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I never had this problem until this year, so I did leave the SBBs I guess I should have put the insert in to restrict them until I had some brood...Thanks! I'll try it next year from a more southern location... Too cold for my old bones here anymore.
 

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I have used IPM bottom for 10 years with out any problem. I do keep the covers in until the weather gets very warm usually in June. The I pull the inner covers when the hives are very well established, and the screens at the bottom serve as an excellent means of ventilation during extremely hot weather such as we are currently experiencing.... (90+). They are all closed during the winter. I also use a screened inner cover in the summer, and in this manner there is a continuous flow air. I have very limited bearding and very limited swarming. When the weather is extremely hot in the 90"s, I often tip the cantilever cover by pulling it back and setting the top on the edge of the super. This further increases air flow. If the weather is cooler I drop the cover to its natural position. I don't know why Brad Bees flew the coop, but I am convinced that there is a need to be more vigilant about where package bees and queens are purchased. It would also be interesting if Brad could tell us more about his hives, their materials , paint and location of hives as the bee departure may have nothing to do with screens bottom board.


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.
 

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Brad
For 10 years I have used slatted racks in conjunction with screened bottoms and screened inner covers. No problems other than mites.I do leave the covers over the screened bottoms until hot weather. This year I forgot to place the covers on the SBB when I installed several NUCS. They are doing just as well as the other hives with covers. In fact they are some of my strongest, but I attribute that to the queens. I do pay a great deal of attention to new hives after installation , but once they get going I stay out of their way and let them do their thing. I simply can not inspect the inner working son each hive, but I do observe on a daily basis the external flow of bees, orientation flights and observe the comparison of activity between one hive and another. I don't see any problems with slatted rack or combing them with SBB or IPM.
 

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I thought I would post the results that a friend of mine had installing package bees this spring. He installed 26 packages, all were in ten frame boxes, and all were on open mesh bottom boards. They were set out in pairs, with about 8 to 10 feet between pairs, in a line around his property.

Two to the packages absconded, one completely left the hive for parts unknown. In the other package only the queen and a handful of workers remained. The workers from this hive left their queen and was seen moving into a package four pairs away. Both of the absconding packages were sitting side by side in their pair which was about in the center of the line of packages.

If open mesh bottom boards caused these 2 packages to abscond, why didn't the other 24 act the same way?

We know that bees have always had colonies to abscond, and the more Africanized genes we get in the gene pool, the more we will see it occur. In the old literature absconding was usually blamed on overheating or starvation, but that was not always the case. The truth is that we don't yet know what motivates bees to do the things they do.
 

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If open mesh bottom boards caused these 2 packages to abscond, why didn't the other 24 act the same way?
I don't see anywhere in this thread that says ALL packages installed over open mesh bottom boards would abscond.

But your friend sustained an approximate 8% abscond rate. Who thinks that is a good thing?:s Would it have made more sense to at least temporarily close those open mesh bottoms in hope of a lower abscond rate?
 

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I have no problem with closing the bottom temporarily, I have said before that small colonies need to be cared for in relation to their size.

I also have no problem with the bottom being left open, because I don't believe that in our conditions in May an open bottom creates a problem. If the packages were being installed the last of March or early April, then I believe the packages would have benefited from a closed bottom.

And about that 8% abscond rate, what about all the years of installing packages or swarms with no absconds? Is this a case of one Aw S... wiping out 10 Attaboys?
 

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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:D 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':rolleyes: on a full-time basis. :p
Nice explanation.....and kinda funny too. Thanks for the am smile!

We use both solids and screened BB with varying results that are rarely replicated from year to year....so we've concluded that the bees are making decisions that they're not always sharing with us, and that's just OK. :)
 

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I like to use a SBB over a solid and then close it off with an easily cut chunk of blue foam.

Just cut half way with a box cutter and snap it to the length and width you need. Takes 2 minutes and it hangs out some so you can easily grab it..
 

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When we speak about cooling the brood nest we should remember how beekeepers once thought about heating the hive in winter. They heat the cluster and not the air surrounding the cluster. Any air is heated only because the heat warms the air when it escapes the cluster.

