I like the Screened. They provide lots of ventilation. I often lose the board that slides in to close it up for winter though, so sometimes I need a solid backup for winter for every screened I have. That gets frustrating.
SBB. It helps with pest management and aids in ventilation throughout the year. I leave them open in the winter but close the bottom entrances, reduce the top entrances and block the wind from blowing directly under the hive platforms I've built. I do not use any other type of moisture absorption and have yet to loose a hive to moisture or poor ventilation doing this.
I use screened on nucs as well as full sized colonies. Little bearding as long as the temps are below 95 degrees, mostly self-cleaning and allows natural mite fall checks and powdered sugar dusting. In our winter conditions they can be left open with no problems.
Tried SBB w/ removable/sliding bottom board. Too much debris,,,,,,trash,,nooks and crannies other stuff that was conducive to pests. Converted them to solid bottoms. I increased ventilation by using the Warre style top.(screened with wood shavings and a std lang top) I also use reduced entrance. I do not have the ant problems or SHB(yet) It is in the 90 + here for weeks and I get little bearding.
Just my experience.
One of the things that is perplexing to me is that the bees are always trying to seal off every crack in their hive.
After a recent hive inspection, I didn't align my boxes perfectly when I placed them back in position. Ever since then, the bees have been sealing off a crack on the outside of the hive. They've been working on it for almost (2) weeks now. About the time they get it sealed off, I'll be back in there inspecting things, and then there will be different cracks to seal off.
If that's the case, then they must not enjoy the extra ventilation that such cracks produce. It seems that with a screened bottom board, you are putting a huge opening in the hive for all kinds of pests to gain entrance much more easily.
When bees build a hive naturally, do they chose a location with appropriate ventilation?
Bear with me, I'm new at beekeeping and am just trying to think this out.
I use SBB on all my hives. I dont know why but they seem to do better. I cut the back lip off of the tray and smear a little veg oil on them. I dont know how effective they are for mites, but what I like best about them is I can tell what kind of pollen is coming in and when a hive is making alot of wax. I leave them in during the winter and just lean a piece of plywood over the space so wind doesnt blow in. The only time I take them off is in the spring to brush off the BB. The trays I just spray them off with a hose every couple of weeks, the oil seems to keep stuff from sticking to the tray and drown the mites. Mike
I started out with Solid Bottom Boards but when two of my frames melted and sagged straight down onto the bottom of the frame, I switched over to Screened Bottom Boards.
It gets so stinking hot around here that ventilation sure helps the bees. I just hived a cutout yesterday and found half of the bees bearded on the front porch trying to cool off from the heat. I didn't have a screened bottom board so I put a solid bottom board under them. I'm going to make a screened bottom board tomorrow and try to put it under them asap.
BeeCurious, Im not sure were you got the idea that I close the bottom up. I always leave them open year round, I just lean a board or plywood agianst them at an angle in the winter to help block the wind. Sorry maybe I should have been more clear.
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