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When To Remove Bottom Insert iN Hive

1762 Views 3 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Michael Bush
Here in Northern Wisconsin, it's been a cold winter and I lost all my three hives. I installed the three replacement hives (and Queens) last Wednesday afternoon. Its been getting down to low 30's and below at night although yesterday during the day it was 65. I was wondering about the masonite insert which I placed in the bottom of my screened bottom board last winter when I closed up the hives for winter. I've left it (the masonite insert) in the screened bottom board so far to prevent the cold wind blowing into the hive at night ..especially since I've got the new bees (and queen) just installed and getting established..I'm leaving the entrance excluder open at the smallest opening until the hive gets stronger..perhaps in four or five permitting. Thoughts and comments would be appreciated.
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I have screened bottoms on my hives, but there is an oil tray underneath the screen, then a solid bottom below that.

The hatch for oil tray access is closed, effectively turning the screened bottom into a solid bottom. The oil tray kills anything that falls through the screen, otherwise but doesn't change the ventilation/airflow dynamics.

My suggestion is to leave your closure board in place on a more or less year round basis.
I only pull mine back a bit in the summer to prevent bearding. Otherwise they stay all the way in, the bees don't like light in the hive. I also have an oil tray on mine to keep the hive beetles under control, although I don't see any this year (yet).

Some people leave them open all year, but my hives are 16" off the ground, I suspect I'd have no bees if I did that!

If I remove them at all, it's because they are bearding heavily and seem to need more ventilation. Usually I don't remove them.
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