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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I am back in the Netherlands after 2 years volunteer work in Kenya where I started beekeeping and made a Kenya Top Bar Hive (KTBH). http://www.bit.ly/beekeepingkenya

I am now busy making a top bar hive in Holland and this time want to incorporate a screened bottom board for ventilation and varroa control.

At the local hardware store they don't have a whole lot of choice of mesh. Most are way too big for chicken and rabbit pens. The only suitable mesh I found was a plastic mesh that you use to make an insect screen for a door or window. The mesh is black and has 17 holes per inch. Would this mesh be suitable to use for my top bar hive? I want to make the screened bottom board so that I can remove it to clean out dead bees and other dirt that has accumulated on the bottom.
Was also planning to use it to make an outside feeder with an upside down pickle jar. Can the bees get to the jar lid properly or are the holes too small for that?

Thanks.
 

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Did you check for gutter screen in the roofing section? 17 holes per inch doesn't sound like so tight a mesh that it wouldn't allow varroa to fall through. I'm not sure how you plan to use it for the feeder, though.
 

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17 holes per inch in my opinion would be too fine for a bottom board. as it would become clogged with cappings fairly rapidly. something in the vicinity of 1/8" openings and no larger than 3/16 would be what I prefer for my usage.
 

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When I had screened bottoms, 1/8 is what I used (it was gutter screen), but mine was primarily for small hive beetles and their larvae as varroa has not been a problem for me in the past. The bees tended to keep the screen clear of cappings in my experience, although it's possible that some of it simply fell through to the tub of mineral oil below.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Varroa seems to be a big problem in Holland and that's why I wanted to have the option of the screened bottom board. If I have a screened bottom, I can open it, ventilate, clean, count varroa.
I will go to different hardware stores and see if they sell the 1/8" hole mesh in Holland. I've never seen in here.

If I leave it closed and later on decide I want to put a screened bottom it won't be possible anymore.

As for the feeder it would look something like the link below. Only I won't attach it to a divider, but to one of the ends of the hive. I assume the back end is best? As the other side has the entrance holes in it. Or should the feeder be on the same side as the entrance?
 

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I assume you intend to put it on the outside rather than inside. The reason it's often put directly behind the follower board is because you will be using the board to adjust the volume of the hive according to the seasons. You want the bees to have easy access to the feed, especially during winter, and not create a large gap between the colony and their food source. Until I started feeding mine from below, I always did it behind the follower.
 

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I wouldn't do a screened bottom either. Just having the SBB won't help much with Varroa. It will give you a way to count mites, but with the angled sides of a TBH that may not mean as much on a TBH.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
And you guys also don't use a screened bottom board for ventilation and cleaning the hive?

You guys confused me... now I don't know what to do. Am tempted not to install a mesh floor. It will be much easier without.
 

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>And you guys also don't use a screened bottom board for ventilation and cleaning the hive?

On a top bar hive it's too much ventilation. It does nothing for cleaning the hive. I have built them with screened bottoms in the past but I never do now...

> You guys confused me... now I don't know what to do. Am tempted not to install a mesh floor. It will be much easier without.

Exactly. And they will be less likely to abscond and less likely to get too hot or too cold...
 

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And you guys also don't use a screened bottom board for ventilation and cleaning the hive?

You guys confused me... now I don't know what to do. Am tempted not to install a mesh floor. It will be much easier without.
My bees propolized most of the screened bottom, so it really did nothing to help me clean the hive. Maybe if you could remove the screen entirely (which I couldn't on mine) it would be a different story.
 

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Someone had a thread about having them on a hinge, but with my skills it probably wouldn't open and I would have to purchase a few hinges that would be used maybe once a year. Save the money on the screen to buy a beer after you are done and enjoy your handiwork.
 

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The only advantage that I can see of having a screened bottom, is if you don't have windows and want to see where the cluster is located in winter, you could remove whatever is covering the screen in winter and look in from underneath, assuming its up on legs. I personally have no windows in my tbhs, yet have not done this. (maybe I will next winter)
 

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Since all beekeeping is different depending on each region's conditions, do you know of any other beekeepers in Holland that use top bar hives? If so, have they found using screened bottoms worth the effort?
 
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