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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've started with deep nucs (all that were available) and am using an 8-frame deep bottom. Everything else will be 8-frame mediums.

The foundationless frames (popsicle sticks and bamboo skewers) are being filled. So far, so good. I am using a top entrance with no bottom entrance (like Mr. Bush recommends).

The hive is just sitting on a flat piece of plywood. Should I have a screened bottom board, even though I'm not using a bottom entrance?

I am reading and researching. Not just wanting everything handed to me on a silver platter. However, I'm having a little trouble putting some pieces together. Most of Mr. Bush's material assumes a little knowledge, or experience. Any other advice would be appreciated.
 

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There are many ways to keep bees. And the bees are flexible in adapting to their environments. It is important that you understand that all beekeeping is local, meaning that best practices vary from region to region. You will do well to find a local mentor and learn what works (plus the when & why) for your area. This is the most important thing you can do next.

The majority of beekeepers nowadays have moved on from the screened bottom board...In my view, you do not 'need' a screened bottom board, use of the solid bottom board has stood the test of time.

I've only kept bees 20+ years in the last forty years so I still have a lot to learn, but in my view, and the view of my mentor (Dr. Wilson at the USDA Bee Lab in Laramie, Wyoming), a main entrance with a top vent is most desirable. I'll be interested to hear how your single top entrance works for you over time. (I'm not trying to sound snarky, just adding thoughts for your consideration). :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
There are many ways to keep bees. And the bees are flexible in adapting to their environments. It is important that you understand that all beekeeping is local, meaning that best practices vary from region to region. You will do well to find a local mentor and learn what works (plus the when & why) for your area. This is the most important thing you can do next.

The majority of beekeepers nowadays have moved on from the screened bottom board...In my view, you do not 'need' a screened bottom board, use of the solid bottom board has stood the test of time.

I've only kept bees 20+ years in the last forty years so I still have a lot to learn, but in my view, and the view of my mentor (Dr. Wilson at the USDA Bee Lab in Laramie, Wyoming), a main entrance with a top vent is most desirable. I'll be interested to hear how your single top entrance works for you over time. (I'm not trying to sound snarky, just adding thoughts for your consideration). :)
Thank you. I'm looking forward to learning.
 

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I have tried screen board and top entrance when I was new. Over time, I have moved to solid board and classic bottom entrance and top ventilation using notch, hole, or Popsicle sick. I do use entrance reducer most of the time except during 2 peak flow months.

Foundationless works best for brood frames when you can insert a blank frame between existing brood frames. I still use the foundationless but they require opening the hives more often. I switch to foundation frames when I am busy during the peak honey season. Foundationless for honey will have some blow outs when extracting, which is one more reason I use foundation for honey frames now.

If you only have few hives then you can easily manage with foundationless frames but as your hive count increase you may have to introduce foundation frames at least for honey frames.

Like other poster said, bees will adopt to anything you give them. You have to settle on a method that makes your life easier. And learn from locals if you can. Everything you read and hear online will not apply to you! I was super paranoid about lot of problems people face in north and I quickly learned that none of that apply to us in south. For example, they worry about insulation, starving, nosemea, condensation, chalk brood, etc and none of that apply to us. On the other hand, we can't even imagine to work bees without gearing up due to affricalized bees all around us, we can winter easily in a single deep without insulation, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have tried screen board and top entrance when I was new. Over time, I have moved to solid board and classic bottom entrance and top ventilation using notch, hole, or Popsicle sick. I do use entrance reducer most of the time except during 2 peak flow months.

Foundationless works best for brood frames when you can insert a blank frame between existing brood frames. I still use the foundationless but they require opening the hives more often. I switch to foundation frames when I am busy during the peak honey season. Foundationless for honey will have some blow outs when extracting, which is one more reason I use foundation for honey frames now.

If you only have few hives then you can easily manage with foundationless frames but as your hive count increase you may have to introduce foundation frames at least for honey frames.

Like other poster said, bees will adopt to anything you give them. You have to settle on a method that makes your life easier. And learn from locals if you can. Everything you read and hear online will not apply to you! I was super paranoid about lot of problems people face in north and I quickly learned that none of that apply to us in south. For example, they worry about insulation, starving, nosemea, condensation, chalk brood, etc and none of that apply to us. On the other hand, we can't even imagine to work bees without gearing up due to affricalized bees all around us, we can winter easily in a single deep without insulation, etc.
I'm in North Central Arkansas. Do you think a bottom entrance is necessary for extra ventilation in the summer? Should the hives be shaded, at least after noon? I'm going to make contact with a local beekeeping group, but I haven't yet.

I just inspected the hive for the second time, and there is capped brood, open brood, and pollen storage there. I had to look up what the dark stuff was. The third frame has comb just started on the skewers. Should I throw the super on now, or wait one more week?

Thanks again for the help.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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JLP, you are asking a lot of good questions and the answer to all is "it depends". Traditionally, beehives have a bottom entrance. In many cases, an upper entrance is also a good idea. In hot and humid climes, a screened bottom board is a used, while in cooler or dryer areas they are not needed. Your bees will tell you if you pay attention. Do not add a super unless your brood chamber is at least 80% drawn. Too much space is not a good thing, bees like to be just a little cramped. Make contact with local beeks and see what they are doing. So much of beekeeping really is local and advice from someone, including me, from miles away is not likely to be the best for your specific area. Learn the basics and then experiment to see what works best for you. Not much in beekeeping is absolute.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
JLP, are you feeding your new hive?
No. There are PLENTY of blooming flora around. Arkansas has what I call "yellow smog" in the spring. Also known as "the yellow death cloud."
 

