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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Oceanside, New York
    Posts
    67

    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
    23

    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 10:15 AM. Reason: add

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Oceanside, New York
    Posts
    67

    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
    23

    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
    67

    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
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,076

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

    It is way easier to build one with a fixed bottom board than removable or hinged bottom boards (IMO). Screened bottoms are easy to build, but people say they have problems keeping the bees in them. Some say that if you put in a screen you need a solid bottom below the screen to keep the bees from absconding. YMMV

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    218

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

    Bearing in mind I've only built two (one a capture/transport 15bar the other a 30bar) I used brass fly screen material and the bees can patrol it to their hearts content and I've noticed that small beetles (first molt?) tend to fall through and have trouble getting back up. It's not the idea solution and had I had access to a larger mesh material then I'd have used it.

    So far I've had no issues with the bees as yet, though at night some will hang onto the outside side of the mesh bottom (it's high summer so it's exposed for ventilation ATM), which I'm still figuring out what to do about. If anything.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,610

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

    >would like to get some kind of consensus

    I'm sure there won't be a consensus... but I've built both and would not bother to put a screened bottom board on one if I was building it now. I don't think it matters as far as Varroa. As far as ventilation it's important to not get too much...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Huntersville, NC
    Posts
    80

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

    So Michael, what maintenance do you do with a solid bottom board in a TBH? How much junk falls down there and how often and how do you clean it out?
    Thanks,
    Will

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,610

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

    >So Michael, what maintenance do you do with a solid bottom board in a TBH? How much junk falls down there and how often and how do you clean it out?

    No difference between a screened bottom, except it's harder to clean a screened bottom because it gets stuck in the wire somewhat. When there is a surplus of laborers they will keep it clean. When there is not, dead bees will accumulate. I never open a hive to clean it out, but I often clean one out while I'm in the hive. Same as a Langstroth, same with top or bottom entrances. At the end of winter there is often a pile of dead bees and debris and if I'm down to it, I'll probably dump them off. If I don't the bees will clean it up later in the year.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Oceanside, New York
    Posts
    67

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

    Thanks everyone for your comments and suggestions. Very helpful in my decision making. I am going forward without a screen. Easier to build, easier to maintain, easier to seal up and not worry about other "however small" entrances/cracks for various unwanted varmint to enter, SHB, etc.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Huntersville, NC
    Posts
    80

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >So Michael, what maintenance do you do with a solid bottom board in a TBH? How much junk falls down there and how often and how do you clean it out?

    No difference between a screened bottom, except it's harder to clean a screened bottom because it gets stuck in the wire somewhat. When there is a surplus of laborers they will keep it clean. When there is not, dead bees will accumulate. I never open a hive to clean it out, but I often clean one out while I'm in the hive. Same as a Langstroth, same with top or bottom entrances. At the end of winter there is often a pile of dead bees and debris and if I'm down to it, I'll probably dump them off. If I don't the bees will clean it up later in the year.
    Thanks Michael - Bees are just awesome creatures aren't they.

    By the way, my general rule is that I do the things that you advise on your web sight whether I understand them or not, but it is very helpful when you respond with answers like this. It helps me understand more of the "why's and how's" of beekeeping. The bees teach most of the rest to me, but they are slow teachers, either that or I am a slow learner . If the bees would explain things a little better it would help too.
    Thanks,
    Will

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Woodlawn, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    326

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

    I added a #8 screen to mine, covered by a 1x6 that was attached by screws. My plan was to be able to remove the board in the heat of summer if the bees started bearding excessively. The mite drop was secondary in my scheme. As it turned out, the bees never bearded beyond reason, though we had several days of triple digit weather and my TBH sits right out in the sun. I don't think you will regret going screenless with a solid bottom board.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,972

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

    Mine are all solid, and the bees keep them very clean. I'm with Mike on the idea of too much ventilation. I'm of the opinion that we often have too much - entrances too large, screened bottoms. In my climate, I find that the bees do pretty well with fairly limited openings in the hive.

    Adam

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Pendleton, Indiana
    Posts
    12

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

    I built my own TBH's and used #8 screen on the bottom and a hinged lid I can open and close, It has been in use now going on three years and seems to work perfect for me, last year was a mild winter and I didn't close it at all, this year I've closed it. Here are pictures of what I built.
    http://s1090.photobucket.com/albums/i373/MRTMEA/

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,076

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

    Boy those are sweet hives. I can't do anything close to that nice.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Pendleton, Indiana
    Posts
    12

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

    Quote Originally Posted by shannonswyatt View Post
    Boy those are sweet hives. I can't do anything close to that nice.
    I built one using Eastern Red Cedar and the other is Southern Yellow Pine, all my wood comes from the mill and after planing out is 2 inches thick,l figure that will help keep them warm in the winter, I used foam insulation in the top. I'm trying to come up with a way of feeding them during the winter, so far all I've done is make a follower board and notched the bottm of it so I could use a entrance feeder.

  19. #19
    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

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >... but I've built both and would not bother to put a screened bottom board on one if I was building it now. I don't think it matters as far as Varroa...
    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. 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.

    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? Sugar dusting isn't feasable with solid bottems, is it? I understand that smaller cell size helps, but am also told that it may take several generations for the bees to regress to the smaller size.

    Thanks.

    car/os
    Last edited by carlosdacosta; 03-22-2013 at 01:47 PM. Reason: fixed bad typo "don't" -> DO

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Bayfield, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    122

    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." 2 years, 4 langs and 2 top bars
    www.4cornersbeekeepers.com

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