Slatted Rack Difference
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  1. #1
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    May 2017
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    Biddeford, Maine, USA
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    Default Slatted Rack Difference

    So, I'm going to use slatted racks in my hives and I plan on building them myself. I have seen two different designs and am not sure which one to go with. I'm looking for input on which one I should go with, and if there is a big deal with the difference. One design has slats going the entire length of the rack, where the other has a 3 inch solid board at the front. The pictures show one deeper than the other, I'll be making them 2.5 inches deep. The only thing I'm not sure about is the length of the slats. I just don't know if there is a difference in the performance of the rack. Thanks!


    10 Frame Slatted Rack.jpg Slatted_Rack_8_Frame.jpg

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  3. #2
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Slatted Rack Difference

    The purpose of the baffle at the front is to block the air and light from the entrance. This allows the queen to lay all the way to the front of the frames in the bottom box. The gap under the slatted rack is actually the point of the rack. To allow cluster space inside the hive that usually won't be filled with comb. Without the baffle and without the gap under the rack, the effectiveness is seriously impaired.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  4. #3
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    Spokane, Washington, USA
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    Default Re: Slatted Rack Difference

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    The purpose of the baffle at the front is to block the air and light from the entrance. This allows the queen to lay all the way to the front of the frames in the bottom box. The gap under the slatted rack is actually the point of the rack. To allow cluster space inside the hive that usually won't be filled with comb. Without the baffle and without the gap under the rack, the effectiveness is seriously impaired.
    Yeah, what he said. Build it like the 2nd one you posted above.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    Default Re: Slatted Rack Difference

    This is how I made some:
    http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/beek17b.htm (second photo down) - they work really well. I recently checked one after 12 months of use and it was as clean as the day I installed it. Well pleased.

    If you take a look at how the inventor (C.C.Miller) made his - you'll realise that exactly how they are made really isn't all that important. He appears to have made the originals using an axe !
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Slatted Rack Difference

    C.C. Miller's picture of his slatted rack:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/images/MillerSlattedRack.jpg
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  7. #6
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    May 2017
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    Biddeford, Maine, USA
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    Default Re: Slatted Rack Difference

    Thanks y’all. I appreciate the info. I have plans for the one with the solid board, so that’s what I’ll be doing. In y’alls opinion, do these really make a difference? I’ve been a beek for 3 years and I’ve had good success without them.

  8. #7
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    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
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    Default Re: Slatted Rack Difference

    So far as I know, there has only been 1 controlled study in the last 20 years. That study found no improvement in honey production, which was what they were trying to determine.
    42 + years - 24 colonies - IPM disciple - Naturally Skeptic

  9. #8
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    May 2011
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    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
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    Default Re: Slatted Rack Difference

    I saw a pic somewhere that use slats full length front to rear and merely staple a 4" wide piece of aluminum flashing to the top of the entrance end of the slats to create the light baffle. I made one up for a five frame size but never got around to trying it. It is a simple construction.
    Frank

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Slatted Rack Difference

    The use of slatted racks doesn't - as far as I know - have anything to do with honey yield.

    Miller's original idea was that the rack was removable, to be inserted - as required - into a void beneath the bottom box. This feature appears to have been lost over time. As can be seen from Miller's photo, unlike modern woodenware it was a very crude affair:



    Miller's idea was taken-up by Killion who used them all-year round, and so built them as a fixed hive feature, rather than being removable. He spoke highly of them, writing that they help to prevent swarming and aid with the evaporation of nectar, as well as providing much needed ventilation.



    As can be seen in both of the above photographs, the slats ran crosswise - that is, at ninety degrees to the orientation of the combs. For some strange reason, people seem to have got it into their heads that the slats must run lengthways, and that each gap needs to coincide with the comb directly above it. I've even seen plans which incorporate tubes, and even wedge-shaped slats (apex pointing upwards) with claims that these facilitate the directing of falling debris towards the mesh below. Total overkill, and completely unnecessary.

