screen bottom or super vent holes?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
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    NW Florida
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    Default screen bottom or super vent holes?

    What are your experiences with these two methods? My hive without super holes is starting to beard more then the one with upper vent holes. I have used a screened bottom board as well and it helped. However, I'm thinking the bees may have more control over a vent hole in each super over a wide open bottom board. I drill them in an upward direction to help ensure water doesn't get in, but that is a possible advantage to screen bottoms. My hives are in partial shade, but temps will be to 100 sooner than I like.
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Hart County, Georgia
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    80

    Default Re: screen bottom or super vent holes?

    I have a hybrid bottom board that allows some ventilation but it's not completely open. It's solid on the bottom to allow an oil tray to go in.
    IMG_0931.jpg

    Since I have the Georgia heat problems, I decided to provide them with an upper entrance. I made screened inner covers thick enough to allow a 1 inch opening and a small panel that can close it off. Each colony seems to treat it differently. Some use it more than the bottom entrance and others like the bottom entrance more. Most hives use each entrance equally.
    I keep it open year round. I only had one hive propolize it up during the winter and then open it back up in the spring.
    I like it because it not only provides ventilation, it also gives them quicker access to the honey supers.
    upper entrance.jpg

    The only disadvantage that I've found is when I'm doing inspections. When I take the inner cover away they just circle around looking for that entrance. The hive can be wide open yet they won't go in until I put that entrance back. Someone asked me what happens when I add boxes. Well, they go back to the spot where the entrance was for a 30 seconds or so but then soon go up to the new location.

    My covers also have a little bit of insulation in them too.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    OKC, OK USA
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    2,940

    Default

    Sbb were invented as a ipm method and not for ventilation. In fact I believe they interrupt the bees ability to manage the air flow thru the hive. Imo. I do have some supers with 5/8" holes in them, a throw back to the old days but they work more for an upper entrance than ventilation. Some hives use them and some just guard them. Anywho....bee do a fabulous job of taking care of themselves and have for millenia. FWIW.

  5. #4
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    NW Florida
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    Default Re: screen bottom or super vent holes?

    Kathleen, is that a regular inner cover with a cut out? I don't use inner covers, but could put an upper entrance that is movable.

    Nasal, Interrupting the ability to control the flow of air is one of the reasons I posted this. It seems it would take a lot of extra work on the part of the bees to try to control the temperature with a screen bottom, but many people seem to like them.
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Decatur / Cullman, also. 35603
    Posts
    798

    Default Re: screen bottom or super vent holes?

    Hi Kathelene, I personally like solid bottom boards. I'm new like you, but seems like bees in a tree dont have the extra ventalation, and obviously don't like the light in their hive. So I'm inclined to not use them. Just my thought.

  7. #6
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    Jul 2008
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    OKC, OK USA
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    2,940

    Default

    Indeed! I agree!! A picture of my upper entrance hole on a super.

    20180520_153830_1526848753534.jpg

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
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    NW Florida
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    Default Re: screen bottom or super vent holes?

    Kathleen, did you build that bottom board? Robbin suggested some with cattle mineral oil, but the company charges $40 for one.
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Hart County, Georgia
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: screen bottom or super vent holes?

    I built the bottom boards the way I did because I'm in SHB territory. It's basically solid on the bottom with space enough for cookie sheets filled with oil during SHB season. There's screen above the tray and in the front for the ventilation. I close off the front in the winter. I can also flip them over if I want a solid board. I use either mineral oil or cheap veg. oil. They've worked well for me and they're cheap (like me).


    The inner covers are home made too. I don't have a full picture of them but they're a wood frame with #8 hardware cloth instead of the solid board with a hole. This allows for the upper entrance hole along with a way to feed (with jars or buckets) and a way to use a quilt box in the winter. I can also easily take a quick look at the top box without cracking open an inner cover.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    NW Florida
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    Default Re: screen bottom or super vent holes?

    Do you have build plans that you can post? I'd love to see them. $40 is a bit pricey for the store bought ones.
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Hart County, Georgia
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: screen bottom or super vent holes?

    I don't have plans for the bottom board and inner cover (I usually just wing it) but I can take some better pictures in a couple days and post those if that would help.
    The latest bottom boards I built will also accommodate an 8 frame box divided into 2 4 frame Nucs. IT's hard to explain but I'll get a picture of that too. These aren't hard to build with basic carpentry skills and tools.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
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    NW Florida
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    Default Re: screen bottom or super vent holes?

    Please post anything you can Kathleen. I'm interested in building a few.
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Hart County, Georgia
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: screen bottom or super vent holes?

    Here are the pictures of my screened inner covers and hybrid bottom boards.
    Sorry it took awhile. I can only play with bees (and equipment) on the weekends.

    IMG_3080.jpgIMG_3082.jpgIMG_3084.jpgIMG_3085.jpgIMG_3086.jpg

    The BB has a fold away panel on the front that I open in the summer and close in the dead of winter. In the Piedmont of Georgia that's January and February.
    When I need 4 frame Nucs I can flip the BB over and slide in a piece of Luan and still use the same 8 frame boxes. As you can tell, I like my equipment to do double duty.
    I'll put either cheap vegetable oil or mineral oil in the pans starting now and leave it there until first frost for small hive beetles.

    Like I said, the screened inner covers also double as feeders and quilt boxes. For feeding I can either use jars/buckets or sugar bricks/fondant. Also, the SHB have fewer places to hide.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    NW Florida
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    Default Re: screen bottom or super vent holes?

    Thank you. Interesting design.
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

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