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  1. #21

    Default Re: solid vs screen bottom

    Rigid mindsets aren’t limited to old timers. It isn’t unusual to see first year…and even sometimes non beekeepers arguing their opinions and philosophy with vehemence. I see conventional and treatment free folks who are blindly closed minded.
    Seymore, you say you read a lot. Keep in mind that many authors can be just as narrow minded as anyone else.
    My approach, I think, has been to try to understand the life cycles and basic biology of bees and their parasites…and then try to rationalize any advice given with that understanding. If something looks promising, I’ll usually try it on a limited scale and do my best to give it an objective evaluation. I’ve tried small cell, foundationless, treatment free yards, various miticides, beetle traps, sunny yards, shady yards, screened bottoms….and all sorts of other gadgets and gizmos. And yet I’m far from an expert.
    There are a number of very objective posters on Beesource. I’m afraid that if I name a few I’ll surely overlook some too.
    I am friends with a very successful lady beekeeper and appreciate the extra challenges she faces. By golly does she ever have the Midas touch with bees!
    I’m not even sure what the purpose of this post might be other than to say if you are looking for solid…good advice….I’m the gold standard…..just kidding
    Good luck
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  2. #22
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland County, AR
    Posts
    1,076

    Default Re: solid vs screen bottom

    Dan, I completely agree!
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
    Posts
    4,446

    Default Re: solid vs screen bottom

    I have never experimented with screened bottom boards primarily because they aren't very forklift friendly but perhaps someone with some experience can answer a basic question I have about them. What keeps the mite that has fallen through one from simply crawling back into the hive through the entrance or even the screen? Anyone who has closely observed them is aware that they are quite athletic little critters and it's been proven that they can live for at least a day or so on their own without a host. Seems to me unless the hive is situated to make reentry quite difficult that there may be little gained.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  4. #24
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland County, AR
    Posts
    1,076

    Default Re: solid vs screen bottom

    Jim, mine have a removable oil tray under them. Catches the mites and shb larvae. They were not created for mite control but for SHB control. The death of mites is just an added benefit. They are called Freeman bottom boards.
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  5. #25
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland County, AR
    Posts
    1,076

    Default Re: solid vs screen bottom

    But that is for a Lang hive. Keep forgetting I'm in a TBH thread.
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  6. #26

    Default Re: solid vs screen bottom

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    What keeps the mite that has fallen through one from simply crawling back into the hive through the entrance or even the screen?
    They are amazingly mobile. I think the further the hive is off of the ground, the less likely the mite will find her way back. I also am not sure how sensitive they are to brood pheromones. Confined within the hive, they clearly have no problem finding brood. But what about six inches of open air between them and the hive?
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  7. #27

    Default Re: solid vs screen bottom

    Quote Originally Posted by Seymore View Post
    But that is for a Lang hive. Keep forgetting I'm in a TBH thread.
    Until you said this....I wasn't aware of it either. Sheesh!
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,898

    Default Re: solid vs screen bottom

    Just a slight sidetrack here, but I was just thinking how they say the mite size compare to bee is an unusually large predator to host relationship in nature. So, with that in mind you really wonder why it is that the bees(normal non VSH) don't do better at grooming each other of mites, and killing/removing them from the hive when they see them crawling around on the combs. We all know how bees react quickly to every little speck of trash or bug they see on the bottom board, and are great housekeepers, yet the mite which is alive and moving around in the hive seems to go about doing whatever it wants to a certain extent. Just don't get it.

    John

  9. #29

    Default Re: solid vs screen bottom

    I teach beginners beekeeping classes. I show students the nest architecture, i.e. brood centered, surrounded by a ring of pollen followed by honey, larval brood gets fed, mature brood gets capped and so on. Then I then remind the class that all of this careful organization occurs in total darkness. We open up a hive in daylight and look around inside…but otherwise, except for whatever little, indirect light might enter via the entrance….it is dark inside. The bees depend on smells and pheromones to orchestrate the complex activities inside a hive. So, without offending pheromones, or a size that the bees detect in darkness….varroa mites move about unmolested.
    That’s my opinion.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  10. #30

    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.

  11. #31
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland County, AR
    Posts
    1,076

    Default Re: solid vs screen bottom

    They also have nifty little sucker feet which may provide a challenge to the bees with casual grooming.
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  12. #32

    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

  13. #33
    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...

  14. #34
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,397

    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

  15. #35

    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.

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    alachua,fl
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: solid vs screen bottom

    I started with 6 hives last year. 3 on solid bottoms, 3 on screened bottoms. I figured since the opinions were about half/half, try half/half. I realize that 1 year is not long enough to draw conclusive conclusions, but it is long enough for some observations.
    I cannont tell any differance in mite loads between the two differant bottoms. There is a noticible differance in hive size, though. The 3 hives on the solid bottoms are much bigger than the 3 on screen bottoms. And the only honey I got this year came from the hives on the solid bottoms.

  17. #37
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    4,064

    Default Re: solid vs screen bottom

    The spring buildup is where SBB's are really damaging. How many beginners who have bees that "just won't take off"! are using them? When a colony is building up, it all about climate control. That is why nucs can seem to stall in cold weather when moved into a full size box. Try styrofoam follower boards leaving the bees just an empty frame or two at a time. It makes an amazing difference in cool weather for me.

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