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Discussion Starter #1
I am planning to treat my hives soon, but I backed my hives up against a structure and I can’t very easily slide in the plastic covers for my screened bottom boards.

So I’m wondering if I can vaporize with the screened bottom open, and also if I should leave the screened bottom open during winter or quit being lazy and move my hives so I can slide in the plastic covers.

Thanks!
 

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I don't believe SBB should be used in the dead of summer let alone be left open all winter. Bees can survive the stress they cause, but it in no way is helpful to your colony. Use solid bottoms.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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The decision to use SBB or a solid bottom board is a personal one and really should not be intoduced as part of an answer because it deflects from the intent of the question. We as beekeepers are divided about 50/50 as to whether they are good or bad. Closing them off in the winter is a little less so divisive for those that use them. There are some beeks in cooler climates that leave them open all winter. Even though Richmond is still the south, I am not one of them. I close mine off. My advice is to move the hives so they are more workable, that to say from the rear. Slide the in the IPM board (cover) or not, and do what you think is best for your bees.

Vaporizing with the SBB open will not be nearly as effective.
 

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SBB offer good ventilation and may allow some mites/beetles to fall out of the hive. This again is a matter of location... wx, rain, wind. You need to be able to slide a sticky board under your hive to check the mite drop. Do it before you treat and it pretty much closes the SBB. It gets hot in Houston so you could leave the thing open all year and be fine. I run SBB with oil pans underneath to resolve SHB and any wax moths that try to get in.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I’ve read many pros and cons on the SBB. Houston summers are extremely hot and I did it for the ventilation. I’m wondering if our mild winters, coldest is in the 30s, even call for closing the SBB. I also wonder if I even need to treat for mites.

Maybe I’ll experiment in the future but with only two hives I want to do what’s best.

I experimented with foundationless frames in one and foundation frames in the other and the foundation frames hive is 4x stronger.

I don’t even know if I have a mite problem because I’ve never been able to check. I just assumed it was the right thing to do. The hives have done well this year.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
SBB offer good ventilation and may allow some mites/beetles to fall out of the hive. This again is a matter of location... wx, rain, wind. You need to be able to slide a sticky board under your hive to check the mite drop. Do it before you treat and it pretty much closes the SBB. It gets hot in Houston so you could leave the thing open all year and be fine. I run SBB with oil pans underneath to resolve SHB and any wax moths that try to get in.
How do you put oil pans under the SBB? Mine are on cinderblocks
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Aaron, everyone has a mite problem. For a first year with two hives, I recommend a 10 pack of Apivar strips.
 

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Everything you have concerns about needs to be addressed.
Yes, move the hives so you have good access to the SBB opening in the back. You will need to be able to slide in the tray and seal off the hive if you want to insure the most effective OAV treatment results.
Whether you leave the trays in during the winter is your decision. I leave mine in year round, but I'm in a much different climate than you.
I would bet my paycheck that, yes, you DO need to treat for mites. Unless you are one of the rare fortunate ones that have all the stars lined up to successfully be treatment free, mite management should be at the top of your list.
My 2 cents, if you already have the Vaporizer - Slide the oiled trays in , give the hives an OAV treatment, and check the number of mites on the board after 2 days. You might be shocked at what you find.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you all for the great information. I will certainly figure out how to close the hives for the OAV treatment. I already have the vaporizer and some hopguard strips I’ve never used, do I really need apivar too?

I’ve read horror stories about setting my hives on fire, but I also have slatted racks installed so that should help I guess.

Also wonder if the Varrox vaporizer will melt the corrugated plastic board.

Still wondering about keeping the SBB open or closed for winter. Some forums I read in Austin Beekeeping have mentioned their hives did worse when they close it up for winter compared to ones they didn’t.

It’s all really a crapshoot isn’t it.
 

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No, it's not a crapshoot.

And yes, you very likely need to treat.

I am not sure why you need to move the hives to insert the plastic board, but it would be useful to get them moved so that you can gather the info you need to know.

But there is no reason at all that the corrugated boards should be anywhere near your vaporizer which should be resting on the screened floor of the hive, with plastic board somewhere below the screen.

I have screened bottom boards (set on top of solid ones) and I use my Varrox on the screen floor all the time.

I think the likelihood of setting your hive on fire with the Varrox wand is practically zero, if you follow the instructions carefully and pay attention. I use a Varrox wands and have done many hundreds of treatments with it.

Just do what you need to do and stop rationalizing inaction. Your hives very likely need a mite treatment, and you have a Varrox on hand, so I don't see what's the problem. If you need persuading, then follow the suggestion upthread to install the boards, so a single treatment, and see how many dead mites appear on the board over the next three days.

