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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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I don't know that I would go without a bottom board at all. Might be a bit drafty.



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All my 4 hives have SBB. I enlarged the area underneath to accept an oil pan for hive beetle management. I have an access panel at the rear of the hive so I can remove the pan and treat with OA anytime, like at night when it is cooler.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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My SBB are styled after the Brushy Mountain bottom boards. I leave the 3/4" side up all the time and simply slide a sheet of corroplast under the hive in the 3/8" wide space. ( does not apply to this design) The entrance reducer obviously only fits in the 3/4" wide gap but I turn mine so the entrance is at the bottom, not the top as is shown in the ML brochure. Hope this answers your question.
 

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My mentor, who has a lot of experience, says to use SBB with metal window screen in them, not the #8 HW cloth that is typical, and to leave them open all the time. I'm really confused now after reading most of this thread. SMH
 

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All my 4 hives have SBB. I enlarged the area underneath to accept an oil pan for hive beetle management. I have an access panel at the rear of the hive so I can remove the pan and treat with OA anytime, like at night when it is cooler.
My hives I have done something very similar with good results, but left the oil tray and inspection board out in summer for better ventilation. But, several hives tended to cluster underneath at night, so I though it was a bit weird... This year I will keep the oil trays in most of the time, keep the inspection panels closed 100%, and I'll be putting a 1-1/2" slatted rack above the bottom screen. The I can keep the appropriate bees space under the lowest frames, and it'll give the guards and workers a better place to hang out at during the night. BTW I have only seen the occasional SHB in the pan or in my "beetle blaster" oil traps, so something must be working OK.

Finally, I am told that a key thing for prevention of SHB is to make sure the soil/etc under your hives is essentially impenetrable. Apparently the SHB larvae fall out of the hive eventually and dig into the soil to pupate, afterward they will emerge as new adults. I put a layer of 30# felt paper under all my hive stands, so I know any larvae aren't going to be burrowing through that. If you make it a bit bigger coverage than your hive stands = no weed whipping necessary either, and it minimizes any "grass ant bridges" :)
 

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My mentor, who has a lot of experience, says to use SBB with metal window screen in them, not the #8 HW cloth that is typical, and to leave them open all the time. I'm really confused now after reading most of this thread. SMH
Apparently if you use #8 on your screened bottoms, and there is any way to get under them from outside, the beetles can just climb in from underneath through the mesh. So, I presume that may be the idea, to keep out SHM from coming in via the basement. Not sure if varroa can fall though the window screen though, ideally you'd like a screen that was small enough to keep SHM out, but let stray mites fall though if they drop off from above in the combs.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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The whole "window screen keeps the the SHB out" sounds good in theory, but in my opinion, it is wishful thinking. SHB simply fly in through the front door unimpeded. And, the widow screen mesh is so small that debris do not fall through it, so you lose one of the reasons SBB are beneficial to some. As you become a beekeeper, you will have an opportunity to determine for yourself which arguments for or against SBB are valid in your climate. The bees will do fine either way.
 

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The whole "window screen keeps the the SHB out" sounds good in theory, but in my opinion, it is wishful thinking. SHB simply fly in through the front door unimpeded. And, the widow screen mesh is so small that debris do not fall through it, so you lose one of the reasons SBB are beneficial to some. As you become a beekeeper, you will have an opportunity to determine for yourself which arguments for or against SBB are valid in your climate. The bees will do fine either way.
Although I am certainly still evaluating some of the SBB benefits and drawbacks, I can absolutely verify the comment regarding debris. Even with #8 on the bottom (so larger holes than door screen) lots of debris gets trapped, and creates a layer of debris that is harder to drag out than if it was just a solid bottom. Cleaning them off is tougher too, since the debris tends to stick to the screen more than it would to a wooden bottom. I turned mine upside down and brushed them from the bottom side with a long-handled stuff brush, but a little honey and a little wax results in a big mess. At least with a solid bottom you can just scrape them out with a putty knife or a hive tool. 2 minutes and you are done.

