Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
From my previous questions I was introduced to Michael Bush. I have read almost his entire website and what a bunch of great info. I have been convinced to start in the same manner as I plan to continue. I want to go treatment free, ff, and top entrance. But in reading all the info and looking at pics I am still a little confused on the bottom setup for the hive. I was planning on using a screened bottom board but I also like the closed bottom board for feeding sugar if needed. Do you remove the hive and change the bottom board if you need to feed? How do you close off the bottom entrance if using a screened bottom board? Thanks for the help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
764 Posts
Hello Ga. Shooter
I can only speak for myself, I don't feed sugar, I find that we have enough warm days (above 55 degrees) that we can feed 2 to 1 sugar syrup.
As for screened bottoms I use screen on only the middle third of both my langstroth and top bar hives, this gives them plenty of ventilation and they don't abscond as much as they do with an all screen bottom.
I make my own bottom boards, they are simple to make and if you have a top entrance you don't need the bottom entrance which makes them even more simple. Most of mine are bottom entrances and I just bore a 1 1/8 inch hole in the brood box and put a robber screen on, so all you need is the 3/4 inch space under the brood box.
 

·
Vendor
Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
Joined
·
54,120 Posts
> Do you remove the hive and change the bottom board if you need to feed?

I have whatever bottom on the hive and I do not change it. I only buy the solid ones now and I try to use them so I can feed if I need to. If I have them on a SBB and I need to feed I use dry sugar.

> How do you close off the bottom entrance if using a screened bottom board?

I had Brushy Mountain SBB and they stick out in the front. I cut them off flush, which freed up a scrap that I put in the entrance, but I could just as easily cut a 1 by 1 (3/4" by 3/4") block to fit. I nail it in.

Here is a stack of them being dipped in wax (the stack that is not in the wax is there to weigh them down so they don't float). You can see the block clearly in the front.

http://www.bushfarms.com/images/DippingTank3.jpg

I do the same on the solid bottoms except I don't cut them off and the block is 2" in front of the opening and the rest is screened.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfeeding.htm#BottomBoardFeeder

It also doubles as a cover with a top entrance and allows me to stack up nucs and feed them all without opening the hives.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,373 Posts
Except for some experimental hives, I have with various types of Bottom Boards, all my regular hives and nucs have SBB's. I have, however, taken to closing them up (though not so they are 100% draft proof), for the cooler months of the year. I find that placing a thick piece of foamboard under the SBB's, and closing off most of the air that can enter there (this does not seal them completely), during the cooler months, helps them to continue brood rearing, and speeds up, build-up. As soon as nighttime temps are no lower than 60F, I move the foamboard from the hive bottoms, to their tops, where the solar load can quickly become very intense. If I don't keep the foamboard clean, dirt can absorb enough solar energy to melt the foamboard its laying on - it's happened a couple of times now. I endeavor to keep the foamboard clean. At least with the foamboard over the Covers, I haven't had combs in upper supers melt down, since I began doing this - before that, every so often a comb or two in an upper super would soften enough to fall from its attachment to the frame. Usually those that were foundationless without horizontal support wires, but now I use the foamboard over Covers and that hasn't happened, since.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
136 Posts
I too follow a lot of MB's advice . All my hives have top entrances and SBB. My bottom boards have a slide out tray but when the tray is pushed all the way in it seals the bottom off tight . I also run quilt boxes on top of my hives . I feed sugar blocks ( if needed ) right on top of the top frames. That's where the bee's are at the time of year when they need fed anyways . I put a 1 inch spacer frame under my quilt box to give me room for my blocks .
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks to everybody for the help. I want to make sure that I buy the right stuff the first time. I have read a lot on being foundation free but since I have no bees I have no drawn comb to put on either side of an empty frame. Is it possible (or wise) to put all empty frames to begin with and let them do their thing from the start? Should I buy some foundation and alternate and switch them out as they fill it up? It would seem to me that they can start with no foundation at all as long as I have the starter strips and the hive is level because there is no foundation in walls, trees, etc.

