Solid Bottom Board Vs Screened Bottom Board
Topics Beekeepers Can't Agree On!
By: Lynne Jones
On September 29th, I asked members of two Beekeeping Facebook groups* to state their preference for Solid or Screened bottom boards and why. There were roughly 33 people that commented with only 28 having a clear opinion one way or the other. The preference was overwhelmingly for solid bottom boards, with 23 voting for solid and only 5 preferring screened. Four of the five preferring screened, specifically stated they use screen bottom boards in conjunction with traps for Small Hive Beetles (West Beetle Trap, Freeman Bottom Board, or DIY version of them). Among those preferring solid bottoms however, five commented they use screened bottoms on occasion for a specific purpose. For example, Gregory Henahan said, “The bees can clean beetles into the oil pretty quickly. I use them as needed for 4 or 5-day periods. The rest of the time I use solid.”
It was the opinion of most, an open screen is a hindrance rather than a help to the bees in cooling the hive. Based on the logic that in the heat of the day of Texas’ summer, a house with no AC should open up all the windows – right? As Jodi McCumber explained, “… bees during the summer time regulate the temp of their hive by depositing water into the cells and fanning the water to create internal a/c within the hive.” Although a small opening for ventilation is helpful, using a screened bottom without the IPM insert or a SHB bottom trap is like is running your central AC with all the windows open.
Though beeks will seldom agree on certain topics, the overall consensus from this small sampling of opinions is:
Solid bottom boards are the best choice, but there are circumstances when a screened bottom board can be useful. * Links to Facebook poll threads: Texas Friendly Beekeepers - Click Here Central Texas Beekeepers - Click Here