    Personally, I think they're great, and have never seen a single example of bearding in a hive with one fitted. Many people think bearding is perfectly normal - I don't - I think it's an indicator of poor hive design. Imo, bees should be able to get off the combs when congested during hot weather without leaving the security of the beehive, and the slatted rack enables them to do this.
    LJ

    PS - as MB has already mentioned, it's the space beneath the slats which is the really important feature - all the slats do is to prevent comb from being built in that space.
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  11. #10
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    Lottsburg, Virginia USA
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    Default Re: Slatted Rack Difference

    When I started beekeeping I started with deep brood boxes, so I also made about 20 deep 5 frame nucs. However in my area most new beekeepers start with medium nucs, so I had a problem !.
    SoI built slatted racks that I could just drop into the deep nucs and have been using them for medium nucs ever since.

  12. #11
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    Biddeford, Maine, USA
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    Default Re: Slatted Rack Difference

    Thanks for all the input!! As far as honey flow, I wouldn’t expect these to change anything plus or minus for yield. To be honest that’s not really even a concern for me, I just want to do what’s good, or better for the bees. I have never really given it much thought until the other day. I saw one mentioned in a post and I guess a lightbulb went on. To make it an easy build, I may just make mine with the slats going all the way front to back, but adding a three piece of aluminum flashing at the front to act as a baffle. Instead of cutting, routing that extra wood in the front, a piece of flashing is going to do the same thing. I think.
    Last edited by BFD45; 06-04-2019 at 05:53 PM.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Slatted Rack Difference

    Quote Originally Posted by BFD45 View Post
    To make it an easy build ...
    There's a lot to be said for making life simple. (Memo to self ... )
    LJ

    PS - I think Johno's idea has particular merit for anyone building their own boxes from scratch: to deliberately build the next size deeper box, then insert a loose slatted rack to take up the difference - that way such a box could be used to house both size frames, if needs be.
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  14. #13

    Default Re: Slatted Rack Difference

    My recollection of this particular study was that the slatted rack influenced the location of the brood but not the quantity...which would also imply no improvement in honey yield..

    Effects of the slatted rack on brood production and its distribution in the brood nest. Delaplane, K.S. 1999. American Bee Journal 139(6): 474-476
    ABSTRACT In newly-installed package colonies, the slatted rack significantly increased the proportion of colony brood being reared near hive entrances, but did not affect overall quantity of brood produced. The experiment was replicated over three years.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Slatted Rack Difference

    Here's one little john that has a slatted rack with mild bearding0503191911.jpg

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Slatted Rack Difference

    Can't say I'm surprised with such a stack - there are limits ...

    Is that 9 boxes ? That's one helluva colony. Just out of interest - how much space is there beneath the slats ?
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Slatted Rack Difference

    here's this colony a few weeks later ,once i added another couple supers the bearding went way down.yes that is 9 med. 8 frames on the first pic and 11 on the 2nd.Space beneath the slats?
    Attached Images Attached Images

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Slatted Rack Difference

    I made some slatted racks and it turns out that what I like most about them is a feature I added. In the center of the entrance end I screwed in a hanger bolt, which makes a perfect place to attach mouse guards, entrance reducers, and robbing screens with a knobbed nut.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Zone 5B

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Slatted Rack Difference

    Quote Originally Posted by BFD45 View Post
    In y’alls opinion, do these really make a difference?
    That would depend on the type of bottom board being used. For me, i use solid bottom boards with a sensible entrance, bees brood right to the bottom bars, i don't see what improvements to the hive a slatted rack would achieve.

    For poorly designed or screened bottom boards that tend to stop bees properly utilising all the comb, a slatted rack may help overcome this.

    From a robbing point of view, in cold conditions, wouldn't a slatted rack seperate the cluster from the hive entrance and make it harder for them to gaurd against wasps and such?
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  20. #19

    Default Re: Slatted Rack Difference

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    That would depend on the type of bottom board being used. For me, i use solid bottom boards with a sensible entrance, bees brood right to the bottom bars, i don't see what improvements to the hive a slatted rack would achieve.
    I've always considered them an invention in search of a purpose. Like so many other similar things....screened bottom boards come to mind.....they gained a following all the same.
    Just my opinion. No offense intended for those who love 'em.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Slatted Rack Difference

    Dan, you're killing me
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

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