Beeproof top bar hive screened bottom, not so much
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  1. #1
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    Default Beeproof top bar hive screened bottom, not so much

    They said good judgment results from bad judgment, so I'm fulfilling the traditional beek noob role by making a few mistakes. I could not find for the life of me screen material in 1/8" square, the hardware stores apparently only carry 1/4". I found some really good coated metal gutter guard screening though, it was between the two sizes. Anyway, the bees are getting through. This is a package bee hive, installed 5/21/19.

    IMG_0091.jpg

    There are a LOT of bees hanging out now in the crawl space below the screen and above the floor. They're not building burr comb that I can see. I don't know whether or not to worry about it so I won't for now. All in all, the hive is very vigorous.

    IMG_0089.jpg

    Has anyone else had experience with a less-than-sound screened bottom, and if so what was the result?

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Beeproof top bar hive screened bottom, not so much

    The ideal material I believe in your country is called "No.8 Hardware Cloth".

    One good (and cheap) source of mesh can be old fireguards at Bring and Buy sales - but they usually do need a few minutes work with a wire brush and a lick of paint.

    I did once try plastic wind-break mesh which was the right mesh size, but the bees eventually chewed their way through it - so it would appear that it must be metal or nothing.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Beeproof top bar hive screened bottom, not so much

    Bees will chew through plastic, given the time and if they want to.
    In shallow hives (as in TB) they do want to expand down and will try to chew down.
    In a deep hive with enough vertical span, plastic should be safe - not much drive to chew down.

    Storm door window metal mesh works just as fine (and is really easy to collect by the road sides and at recycling - FREE).
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Beeproof top bar hive screened bottom, not so much

    My guess is that it's the ability of the bees to get their mandibles around the mesh fibres which is the ultimate cause of plastic mesh destruction.

    One example is shown in:http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/beek03.htm (5th photo down) - in which they effectively created a new entrance at the bottom of the hive. But - I have noticed that some anti-robbing screens in which I've used the same material are starting to show early signs of similar 'wear' in their lower corners.

    I'd conclude that they just don't like soft materials. I've seen the same type of destruction by chewing in hessian (burlap) when that material has been used for quilts.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  6. #5
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    Santa Cruz, CA USA
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    Default Re: Beeproof top bar hive screened bottom, not so much

    Dollar tree has 12 inch diameter metal cooking splatter guards. I have cut the screen out of its frame to make push in cages. A pain to mess with but if you only need a little, it’s an option.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Beeproof top bar hive screened bottom, not so much

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    My guess is that it's the ability of the bees to get their mandibles around the mesh fibres which is the ultimate cause of plastic mesh destruction.

    One example is shown in:http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/beek03.htm (5th photo down) - in which they effectively created a new entrance at the bottom of the hive.
    LJ
    There is no doubt they have created a new entrance to the hive, though the drawbacks to that entrance are unclear.

    The screened bottom is plastic-coated metal, so in my circumstance anyway chewing through is not happening. I was wondering if they were getting through gaps in the screen or actually squeezing through the screen, and by closely watching the bees I saw some squeezing through so that question is answered.

    I did not see ANY bees below the screen for the first few weeks after hiving the package, but I think the newly hatched bees are smaller than the adults in the package and so they could squeeze through. Just a theory. I know nothing.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Beeproof top bar hive screened bottom, not so much

    Have you looked at using door or window screen - the sort of stuff used to keep flying insects out of the house ? I've seen adverts for such material made from woven fibreglass (and then presumably coated with something ?) - that should be around the right size.

    Here's one on Ebay #112402556455 - white fiberglass (UK seller using US spelling ) coated with PVC. 1.2mm x 1.2mm mesh size. They send samples, so I'm sure a US seller would do the same. A 2mm x 2mm mesh would be a better choice (i.e. would allow rubbish to more easily fall through) if you can source it.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Beeproof top bar hive screened bottom, not so much

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    Have you looked at using door or window screen - the sort of stuff used to keep flying insects out of the house ? I've seen adverts for such material made from woven fibreglass (and then presumably coated with something ?) - that should be around the right size.

    Here's one on Ebay #112402556455 - white fiberglass (UK seller using US spelling ) coated with PVC. 1.2mm x 1.2mm mesh size. They send samples, so I'm sure a US seller would do the same. A 2mm x 2mm mesh would be a better choice (i.e. would allow rubbish to more easily fall through) if you can source it.
    LJ
    I will for sure get some 1/8" hardware cloth for next time. It's available through internet retailers like eBay and Amazon. As a person with much (ahem) life experience I was dismayed that something so presumably common and pedestrian would not be waiting for me on a hardware store shelf. So when I saw that gutter guard grid I thought I was cutting a fat hog.

