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Discussion Starter #1
Good Day all.
This is my first year in beekeeping. Am getting a package in a couple of weeks and will be assembling the hive boxes shortly. All is well except that I have this one nagging question and I can't seem to find a defiinitive answer.:scratch:

Do I use a Screened Bottom Board or a Solid Bottom board?

Thanks for your input.
Erik Anderson
 

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I believe most will tell you to use a screened bottom board. I personally use solid bottom boards. SBB are nice to use to check your mite drop with and do provide the extra ventilation you need in July and August. They do not add to any significant amount to mite removal from the hive in my opinion and they are more of a pain in the butt to maintain as far as painting and such and are more expensive than a solid bottom board.
 

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Plans on Bee Source show how to make a sbb http://www.beesource.com/build-it-yourself/ipm-screened-bottom-board/

I eliminated the bottom groove into which slides the closure, or the sticky board to test for mites. Instead, I build the sloped front stands, and nail a block on each side in the center of the side rails of the stand. Those scrap pieces of wood then supports the sticky board, or a piece of plywood for winter closure.
Regards,
Steven
 

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Assemble and paint/weatherproof the Solid Bottom board if that is all you have now. For a new package there is plenty of time [early summer] to prepare and use a Screened bottom board later if you decide to use one.

Just a few years ago it seems that the screened boards were seperate items and were placed on the older solid boards. Now it looks like they are in one piece from the suppliers. Not sure about that though.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ahhh...so you have a modified screen bottom board, basically a screen bottom with a winter feature. :applause:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I have separate boards, one screened and one solid. I can always modify the screened to make it a dual screen and solid.
 

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I use a SBB the only time I close it is when I am doing a mite count, It gets real darn cold, requeening, or placing a package in. out side of that its open year round. I live on the Olympic Penisula on the raininy side were we get 7-9 feet of rain per year and have high humidity levels. my bees do great. Also the queen will lay all the way to the bottom of the frames with a SBB.
But that is my opinon. Others may vary.
 

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Honey, you're probably not doing yourself any favors opening up the bottom board around here. Mites prefer a cooler hive, and leaving it open is probably increasing your mite counts. I leave mine closed all year round.
 

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"...a cooler hive.."
the bees will controll the temperature to be the same regardless of the type of bottom. brood have a very narrow temperature range for survival. good luck,mike
 

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Good Day all.
This is my first year .... I have this one nagging question and I can't seem to find a defiinitive answer.:scratch:

Do I use a Screened Bottom Board or a Solid Bottom board?

Thanks for your input.
Erik Anderson
mostly depends on 2 things
1-do you have a lot of humidity in your area? an open screened bottom and a top vent will HELP the bees a lot. they can do it themselves but will spend a lot of energy that could be used elsewhere-like gathering nectar.
2-they (commercially made ones) make it easier to check for mite drops. you just slide out a solid board that fits in grooves made into the bottom. or you can do the same with a solid bottom- you just have to take the boxes off to get to it.
good luck,mike
 

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I use SBBs all year around, I can close them and they are fitted with a pan that helps catch SHBs larva and some adults in oil I have the option of useing the pan or plastic cardboard to close them but mostly I let the snow close them in winter. I leave the opening @ 5/16" so no mouse guards either.
 

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Iwambat, I don't have a mite problem my hives are strong in great health and the last nice day I have good brood and eggs and larva. my mite counts are very low and I atribute it a sbb. Other beeks that live local to me lost most of their hives this year every one used a regular BB now does that meen a SBB is the cure all no I just see the benifits for me and my bees.
 

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Honey, that's good! Just thought I'd drop in a warning. There's quite a bit of research showing open sbbs and an increase in mites.


Just one from the Tucson AHB/Mites Conference RIFA Control

"Temperature seems to have more of an impact on Varroa reproduction than most people thought. While 95ºF is “brood nest temperature,” that temperature fluctuates some with climatic conditions. By carefully controlling temperature, Varroa were found to reproduce best at 93ºF. Performance was a bit worse at 88-91 and 95º. At the lower than brood nest temperatures, the post-capping period is extended about one day per 2ºF. At higher temperatures the post-capping period is not shortened significantly. However, at “brood nest” and higher temperatures, mite reproduction drops way off. In the same study it was shown that 53% of the mites on brood held at 59-68% RH (normal) reproduced normally but at humiditys of 79-85% only 2% of the mites reproduced. Hot, humid brood nests are tough on Varroa. Studies of Apis cerana brood nests showed drone brood is reared at 92ºF (perfect for Varroa) and worker brood is incubated at 96-98ºF (too hot for Varroa). Purposely cooling the brood nest in Apis mellifera colonies by using a “thin” hive lid, open bottom board, simulative feeding to spread brood out, and splitting the brood nest with frames of foundation doubled the numbers of mites on the bees.
 

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thanks for the quote on the research. i was not aware of that. good luck,mike
 

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Its really your call, I know lots of beeks who use solid BB's and many using SBB's. We have SBB's on everything and although I question their ability to reduce mites, in our heat the ventilation is surely a benefit. Our SBB's are not slotted for a slide in solid board but we do mite drop counts by placing the plastic sign (sticky with PAM) material under the hive and pull it out when time to count. There are plenty of beeks using SBB's in northern climates who also leave them open YEAR ROUND as cold usually does not kill bees but moisture in the hive, again ventilation being the benefit of SBB's and no pooling of the moisture on the solid BB as the condensation drips off the inner cover. :thumbsup: good luck
 

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I have always liked a solid BB.... :) Just depends on you.
 

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Solid bottom boards were used for over 100 yrs. without anyone complaining, now, as a result of the varroa mite, screened bottoms are in style for mite counting and increased ventilation. I'm sticking with the solid bottoms myself.
 

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An SBB above an oil trap allows me to better understand what's going on in my hives without having to pull boxes and frames. I don't see a problem with drafting because the oil pan pretty much shuts that off, and there is little evidence that top or bottom vents contribute to cold weather issues - but seem to help with hot/humid summer conditions.

Here in the south, I wouldn't set up a hive without one above an oil trap. They are an added expense, but I remember what I went thru adding one last summer - it wasn't so much the process as the anxiety. Making hardware changes is never pleasant. Come up with a good plan (with easy backout scenarios) then other than the necessary maintenance and crisis management...
 

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I use SBB and Solid BB as they have their minuses and plusses.

I took 39 hives into winter and 37 are coming thru. Most of my hives are on SBB. My two hives that died and several that are rather weak are on SBB. These were strong hives going into winter. I am just suspicious that it let too much cold enter the hive and I will be trying something different this using solid bottom board.

I think that a solid Bottom Board would trap the heat in in order to allow Brood to occur sooner in Feb timeframe.

I love the SBB for ventilation. I particularly didn't like my girls washboarding even if it did look neat. I want them doing functional work inside the hive.

The other thing that I'd like to believe is true is that an SBB allows mites that were groomed off the bees to fall to the outside thus never getting another chance to climb back up on your bees.
 

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If logic prevails I feel it makes no sense to have the mites drop and then have the bees enter from below and pick them back up on the way in and out. I use SBB and top entry.
 
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