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They're not necessary but, as stated, some use both. You don't have to though.
 

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It helps to realize they perform different functions.

The Screened Bottom Board is designed not just to facilitate ventilation, but more importantly, as a means of mite control. When mites fall off the bees during grooming etc. they fall thru the screen to the ground where they perish. Without the screen, and a solid bottom board instead, they simply hitch a ride on the next bee passing by.

The slatted rack is designed to provide a clustering place inside the hive but outside the brood nest. The 4" wide entrance board also gives more space for the hive bees to defend against interlopers...takes more work for the interlopers to get into the hive. That seems to be the principle, anyway. and the space above and under the slats gives more room for bees to cluster, without crowding the brood nest.

Now, if you build yours, run the slats the same direction as the frames, not across the frames as are commercially made. That way the mite fall won't land on the slats and hitch a ride on a bee returning to the brood nest.
Regards,
Steven
 

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I use them as well. The queen will lay all the way down to the bottom of the bottom fames. This can be important if you're using queen excluders (I do). Whereas without the slatted rack they don't like to lay that low. It gives the queen more laying space, reduces crowding, and reduces the hives desire to "beard" when it gets hot.

The Screened bottom board are also great to keeping the hive cool and IPM
 

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IMO a sbb is very usefull in controling of mites and my mit count is almost zero.
 

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It's funny. We have this RAGING debate in these parts about SBB and whether to leave them open or close them up each winter. Sometimes it get pretty ugly.

I'm of the school that says SBB are great for summer ventilation and varroa control, but I like to close them off for the winter, to basically do what the slatted rack is supposed to do--keep the brood area warmer going into late spring.

But there are others who swear on their mother's grave that they closed off the SBB and the bees all died, how leaving them open makes for healthier bees in the winter, how you don't have to close it off because the bees don't heat that area beyond the cluster, blah, blah, blah. (You can tell I'm biased).

Then we have the solid bottom board folks who don't say a thing. They just sit on the sidelines and watch the rest of us argue.

I've never felt, if you have a solid bottom board or if you close off the SBB, that a slatted rack really helped, particularly if you are using an entrance reducer. Some of the old timers I talk with never believed the claims either. I own two used ones. Maybe it's time for a little experiment.

Grant
Jackson, MO
 

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I started to use screened bottom boards to try to stem the moisture problem I was having in my hives over the winter. I put in slated racks to help give the bees a place to rest and help keep them in the hive during summer storms we get up here after seeing them bearding through a hard rain storm when there was no more room in the hive.

I've read that slated racks might help keep the hive from overcrowding a bit and therefore might possibly help prevent swarming. Well, whatever. The changes I've made seme to have made a difference in honey production and moisture issues, so I'm going to keep the practice going for now.
 

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It helps to realize they perform different functions.

Now, if you build yours, run the slats the same direction as the frames, not across the frames as are commercially made. That way the mite fall won't land on the slats and hitch a ride on a bee returning to the brood nest.
Regards,
Steven
I'm confused. Are you saying that only commercially made slatted racks are meant to be placed with the slats running perpendicular to the frames? That doesn't seem practical for IPM. Why would they build them that way? Running the slats in the same direction as the frames seems sensible for mite control. I don't plan on constructing my own and planned on purchasing a rack from a supplier. Please advise.
 

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I wonder what effect the new style slatted racks have with a fairly wide solid bottom in the front. I'm thinking this will keep the hive darker and less subject to breezes entering the bottom, and wonder what effect this may have on the bee's use of the comb in the bottom box.

A great subject for a graduate school thesis, eh?

Peter
 

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It helps to realize they perform different functions....

<snipped for brevity>
Steven,

Thanks very much for this informative post. I always thought that the two devices were just different ways of addressing the same problem. I have screened bottom boards for the hives I'm setting up, but I'll keep slatted racks in mind as we get into the hotter part of the year.

Brian
 
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