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Hive Doctor Bottom Boards

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On 12/02/2019 at 8:07 AM, Trevor Gillbanks said:

They are fine.  Heat rises.  Cold falls.  What part of that says ventilated floor will be a problem.

And HD floor are only semi ventilated. 

I have a mesh bottom board,  which I close with a plastic drawer for mite count in winter.

 

My impression is bees being cold, tend to eat more honey in winter.  I close the drawer beginning of April.

I also noticed when overwintering in 2 supers. Top super being honey. Bees are really keen to move upwards (drawer closed) leaving the bottom super half empty to full empty as winter goes on.

 

I am now thinking of insulating the plastic bottom drawer so they are warmer during winter. They are also more able to guard the entrance in winter against wasps, who are superior in colder weather. I often see the entrance not guarded early morning (I think wasps know after some time, that's the time for a feed). I am in Auckland no freezing conditions. I am a hobbyist so my knowledge comes from observation.

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go ahead. but definately insulate your top cover/hive mat ! at least 30 mm styrofoam

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For years we had nothing but tin top covers and although mine are all wood now I'm not sure it made that much difference. The bees heat the space they are using and ignore the rest which is exactly what they supposed to do. I've kept some bees in some pretty cold country and I don't really think there's anywhere in New Zealand cold enough to warrant extra installation.As for bottom ventilation I know a lot of people swear by it but I also know experienced beekeepers with some of each who would not use ventilated floors again. The bottom line is bees overwinter perfectly well in New Zealand with solid floors and top boards without any extra insulation.If my hives don't need it, they don't get it.

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as always it depends on a lot of circumstances

 

if you overwinter on 2 or even 3 boxes the distance to the top insulation will likely be too big to make a difference. all the heat would just exit the hive through the uninsulated side walls. In this particular case insulation needs to be closer to the source of heat to work.

 

that said it is proven that bees in styrofoam boxes consume less stores over winter. So generally speaking it will be beneficial. Also in certain side by side setups bees often tend to cluster towards the side next to the other hive.

Thats why some beekeepers like to overwinter 2 weaker nucs in one box separated by a thin divider board.

 

but again for a strong hive thats not all that relevant.

 

Bees are very resilient and adaptive and thus almost any setup will work for them. the differences often are not that distinctive which makes it very hard to figure out whats best for them. Although it is clear that a standard langstroth box is very different to the "ideal" feral colony setup figured out by tom seeley.

 

also circumstances like temperature and humidity can and will be very different from one apiary to another (especially if you consider whole of nz). so whats good for one beekeeper might not be ideal for another.

 

that said i think anywere in nz youll be able to overwinter an otherwise healthy hive regardless of insulation or bottom board setup.

 

the reason for me to have meshed bottom boards is the use of a sticky board and the fact that i can keep the hive entrances small regardless of the outside temperature (heat)

 

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I'm new to bee keeping. I just purchased a setup with a Hive Dr bottom board. The whole bottom board is full of stuck bees. Most of them are dead. Is this normal? I'm thinking of building a timber base instead or getting the smart hive board instead as the vents look smaller. Or does this also cause the bees to get stuck?

I just made a topic for this.

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1 hour ago, MissOlivia said:

I'm new to bee keeping. I just purchased a setup with a Hive Dr bottom board. The whole bottom board is full of stuck bees. Most of them are dead. Is this normal? I'm thinking of building a timber base instead or getting the smart hive board instead as the vents look smaller. Or does this also cause the bees to get stuck?

I just made a topic for this.

No it’s not normal. Something is wrong . 

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18 hours ago, M4tt said:

No it’s not normal. Something is wrong . 

Something is wrong, and changing your base won’t be the solution sorry 

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Are the stuck bees trying to get in or out please?

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20 hours ago, MissOlivia said:

I'm new to bee keeping. I just purchased a setup with a Hive Dr bottom board. The whole bottom board is full of stuck bees. Most of them are dead. Is this normal? I'm thinking of building a timber base instead or getting the smart hive board instead as the vents look smaller. Or does this also cause the bees to get stuck?

I just made a topic for this.

If they’re on the inside, I’ve seen this in very weak hives. It looks like the bees fall to the bottom board and aren’t strong enough to climb back up onto the frames. Perhaps contact the person you got the hive from and get them to check it. 

 

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6 minutes ago, nikki watts said:

If they’re on the inside, I’ve seen this in very weak hives. It looks like the bees fall to the bottom board and aren’t strong enough to climb back up onto the frames. Perhaps contact the person you got the hive from and get them to check it. 

 

Please go to this thread 

 

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Mesh boards or open boards like HD are good for ventilation purpose however the top must be sealed for winter. I used to use a plastic sheet over the frames then a hive mat and the lid.

No condensation or mold at all. Bees fired up in early spring without to have to clean moldy frames etc like before I had mesh floors.

Nowadays I use 18mm marine ply lids(no plastic sheet, no hive mat). Works perfectly fine.

 

Full bottom boards need a partially ventilated hive mat and moisture absorbent material under the lid to have a fully dry hive over the winter. Some beekeepers like this version.

 

German fellows, do you have any experience or feedback on bottom boards with basement? I do not have any other name for it. Basically it has a huge entrance(400mm wide and 150+mm high) and inside has a mesh(or a metal plate???).

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