Again thanks for the help. When I get my hands on some equipment it will help me understand a lot better.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
764 Posts
It is good to take it slow and study as much as you can, but much of what you learn will be hands on with some bees, so I think that is your next step. And go to a bee club, there is someone not far from you that has bees and raises some good queens, he would be a really good mentor, hopefully we will see you a week from tomorrow at CEBA on highway 80 and I will introduce you to some people that can and will help you. Also there are people there that can tell you where to buy some equipment.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It is good to take it slow and study as much as you can, but much of what you learn will be hands on with some bees, so I think that is your next step. And go to a bee club, there is someone not far from you that has bees and raises some good queens, he would be a really good mentor, hopefully we will see you a week from tomorrow at CEBA on highway 80 and I will introduce you to some people that can and will help you. Also there are people there that can tell you where to buy some equipment.
PM sent
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
557 Posts
I have two hives I started last year that are foundationless. One has decent combs. One box On one hive has crazy comb. I was thinking of using a few plastic frames from Mann Lake in each box in the future to help them keep it neat. Is this a good idea?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,373 Posts
If those Mann Lake plastic frames are filled with comb/brood/pollen and nectar, also covered with young nurse bees. And, if you only place one foundationless frame between a pair of these plastic frames, you should have good results, I do.
 

·
Vendor
Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
Joined
·
54,120 Posts
>I was thinking of using a few plastic frames from Mann Lake in each box in the future to help them keep it neat. Is this a good idea?

The PF100s (or PF120s for mediums) work fine and they will establish a line which is helpful. I mostly like the instant regression and that I don't have to assemble the frames...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
557 Posts
Thanks. I thought I ordered 120. Just checked the box and it says 129. Is there a way to tell by looking at them.Can't find the invoice. they are pale green. Is 129 large cell? My bees are already regressed so I may have a big problem. Also they're supposed to be waxed and can't tell that they are.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,352 Posts
I tried ff my first year, and wasn't satisfied with the unevenness of the comb.
I tried some PF100 frames, too, but settled on using Danat small cell foundation, as the bees draw it out much faster than the plastic.

If you're in a place where small hive beetles are an issue, they also have far fewer places for them to hide in to escape the bees.

Once you have some straight drawn comb, FF works very well, and I think it gets drawn slightly (only slightly) faster than wax foundation.

Be very careful with nice, white first year foundation before it is anchored on at least three sides, though.
Treated like frames of foundation when inspecting, it will fall right out of the frame on a warmish day...handle those as if they were top bar combs.
 

·
Vendor
Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
Joined
·
54,120 Posts
>Thanks. I thought I ordered 120. Just checked the box and it says 129.

There is no PF-129 listed in the current Mann Lake catalog online. But assuming they are PF-129 I would expect that to be in the PF-120 series which are all mediums. For mediums, in their catalog there are PF-120, PF125, PF126, PF-127, PF136 and PF-137. These are all for medium (6 5/8") boxes. If you need deeps (for 9 5/8" boxes) you need the PF-100 series and not the 120 series.

>Is there a way to tell by looking at them.

Measure across 10 cells. They should be 4.95cm or less. Or 1-15/16" or less.

>Can't find the invoice. they are pale green. Is 129 large cell?

Green are usually drone comb, but I don't know of any "pale" green. So maybe it's just a greenish tint to the normally yellow or white ones...

> My bees are already regressed so I may have a big problem.

Measure them and find out.

>Also they're supposed to be waxed and can't tell that they are.

The wax is very minimal. Which is good. A little helps get them accepted. A lot introduces more contaminates into the hive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
On the subject of foundationless frames, can you simply cut away the existing wax comb except for a single strip of a few cells at the top? Will the bees use that single strip at the top as a guide to draw comb for the rest of the frame? I'm looking to start rotating my comb to avoid pesticide contamination and want to cut down on foundation costs. Also hoping that the bees will draw smaller cells for varroa control. Over time I've noticed queens will stop laying in old brood comb and start laying in the supers. Even if I flip the deep and supers they wont lay. Thinking it might be a contamination issue.
 

·
Vendor
Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
Joined
·
54,120 Posts
>On the subject of foundationless frames, can you simply cut away the existing wax comb except for a single strip of a few cells at the top?

Assuming no wires in the way and wax foundation, yes.

>Will the bees use that single strip at the top as a guide to draw comb for the rest of the frame?

Yes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
557 Posts
I measured 10 cells and then 30 and divided by 3. They seem to be 5.01 with my cheap calipers. Is that within the margin of error for small cell or closer to large cell? Thanks!
 

·
Vendor
Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
Joined
·
54,120 Posts
>I measured 10 cells and then 30 and divided by 3. They seem to be 5.01

5.01mm is in the typical range of natural sized cells. I like to see the core (not the whole comb) down to 4.9mm if I can (although I'd settle for anything under 5.0mm). They should do pretty well at 5.01mm.
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top