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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm set up in northern Michigan where snow and -20 deg F in the winter are no strangers!

What's the current thinking about screened bottom boards and should I leave them open for ventilation to prevent moisture accumulation. etc.? With only one hive I can mess around so I even plan to have a Warre' quilt on top this winter but I want to cover all the bases.

Fog
 

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Several outlets sell SBB with slide in/out bottoms. That would give you the option of having a solid BB when it gets really cold. You don't disturb the hive at all, but might have to dig a little snow to have access. I've got one, but usually leave it off unless I'm doing a mite count. We occasionally have temps as cold as -20, but not for more than a few days. Usually the coldest it gets is 0 to -10, but again never for more than a few days. I haven't had any problems as long as the bees have adequate stores.

Good luck!

BB
 

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I made my own, and each has its own (slide in/slide out) removable shelf under the screen. This shelf I made from alum sheeting which is white on one side, and not rigid. It slides in or out with ease, and any mite drops can easily be seen on white surface. I spray surface with PAM cooking spray first. I have often heard from various sources that its the dampness not the temperature that harms the bees. I know a beek who leaves his SBB open all winter in S.E. Wisconsin area. I use a one inch thick (building material) foam under inner cover. This forces condensation to the outside of hive walls, rather than dripping on bees from the top. I will be doing a powder sugar dusting thru a window screen type frame next week. Good luck .....UUUUUper....lol
 

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A SBB is not going to help anything but vermin overwinter with your bees and your bees will be providing the heat so in the spring the vermin can further infest your hives. IMHO The Warre style top should be sufficient with a reduced entrance to keep mice etc out. The heat and moisture will rise naturally and just needs a place to go instead of condense. How much of an opening do you need to accomplish that? IMO

Rick SoMd
 

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What does mice, and vermon have to do with screened bottom boards? Do you think mice can get through a SBB?
 

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I'm not clear on what you mean either, Rick. What vermin are you referring to?

I've left the SBB open all winter, though I did run the tar paper wrapping down to the ground to seal off the wind. Made the entrance mouse proof and overwintered fine.

Wayne
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
My plan is similar to Wayne's method. Hive (Two deeps and a medium) off ground about 16 inches, Open bottom screen, mouse guard, Warre' quilt with ventilated top, and tar paper down to the ground to protect from wind.

That vermin thing has my attention but I don't see how the screened bottom can introduce any undesirable tenants that regular bottom board doesn't already have.
 

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My bad:doh: By vermin I mean wax moths, ants and SHB. For further clarification, I'm speaking of a SBB with a removable board for mite counts. My experience with that type of arrangement allowed creatures easy access to the hive. The guards do their job at the entrance. Wax moths can lay eggs at the screen and the larvae can travel to the comb. Not sure if the SHB larvae are mobile but you see what I mean. I may have missed the "overwintering" thing too:D

Rick
 

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It is just my observation that bees go through alot of trouble to propolis every nook and cranny to seal their hive to intruders. I used SBB but no SBB is what worked for me. If the SBB work for others in their application,,,rock n roll.

Rick
 

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I stopped closing mine overwinter also.

It seems counter-intuitive this far north, but I conducted a little experiment last year and close off only half my bottom boards. Generally, the ones that I left open survived better and came through winter stronger than the ones that I closed off.

I suspect though that this is one of those issues where there isn't one 'best' strategy, but rather a situation where whether to leave open or close off is determined by local conditions.
 
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