Bees don't intend to cool the air, they are trying to cool the comb, so the process is more like human perspiration than it is like the comparison to a swamp cooler. Air is moving in and out of the hive at the rate of about 230 to 250 feet per minute so any air cooled is not in the hive long enough to be of much benefit. The benefit comes from the evaporation of water cooling the surface of the comb and reducing the temperature in the cells, protecting the larvae from overheating. Any cooling of the air is the same as warming the air in winter, it was not the bee's intention.
 

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I am brand new to beekeeping, actually will get bees in the spring for the first time. It seems to me that in the natural setting for bees in a hollow tree, there are no screens. Thank you and good night !!
 

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I am brand new to beekeeping, actually will get bees in the spring for the first time. It seems to me that in the natural setting for bees in a hollow tree, there are no screens. Thank you and good night !!
Except you’re not keeping honey bees in a hollow tree.
 

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Except you’re not keeping honey bees in a hollow tree.
or there native environment, or in a natural setting
 

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Hi brad, im a newbee here. Ive read all this thats posted. Allot of mixed emotions about this screened, or solid board. Seems like both have merits. I personally think I'll go with solid boards in my hives going in spring. Seems more natural in my view. In a wild hive, I don't see but one entrance, and in a hollow tree, there is usually a vent in the top of the hole/cavity in the hive/tree. I may be wrong, but just as I've observed. But I'm New. Also, aren't the interior of hives dark, and very hidden from the inside looking out? The bees view, I guess you'd say.. I'll go with solid board, after hearing all pros and cons here. Interesting topic, id also think that the bees nature of hive / colony is seclusion, so dark seems natural for this. As well as some form of natural protection from predators. ? Id like to see if my observations, opinons are stacking up, or am i missing anything important. ? Thanks, richard
 

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Hi mike, i really like your bush farms page 😁 !!! Lots of valuabe info there. Im newbee, but i sat down and got a gameplan down tonight. At least a start. I like the idea of working out of all med. Supers. Standardizing makes tons of sense. Also, seems to me, to fill the boxes with brood would move faster going from bottom to top faster, and rotating the bottom brood box up after the brood hatches. ? Does this sound like your plan, a rotation of sorts? 3 boxes like this would have a pretty high pop, and the honey production would be very nice also. Does this seem like your idea,? as I perceived it.... also, with3 boxes of bees, swarm lreventiin would be something to watch, I'd suppose?? I got allot more reading to do on your site, but very interested in your methods so far, and wanting to learn more. Thanks a million, Richard Thomas
 

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Isn't a hive sorta mimicking a natural hive? I mean, isn't that what a langstroth supposed to attempt to do? I'm New, and just asking... Thanks for your input, I got lots to learn, so I'll beat ya with questions, and my observations.... which may not be correct.. Thanks, Richard
 

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You just answered my question. I installed a package of bees on Friday. All still looked well on Monday. Yesterday afternoon. They were gone. Wish I had seen this sooner. Why is it a problem?
 

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Why is it a problem?
Welcome to Beesource, Sharon!


Assuming you mean "why" do bees sometimes abscond from open screened bottom hives, most likely its a combination of factors.:)

First, lets note that there are some partisans that argue that open screened bottoms are not the problem, its just a coincidence. :p

In my opinion, new packages are less of a cohesive unit than an established hive. Package worker bees are not necessarily from the same original colony (before they were put in the package). They certainly don't 'know' their queen, except for the time in the package.

And, as noted by some posters earlier in this thread, the open bottom allows more light and airflow in the hive than in hives with a solid bottom (or a box with the screen closed off). Bees heavily rely on pheromones for communication, and excessive airflow may disrupt/impede such communication. Open screen bottoms impede the bees ability to thermo-regulate their brood nest.

So, in my opinion, its a number of individually (possibly small) factors, but when added together some new packages just decide that the conditions are not right, and decide to 'seek their fortune' elsewhere. :eek:
 

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Package bees absconding was a problem from the very beginning of bees through the mail. The Root company that pioneered package bees recommended that when hiving the package putting an excluder on the bottom board under the first hive body to keep the queen from leaving before starting to lay. This was before the use of screened bottom boards, so the problem is an old one.
 
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