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I lost contact with this Forum for quite a while. It is amazing how expanded it is now.
So, hives on Screen Bottom Boards: are they any healthier, dryer, stronger? Are they ripening nectar faster? Are they bearding less?

Top ventilation: does it truly help reduce inside moisture?
 

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Welcome back! I personally am not a proponent of SBB but I live in cold dry country. For your needs they may have a use.
 

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guate...welcome back! You've been a member for a while!

There has been MUCH discussion on screened vs solid bottoms. I don't know your climate down there, but I can tell you, solid bottom boards have way out performed screened bottoms (for ME) here in Florida. I jumped on the "screened bottom band wagon" when it sounded so appealing here...I have since transitioned back, with only about 2 screened bottoms remaining to eliminate (the bees did better on solids!). Solid bottoms, all the way here, even in the tropical rains and humidity. Hands down.

Top ventilation....I use an inner cover, oblong vent hole in middle, and grooved entrance/vent to the back of the hive. Telescoping cover onto the inner cover, and pushed to the back. Resourceful bees can use that as an upper entrance when/if they choose. I can honestly say, I have never had a moisture problem.

Are you having a moisture problem? Inner cover with groove to the back, and outer cover slid to the back should allow enough of a chimney effect for ventilation. Air in the front bottom, out the top back... What's going on? Or just curious?

I will also add...if you have hive beetles as much as I do, you are giving the bees ALL that much more space to defend from those boogers! Screened bottom boards don't keep beetles out.

I will never build/buy, or adopt a screened bottom board again. FWIW.
 

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and sneak a slatted rack in just because..
 

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solid bottom boards have way out performed screened bottoms here in Florida.
Way to quantify your observation! And which way would that be if you don't mind me asking?

Screened bottom boards don't keep beetles out.
Neither do solid bottom boards. You are a proponent of a top vent, do those keep beetles out? The fact of the matter is the beetles will always find a way to get in, regardless of that way being 2 square inches or 200 (and that's how you quantify the term way :) )

For me personally, if I put a hive on a solid board at the end of the day half of the colony will be hanging on the outside of the hive, doing nothing. If I use screened bottom board all the bees are elsewhere going about their business. That alone sold it for me.
 

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It certainly does. I use them on all of my hives. During our northern winters they are closed, however come late spring they are open, the inner cover is pushed back about a half inch opening, outer cover raised at an angle and also lowest honey supers are pushed back a 1/2 inch as well. The more openings the faster they will dry the nectar. Has been working for me for many years now. OMTCW
 

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SBB with oil trays underneath are great tools against SHB. UF did a study and found SBB hives had 14% fewer Varroa, thou that did not make enough difference to stop them from having to treat. I use both SBB and Solids. SBB hives seem to beard less, My strongest hive is on a SBB my second strongest hive is on a solid. So i think the quality of the queen makes the most difference. I have small 1" square upper entrances / vents in all my hives. I have not noticed that my SBB hives are any more likely to have SHB than my solids, and much less likely if it also has an oil tray. Going to try beetle baffles this summer.
 

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If you're using a SBB with no tray underneath, I have no idea what use it is other than varroa that fall through may not make it back to the hive. SHB that fall through will just fly back in.

All my SBB have an oil tray underneath and I catch a boatload of SHB. It gets hot here, so if I see a lot of bearding, I may take the tray out to experiment, but I prefer to kill SHB.

Rick
 

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I don't have SHB in my region (knock on hive cover).

Screens are useful for detecting what is happening in the hive without opening it up. I don't think they change the course of a Varroa epidemic significantly, but they do provide some early warning.

Hives here are bothered by tiny Argentine ants. Solid bottoms allow the bees to seal all cracks with propolis and keep the ants at bay. Cannot do that with screens and the ants invade, especially when syrup is on the hives.
 

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Bee-52...Forgive me for forgetting a very little pronoun...."ME"....as in "My Experience". My bad. I am sure your bashing and quoting was so very helpful for the OP.

