3 years ago. Now I'm wondering since there is absolutely no difference in mite load or hive performance with my solid board hives. Actually, the solid boards are producing more honey.
    I too made my first TBH with a screened bottom, but after a few month I took it off and screwed a solid bottom board in its place. Screens, besides not being sustainable, are of no big help for the bees unless transporting them long distances maybe.

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