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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a Master Beekeeper! Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.


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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Ventilation and the Screened Bottom Board

I am short a couple of screened bottom boards. I didn't mean to have seven hives, but two swarms came home with me and I had ordered three new nucs this year, feeling sure that one of my hives would die over the winter. The hives lived, the nucs came and I brought home two of the three swarms I caught. As a result two of my hives are on solid bottom boards and they are hot.

My first year when I saw the bees bearding, I was sure a swarm was about to happen, but I wasn't acquainted with Hotlanta beekeeping at that point. Now I know that slatted racks and screened bottom boards make all the difference. Most of my hives have both but the equipment I have ordered to fix the situation on my other hives has been back-ordered for a while.

This morning at 6:30, it is already hot in the less-ventilated hives. Below you can see my apparently queenless hive with bees all over the front porch, even hanging off the front edge. I love the way they cling to each other like circus acrobats. You can see this ability in the close-up of the entry. This hive has a solid bottom board - not good for either ventilation or varroa mite control.




One of my hives out in the yard is on a solid bottom board. The bees here are also gathered on the front porch.



You can really see the effect of the SBB and the slatted rack in Bermuda. Bermuda is teeming with bees, but it has plenty of ventilation so there are less bees on the front of the hive. The bottom narrow piece of wood at the bottom of the stack is the slatted rack on this hive and the whole thing sits on a screened bottom board. Makes a real difference!
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3 comments:

  1. It is hard to beat a screened bottom board for ventilation. As an alternative, you could always put your outer cover over some shims to get it off the top chamber and allow for more airflow. Also, I sometimes offset the brood chambers from each other such that there is a 1/8 of an inch gap or so between them to allow for more airflow.

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  2. Anonymous4:33 PM

    Thanks for your great blog. I know that there is more to read on a collection board than just Varroa counts. For example, scat from wax moths can be seen, as well as sap beetles and other assorted inhabitants of the hive. Do you have any information and/or photos of same. For some reason this information is hard to obtain. Morris

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  3. Probably the reason this is hard to obtain is that those critters don't affect a strong hive. Varroa mites are indiscriminate and will hurt your hive, be it strong or weak. The other bugs you mentioned are only a problem if the hive is weak and they can be opportunistic. Wax moth eggs are always in hives, but a strong hive keeps them under control, for example. If a hive weakens then the wax moth can live and thrive.

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