Interpreting the screened bottom board

Any tips on reading the removable section under the screen?

Here’s mine for an example…

I dont have SHB as i’m in Western Australia but have used the screened bottom board in an attempt to keep the hive cooler on hot days.

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Most of it is just normal cell debris where the cells have been uncapped and bits of bee. There are bits of pollen and the little black square ended bits are insect droppings. Do you have earwigs in Australia? They love hive debris.
Also there are a few areas where the debris seems to be stuck together. Have a poke at that and if there is a web in it have a look for wax moth larvae.
How long did you leave it in for?
To my mind it is best left out and let the stuff drop through your hive stand onto the floor.

Most of what you see on a screen will be bits of capping that fall to the floor. Sometimes you will see wax moth larvae or wax moth frass. Often you see wax scales that fell or pollen that fell. Always (unless you live one of those rare places with no Varroa) you will see dead Varroa.

Fortunately I live in one of those places - no hive beetles or varroa here yet. I dread the day they get here.

The hive is on my hot tin roof, so don’t see many critters up there except the bees. I’ve seen one cockroach hiding by the hive base but that’s it so far. I suspect when it cools down I might see other insects venturing about.

I took that photo after it had been in about a week. I’ll have a look for the web and larvae next time I’m poking about.

I saw wax moth larvae this time. 4 of them. Is this best managed by clearing it regularly? Or by not having the tray in at all?

I don’t have the screen in unless I’m doing a varroa count or locating activity in the winter so my advice would be to take it away. All the rubbish drops on the ground where little beasties deal with it

Hi Dunc, I am in Perth. I found some wax moth have breed up in and around the corfute, I cleaned it out best I could. I found some of them on the edges between the corfute and wire mesh and some on the corfute edges and even in the corflute tubes. I didn’t pull out the corflute very often through winter, Just a few times, I didn’t want to let the cold in. But I would suggest cleaning the wax debri etc regularly from corflute and tracks. Will be checking inside hive today, hopefully not going to find a mess, fingers crossed. Cheers Tim.

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Hi, just as a follow up, my wife and I just went through our hive, both super and brood boxes and all frames. No sign of wax moth😀 And they are drawing out some newer frames we put in a while ago. Cleaned the tracks for the corflute with a thin wire brush, just to make sure it’s clean. So I’m really happy and relieved, that it all looks good, and we will be checking the corflute and tracks more often to see if the moth returns as the bees can’t reach them down there through the mesh. Cheers Tim

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Good to hear they are not damaging the comb. Certainly over the summer I was finding wax moth larvae on the corflute, though not to the extent you’ve been seeing. I haven’t seen any this winter.

I moved the corflute to the top slot over winter (my hive is on my roof and so I was concerned that winds would cool the hive too much if I had it lower). I recently moved it down a slot as water was collecting on it - so will see if that’s made a difference to wax moth larvae.

Having a corflute underneath the screened bottom board seems to shelter the larvae from the bees and provide them with wax to eat. In the summer I removed the corflute entirely to improve cooling and allow the wax to fall to the ground away from the hive…

Hi Dunc I have always had the corfute in the upper slot.
I might remove it completely in this summer heat too, specially those above 40 deg.
Yes, I think I will clean out the corflute more often so wax doesn’t build up to much, see if that helps too.
I was wondering why they use corflute and wonder if I could use some marine ply or similar so less holes for wax moth bugs etc. what do you reckon?
Cheers Tim

I can’t see why you couldn’t use another material.

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Shots from my corflute board at this morning’s inspection. Found & killed three lesser wax moths along with the larvae pictured. Wondered if anyone can tell me that the black/dk brown pips are - they don’t look like the varroa I’ve seen but surely they are some type of pest…SHB eggs?

I checked the progress in my second brood box, which is a medium I switched from on top of the original deep to under it, about two months ago. Some may recall that I posted about crazy comb at the end of June, because the bees had built wavy combs going up from the bottom bars of the medium frames :dizzy_face: Which I removed & then did the switch.

Anyway, it’s looking great in there now, @Dawn_SD you’ll be pleased to know that the combs are all nice & straight & hanging from tops of frames to bottoms, now that the medium second brood box has been under the first! Lots of bees, good brood pattern, capped stores. Busy but not bursting - I’d say the bottom box is about 50-60% full. At this point, I’m thinking they’re a medium-sized, healthy colony that has a shot at completing that second box & making last-minute stores with the fall flow if all goes decently. All input & advice is welcome :blush:

By the way, I didn’t bother to smoke…had no dry fuel & wanted to see what would happen anyway. Had the distinct impression the bees were much less agitated without the smoke! I’m sure it’s needed in some situations, but I’d be inclined to skip it most of the time now.

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Wax moth poop :blush: Typically they make dark brown to black cylindrical droppings - they look rectangular until you see them really close up.

Nice photo. There are some varroa on the board too, but it would be surprising if there weren’t. :slight_smile:

Delighted to hear it. Sometimes my crazy thoughts actually work out! :smile:

Last time we inspected, I managed to convince my husband to try without smoke. He wanted to find the queen, and when I reminded him that the queen in that particular hive is a talented “runner”, he saw the virtue of not adding to her panic with smoke. :blush: He still wanted it lit “in case”, as a kind of security blanket… We used our usual tea towel approach - covering the box with a couple of linen cloths, so the bees didn’t feel too exposed, just rolling the cloth back to inspect each frame. It worked beautifully without smoke, and we found the queen, so he is a convert now. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Well I think that calls for a WOOT!! For both of us :sunglasses:

Any suggestions re: wax moth presence?

Keep the hive strong (don’t give them more space than the bees can defend) and let the bees deal with the moths.

Excellent. Thought that’s what I recalled from my readings of @Michael_Bush some time ago.


Hey @Dawn_SD is there any way you could highlight the varroa on those photos so the rest of us know what we’re looking for? I keep staring at my corflute at various small brown specs but I really don’t know how to distinguish between a varroa and a spec of pollen or something else. Thanks!

Adult varoa are about 1.5mm wide and look like s chocolate button to the naked eye.

Can someone tell me what a healthy bottom board looks like? I found this today in my hive— I’m new if you haven’t guessed—and I’m worried it’s a problem.