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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Do you use SBB? Why or why not? All year, or only during the warm months? Why is this such a controversy? Do they actually really improve health and reduce disease from the added circulation...or do they just chill brood and invite ants?

Weighing the info, thanks!! My hives have SBB. I planned on switching to solid before freezing temps.
 

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It depends entirely on your local conditions. Here in spitting distance of the coast too much moisture a/k/a fog gets into the hive - I like to keep my hives dry so I do not use SBB.
 

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I gave them a try a few years ago. In two different yards I ran a combination of screened and solid bottoms. In all cases the screened bottoms were slower to build up in the spring. This was noticed over 2 winter/springs. Other than that there didn't seem to much difference. I also like the price and simplicity of solid bottoms.
 

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"Weighing the info, thanks!! My hives have SBB. I planned on switching to solid before freezing temps. "

I don't, mine were on during two very unusal cold spells, down to 15 degrees this winter. No problems. I've got a mix of solids and screens. I see no disadvantage to the screens.
UF did a study and found hives side by side, SBB had 14% fewer mites. But not enough to be a mite cure, just had fewer mites because they could fall thru the screen.
I have mite problems regardless of the type of bottom board. I think if you're trying to go TF, SBB will help.
The only advantage I can really see in SBB is mositure levels in the hive. I've never had any problems with moisture even thou I live in Florida. But I doubt Reno has moisture problems.

I prefer SBB that you can put an oil tray under, they kill a bunch of SHB.
 

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In addition to the IPM benefits of a SBB noted in a variety of articles, I switched to a "sealed" SBB to keep my bottom board relatively clean and free of critters as a solid bottom can build up some serious piles of bee garbage. I built mine using OJ Blount's design described in the videos at this link. The only difference is I use #8 hardware cloth instead of fabricated steel, because it was cheaper, and hydrated lime instead of vasoline because it's less messy to deal with. http://queenscastlebeekeepersassociation.com/video.htm
 

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I see more moisture problems in winter with solid bottoms, but overall I think the top is the real issue. My best hives coming out of winter almost always have rotten holes in the top. I prop all of my tops year around with a stick under one corner to achieve the same thing, but it seems more is better around here.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Okay, I'm leaning new things already.

No moisture issue here. So, so dry. When I moved back up here from San Francisco I had a cold that went into full on sinus infection and needing an inhaler and a misting cool air pump in my room. Never had asthma or breathing problems before. Why? IT IS SO DRY. :) But I love it here, so I got over it.

That means any moisture build up in my hives is unlikely. I've read studies where raw wood burried in the ground even last longer here before rotting at the ground level and splitting because of the lack of moisture.

So, since I don't need the SBB for moisture reduction...what about the SBB ontop of a solid? Why or why not? Who does this and do they like it? I suppose it's a lot like the oil or vaseline traps, right?

I know price is a consideration -- most would choose not to use both bottoms because of price. But I have 2 hives, so the cost is piling up yet.

Today it's 70 degrees, cloudy, and 30mph winds. I want to rush out there and swap the bottoms because I'm so worried about the chilling! But really...bees in a crevice or rocks or a tree would have a wide open entrance even in poor weather.
 

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i have solid. just because simple is usually better. i haven't been doing it long enough to recommend it.

when i was telling our local experienced beekeeper about it. he said, "i'm surprised they still sell those." then he called me "old school." i think he might have meant it as a mild insult, but i took it as a compliment.

it's easy to imagine that different locations would do better with one or the other due to ventilation needs, local pest issues, etc.
 

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<snip>
UF did a study and found hives side by side, SBB had 14% fewer mites. But not enough to be a mite cure, just had fewer mites because they could fall thru the screen.
I have mite problems regardless of the type of bottom board. I think if you're trying to go TF, SBB will help.
If the UF study was/is correct then 14% is a substantial percentage. Screened bottom boards should be used as a part of an IPM system where each action tends to knock down a portion/percentage of the mites...it's the sum total of those percentages that matter. If the screened bottom boards reduce the mite load by 14% then out of (theoretically) 1000 mites in a hive you then have to figure out how to treat the remaining 860 mites via drone trapping, brood breaks, sugar dusting, OA drips, MAQ, or whatever to get the mites down to a level that the bees can deal with. If you have good hygienic bees that 14% drop in mite loads using screened bottom boards could possibly lower the mite populations down to a bee tolerable level. ;)

<snip>
I prefer SBB that you can put an oil tray under, they kill a bunch of SHB.
Definitely a good use...having an oil tray beneath the screen elevates the bottom board to a whole new level. You can basically have a solid bottom board where the bees have more effect on the hive's heating and cooling and where the queen lays lower in hive...but also have an excellent mite/shb trap running 24/7. Especially good for the beetles...without a tray the mites will fall to the ground and basically become irrelevant. And if it gets really hot the top can be cracked open and the tray pulled back for more thermal siphoning action. I'm in the dead-air of south Alabama where humidity can be cut in slabs and breezes come from buzzards flying over...hot and humid...nothing like Nevada.

If ants want to get inside the hive they will get inside...screened or solid bottom board will make little difference.

Best wishes,
Ed
 
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