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Discussion Starter #1
I see a lot of post of people saying "I'm phasing out my SBB's" (Screen Bottom Board) and going back to solid. Or different variations of that. But I haven't seen any post on why. All mine are on SBB's and I don't have any issues, but it seems like I am seeing more and more post about people moving away from them. Just curious.
 

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IMO some are moving away because of ventilation issues.

some are moving away from them cause they listen to someone who said they were better when they put them on, and now are listening to those that said they are not.

some have no idea why they are taking them off.
 

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I think (and most people do not want to hear about what I think) that they work well if you live in a high moisture climate and do nothing for those that don't have that issue. Like all phases some people jump on the the band wagon because they look for the silver bullet. The silver bullet was a simple solution to varroa. There is no silver bullet people, nature doesn't work that way. You belong with the Bayer, GMO crowd.
I see an advantage to them, you may not.
 

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One of big problems now is SHB. SHB can move in and out of a hive with a SBB with ease. So now some people are using SBB's with oil trays under them to try to kill the SHB. But you can't do that if you have a bunch of hives, at least not economically. And then you have to deal with oil trays. It starts looking more like work instead of a hobby for the little guy, and I can't imagine that commercial folks are using oil trays in their hives.

The SBB in and of itself doesn't kill varroa, you need to treat the hive to kill them. It gives you a way to monitor them though. I don't use them since I don't plan on counting varroa on a sticky board.

The bees can keep a hive warm or cold themselves if the openings are small. Too big and they can't control it.
 

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This year I switched over to 8 frame mediums with top entrances. Previously I used 10 frame deeps and shallows with bottom entrances. All new equipment and a 100% winter kill caused me to evaluate how I did things. I was using SBB on all hives, closed off in winter. I have not made any for my 8 frame equipment. Here are the reasons, in no particular order:

1. Extra work and cost for questionable benefit
2. When I was introduced to SBB, they were touted as very helpful in controlling varroa--my experience has been they caused me to under-estimate the percentage of varroa in my hive, showing very few mites on the bottom board
3. In my experience, the queen didn't lay close to the bottom board; some say this is because it is too cold there to keep the brood warm
4. I am hopeful that my top entrance migratory-style covers will provide adequate ventilation

It's too early to be meaningful, but so far I have seen no SHB in any of my five hives. They were never more than an annoyance here, as long as I didn't let honey supers sit very long. No inner covers and only a top entrance for anything to get into the hives may have helped with that.

I'm not ready to write off SBB, or call them useless, I'm just doing without for now and seeing how things go. Beekeeping is most definitely local.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
One of big problems now is SHB. SHB can move in and out of a hive with a SBB with ease. So now some people are using SBB's with oil trays under them to try to kill the SHB. But you can't do that if you have a bunch of hives, at least not economically. And then you have to deal with oil trays. It starts looking more like work instead of a hobby for the little guy, and I can't imagine that commercial folks are using oil trays in their hives.

The SBB in and of itself doesn't kill varroa, you need to treat the hive to kill them. It gives you a way to monitor them though. I don't use them since I don't plan on counting varroa on a sticky board.

The bees can keep a hive warm or cold themselves if the openings are small. Too big and they can't control it.

I don't have a problem with SHB. I have some in my hives. I kill them on site, but don't have a problem with them. I don't treat or monitor varroa either.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hey Derek, I'm not going anywhere,
Just built 10 more, must have close to 50 of them now.
I'm building 10 more this weekend! :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
This year I switched over to 8 frame mediums with top entrances. Previously I used 10 frame deeps and shallows with bottom entrances. All new equipment and a 100% winter kill caused me to evaluate how I did things. I was using SBB on all hives, closed off in winter. I have not made any for my 8 frame equipment. Here are the reasons, in no particular order:

1. Extra work and cost for questionable benefit
2. When I was introduced to SBB, they were touted as very helpful in controlling varroa--my experience has been they caused me to under-estimate the percentage of varroa in my hive, showing very few mites on the bottom board
3. In my experience, the queen didn't lay close to the bottom board; some say this is because it is too cold there to keep the brood warm
4. I am hopeful that my top entrance migratory-style covers will provide adequate ventilation

It's too early to be meaningful, but so far I have seen no SHB in any of my five hives. They were never more than an annoyance here, as long as I didn't let honey supers set very long. No inner covers and only a top entrance for anything to get into the hives may have helped with that.

I'm not ready to write off SBB, or call them useless, I'm just doing without for now and seeing how things go. Beekeeping is most definitely local.
Thanks for a good post. I really want to start a couple top entrance hives next year.
 

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Why wait? Cut a coupla dadoes in your top boards now (if you are using the flay migratory covers, that is). Works great, and no need to prop anything.

Thanks for a good post. I really want to start a couple top entrance hives next year.
 

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Extra work and cost? They are cheaper to build than a solid bottom by about a dollar. And no more work that I can see.

1. Extra work and cost for questionable benefit
 

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I'm pretty sure it's not a Bayer/GMO conspiracy. I think that what happened was, they came out and were advertised as the Next Best Thing so beekeepers all over the place bought them, and time has demonstrated that they are only the Next Best Thing in some places and not particularly useful at all in others. So the beekeepers who live in the latter places are going back to solids.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Being in TX and a humid part of the state so maybe they work better for me? I make my own with 2x4's and #8. Very cheap to make.
 

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Extra work and cost? They are cheaper to build than a solid bottom by about a dollar. And no more work that I can see.
Right now I'm using just a flat piece of Advantech board for bottoms. A one piece flat board cut from a 4'x8' sheet is about as simple as it gets. When I was using SBB, I had them sitting on standard bottom boards.
 

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"Why are people moving away from SBB"
I stopped building them because here it is hot and humid in the summer. (Ennis is just hot.) Think of the difference between a chest freezer and an upright. When you open the door on an upright freezer the cold air pours out the bottom. The bees are refrigerating the inside of the hive using evaporation. All the cool air pours out through a SBB or a wide, deep entrance. That may not be a problem when it's 92 degrees or less, but when it's 100 and the sun is shining on a hive and it's humid, I think it is, for me, an unnecessary waste of hive resources. That's why I don't build them anymore. We had some originally because I had less experience and knowledge then than I do now about how bees cool the hive. (Go Waxahatchie Indians.)
 
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