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I started with 2 hives with solid bottoms, but some people in our local club are switching to screened bottom boards. Should I look at switching to sbb or what?
 

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Yes. Screened allows mites to fall through the screen. Keeps water out and allows for better ventilation.

I am switching all mine. I am just cutting the bottom board out putting screen and framing a 1/2 box below so I can slide a 1/4 in sheet for counting and closing it off. Poor man's SBB. But, it will work and wont have to spend 20 bucks on the ones from mann lake.
 

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Don't throw out you solid bottom bottom boards. There's nothing wrong w/ them. Sure, some mites fall through the screen, but they were probably dead. And do you really need that much ventelation?

If you want screened bbs so you can monitor your mite load, get them to use under your next hives. Otherwise save some money and keep the ones you have now.

Don't get screened bbs just because others do. Do it for a reason.
 

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the last post is right. I use sbb for a reason ventalation, mite control bees can handle the cold but they can't stand being wet. Condensation is a big time killer of bees. I live the Pacific North west rain forest. My bees do well with SBB. the do good with bb. I just see my bees draw comb all the way down the frame and the Queen lay all the way down the frame too. With a SBB. But like the last poster stated do it for a reason not because somebody else is doing it.
 

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I've had nothing but success with them. A previous post said most mites that fall through were already dead...well, it goes really far if you have hygienic bees. They will pick off mites from their peers and let them fall. You can facilitate their removal from the hive by giving the mites access to fall through.

It does really help out with ventilation as well. I've overwintered all my hives successfully with screened. It also goes towards maintenance. Pollen, crumbs, etc. can fall through whereas with a solid they might build up giving roaches a buffet.

If I had anything bad to say, it is that people rely on them too much sometimes. As in, they don't treat them properly or clean out from under the hives.
 

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You asked for Pros & Cons so here goes.

Pros for a SBB
1.Better ventilation (see note "a")
2.Mites drop off and cannot get back up (see note "b")
3.Allows for a mite drop count (see note "c")

Cons for a SBB
1. More Expensive
2. over time the screen will corrode and clog
3. Keeps the brood nest cooler (see note "a")


Note a,
So you get better ventilation, even more than just having a top entrance, however I have read several studies that show this keeps the average brood temperature lower which actually aids mite reproduction.

Note b,
Yes the mites drop and cannot climb back up, but once a solid board gets dirty and sticky those little buggers aint going anywhere soon, I have not heard of any study that shows they get back up from falling onto a dirty bottom board.

Note C,
Mite drop = whoopee do
So you have mites, you dont need a count to know that, if you dont treat as soon as you have them then the count will increase and the hive will suffer, so it really does not matter if you count or not. Why would you say, yes I have mites but not enough to worry about, all the while knowing that it most probably will only get worse.

For the record I have 15 hives, my first 6 all had screened bottoms and all but two died out over the winter. All my additions so far this year have solid bottoms. With good "TOP" ventilation moisture is not a problem.
 

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We have successfully run both solid and screened on several hundred hives. We are now 100% screened except some of our nucs ( the bees are'nt in the nucs very long). All the reasons stated are a good reason to use screened but as reccommended dont just switch because someone told you to do so. hundreds of thousands of colonies are kept successfully on solid boards.
 

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Back before either kind of mite bothered my bees I had never heard of a SBB. I live in the wet pacific northwest and it was just as wet back then. It was easy to raise bees. I did need to raise the upper cover to allow ventilation (my top covers got heavy with condensation if I didn't), but I used all solid bottom boards.

I do have SBB on my hives now but I don't do it for ventilation (my top covers still get heavy with condensation if I don't have an upper vent). I still have an upper vent, but leave the trays in all winter. I get plenty of ventilation with the upper vent.

I like the SBB to monitor the status of the bees in the winter. I can just slide the tray out and see how many frames of bees I have and where they are. I still have my solid bottom boards and will use them if I get too many hives from splits.
 
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