    Mainly I was wondering if many bees below the screen presented any overt shortcomings. I don't know what they're doing down there! The only bothersome part is I can see pollen-loaded bees going IN there, so I'm wondering if they are able to get into the hive without the pollen dropping off. A pollen trap is not my intent!

    I will inspect the hive today and look at the bottom sheet and see what's up. The observation window reveals bees just packed in there, but no queen cells have been observed through the window.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Beeproof top bar hive screened bottom, not so much

    I would avoid a hive that has bees with free movement in and out of the hive. It means yellowjackets and robber bees will have free movement too. It is worth fixing - either with a second mesh tacked to the hive, or a solid bottom affixed somehow.

    I wanted a mesh bottom for top bar version 1.0 - I ended up regretting it. The bottom flexed when I set feeder jars on it, and I couldn't trust it to be bee-proof, like when making a nuc on one end and keeping the hive on the other. But, when you go non-traditional, it's extra work.

    Not extra lifting tho!

    So take care with bees having too much access to the hive- it can make them more defensive at inspections, if they are getting harassed all the time by other critters who can get in and eat at will.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Beeproof top bar hive screened bottom, not so much

    Quote Originally Posted by trishbookworm View Post
    I would avoid a hive that has bees with free movement in and out of the hive. It means yellowjackets and robber bees will have free movement too. It is worth fixing - either with a second mesh tacked to the hive, or a solid bottom affixed somehow.
    Until I discovered the gutter guard mesh, I intended to double up on the 1/4" mesh as you described.

    The other option I've been considering is transferring all the frames to an identical top bar hive I constructed which is currently empty (for which I can correct the screen problem). I don't know how the bees would react to this, it would not have all that homey-smelling propolis everywhere, otherwise there is no difference between the two hives. But they can abscond for any number of reasons so I fear that.

    I've closed the door to the void below the screen down to a bee space. It would be quite a gauntlet for robbers to get to any honey or sugar syrup, but it is a possibility. I haven't seen any robbing behaviors as described in what I've read about it.

    Mainly I want to be able to look for mites, which is not that effective currently as I can't make the inspection board "sticky."

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Beeproof top bar hive screened bottom, not so much

    Well, I went ahead with the hive switch on 7/28, photo shows how I moved the identical empty hive into the "old" hive's location and then simply transferred the bars over. No bees below the 1/8" hardware cloth now, I'm very happy.

    And two days ago the drones were all rejected...hundreds of dead drones below the entrance. And suddenly there is a whole lot more room in the hive! There are actually only sixteen bars with comb.

    IMG_0111.jpg

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Beeproof top bar hive screened bottom, not so much

    I built two TBH. one with a screened bottom and the other just wood. Have bees in the screen now on 2 year with no problems. Other hive no bees as my swarm catches are staying. I used # 8 cloth with no problems. I will take pics of my feeders. I use a candy feeder inside the hive in winter and just built a sugar water feeder box that attached to the end of the hive.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Beeproof top bar hive screened bottom, not so much

    feeder6.jpgfeeder 1.jpg the first one that shows bars that are red and white is the sugar candy feeder and the second is the sugar water feeder.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Beeproof top bar hive screened bottom, not so much

    TBH3.jpgTBH2.jpgTBH5.jpgTBH1.jpg
    All these show my in hive candy feeder under construction except the last one that shows it in the hive. I pull off my cover and lift the lid to the feeder to refill it. only exposing a small hole to the hive

  16. #15
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    Olympia, WA
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    Default Re: Beeproof top bar hive screened bottom, not so much

    [QUOTE=Loudo;1741133]They said good judgment results from bad judgment, so I'm fulfilling the traditional beek noob role by making a few mistakes. I could not find for the life of me screen material in 1/8" square, the hardware stores apparently only carry 1/4". I found some really good coated metal gutter guard screening though, it was between the two sizes. Anyway, the bees are getting through.

    Hi, I see you are in my generic neck of the woods. Have you tried McClendon hardware for 1/8 hardware cloth aka #8? Other option would be Dunn Lumber. None of the 'big box stores' around here carry it, but the locally owned folk had tons on hand down here in Olympia.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Beeproof top bar hive screened bottom, not so much

    This topic comes up quite often. McMaster Carr, www.mcmaster.com, sells the galvanized #8 hardware cloth at a reasonable price. I buy 20' at a time to take advantage of the price break.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

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