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-Not about wearing pants while beekeeping, that would be silly and sometimes painfull!:pinch:

I am looking for information on the pros and cons about not using bottom boards? What do you think?:)
 

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-Not about wearing pants while beekeeping, that would be silly and sometimes painfull!:pinch:

I am looking for information on the pros and cons about not using bottom boards? What do you think?:)
The bees may think the entrance is way too big. I have seen pictures of old gums with an open end but I think something should be used to keep pest out.

Nudist beekeepers?? :eek: You may be on to something there but it may cause the bees to fly away(at least in my case).
 

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>> I am looking for information on the pros and cons about not using bottom boards?

Unless you have discovered some kind of perpetual levitation process,:p or are sitting the boxes directly on the dirt, something needs to support those boxes. Screened bottom boards, solid bottom boards, unitized pallet bottom boards or perhaps just ordinary pallets are some of the more common options.

To have a completely open bottom invites in any manner of pests/varmints, and may let in lots of light. You risk having the bees not appreciate those conditions and they may decide to abscond. :eek:
 

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I think it could be an idea worth pursuing - bees don't actually need a floor. We give them floors because we're terrestial creatures and find it hard to imagine life without one. And after all - skeps are bottomless beehives ...

It's not a new idea - a couple of relevant US Patents:

#30143 (1860) - Bottomless Beehives
#192520 (1877) - Open Mesh Floor

There's also a Biobees video entitled 'A Bottomless Beehive' - where the OMF had disintegrated, effectively creating a bottomless hive.

I gave this some thought a few years back - this was the best I could come up with (just the concept, obviously):



The hive body is placed over a frame with vertical netting on all four sides. The hive itself is thus bottomless (would be interesting to see exactly where the combs stopped growing ...) and yet the mesh would prevent access by robbers/intruders etc. Slot entrance just above the mesh, and there's an opening on one side to allow a pan to be inserted to collect the crap. A wooden batten would seal that opening.
One advantage would be that cheap plastic windbreak netting could be used, instead of more expensive wire mesh.

Would it be worth doing ? Dunno - might be worth making one up and see what happens. Could be interesting. Could also be a disaster ...

LJ
 

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I tried bottomless on 5 hives about 25 years ago.

Only upside was not having to buy (or make) a bottom board.

I had read that they would produce more honey. Did not appear to be true.

During Winter, a skunk, ****, or some other varmit got into the bottom deep of 3 of the 5 hives, (likely after the bees had moved up into the 2d deep) and pretty much destroyed the comb in the bottom deep. 2 of the 5 died over the Winter. Could not determine if it was due to no bottom board, or some other reason.

As said above, I did not see any real upside, and did not try it any more. End of experiment.

cchoanjr
 

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Just a guess, but, my prediction, the netting would quickly be propolized to reduce air flow and in essence, give the hive .............. A Bottom..........:scratch:
 

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Cleo,
Thanks for sharing that there was a supposed Upside. Production. Thanks also for sharing your experience with the downside. G
 

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Little-John;1325442/ said:
....... bees don't actually need a floor. We give them floors because we're terrestial creatures and find it hard to imagine life without one. And after all - skeps are bottomless beehives .
The skeps that I've seen are bottomless, it's true, but they sit on a base or shelf of some sort, i.e a bottom. Are you suggesting that they are hung like church bells? I haven't seen that yet.

Is the original poster talking about leaving a screened bottom board open year round or simply nothing between the bottom of the frames and the ground except open air? Cold, blowing open air? Open air filled with robbing bees or yellow jackets? Open air with a skunk making its hungry way to a feast of bees? Open air with even the mice moving in for the winter thinking "what's up with this?"

I'd also be interested in hearing what the OP might be thinking could be a benefit to this idea.

