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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    carlisle,pa,usa
    Posts
    6

    Question Screened bottoms

    I lost my hive last year going into the end of fall an from the looks of it was CCD only about a hundred bees were in the hive dead an none laying around no sign of any diseases, honey wasn't even touched. So they never had a chance to winter. Now after reading so of these post on here it sounds like some keepers lose there hives over winter and are blaming the screened bottom I guess allowing to much cold air into the hive. Does anyone have any input on the subject I live in PA an some times have harsh or mild winters. If this is something I should be concerned about what are my options making a completely solid bottom board to replace the screened one with?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Grant, Oklahoma, USA
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Screened bottoms

    PA is too far North to winter bees with a screened bottom board. Use a solid after frost and put the screened back on early Spring.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Bowdoinham, Maine, USA
    Posts
    78

    Default Re: Screened bottoms

    Hi miller, I'm on the mid-coast of Maine and I have wintered with both screened and solid bottom boards with mixed results for each. There are many variables on this topic. I have heard it said that screened bottom boards help with wintertime moisture problems. If your hives are in a well sheltered location you might find that these SBB work well for you. In my current location I have not had luck with wintering with open bottoms so I simply swap to the solid bottoms for the winter time and deal with the moisture issues in other ways. One thing you could do is simply cut a piece of foam board insulation and slide under the hive from the back and block off the screened section. I am going to construct a windbreak this year in my bee yard and leave my SBB in place this winter, keeping my fingers crossed that will help. Good Luck. David
    Maine-ly Bees, David Wallace and Family, Bowdoinham, ME mainelybees@gmail.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    145

    Default Re: Screened bottoms

    Let's assume you live in a house on stilts and you pay your heating bill in the winter. Would you want a screen floor or a solid floor?

    As far as moisture problems in the hive there is also a school of thought out there that moisture on top of the cluster is bad, but moisture on the sides and bottom are an important resource for the bees.

    I don't think you need to go spend $ for another bottom board. Just cut thin board and lay it over the screen. Put it on early enough when there is still trees producing resin and see if the bees propolis it shut, that'll give you an indication of how much ventilation the hive wants.

    A honey bee cluster, is incredibly talented at insulating and generating heat. However if the edge of the cluster is subject to a constant draft and those bees drop below 50 deg F, they enter a chill coma and no longer contribute very much to the cluster.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    6,127

    Default Re: Screened bottoms

    I once joined the screened bottom board movement. Enabled me to count mites but other than that saw no benefit of any kind at all. The hives wintered on screened boards use more honey to winter than hives on solid boards. Don't count mites any more, so as solid bottoms are easier to make, cheaper, and for my bees anyway, better, so I'm back to solid again.

    Re condensation, it's caused by a temperature differential, ie, warm moisture laden air meets cold surface and the water condenses on it. So to help avoid condensation on the inner cover above the bees, insulate it. A piece of styrofoam on top of the inner cover can reduce condensation quite a bit.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    10,142

    Default Re: Screened bottoms

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    A piece of styrofoam on top of the inner cover can reduce condensation quite a bit.
    I like the idea that there is not a ton of water setting on the bottom board.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Spanish Fork, UT, USA
    Posts
    388

    Default Re: Screened bottoms

    I have spoken with several beekeepers that tried the screened bottom boards and have gone back to the solid. One issue I ran into happened when I was helping another beekeeper move some hives and the bees came crawling out the bottom screen.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    10,142

    Default Re: Screened bottoms

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon B View Post
    One issue I ran into happened when I was helping another beekeeper move some hives and the bees came crawling out the bottom screen.
    I don't see how that is possible if the SBB is in good shape.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,708

    Default Re: Screened bottoms

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon B View Post
    One issue I ran into happened when I was helping another beekeeper move some hives and the bees came crawling out the bottom screen.
    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    I don't see how that is possible if the SBB is in good shape.
    I'm not an engineer, but even I can see that if the SBB screen simply was a size bigger than the bees, then bees could come crawling out of the screen!

    1/4" screen will not reliably contain bees.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    10,142

    Default Re: Screened bottoms

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    1/4" screen will not reliably contain bees.
    SBB are made with 1/8 by 1/8 screening.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,708

    Default Re: Screened bottoms

    > SBB are made with 1/8 by 1/8 screening.

    Well, many SBB are made with #8 screen, but how can you say that ALL are made with #8 screen?

    Come on Ace, Jon B says in several instances bees crawled out thru the screen and you say its not possible. I offer a likely scenario and you deny that too.



