ATTN: New beekeepers with screened bottom boards
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  1. #1
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    Default ATTN: New beekeepers with screened bottom boards

    Every year, EVERY year, every YEAR, there are multiple posts on beesource saying to the effect, "I installed my package of bees and they absconded."

    If you feel like you must use a screened bottom board, KEEP IT CLOSED UP AT LEAST UNTIL THE HIVE IS RAISING BROOD.

    I'm not going to try and pursuade you from using screened bottom boards, I'll just say I don't see a need for them. Use what you want, but keep them closed up.

    If the mods do not care, I'll bump this post up every week or so in hopes of saving someone a package or two of bees.
    The more I learn about bees, the less I know.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
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    Salt Lake City, UT
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    Default Re: ATTN: New beekeepers with screened bottom boards

    I use SBBs and I'll echo Brad.

    Keep it closed. Keep it dark. Keep the entrance reducer on. Keep it fed.
    Zone 5B

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    hinesville ga usa
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    763

    Default Re: ATTN: New beekeepers with screened bottom boards

    Quote Originally Posted by JConnolly View Post
    I use SBBs and I'll echo Brad.

    Keep it closed. Keep it dark. Keep the entrance reducer on. Keep it fed.
    Same here.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
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    York, York County, SC
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    290

    Default Re: ATTN: New beekeepers with screened bottom boards

    And a frame of eggs/larvae are not a bad thing and if you don't have that some drawn empty comb sure does help.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Great Falls Montana
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    Default Re: ATTN: New beekeepers with screened bottom boards

    SBB's are a disaster waiting to happen. They are responsible for most of the new colonies that fail to thrive.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
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    frederick, md
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    832

    Default Re: ATTN: New beekeepers with screened bottom boards

    We must have lucked out We installed three packages on screened bottom boards all did well. We did have drawn comb for them.

    We will modify for any future ones
    Zone 6b: 27 hives in Maryland, Carniolan, Italian mix mutts: Still learning - started bees spring of 2014.

  8. #7
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    Feb 2006
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    Massillon, Ohio
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    Default Re: ATTN: New beekeepers with screened bottom boards

    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Bee View Post

    If you feel like you must use a screened bottom board, KEEP IT CLOSED UP AT LEAST UNTIL THE HIVE IS RAISING BROOD.
    Very good advice.

    There must be a reason you feel so strongly about this.
    To everything there is a season....

  9. #8
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    Default Re: ATTN: New beekeepers with screened bottom boards

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Gillmore View Post
    Very good advice.

    There must be a reason you feel so strongly about this.
    Not really, I just hate to see people spend good money on bees only for them to fly off into the trees. I don't know how many times I've read about this problem over the past several years but it happens every year, multiple times. I've never had a screened bottom board and don't plan on starting. I don't see how they can possibly accomplish anything significant.
    The more I learn about bees, the less I know.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: ATTN: New beekeepers with screened bottom boards

    Quote Originally Posted by Vance G View Post
    SBB's are a disaster waiting to happen. They are responsible for most of the new colonies that fail to thrive.
    I agree with the first part of that statement Vance but don't know enough stats to know if I agree with the second part. I just don't see what the draw to them is.

    I always get a chuckle out of people up north posting that they use them because of the heat in the summer. LOL I reckon it doesn't get hot enough here in the deep south for me to need them.
    The more I learn about bees, the less I know.

  11. #10
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    Jun 2013
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    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
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    Default Re: ATTN: New beekeepers with screened bottom boards

    And I get a shiver when I hear of people - and there are lots of them even up here in northern NY - who run with their SBB open all winter long in the name of winter ventilation. It must not be a guaranteed failure, but it surely must not make life any easier for their poor bees.

    Me, I install my bees over SBB from the git go, but then I have solid boards underneath each colony as well. (And the whole thing is closed up and weatherstripped before winter.)

    I really find SBB useful for collecting info from the hive trash, but otherwise I wouldn't use them since the few mites that fall off and out of the hive would make no difference in the overall mite population level. Mites must have much clumsier, or stupider, than they are now when the idea that SBBs were effective at controlling mite build-up was first promoted.

