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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Oceanside, New York
    Posts
    81

    Smile screen bottom board or not, that is the question, building a new TBH

    Dear All,

    I am building a new TBH this winter and would like to get some kind of consensus of whether it is helpful and worth the effort to put a screened bottom board on my new TBH? And if I do put one on, is it important that there be a hinged board underneath for cleaning. And the last question, if I don't put a screen on the bottom, can or should I just have a bottom that is screwed on and have no access for cleaning? Or should I still have a hinged bottom for cleaning out?

    Lots of questions, but I felt it's better to get the answers prior to building than regretting something later.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Ritchie Co, WV
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: screen bottom board or not, that is the question, building a new TBH

    I have two TBH. They have #8 screen bottom, then a two inch spacer around the edge with a hinged bottom board. Works great.

    But if I was going to do it again (and I'm thinking about doing it, it's designed so I can remove the spacer)
    I would have the Screen removable, hinged spacer then hinged bottom board. So the bees can patrol the bottom.
    Even with a strong hive it will give a place for Wax Moths to enter, If the screen is in place all the time.
    Last edited by JenWV; 01-22-2013 at 11:15 AM. Reason: add

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Oceanside, New York
    Posts
    81

    Default Re: screen bottom board or not, that is the question, building a new TBH

    Not sure what you mean by the bottom board and/or the screen giving wax moths a place to enter? As long as the bottom board is in place, how or where are the wax moths entering, other than through an entrance for the bees?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Ritchie Co, WV
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: screen bottom board or not, that is the question, building a new TBH

    They can enter the small cracks that bees can't.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Murfreesboro, TN, USA
    Posts
    318

    Default Re: screen bottom board or not, that is the question, building a new TBH

    Our first TBH had a screened bottom board. It's an interesting way to kind of see what's going on in the hive by what's laying on the bottom. But, we don't treat for mites, so we don't care about mite counts, and I think that's mainly what the screened bottom is for. Our other TBHs don't have screens but have solid bottoms.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Oceanside, New York
    Posts
    81

    Default Re: screen bottom board or not, that is the question, building a new TBH

    Thanks Honey-Sun. OK, you have solid bottoms, are these hinged solid bottoms? or permanent bottoms?
    thanks,
    Larry

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Bayfield, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    163

    Default Re: screen bottom board or not, that is the question, building a new TBH

    I have two TBH's, both have screened bottoms, with a hinged door cover. The hinged door also has two cut outs. So this way I can remove the cutouts when it gets hot, which is a great reason for the screen bottom in the first place, but the closed door helps the bees feel closed in and safe. The 2nd reason for the hinged bottom is if you drop comb filled with gooey honey you can get it out easily, no scooping out with a spoon.
    "Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever." year 3, 14 langs and 2 top bars
    www.4cornersbeekeepers.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Default Re: screen bottom board or not, that is the question, building a new TBH

    >I understand that you don't treat for varroa, but as a first time beekeeper, they scare the !@#$ out of me. I have two TBHs built, both with solid bottoms, and am struggling with how to deal with varroa, which I am told will be coming.

    Once the bees are down to 4.9mm in the core of the brood nest I have not seen any issues with Varroa. I would not count on the Varroa "coming".

    > Screened bottom advocates say that not only do the mites fall through the screen throughout the year, but with periodic sugar dusting the varroa can be kept to a manageable level.

    There are plenty of studies that show both SBB and powdered sugar to not be effective at Varroa control. I'm not saying they are or are not, but it is questionable. My experience is the SBB made no difference in the Varroa one way or the other. I have never used powdered sugar nor have I ever used drone trapping. Drone trapping will just breed Varroa that prefer workers and waste a lot of resources the bees need.

    >I DO want to avoid using chemicals as mite control, so how do first year beekeepers, with solid board bottoms, handle varroa the first year or two, until they get to the point where the bees are more or less handling it themselves?

    My experience is that Varroa has everything to do with cell size, not genetics.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beessctheories.htm
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnaturalcell.htm
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoursimplesteps.htm

    > Sugar dusting isn't feasable with solid bottems, is it?

    I don't think it's very feasible with screened bottom boards... but I suppose the screen would be helpful for sugar dusting.

    > I understand that smaller cell size helps

    I my experience it was the ONLY thing that helps.

    > but am also told that it may take several generations for the bees to regress to the smaller size.

    I have put package bees in a top bar hive and gotten everything from 5.1mm to 4.7mm in the core of the brood nest. 5.0mm probably will deal with Varroa and 4.9mm certainly does. It MIGHT take more than one turnover of comb. Generations of bees are a different matter. No matter how many of them you raise in large comb, they won't get significantly smaller until the smaller bees draw new comb. But they might be small enough on the first try. They might not, and then you may need another turnover of comb. Two is usually sufficient. Sometimes it takes three.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: screen bottom board or not, that is the question, building a new TBH


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