BetterBee has one with the slats going the other way, that is in line with the frames. I am pretty sure that they make them with either 9 or 10 slats to accomadate those that use either 9 or 10 frames in their hive bodies.
I have slatted racks (the ones from Betterbee that run in line with the frames) and sbbs and use FGMO as my varroa prevention method. It works perfectly. My girls do not beard on the hive because the ventilation (which, IMO, is the most important thing in a hive) is so great. And that's saying something here in Coastal NC where both the temps and humidity levels have been in the nineties for quite a while now! As for mites, my 24-hr sticky board tests consistently run 3-5 mites.
What are you trying to accomplish with a slatted rack that the SBB doesn't do? I can't see the expense of another piece of equipment. it's 105+ here now. With SBB and a popcicle stick under the top, I see almost no bees outside at 5:00pm.
Pardon an old man's ignorance, but bees have been spreading out their cluster to regulate their temp. for thousands of years. What is wrong with letting them beard? To me it is a way to judge their relative strength and work with the weaker ones without going into all the hives to check, or if the beard gets too large, add a box. They expand and contract inside the hive constantly, year round. Why does it cause such a stir when it includes the outside of the hive?
Ross, I believe it's much drier in TX. Humidity's almost always in the 90's here in eastern NC. An SBB and popsicle sticks (I use them both) just doesn't cut it. iddee, I have no problem with the girls bearding in general. It's just that I really hate to see them bearding when it's raining. Clumps of soaking wet honeybees is a sorry sight. I think they're much happier inside in such weather.
Tia, so for your own comfort, might it be cheaper to lay a piece of tin on the top of the hive to give them a porch roof? In the deep south the bees build combs on open tree limbs. When it rains, they simply spread their wings and form a shield that the water just runs off from. The bees themselves stay dry, just the wings of the outer bees get wet. They then dry with the first sign of sunshine.
I have never had them beard badly before the main flow subsided. I have never had them swarm after the main flow subsided. Therefore, I have never connected bearding with swarming. Giving them room is what I do mostly, although I do have a couple tops propped up waiting for lazy me to add boxes.
Again, the size of the beard can tell you a lot about the conditions inside the hive.
Why do you think a slatted rack is going to lower the humidity? More space will have zero effect on that. Air flow, supplied by the SBB and top vent will give the exact same relative humidity in the hive as it will with a rack, at $10 less per hive. If swarming is a problem, I don't think the slatted rack will have nearly as much effect as another box and an open brood box. Oh, and I guess you missed my post about 104 degrees at noon, an inch of rain, and 104 again a 5:00. We know about humidity too.
More space/ventilation most certainly does lower humidity. If that were not the case, why would fans be used to dry honey or for that matter, cool a person off (evaporation)? And since I'm a hobbyist with 8 hives max (7 right now), I can spring for the $80 expense. Like chicken soup, it can't hurt. My personal observation is that the racks make a big difference. We all have our opinions/ways of doing things; this is mine.
As for swarming, I've been checkerboarding for two years and have had only one small swarm issue in that time and that's because I wasn't paying attention.
Ross, I'm sorry if I offended you by inferring that Greenvile TX is not humid. Pardon my ignorance.
For the summer I replaced my inner covers with screened ones. Turned one way, they seal off the top for transportation; turned the other way they leave gaps on either side for upper entrances and increased ventilation under the top cover. With SBB I'm hoping I've created a virtual attic fan!!The girls do seem to enjoy "hanging out" up there.
I'm intrigued with slatted bottoms and have read that for comb honey production they're quite helpful, though I don't know why, just yet. That's for another thread
I use slatted racks with open SBB year 'round. The brood patterns are very nice and I see no bearding regardless of colony size. My mite counts seem primarily related to the timing/frequency of requeening and the parentage of the queens. I do not feel that SBB or slatted racks either alone or individually dramatically affect my mite drops.
I thought ventilation benefits were unquestioned. Now there seem to be some doubts. Well, as someone said "ask ten beekeepers and you`ll get more than ten answers".
I beleive there may be some confusion when trying to learn from feral hives, because if we provided exactly what bees naturally need, we would obtain exactly what bees naturally produce.
Does anyone know the average production of feral hives? Funny question, eh?
Well, that`s the point: we beekeepers are after higher than natural yields, and therefore we must learn from nature and help the bees make more of what they naturally make.
Bearding is one fine example. Yes, bees naturally beard when overheating becomes a problem in their nest. But when they are out, some work is left undone inside. The ripening process of honey does require active manipulation of nectar. I`ve read somewhere it is field bees that do this. So, bearding bees means idle bees. It also means that extra efforts are necessary to keep proper incubation conditions, lest the brood will die.
If the beekeeper can help releive this extra stress, I do think he`s contributing to a healthier, more productive colony.
>>I thought ventilation benefits were unquestioned<<
I agree...I'm just saying the size of the beard will tell lots of info. A baseball size beard says everything is optimum. A watermelon size says too hot from no ventilation or not enough room. No beard says look for healthy hive. You may have one or you may have trouble.
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