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Has anyone used or now anything about SLATTED RACKS? I have seen them in the catalogs and no one in my lacal clubs knows much about them Would like some opinions.
 

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We have them on our 2 hives. They give the bees cluster space. Allow the queen to lay closer to the bottoms of the frames, because they provide a little shelter from the entrance. Some people say they reduce swarming.

The ones Better Bee sells, the slats run the same direction as the frames. This makes it easier for mites to fall out the screen bottom boards. A lot of slatted rackes run the other way.
 

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I picked up a couple of these slatted racks from older beekeepers whose equipment I bought when they retired. I've never used them, but I've got an increasing interest. I've been doing a lot of reading lately.

From what I've read, they provide a "cluster space" for the extra bees to hang out. This prevents the "bearding" and also increases the warmth for the brood. And yet why do the bees not build comb in this space?

They also give a little protection and warmth to the brood nest, but do you use them on a screen bottom board? The older applications didn't have screen bottom boards.

Most of the old books insist the slats run side to side, the opposite way which is why they give a little more warmth (but this was also during a time prior to the mites).

I'm interested and ready to run a few experiments,

Grant
Jackson, MO
 

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I have built slatted racks in all of my bottom boards, beneath the frames and above the screen, though my bottom boards are closed (they are not entrances). I've also built slatted racks mounted vertically on the inside walls of some of my supers, especially those I use for brood, the vertical racks are thick enough that the pair of them take the same space as one frame, this still gives me enough room to fit eight frames in my 8-frame hives. I've been feeding pollen substitute and a few quarts of 1.5:1 sugar syrup to most of my colonies, including nucs. I've been making some modifications to my supers and swapping out the supers without the mods for those I've already modified and when I lift the bottom supers off of their slatted and screened bottom boards, all have had many bees clustered on the slatted racks beneath the frames. I believe this indicates that my bees are certainly taking advantage of the clustering space the slatted racks afford them beneath the bottom-most combs.

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I have also experimented with different configurations, designs, and materials for my bottom slatted racks. Some are parallel PVC pipe, set into holes drilled inside each end of the bottom board, some are redwood slats of different widths and orientations (side to side, end to end). Some of the slats are wide, some are narrow, some slats are oriented taller than they are thick (those look similar to rows of dominoes laid end to end and set on their longest narrow edges).
 

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Using these SBB/SR (Screened Bottom Board/Slatted Rack) designs, I'm not so much concerned about Varroa mites falling through the screen as I am that the screen provide a good way for the bees to get the ventilation they need. My future plans for my next SBB/SR is to provide two levels of slats, where the two layers overlap with opposing orientations - the purpose being to provide even more cluster space and to be a more complete baffle for any outside breezes or winds.
 

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I have also experimented with different configurations, designs, and materials for my bottom slatted racks.
Hi Joe,

I am also making some slatted racks with PVC pipe. I think your idea of the two tiers of slats is interesting. It would allow plenty of ventilation and perhaps prevent a "draft". I think double slats would reduce the amount of light that enters hive which the bees may appreciate.

Joe
 

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I use them on hives that I use Queen excluders on. In theory they lay all the way to the bottom of the frames and this reduces the swarming tendancy. This is my 3rd year of using them and I've found young queens to be more effective at reducing swarming. From my limited experience the queen does lay lower in the bottom deep and bearding is all but eliminated. The one's I've made are 10 frame and run parallel with the frames like what betterbee offers. This year I built 3 without the horizontal solid portion that is over the entrance though. I've found that debris collects there and during the winter moisture pools there. I thought I'd try it to see how it performs. I do like the idea of using PVC as the slats. How do you anchor the slats though?
 

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This year I built 3 without the horizontal solid portion that is over the entrance though. I've found that debris collects there and during the winter moisture pools there. I thought I'd try it to see how it performs. I do like the idea of using PVC as the slats. How do you anchor the slats though?

I am using "varroa" screen for what I like to call the "mezzanine"

I simply cut a dado for the PVC slats and I'll attach them using a hot glue gun.
 

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BeeCurious,
Using a dado groove and then spacing the PVC slats as you glue them into position sounds lots easier than measuring and cutting holes for them in the end pieces, as I was doing. Thanks for sharing that idea.
 

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If memory serves me, there was a lengthy discussion about slatted racks last fall... do a search, see what you come up with. I too use them, make my own out of wood. Run the slats parallel with the frames.
 
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