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Greetings,
Forgive me for probably asking a question that's likely been answered before. But my question is for those who have a lot of experience and can give sound advice. Is a screened bottom board actually better than a solid bottom board? Do they lessen the mite load any? If so, enough to warrant the extra cost/labor to purchase/make? How do bees regulate the temperature and humidity with a screened bottom?
Most of my hives have screened bottoms, but the few solid ones I have do as well as the rest.
Thanks again.
 

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Many people like them, I see them as a source of firewood. I wonder how a tropically evolved insect that requires a 93F brood nest temperature is benefitted by a gaping hole right below that nest. I think it is why people talk of bees not wanting to use the lower hive body. I can't see how it helps the bees climate control a spring brood nest when bee numbers are low. I keep my bees wrapped til they threaten to swarm and have a real reduced entrance til then. Of course here, March came in like a lion and the snow has just covered the ground. People in hot country may have different problems.
 

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I have both, but i like the screen bottom boards for summer i don't have bearding in the hot part of summer with the screen bottoms like i do with the solid bottoms which frees up the work force to make more honey. I also use the screen bottoms for mite and shb control. Like Vance said, location and different weather patterns could make a difference. Here in SW Mo. i leave screen bottoms on in the winter with no problems, but i feel better about the ones with solid bottoms in the winter.
 

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Many people like them, I see them as a source of firewood. I wonder how a tropically evolved insect that requires a 93F brood nest temperature is benefitted by a gaping hole right below that nest. I think it is why people talk of bees not wanting to use the lower hive body. I can't see how it helps the bees climate control a spring brood nest when bee numbers are low. I keep my bees wrapped til they threaten to swarm and have a real reduced entrance til then. Of course here, March came in like a lion and the snow has just covered the ground. People in hot country may have different problems.
Well, I'm from "hot" country--and I still tend to agree with you. Which is why I use modified SBBs. They've got an oil tray and a closed bottom below that. No light problems. Not nearly as much air flow either. They do a good job on the SHBs too.

For anyone who doesn't have SHB worries, I'd go solid bottoms. This is as close as I could get and still deal with the SHBs. They are cheap and easy to build and do the job. I just add a disposable aluminum tray for the oil.

JMO

Rusty
 

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I'm in the NE (Philly area). I've only been through 3 winters so far. This winter was the first real test for me. I took 14 8 frame hives and 4 6 frame NUCs into winter. All had SBB, only a few had the slide in tray in place. I lost 3 hives this winter, but none seemed to be related to the cold winter we had. I employ quilt boxes and an upper entrance/vent hole for moisture escape. In the summer, as others have noted, I see less bearding due to the SBB - I did try a solid BB last summer. I have not been serious about counting mites so far, but plan to monitor all hives using monthly sugar rolls this year. Being able to pull out the tray and inspect from one visit to another is helpful to get an idea of mite load too.
 

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If they cost the same as solids I might go with screens just for the extra ventilation, but that one benefit does not out weigh the extra cost and they seem to tear up faster.
 

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I keep a top feeder (that i make) with a top entrance on all year long, it also serves as a vent in the winter. I make my sbb boards and i can slide a pan under it with oil or i can slide a board under it if i want. Jon, they cost more to make and you do have to be careful with them, two other things i like about them are most of the trash (cappings ect,) falls through the screen and you don't have to tilt the hive forward to keep the water out.
 

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I use BOTH - at the same time. I have the SBB over a solid board because I use the SBB to protect the varroa screen so I can monitor the mite levels regularly on the sticky board below. I suppose a few mites may acidentally fall down through the screen on to the sticky board below (tough luck, suckers!) but I don't think SBB do much to actually control mites.

I'm a in very cold climate (northern NY), and I wouldn't want to have only a SBB during the winter. In fact, I close up the sticky board slot to reduce drafts during the winter. It always amazes me to read that there are some beekeepers running SBB all winter in the north.

It may seem redundant to have both boards, all year, but even in the warm weather I don't think I'd like to have just a screened floor on the hive. I had to close off the slot where the sticky board slides in last fall to prevent robbers from harassing my bees from below the floor, even though there was no way for them to gain entrance there. But it made all my bees cranky having the robbers always buzzing around so close to their combs.

Unless you are a faithful and regular mite "roll-er", then I think SBB (with sticky board slots below) are extremely usefu to make monitoring really simple.

Enj.
 

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The advantages to one or the other depend on one's overall approach to beekeeping. The methodology of the beekeeper plays a role in determining the ease, efficiency, and viability of either.
 

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I run both screened and solids.Both have their positives and negatives one doesn't out weigh the other. In my opinion solids have better longevity.
 

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I have both because I keep running out of equipment and have to use the solid ones. I don't believe the SBB is effective for mites as designed unless you use a trap to kill the mite. I made my own so the screen is 2 inches above the surface I place them on, which is usually a pallet. That keeps the mite from re-entering the hive after it falls through the screen.

This winter I noticed the bees plastered the bottom of a few frames shut. It was grey not brown like propolise. Seems like the bees know how to adapt to climate change. Hives were never so full of bees as this spring. I thought sure I was going to lose them due to starvation but I was wrong again.
 

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>Is a screened bottom board actually better than a solid bottom board?

No.

>Do they lessen the mite load any?

No.

>If so, enough to warrant the extra cost/labor to purchase/make?

No.

>How do bees regulate the temperature and humidity with a screened bottom?

With a lot of extra work... unless you put a tray in. I have about 50 of them and I use them. I try to remember to keep the trays in...
 

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Michael, I am only asking...
If you keep the trays in how do you know they don't work?
If the screen is 3/4 in from the deck that the hive is mounted on the mite can easily jump that high and get into the hive again so that isn't going to work.
If you have no mites in your hives how can you possible know if the SBB works or not?
 

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If you have no mites in your hives how can you possible know if the SBB works or not?
Varroa mites are in every hive. Even Michael's. The only issue is how many mites there are in each hive, and whether the bees can deal with that level.
 

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I use the screens...the benefits are all listed above. I slide the IPM boards in on the coldest of winter days and on occasion to check for mites. I also like to slide in the boards for a day or two just to see what collects on them. Wax moth droppings alert me of their presence. If I see dead larvae that is obviously not from a bee, I'll go in and check to see if the SHB is getting a foothold. It's really just another source of information you can get without having to go into the hive.
Never had solid boards and even though we have hot humid summers, I know people use them around here and are happy with them.
 
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