Be sure to wear the proper protective gear when doing the treatment. It's essential.

Nancy
 

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I don't believe SBB should be used in the dead of summer let alone be left open all winter. Bees can survive the stress they cause, but it in no way is helpful to your colony. Use solid bottoms.
With due respect, do folks who insist an SBB is not necessary - even harmful - also treat for parasites and/or predators? Using the same logic, a wild hive gets no treatments.

I also live in a hot, humid climate and it makes sense to provide some ventilation in the summer. But hey, I'm a n00b. :)

- djb
 

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Discussion Starter #12
No, it's not a crapshoot.

And yes, you very likely need to treat.

I am not sure why you need to move the hives to insert the plastic board, but it would be useful to get them moved so that you can gather the info you need to know.

But there is no reason at all that the corrugated boards should be anywhere near your vaporizer which should be resting on the screened floor of the hive, with plastic board somewhere below the screen.

I have screened bottom boards (set on top of solid ones) and I use my Varrox on the screen floor all the time.

I think the likelihood of setting your hive on fire with the Varrox wand is practically zero, if you follow the instructions carefully and pay attention. I use a Varrox wands and have done many hundreds of treatments with it.

Just do what you need to do and stop rationalizing inaction. Your hives very likely need a mite treatment, and you have a Varrox on hand, so I don't see what's the problem. If you need persuading, then follow the suggestion upthread to install the boards, so a single treatment, and see how many dead mites appear on the board over the next three days.

Be sure to wear the proper protective gear when doing the treatment. It's essential.

Nancy
Thanks Nancy,

My screened bottoms can only have boards inserted from the backside, which is against a wall and the hives are very heavy but I will have to move them.

I fully intended to treat for mites, I’ve just been waiting for a more broodless period to do it.

I wonder how it can be harmless to the bees but we have to wear gas masks.
 

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65 colonies +/- mostly Langstroth mediums, a few deeps for nuc production
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The bees have a hard exoskeleton that the OA crystals do not penatrate. We don't.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Aaron, when I recommended the Apivar, I did not realize you had a Varrox. Still, your delay in treating could cost you both hives. Do something, just not the Hopguard. Apivar is easy to install and does not reqyire moving the hives. It also works with brood in the combs. As Ruth just mentioned in another post to you, the bees are probably feeling the pressure already. You can use the Varrox without the bottom board insert in place if the only other option is doing nothing. It just won't work as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
So I took the super off this weekend, processed the very dark and unusual tasting honey, some are saying honeydew honey. Almost a gallon worth.

I inserted the ipm bottom boards and sticky inserts on top, and vaporized both hives per the instructions.

I also gave them some candy and winter patties.

I was thinking next weekend I would check the sticky boards but I’m wondering if I should vaporize again this winter, buy some strips or something else.

I didn’t really think I was neglecting the hives, I was waiting on a broodless period and it’s finally getting cold. Maybe I need to find a schedule to stick to for my region.
 

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I'm one of the ones that you can put on the board that lost a hive using the Varrox. I paid attention when I noticed that vapor was too heavy looking and took a chance and looked in the hive to see it on fire. Did everything to instructions. Tried to save it by putting the remaining bees in a nuc with a new queen but still didn't make it.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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You should check the sticky boards tomorrow and plan on giving them another treatment this coming weekend. The OAV will work, even with brood in the hives. Treatments usually start in August so that the bees you will be overwintering with have not been subjected to heavy varroa infestation. Waiting until the hive is broodless means that you have no "good bees" in the hive.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
You should check the sticky boards tomorrow and plan on giving them another treatment this coming weekend. The OAV will work, even with brood in the hives. Treatments usually start in August so that the bees you will be overwintering with have not been subjected to heavy varroa infestation. Waiting until the hive is broodless means that you have no "good bees" in the hive.
If i am to start treating in august, can i remove the supers to treat, and then put them back on afterwards?

Also i am winter feeding, will the food be tainted with the treatment?

Thanks
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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If i am to start treating in august, can i remove the supers to treat, and then put them back on afterwards?

Also i am winter feeding, will the food be tainted with the treatment?

Thanks
Yes, you can remove the supers and put them back on an hour or two later. Winter feed is not "tainted", but cannot be used for human consumption. Where I am, supers come off in July and we get no fall flow so it is not a problem.
 

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With due respect, do folks who insist an SBB is not necessary - even harmful - also treat for parasites and/or predators? Using the same logic, a wild hive gets no treatments.

I also live in a hot, humid climate and it makes sense to provide some ventilation in the summer. But hey, I'm a n00b. :)

- djb
There is no logic whatsoever in comparing a wild hive with managed honey bees in wood boxes.
 
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