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Hi all. I fully planned on cleaning out the bottom board to all of my hives this weekend, but didn't have time for more than a health/honey weight check on my hives. Then I got to thinking... should I be cleaning out the bottom board at all? I was wondering what you all do. I am hoping to go the road of treatment free but not sure if it will be possible based on all the commercial bees brought into my area. I am still going to give it a try though. In either case, would cleaning out the bottom board be ridding my hives of all that delicious microbial environment? ;) Please let me know what you do.
 

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I thought to do the same thing but when I removed the entrance reducer a week ago, there was mountains of pollen on the floor, so I just switched to a bigger size entrance, replaced the reducer and left it up to them. I was amazed at how much fresh pollen there was on the floor.
 

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Then I got to thinking... should I be cleaning out the bottom board at all? I am still going to give it a try though. In either case, would cleaning out the bottom board be ridding my hives of all that delicious microbial environment? ;) Please let me know what you do.
I think that thinking part is only going to get you in trouble.:rolleyes: try one of your better hives and clean the bottom board, since they haven't been able to for 4 months you may find that the bees are so deep, they are up to the frames, some of the hives can't use the bottom entrances as they are completely plugged. all you are really doing is saving the bees the effort to remove the dead bees and giving them a bottom board that may dry out some day up here. If you have a new bottom board, you could just replace the current one and leave the old dead bees on the old board and store it away and save all the microbial's for next winter. :thumbsup:

just a passing thought, if the dead bees were good for the hive, why do bees have undertaker bees to remove the dead??
 

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Hmmm, leaving a pile of sodden, rotting and fermenting insect carcasses at the very least to start rotting a hole in the bottom board and calling every carrion loving organism in the neighborhood?
That's a new twist to nonintervention beekeeping!
About the same for the valley's pile of wax cappings LOL
 

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Hmmm, leaving a pile of sodden, rotting and fermenting insect carcasses at the very least to start rotting a hole in the bottom board and calling every carrion loving organism in the neighborhood?
That's a new twist to nonintervention beekeeping!
About the same for the valley's pile of wax cappings LOL
Well, nobody's cleaning up the tree cavities for them in the wild. ;)
 

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Hmmm, leaving a pile of sodden, rotting and fermenting insect carcasses at the very least to start rotting a hole in the bottom board and calling every carrion loving organism in the neighborhood?
That's a new twist to nonintervention beekeeping!
About the same for the valley's pile of Pollen LOL
There, I fixed it since you apparently didn't comprehend that I said POLLEN. I know the difference, but thanks for assuming.
 

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When I get to the bottom board (if I happen to be there) I dump it off. If things are stuck on too well, I scrape it off... I tried keeping a detritus area but it never seemed to work out the way I had hoped.
 

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I am using SBB and if you don't dump out all the dead bees and gunk the mites cannot fall through. The screen doesn't function if it is clogged with dead bee carcasses and I surely don't want the healthy bees crawling through the pile picking up live mites trying to empty the bottom of the hive. In the dead of winter I don't think there are a lot of live mites in the pile so the bees can choose to clean it out or not and leave it as a cloak board. In the spring I do intervene in this case.
 

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When I once or twice a year see my bottom board, it is clean. My Italians either clean as they go or clean occasionally, as I have never seen a dirty bottom board.
 

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I think that thinking part is only going to get you in trouble.:rolleyes: try one of your better hives and clean the bottom board, since they haven't been able to for 4 months you may find that the bees are so deep, they are up to the frames, some of the hives can't use the bottom entrances as they are completely plugged. all you are really doing is saving the bees the effort to remove the dead bees and giving them a bottom board that may dry out some day up here. If you have a new bottom board, you could just replace the current one and leave the old dead bees on the old board and store it away and save all the microbial's for next winter. :thumbsup:

just a passing thought, if the dead bees were good for the hive, why do bees have undertaker bees to remove the dead??

I always like it when you add perspective - haha :)

My assumption was that the bees would clear it all out without my help, who am I to put the undertakers out of work ;) As Dominic suggested, tree cavities aren't cleared each year. Just the same I think that it wouldn't hurt to dump it out.

I actually think the pile of bees is the current case in one of the hives I have that doesn't seem to be using the bottom entrance, hoping to clear the boards this week when it warms up. Most of the other hives are using the both entrances.
 

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I cleaned mine off. Some hives were quite clean..just cap pings and bit of debris...others had an inch of dead bees! The ones with a bunch of dead bees blocking the lower entrance were using the upper entrance...still are even with a clear lower entrance. I wonder how many hives die because their only entrance is blocked off...snow on the outside and/or dead bees on the inside.
This my first year and I was shocked by the state of the bottom hoard in a couple of my hives.
Don't know how top bar folks manage with the bottom board nailed in place.
 

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I cleaned mine off a few weeks ago. There were piles of chewed cappings, no pollen. Swept it off and scraped some bur comb. They had already carried out the corpses and were putting the pollen in the comb.
 
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