    Enj.

  12. #11
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    Jul 2014
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    Rutherford Co. NC
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    Default Re: ATTN: New beekeepers with screened bottom boards

    I luckily did this right and have not lost a package. My bee school taught and my begginer reading verified that scent is very important to the colony especially a package.

    they are a bunch of bees from multiple hives and have a new queen in with them, the closed bottom will help unify the odor around the new queen, and the scent of brood will help them work as a colony even more.

    I keep my screens closed until they beard then I open them about an inch and open more as needed reversing this as fall approaches. I usually dont open more than a few inches total giving them more landing board.

  13. #12
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    Aug 2013
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    carney, maryland, USA
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    Default Re: ATTN: New beekeepers with screened bottom boards

    I started with screened bottom boards, but have been keeping the bottom closed underneath in recent years. If I started over I would go with solid boards. Sufficient ventilation can be achieved with bottom AND top entrances.

    I have one very strong colony which has had the bottom entrance screened closed so that bees must enter and exit from the top. This has been the configuration for the past 2 years.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: ATTN: New beekeepers with screened bottom boards

    I for one, like the benefits of the screened ipm board.

    Now i see sbb and never know if someone is say screened bottom board or solod bottom board.

    So i do not use the abbreviaton sbb. Its confusing to me. But when i refer to my screened bottom board, i do not use those words either, because to me it refers a screen with no option to close. So i use the term "ipm" and then everyone knows what im talking about.
    Now with the terms out of the way, i do like my ipm board. And when its 105 f outside. They are outside the hive bearding and to me thats a waste of them. Like all the workers on cig. Break. Nothing getting done, or at least not as much that could be. All i have to do is crack it an inch and within a few monutes, they all go back to work.

    Another thing, i dont have to open the flood gates for wax moth and shb for ventilation either. Open the air, yet easy guarded entrance still.
    www.facebook.com/hives2honey Oxalic Vaporizers, supplement and more!!!!!! Check me out.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: ATTN: New beekeepers with screened bottom boards

    Come and get you some free SBB's. I've taken them out of my apiary due to the reasons in this thread.
    Going thru the trouble of getting way up in a tree to saw off the limb that a swarm is on only to have it abscond once placed into a hive with an SBB is devastating. (even when given a frame of brood from another colony)
    Save yourself the trouble and avoid them. (SBB's)
    Internet credibility is an oxymoron

  16. #15
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    Default Re: ATTN: New beekeepers with screened bottom boards

    Quote Originally Posted by rookie2531 View Post
    Now with the terms out of the way, i do like my ipm board. And when its 105 f outside. They are outside the hive bearding and to me thats a waste of them. Like all the workers on cig. Break. Nothing getting done, or at least not as much that could be. All i have to do is crack it an inch and within a few minutes, they all go back to work.
    Here is my opinion: The reason that "they go back to work" is that by opening a big hole in the bottom of the hive, you have disturbed the bees' evaporative cooling balance, and now a bunch more of those bearding bees are called to go retrieve/haul in more water into the hive, and (likely) also go to work to block/reverse that extra airflow through the hive!!!

    Bees want their brood area at 93-94 degrees F, When the ambient air temperature [outside] the hive is 105 degrees, it doesn't matter how much ambient air [at 105 degrees] is flowing through the hive, the temperature can never be lower than 105 without evaporative cooling. It just doesn't work that way inside a hive, or anywhere else.

    The key to a swamp cooler operation is controlled ventilation, enough to move the humid air out so it can be replaced with dryer air, but not so much outside air that the cooling effect is overwhelmed. Bees are masters at controlling airflow in/out of their hive - that what they do. Its somewhat presumptuous on your part to think that you can do a better job of that, particularly since you clearly aren't willing to commit to being the HVAC 'controller' on a full-time basis.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  17. #16
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    Default Re: ATTN: New beekeepers with screened bottom boards

    I don't think I ever had bees abscond because I had a screened bottom board. I do tend to keep the removable solid bottom in place just below the screen, and in recent years do not remove it in the summer.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: ATTN: New beekeepers with screened bottom boards

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    Here is my opinion: The reason that "they go back to work" is that by opening a big hole in the bottom of the hive, you have disturbed the bees' evaporative cooling balance, and now a bunch more of those bearding bees are called to go retrieve/haul in more water into the hive, and (likely) also go to work to block/reverse that extra airflow through the hive!!!