    Can't forget the animated smileys!
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,887

    Default Re: Screened bottoms

    Wintering with open screens in the north has actually become fairly common. The trick is that all the ventilation gets shifted to the bottom screen. upper entrance/ventilation gets sealed off completely. Hives get placed close to the ground so that snow cover blocks some of the free air drafting into the hive. The cooler area at the bottom of the hive forces the cluster up into the stores farther and reduces the risk of starving when they are unable to break cluster.

    Some are really successful with wintering that way and others are not... just like anything else.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,408

    Default Re: Screened bottoms

    SBB with screen large enough for bees to pass, would be called open bottom entrances, not SBB (screened bottom boards).
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Bertie County,NC
    Posts
    870

    Default Re: Screened bottoms

    [QUOTE=Rader Sidetrack;945718]> [COLOR=#333333]SBB are made with 1/8 by 1/8 screening.

    Well, many SBB are made with #8 screen, but how can you say that ALL are made with #8 screen?

    Come on Ace, Jon B says in several instances bees crawled out thru the screen and you say its not possible. I offer a likely scenario and you deny that too.[quote]



    I have to agree with ace on this one ....if a screened bb is properly made it has 1/8 or smaller screen. Bees can definitely crawl right through anything larger...Heck I have even seen bees squeeze through the little screw hole in the mouse guard.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Cleveland, OH, USA
    Posts
    475

    Default Re: Screened bottoms

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrass View Post
    Wintering with open screens in the north has actually become fairly common. The trick is that all the ventilation gets shifted to the bottom screen. upper entrance/ventilation gets sealed off completely. Hives get placed close to the ground so that snow cover blocks some of the free air drafting into the hive. The cooler area at the bottom of the hive forces the cluster up into the stores farther and reduces the risk of starving when they are unable to break cluster.

    Some are really successful with wintering that way and others are not... just like anything else.
    In the case of snow deep enough to cover the hive entrance, there's no ventilation through the bottom screen either. Without an escape of some kind, the CO2 will begin to build up...
    Beeless since 2012; coming back in 2014. Suffering from apicultural withdrawal!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,708

    Default Re: Screened bottoms

    OK, all you doubters. Here is evidence of at least one other screened bottom board using 1/4" screen:

    I decided to cut out most of my solid bottom board to make it a screened bottom board. Lowe's and Home Depot only had 1/4" instead of the recommended 1/8" screen. I used that (and wasn't smart enough at the time to double-layer it and offset it so that it would be 1/8".

    I notice that the workers tend to use the main entrance coming and going mostly, though about 5-10% of the bees exiting come out of the bottom through the screen.

    Read the whole thread here:

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...bbing-problems
    I did not suggest that 1/4" screen was a good idea, nor that it was used by commercial SBBs. Jon B reported bees coming out of SBBs in several cases, and Ace deemed it impossible. Are you saying Jon B doesn't know what he is talking about?
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    SNOW SHOE PA USA
    Posts
    1,286

    Default Re: Screened bottoms

    I use SBBs from mid MAY till late SEPT. and then solids for winter .
    I'm looking for QCs in MAY any way so no biggie changing them out.

    Rader Sidetrack

    They can't get out of mine I got mine from mann lake.
    And I would bet all SBBs that you buy are 1/8 or smaller screen.
    Sounds like some one wants to fight.
    Say hello to the bad guy!
    year five==== 32 hives==== T{OAV}

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Bertie County,NC
    Posts
    870

    Default Re: Screened bottoms

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    OK, all you doubters. Here is evidence of at least one other screened bottom board using 1/4" screen:



    I did not suggest that 1/4" screen was a good idea, nor that it was used by commercial SBBs. Jon B reported bees coming out of SBBs in several cases, and Ace deemed it impossible. Are you saying Jon B doesn't know what he is talking about?


    Again....they did not have 1/8 so the do it yourselfer used the improper parts to make his equipment. So technically he didn't even have a screen bottom, but instead he had a 1/4 inch hardware cloth bottom....and bees can definitely get out of that.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    6,127

    Default Re: Screened bottoms

    You guys been drinking too much coffee.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Cleveland, OH, USA
    Posts
    475

    Default Re: Screened bottoms

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    OK, all you doubters. Here is evidence of at least one other screened bottom board using 1/4" screen:
    Yeah, that's not quite fair.

    I doubt there are any SBB's for retail sale that use larger-than-1/8" screen.
    Beeless since 2012; coming back in 2014. Suffering from apicultural withdrawal!

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