Wayne
 

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In my experiment, the 5 hives set on stands made from 2 inch pipe, exactly like the hive stands shown in this photo. (Obviously this is not a photo of the 5 bottomless hives, because these obviously have bottom boards.) Just posted to show how the hives were positioned.




cchoganjr
 

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Just a guess, but, my prediction, the netting would quickly be propolized to reduce air flow and in essence, give the hive .............. A Bottom..........:scratch:
If that was a real possibility, then my OMF's - which are left open all year round - would also be propolised. But they're not. Not even one small dab of propolis. Never.
LJ
 

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The skeps that I've seen are bottomless, it's true, but they sit on a base or shelf of some sort, i.e a bottom. Are you suggesting that they are hung like church bells? I haven't seen that yet.
Some of you are assuming that 'bottomless' means having no structure at all below the hive - and therefore being suspended in mid-air. That is very limited thinking ...
'Bottomless' implies just that - having no closed bottom board. In a sense, an OMF produces a bottomless hive - certainly from a ventilation point-of-view.

Is the original poster talking about leaving a screened bottom board open year round or simply nothing between the bottom of the frames and the ground except open air? Cold, blowing open air? Open air filled with robbing bees or yellow jackets? Open air with a skunk making its hungry way to a feast of bees? Open air with even the mice moving in for the winter thinking "what's up with this?"
You paint a picture full of drama. If a bottom entrance ONLY is employed - there is no "cold, blowing open air" when using an open bottom (or OMF). And the lower edges of the bottom combs moderate any draught, whilst the bees are clustered much higher up.
Plus - with the windbreak netting I've described (which could be complemented with chicken netting outside of that to keep any aggressive varmints out) airflow would be further attenuated.

I run open-OMF all year long. Bottom entrances only, with the rest of each hive having a fully sealed and insulated top. And it's not just me - many beekeepers in Britain run their hives like this. The upper entrance seems to be an American thing - but not over here.
I have never seen disease (not saying I won't - it just hasn't happened as at the time of writing) - a complete absence of any nosema or chalkbrood - and my winter losses have been zero for many years now. The only time I ever consider closing the OMF's for a spell is if a severe storm is forecast. Sometimes I do, but usually I don't - it doesn't seem to make any difference. But if I were to start losing colonies, then I'd certianly re-think this approach.

Next time a flying insect enters your house, watch where it lands. Walls or ceiling - seldom (unless it has a very special reason for so doing - like food ...) will it land on the floor. Floors are for humans - upper surfaces are the domain of flying insects.

LJ
 

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Tom Seeley once conducted a 'bait hive' experiment to determine the optimum size of cavity selected by honey bees searching for a new home. When viewed from a conventional scientific perspective, it was a well-conducted experiment - but was fraudulent (in the Medawarian sense), as so much scientific research tends to be.

The truth was revealed when Seeley mentioned - in his book 'Honeybee Democracy' - the events which actually took place during that experiment. Rather than select either of the sizes of bait box being evaluated - what actually happened was that the bees high-tailed it over to the only cottage on the barren island being used for the experiment, and immediately set up home in it's chimney - much to the displeasure of the lobster fisherman living there. It was only after the chimney had been capped with mesh to prevent bees from selecting it as a cavity of preference, that the bait-box size experiment could continue.

That tells me - admittedly with a sample of just one - that bees would much rather set up home in a chimney (which is, effectively, a 'bottomless beehive') than in any size of bait box.

LJ
 

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If that was a real possibility, then my OMF's - which are left open all year round - would also be propolised. But they're not. Not even one small dab of propolis. Never.
LJ
I consider it a real possibility due to the fact that I have witnessed screened bottom boards completely propolized. I will see if I can find a picture, I know I have one somewhere. G
 

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Well, looking further into bottomless beekeeping, I didn't have to go further than the Beesource Point Of View section where a 2004 article in Bee Culture by Charles Martin Simon is reprinted:
http://www.beesource.com/point-of-view/charles-martin-simon/bottomless-beekeeping/

In it he describes many upsides, including decreased mite problems and some downsides, primarily decreased honey production.

I haven't seen any information where this technique has been used successfully with very low winter temps. Charles Simon is in the San Francisco area of California and Phillip Chandler is in the temporate southern end of England.

Wayne
 
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