Beehavior with SBB
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Nampa, Idaho
    Posts
    57

    Default Beehavior with SBB

    Trying screened bottom boards in my new hives this year. I've noticed on one of them that a lot of bees have been clustering under the screen, and it seems like they're hanging out there and doing nothing (which I suppose is probably not the case). Is that unusual? What are they doing? And what, if anything, should I do about it?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA, USA
    Posts
    141

    Default Re: Beehavior with SBB

    They are sensing the queen pheromone through the screen & haven't figured out where the front entrance is yet. I'd slide a piece of corrugated plastic, like used with a sticky board, in wherever your bottom board allows. That should block the pheromone. You can probably let them figure it out from there or you can gently knock them off onto a piece of cardboard or something & dump them into the entrance. You can then later remove whatever you used to block the scent. They may fly when you knock them off & find the entrance on their own.

    Paul
    A Burgh Bees Director & volunteer. Mentor to several new Burgh Bees beekeepers. Keeping bees alive & healthy is my goal.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Nampa, Idaho
    Posts
    57

    Default Re: Beehavior with SBB

    Well I got under the hive and found that they had built some substantial comb under there. My other hive with a screened bottom board had no such development. The difference between the two hives is that the one with comb underneath was sitting on a piece of foam insulation so the space under the screen was closed in except for the very front. The other hive was open underneath, sitting on the slatted hive stand. I told the come out and brushed his many bees out of there as I could and slid the cover in while they were all flying.

    I think I'm not happy with my current screened bottom board design. I'm going to change the design so that I don't have to slide the cover in. I think I would rather have the very bottom covered as it was before, but with a removable cover for the front. I could then slide an oil tray in and out, or a sticky board. if I think I need it open for ventilation I can just cover the front opening with screen.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Greenville, SC USA
    Posts
    463

    Default Re: Beehavior with SBB

    I had some bees clustering under my SBB when I installed my two hives (from packages) last year. I tried brushing them off into a box and then dumping them on the front landing board a few times but they seemed to go back underneath - or more were going there. In time the issue resolved itself and I haven't seen more than a couple bees hanging out underneath since. Mine never did any building of comb there - but mine are totally open under the screen.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    10,857

    Default Re: Beehavior with SBB

    >> I think I'm not happy with my current screened bottom board design.

    You might find these plans useful: http://schoonerbay.net/rustysbees/ipm.html
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    7,817

    Default Re: Beehavior with SBB

    It is usual which is one of the problems with this faddish device. If the bees in the hive cannot feed the lost souls, they starve to death down there in bad weather.
    Quote Originally Posted by B Steve B View Post
    Trying screened bottom boards in my new hives this year. I've noticed on one of them that a lot of bees have been clustering under the screen, and it seems like they're hanging out there and doing nothing (which I suppose is probably not the case). Is that unusual? What are they doing? And what, if anything, should I do about it?

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Ozark, AL
    Posts
    819

    Default Re: Beehavior with SBB

    Quote Originally Posted by Vance G View Post
    It is usual which is one of the problems with this faddish device. If the bees in the hive cannot feed the lost souls, they starve to death down there in bad weather.
    Faddish device? First time I heard of using SBBs was in 1987 and they have been quite common since the early 1990's. When does using such a device stop being a fad? Never have had any bees under my hives and all have SBBs.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Nampa, Idaho
    Posts
    57

    Default Re: Beehavior with SBB

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    >> I think I'm not happy with my current screened bottom board design.

    You might find these plans useful: http://schoonerbay.net/rustysbees/ipm.html
    Thanks! I like that.

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