The more I work with this stuff the more I can appreciate the simpler things. My initial plans were usually to try new concepts to develop new ways to theoretically reduce labor and improve conditions, but I'm finding that the added up-front complication and time might be better time spent of just managing things the easiest way possible with just a bit of extra labor in the hives. That way, you can just keep cranking out more "standard" equipment, and the time spent you are sure is being beneficial. Just keep managing the colonies you have the best you can, keep splitting, and if you are doing a good job you will wind up ahead.

Perhaps with superior innovation you can manage a small number of hives to be really healthy. But, with less innovation and more sweat equity, perhaps you can spend the time to split more and create more colonies, in which more ultimately survive, which consequently may also be genetically superior (forced survival of the fittest). So eventually, the more colonies strategy may win out over the "innovative" strategy. I'm smart enough to know that lots of people smarter than me have been raising bees since antiquity, and if there was a singe "best way" that always works perfect, everbody would have already adopted it. Seems like I may need to rethink some of my earlier strategy, and consider the advice from the more experienced more closely :)
 

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I know this thread is pretty old, but for those who DO use SBBs (which I am currently planning to do), I just wanted to confirm how I use use the item below (for example). So, I would just use this as the bottom of my hive? Or, I could place this on top of a solid hive bottom? It shows the entrance reducer put on top, so I assume that's where I would place the reducer?


https://www.mannlakeltd.com/10-frame-varroa-screened-with-drawer?list=Category Listing

Thx for any thoughts/support...
The concern is the bees perceive the screen as open, air and light come thru. They will have to guard this "giant opening" At times they decide to just find a better place. This has most impact at installation of swarm or package. Once bees are there, IMO like the frog in the boiling pot they will tolerate the opening. I agree in the north they are perhaps not optimal, FYI ALL my SBB died out this past winter. Maybe the SBB had no impact but I am discontinuing them. Today it is in the 20s with 20 MPH winds, I know the bees have brood, so maybe too much draft sometimes as well. I see the spray you can put on screen to close it off "flex seal" I may close of 90% and use them for "extras"

Use what works the best for your locale, each is a bit different.
GG
 

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Vaporizing through the bottom screen can cause a lot of the crystals to plate out on the screen and not make it into the hive. The screen metal acts as a heat sink, the vapors cool and the crystals reform on the screen instead of being spread throughout the hive.
This is one of the reasons some beeks report OAV not performing as it should if correctly applied.
Unless you look under the hive you may not realize this happens.
 

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I really like using screened bb with a drawer. I do not have hive beetles, I think because I dont buy bees anymore; It shows me what is going on in the hive and I use it for IPM. This year I am going to use 2 drone frames in each top brood box and rotate them out with others for varroa control every 20+ days. Before putting them in the hive cutout any big drone comb areas that might have mites then put these in. This is for control. You can monitor drone dropping on the drawers. In the early Spring I can see by the debris if they are eating honey or not.
 

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Here 90 percent of beekeepers now use sbb as to the comments of bees abscondind due to the fact the hive has a sbb ( load of tosh ) never heard of this been an issue..
The most important thing with a sbb is to have no other type of ventilation in hive when over wintering as it will cause a chimney effect.
 

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My oil pans stay in place all year except for July & August when its over 90 degrees, I have black rubber mats under the hives (on the ground) to reduce light reflection. Absconding has never been a problem and the pans catch anything that the bees chase thru the screen. I use OAV and crack the top to see the vapor move up then close the top. My bee yard is closed with a solid fence on the two windward sides. It all works for me in my area.
 

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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. :D
I agree with you about keeping them closed or bottom sticky board in place. Especially when starting up a package or a nuc. I keep them closed year round. I also insulate all year. I open them when moving a hive, maybe on a real hot day in the fog, when counting dead mites, reading the entrance activity and junk on the bottom board. I like the versatility. I will be building a new bottom board "box" soon with increased functions to go with my other crazy ideas - mostly suitable for backyard stuff and winter.
 
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