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Quick question on this subject. I had 4 hives going into the winter, 2 with SBB's, and 2 with BB's. I meant to slide something in over the screens for the winter but due to going thru a divorce and other things I neglected the hives somewhat and never closed off the screens. 1 hive with a regular BB died and the other one survived and is doing okay but definitely not booming as the 2 with SBB's on them. I was amazed after seeing this. I thought they might have had trouble regulating the temps or whatever but they are thriving. So, should I have closed off the screens or not? I can't see where it hurt me to leave them off thru the winter and we had alot of weeks of some pretty cold temps plus quite a bit of snow and they seem to have flourished just fine. Any thoughts?
 

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Obviously not, cold does not normally kill bees, but lack of adequate ventilation and excessive moisture does. A lot of beeks leave the SBB's open all year long.
 

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I did the same thing to all my colonies this year (just neglect really), and they're doing great. I had two of seven perish, and they starved rather than froze. The colonies that had adequate stores are booming, and we had some COLD weeks this winter here. In your (more temperate) climate, I'd leave the sliding trays in the truck except to monitor mite loads.
 

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Thank you, I am glad that you brought this subject up!
I have a few questions for everyone.
I am planning on building some 4 hive clip pallets for my bees with screened bottoms in them and have been debating about having a slide in tray or piece of white painted plywood or sheetmetal or something to close up the bottoms.
It sounds like most beeks prefer and have better luck when they leave the bottom screens open year around, so I was thinking to save time and $ that I might just const. them open at all times and forget about the slide in tray.
I could use one tray to slide under each one for doing mite counts, etc.?
The palletized bees will be loaded on my flatbed truck and hauled to different locations/yards and I was wondering how the open bottoms would affect the bees during travel in all ranges of temps?
Wondering what the commercial beeks do that have the same set up?
Thanks! Mtn. Bee :s:s
 

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All mine are SBB's, palletized, and I leave them open year round including travel. For mite counts I use a white plastic signboard, spray it with PAM, slide it under hive pull out after 24hrs.
 

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I'm a bit north of you, in Poplar Bluff, MO and I inserted plywood closures this winter. Had some moisture on the bottom plywood, under the sbb. I think next year I'll do as you did, leave the closures out, and see what happens. It obviously worked for you.
Regards,
Steven
 

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When I used to sell supplies, my SBBs went all the way north by the truckload without closures. We went through the coldest winter in Florida without closures this year. Heat rises so it is like a bell jar or hot air balloon - the bad stuff gets out and the temperature is just right.
 

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IMHO what happened with the SBB is that a cold sink was created, thus allowing the hive an opportunity to better regulate temps.
 

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I'm in Amarillo,TX and have been leaving the SBB open for several years with no problems. However, I do shove leaves under the hive stand to keep potential drafts to a minimum, since the wind does blow here ( :
 

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I left most of my screens open this year, we got down in the teens a few times and cold didn't seem to be an issue. My bottoms have the trays under the screen, on the ones where I left a tray in place I noticed quite a bit of pollen that fell through the screens. I think the screen may scrape off a portion of the pollen the bees collect. I wonder about ants and other pests having free access to the bottom of the hive as well. The girls love to patch up everything with propolis, I wonder if the screen gives them fits in this regard:scratch:

Mtn Bee

I've seen a few pallets with permanent screens in them with no real provision to close them off. The one concern I saw with screened pallets is the likely hood of stabbing the forks through the screen in rough terrain. It is very easy to do and might go undetected for a while. I am considering using 2X6's to get a little more clearance under the hive bottoms when I build pallets.
 

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RZBCKBEE-

I live in the TX panhandle nw of Lubbock. Of the hives I lost this winter, they all had solid bottom boards. My hives with screened bottom boards are all alive. I didn't use entrance reducers on any of my hives either. Had a few mouse problems, but a hive tool took care of them quickly. This year I'm changing to all screened bottom boards with upper entrances. That will cure the mouse problem.
 

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This will just be my second year in beekeeping so I admit I don't know much but I guess the first thing that stood out in my mind was how much better the 2 hives were that had the screened bottoms on them. The difference was astounding to be quite honest and the 1 hive I did lose was a solid bottom board. I appreciate all the feedback I am getting. Thanks.
 

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I run all SBB's on my 35 or so hives. In fact I just finished painting 20 more.

RZRBCK BEE,

Since your hive count is so small it would be real hard to make anything out of the two hives on SBB's. Now if you had 50 on SBB's and 50 on CBB's, I think you would be able to make a better case.
 

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Appreciate your input and you may be correct but it was just an observation and I wasn't trying to make a point that everyone should switch to SBB's. Just asking for people with more experience to tell me what they thought.
 

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This is my frist year.

Both hives had SBB and left open all winter. They are also on a stand that keeps the bottom off the ground by a good foot. Lots of air under them. So far both hives are alive and one thriving and one hanging on. It gets really cold up here. Not as cold as last winter but cold enough. I have one hole in the midle deep of three.
 

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I leave most of mine wide open, and always have, and always will. I see more Nosema streaks on the few hives with Solid Bottom boards, which I finally will be replacing this year. And there seems to be no delay in Spring buildup. You'd think the cold would just whistle through the hives. But they seem to like it.
 

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I use all SBB's (6 hives). Did leave the slider board off most all winter, with two exceptions. When the temp dipped to super cold, and when the wind blew hard. Otherwise, left the sliders off.

Kudos to Ross, who generously showed us how to easily make two SBB out of a 2x4 and 1x4. I made four more this past winter. The webfilter will have issues with the url here, but you can find Ross's plans/site in the equipment forum.

http://www.myoldtools.com/Bees/bottomboard/bottomboard.htm
 

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I have about 39 hives, with about 25 that are SBB. Two of the SBB died and not from starvation. I did not shelter my bees from the wind either.

I am not really sold on whether the SBB was a good thing or not. I was rather nervous going into winter with them open.

I personnally think that the Wooden Bottom Boards are better in late winter/early spring as it means that smaller cluster of bees might not have to work so hard at regulating their temp for brood.

I did take three hives fully apart this year. One where the cluster was so small that they couldn't survive if they wanted to. So many dead bees on the SBB. Another where the cluster was very strong and it also had many dead bees on the SBB. And on another, a very strong cluster had cleaned out the dead bees on the SBB where I rather surprised.

I did not see any propolis covering the screens on the SBB.
 

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A Big Thank You to everyone that replied ! :thumbsup:
Sure is nice to get input from other Beeks, helps in the decision making and saves on all the time and trouble with learning from just your own experience and trial and error!
This site is the best!
:D:)
 
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