    Bees want their brood area at 93-94 degrees F, When the ambient air temperature [outside] the hive is 105 degrees, it doesn't matter how much ambient air [at 105 degrees] is flowing through the hive, the temperature can never be lower than 105 without evaporative cooling. It just doesn't work that way inside a hive, or anywhere else.

    The key to a swamp cooler operation is controlled ventilation, enough to move the humid air out so it can be replaced with dryer air, but not so much outside air that the cooling effect is overwhelmed. Bees are masters at controlling airflow in/out of their hive - that what they do. Its somewhat presumptuous on your part to think that you can do a better job of that, particularly since you clearly aren't willing to commit to being the HVAC 'controller' on a full-time basis.
    Exactly. I don't know what's so hard to understand about that.

    At any rate, I didn't start this thread to discuss the pros and cons of screened bottom boards. I knew it would turn in to that, but I do intend to bump it up, if I can remember, so new beeks won't lose their bees.
    The more I learn about bees, the less I know.

  19. #18
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    Default Re: ATTN: New beekeepers with screened bottom boards

    No full time HVAC here, definitely not even close, but I do crack them to stop the bearding about a week or two during summer. I think it helps, even if it causes more to get water, which i dont think it hurts to the point of every one of those bees that were bearding, to go on full water alert.
    My entrances stay tight all year. I am not one to pull out my reducers. Though my reducers aren't store bought, but just scraps of wood and the doorways are 3/4" tall, but never more than 3" wide. So, I don't see how if my entrances are small and open screen a little is so far off from someone who has no reducers on at all (open full tilt) and solid bottoms.

    But, i do agree with Brad, if you got a new package and an ipm board also, close them up.

    With that said, I do think that sometimes we do and are able to help them out sometimes, even if, that's what they do.
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  20. #19
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    Default Re: ATTN: New beekeepers with screened bottom boards

    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post
    And I get a shiver when I hear of people - and there are lots of them even up here in northern NY - who run with their SBB open all winter long in the name of winter ventilation. It must not be a guaranteed failure, but it surely must not make life any easier for their poor bees.

    Me, I install my bees over SBB from the git go, but then I have solid boards underneath each colony as well. (And the whole thing is closed up and weatherstripped before winter.)

    I really find SBB useful for collecting info from the hive trash, but otherwise I wouldn't use them since the few mites that fall off and out of the hive would make no difference in the overall mite population level. Mites must have much clumsier, or stupider, than they are now when the idea that SBBs were effective at controlling mite build-up was first promoted.

    Enj.
    I do the same but for a different reason. I open them up only when I OAV my hives. I put my vaporizer under the screen. This gives me added distance from the bottom of the frames. It works out well. Plus the added info from the trash.

  21. #20
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    May 2013
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    Guilford, CT
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    325

    Default Re: ATTN: New beekeepers with screened bottom boards

    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post
    And I get a shiver when I hear of people - and there are lots of them even up here in northern NY - who run with their SBB open all winter long in the name of winter ventilation. It must not be a guaranteed failure, but it surely must not make life any easier for their poor bees.

    Me, I install my bees over SBB from the git go, but then I have solid boards underneath each colony as well. (And the whole thing is closed up and weatherstripped before winter.)

    I really find SBB useful for collecting info from the hive trash, but otherwise I wouldn't use them since the few mites that fall off and out of the hive would make no difference in the overall mite population level. Mites must have much clumsier, or stupider, than they are now when the idea that SBBs were effective at controlling mite build-up was first promoted.

    Enj.

    I am an offender here. I have left them wide open all winter more than once, mostly because winter creeps up on me. I have grown to hate the screened boards for all the reasons discussed on this site. Perhaps I missed it, but I wish I noticed some of those comments when I got into bee keeping 5 or so years ago. It seemed all the rage.

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