Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
I don't know that I would go without a bottom board at all. Might be a bit drafty.
For the bees
For the bees
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.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.
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.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
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 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.
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"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?
Thx for any thoughts/support...
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.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.