As far as your bees "doing nothing"...I am sure if you crack the whip, they'll do much more for you...Maybe they're all inside the hive with the screened bottom board because they have 100 times the territory to defend??? :D Chill... Our opinions obviously differ...and again, my BAD for inadvertently making what came across as a blanket statement for Florida. It was intended to by "in MY experience". Bee-52...Perhaps you'd like to give some lessons in how you want posters to "quantify" their results???
 

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What this discussion is really about is ventilation. I have screened bottom boards with a routed slot below where I slide in a solid board for the winter. I am reading with interest the different views.

Bees in Miami, I find it interesting that you are going AWAY from screened bottom boards. We certainly have our share of SHB's here, but have found that keeping the hives on the crowded side keeps the little buggers under control, so I have not found that a screened bottom board contributes to SHB infestation.

Do you use a bottom entrance or just a top entrance? If not how do you maintain a chimney effect?

Phil
 

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Philip...I tried to keep the conversation based on the original questions...but the OP has still not responded to moisture questions. I only offered what has worked for me, in a high humidity, high moisture environment. As I said to the OP, with my set ups, I have never had a moisture problem.

I myself, have had less success with screened bottoms. The queens don't lay full frames, and stay away from at least an inch of the bottom of frames... And yes, I am going BACK to solid bottoms. Yes, I maintain a bottom entrance, which is the primary entrance to the hive. Almost all my hives at the moment are fully opened at the bottom. A few weaker hives are still getting a bit of reducer "aid". If a few bees decide to use the top groove in the inner cover as an upper entrance, that is up to them , but not encouraged or discouraged by me. (It's just the groove from a typical inner cover...with the outer telescoping cover pushed to the back.) I didn't even realize they were using it as an upper entrance until I saw the edges rounded...much like a reducer that has been left in the entrance too small, for too long. I 100% agree, a strong bee population is without a doubt, THE best control for SHB's....NO question. I do not in any way say that screened bottoms 'contribute' to SHB problems...But from my experiences, solid bottom hives have performed better (for ME, at least!). I use beetle blasters with mineral oil...I tried the street sign thing with borax, etc...I still go back to blasters.
A STRONG hive solves all problems...
 

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Almost all my hives at the moment are fully opened at the bottom.
Ok, now seriously, I'm not trying to 'bash' anybody by just asking to clarify a point. So you are ventilating your hive through the enlarged bottom entrance. However, bees don't have to guard the bottom board, but now they have that large entrance opening to protect. University of Florida study showed greater honey yields with reduced entranced. So there might be something to it. And again, as far as the probability of SHB getting into the hive, both are pretty much equal and are around 100%. There is a reason why they use #8 hardware cloth on the bottom board, but if you don't believe in the reasoning behind it, you can always use smaller mesh to prevent anything but a flea from getting through.

That being said, I also believe that if you found something that works for you - you should stick with it. There are a lot of variables to consider, and if the sum of all those variables equals to a healthier and more productive colony while using a solid board then so be it.
 

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<snip>
I will also add...if you have hive beetles as much as I do, you are giving the bees ALL that much more space to defend from those boogers! Screened bottom boards don't keep beetles out.
<snip> I do not in any way say that screened bottoms 'contribute' to SHB problems...But from my experiences, solid bottom hives have performed better (for ME, at least!).
BIM, I'm not trying to give you a hard time by any means, but those are somewhat conflicting statements. If screened bottom boards cause the bees to have "much more space to defend" would not that be contributing to the beetle problem? Expending resources for guarding beetles is part of the beetle problem...it takes workers away from caring for brood and from honey production.

As for the bottomboards, I currently have eight hives and use solid, screened, and screened with oil tray. I've had bearing(?) issues for several weeks now on basically all of the hives, regardless of screening or not, though I think the open screened bottom ones are having a bit less.

Ed

Ed
 

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Just make sure the entrance for the solid board is facing backwards. We inspected a hive once with a screen bb Above A Solid With Both Entrances Facing forwards.

The hive had swarmed and the Virgin flew between the boards when returning from her mating flight...the space between was full of brood and no brood 80 the hive noxes. The single layer of screen allowed enough communication that the queen thought she was in the hive...And the hive felt queenright.

Deknow

SBB or Solid? I use both at once because I like having a convenient way to do sticky boarding.

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