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Since you are following M.B. methods, this is the org. for you. https://www.waeoba.com/ There are some members there that are small cell treatment free keepers, one is, or was, one of our two state inspectors. A nice group of people.

I'm about fifty miles South of you. Humidity is a concern here. I use about a three inch bottom opening and popcicle sticks between the inner cover and the telescoping cover all Winter. Sometimes, I still find a bit of condensation at one of the corners, but not a dangerous amount. I take out the entrance reducers after the Spring brood build-up begins, but before the flow starts. This year, as you well know, we have had more rain and humidity than normal. I have shimmed my inner cover on the back side and rested the telescoping cover on the inner cover like this. 002.jpg This, so far, has mitigated the condensation issues. So far there have been no robbing attempts.

Good luck,
Alex
 

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I am using a top entrance with no bottom entrance (like Mr. Bush recommends).
You should not need to use a top entrance unless you just want to (which is reason enough). You should not have enough accumulated snow to block a bottom entrance, and you can keep out rodents by using a ⅜” (rather than ¾”) tall bottom entrance.

The hive is just sitting on a flat piece of plywood. Should I have a screened bottom board, even though I'm not using a bottom entrance?
No. Bees manage the evaporation of moisture to cool the colony during hot weather. Cool air sinks. The screened bottom allows the cooled air to escape like leaving the door open in August.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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As someone who also lives in the south and has 90+° days from, well, two weeks ago until end of Sept, I would disagree a little with River. The bees need to move air and moisture out of the hive. With a top entrance only, the air has a means of escape, but you have no incoming air. You need either a bottom entramce or a screened bottom to provide this. Bees will sit on the bottom board entrance and fan dryer outside air INTO the hive. The dry air is used for evaporative cooling and the warm moisture laden air escapes through upper entrances or propped open tops. Were it not for the bees trying to move air around, a beehive in the sun will get much hotter inside than ambient temperture. Think of a car parked in the sun with the windows rolled up vs one with the windows rolled down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
As someone who also lives in the south and has 90+° days from, well, two weeks ago until end of Sept, I would disagree a little with River. The bees need to move air and moisture out of the hive. With a top entrance only, the air has a means of escape, but you have no incoming air. You need either a bottom entramce or a screened bottom to provide this. Bees will sit on the bottom board entrance and fan dryer outside air INTO the hive. The dry air is used for evaporative cooling and the warm moisture laden air escapes through upper entrances or propped open tops. Were it not for the bees trying to move air around, a beehive in the sun will get much hotter inside than ambient temperture. Think of a car parked in the sun with the windows rolled up vs one with the windows rolled down.
I was thinking the same thing. I Live in North Central Arkansas, so the hot, humid summer is an issue.

In coming back to check this thread, I was wondering about a screened bottom board without an entrance. Based on your comment: "You need either a bottom entrance OR a screened bottom to provide this." (emphasis added), it sounds like it's not just a half-baked newbee idea. I'm gonna make on this week.

Thanks for the help.
 

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Have you thought about contacting other beekeepers in your area and see how they configure their hives, and what they do as far as management techniques?
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Keep in mind these are opinions. I practice what I preach and it works well for me here in Richmond ,VA. Seeing what works for other beekeepers in your area is very important. I have both lower entrances and screened bottom boards. Most of my inner covers have a 3/8" x 3/4" upper entrance as well. There is a lot of controversy regarding screened bottom boards and their use is a personal choice. I have 26 hives, all with screened bottoms. So far, I have no issues that can be attributed to them. And, I have never seen my bees beard the way some folks' bees do when it is just too darn hot in the hive.
 

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I was not questioning your advice JW, I was just wondering if JLP had bothered to see if other beekeepers were using techniques that gave them successful colonies.

I have both screened and solid bottom boards, and they both work, but I believe the screened is more efficient in labor for the bees. I rejected the top entrance/vent years ago. I do believe that 1 inch of foam board on top of the inner cover summer and winter is also beneficial.

Opinions and belly buttons, we all have them, and there are many ways to keep bees successfully, but before I would take advice from a far-away beekeeper I would see what the neighbor down the road was doing.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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I did not take it as questioning. If fact, I wanted to reitterate your statement about local practices being best For all I know, John is 3000' up in the mountains somewhere. I am just starting to put 1/2" foam board inside the tops to help cut down on heat. Made them for the nucs (cheaper) and now need them for the 10 framers. Lots of really good ideas here on Beesource, some are just better for certain areas than others.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Have you thought about contacting other beekeepers in your area and see how they configure their hives, and what they do as far as management techniques?
Yes, I am going to get in touch with the local group here, should have already. I didn't want to wait to ask, though, because it's getting hot here.

Thanks for the help.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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No. The bottom boards I use (make) have a 3/4" x 14-3/4" wide opening as a bottom entrance, kept reduced most of the year to 4" wide, and a full screened bottom. I use a piece of corroplast to block the bottom in the winter.

15590957791931365745581.jpg

Here shown with a winter entrance reducer.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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This is how it would look set up outside.

1559096307257849849307.jpg
 
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