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Slatted Racks in Australia

I’ve been reading about the goodness of slatted racks, including but not only, on an Australian beekeeping book.

However I can’t find any for sale here in Australia. I’ve asked a few around me and they never even heard of them.

Does anyone know where I can buy a couple from? I found them online overseas but shipping was expensive. Further google searches only gave me various slatted furniture.

BTW. I do not have carpentry skills, or necessary tools to make one.

Your profile doesn’t say where on the humongous continent of Australia you are located. I know that @skeggley has asked about them, and been told that “salted rats” are not available in Australia.

However, I think another forumite has made or found one somehow, I just can’t remember who it was. Somebody like @busso could perhaps be persuaded to make one for you. Also @Peter48 would perhaps suggest that you contact a local “men’s shed” if you have one. Given the dimensions, they could very likely make one for you.

I now have a 100% salt free slated rack! Thanks @busso.
Not installed yet though.
@nuts, these are not available locally and regardless of my seed planting at suppliers nothing has grown. I think there is a market for them still. However, i think you’re over thinking the ventilation.
I’m not far from you and I’ve disposed of the screened bb and lid. I use a solid base, no reducer and a standard migratory lid with foam insulation. Some colonys have propolizes the top vents and although they beard they have been fine.
Feral tree colonys have one entrance which is their only ventilation.


Thought I already did that, must have not saved it. I’m east of Perth.

Salted Rats?

I’m no carpenter. I have a hand saw. I have a hammer. Thought I can buy some wood and plonk one together myself but seems there are too many fiddly bits. But if it fits the purpose, bees won’t mind I guess.

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Bees are funny things. We build them palaces, and yet they still swarm to tree holes, eaves of houses, and wall cavities. I am sure if you made something close to the item described in the post linked above (the honeybeesuite.com link), then your bees would accept it. :blush:

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Wow, just looked at my e-mail and found this psychic message from today. Rusty is a great beekeeper and this article of hers has all of the salient points, plus instructions on building one (10 frame though, I think):

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I did get a few a couple of years ago from www.bobsbeekeeping.com.au in Victoria, don’t know if they still sell them. And yes, that’s Bob as in Robert Owen, the author of the popular beekeeping book here in Australia, same bloke.

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Ha, it’s a small beekeeing world.

That’s one of the article I just read, and…

… that’s the book I’m reading. Thanks for the link! They sell them, but the 8-frame is out of stock. it think it will be >$50 including postage.

I have limited carpentry skills and tools but I can make a simple frame from 65x18mm pine from Bunnings. Then buy dome dowels for the slats and another piece of timber for the flat piece at the entrance, and I need of a smart way to fix everything together solidly. I was thinking that if I use round dowels instead of flat pieces for the slats, they will still serve the purpose but less likely to accumulate debris on them.

There are many designs and “how to” articles and videos on slatted racks.
They can be put together by an average handyman easily enough. You don’t need dado saws and special tools but a table saw will save a lot of time. Simple joints are ok, they don’t have to be dovetails.

The underside (where the bees enter) is not critical as far as measurements go as long as the external dimensions conform pretty much to your brood box.
The critical measurement is the 5mm (3/16") gap around the top surface. If it is too deep the bees will build in there, if it is too shallow the bees may get squished.

You can save yourself a lot of time by buying the timber to the correct dimensions. For example 19mm (3/4") square batten is always available. For the sides buy 120mm wide and get shop to rip it in two for you.

Unless you build yourself a setup jig and use a dowlling jig this will be a nightmare to assemble.
Using a rebate and 19mm square slats is fiddly enough and I have built a few of them.

Went to Bunnings and they have 65mm, so that’s good for the frame, right?

Was going to use the round timber dowels in 18mm, instead of square, as mentioned above my theory is that less crap will settle on the round timber than flat. Probably I’m over thinking it, am I?

Now you got me. I can borrow a flat drill bit that can drill holes that size. Carefully drill the holes in the correct spacing starting with a very small drill bit. Then slide the round timber slats in and glue them.

If you think you can do it go for it.
Just remember the whole frame has to sit squarely on the base and the brood on it. Even a small miss alignment (1mm up or down) or a hole not perfectly perpendicular to the edge will not let you to join up all the dowels or if you force it the box will not be square. Two or three dowels easy peasy, 10 dowels not at all easy. :worried:Just saying.
I made a cot for our children using 25mm dowels on all the sides. I used a dowelling jig, made an alignment tool to ensure drill press was drilling vertical in two directions and used 3 bits to eventually get to the correct size and I still had problems with one or two dowels in keeping the sides flat and square. Nice cot though and my daughter used it as well for hers. Now stashed in the shed gathering dust and spiders. :woozy_face:


Ha… no I don’t. Maybe I’ll use the square wood then. Thanks for the heads up.

Clamp the pieces of wood together. Pilot drill through both pieces at the spacing required. Enlarge hole to dowel size. Holes should now align. If you’re worried about flatness, assemble on flat surface - clamp down and screw together.

I feel the weight of the hive will squash it relatively flat. Any gaps will eventually be propolised up.

Take photos and inspire us all.

I don’t have a clamp big enough. Ooops…

But bear with me, I’ll find a workaround. What I lack in tools and skills, I’ll make up for with patience and determination… ha.

My understanding is that slatted racks do not increase ventilation, they rather decrease it a bit, and redistribute it. I’m not interested in them for ventilation, but their overall advantages.

Having said that, the fact that they are virtually unknown in Australia makes me wonder whether they really are useful at all.

Last thing I want to do is pimp my hive with unnecessary bling.


Ha, youve already pimped your hive by getting a Flow. :grinning:.
The common reply are “The commercial beeks dont use them so they’re not necessary” or "We don’t have varroa so it’s not necessary^…
In a way the rack does have ventilation purposes just as the bees have ventilation purpose when they beard. My over thinking comment was related to your other posts.

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My flat top slatted racks are actually very clean. Bees are incredibly tidy creatures and clean up any flat surface very nicely. I have solid bottom boards in two of my hives, and they are always kept clean by the bees too. The only time that wasn’t true was when a hive got insecticide poisoning - too many bees dying for the house bees to remove them all.

I would go for flat surfaces. I am not sure what kind of message rounded surfaces would give the hive regarding bee space. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Maybe I am be a bit conservative and considering your climate I wonder if there is any advantage in having a slatted rack at all in a hive. For some reason they haven’t caught on here in Australia and with the wide range of climates we have here I would think if they are worthwhile then they would be popular. Bee keepers tend to be a bit traditional but we don’t wear horse blinkers. :thinking:

I have them on all 3 hives, and I find now that the queen lays right to the bottom.of the frames, which wasn’t the case before. Also, much less bearding on our already very hot days.

I do have the benefit of having US based family visiting me in Sydney fairly regularly though, so have been ordering from Mann lake and having them brought down. If you were closer to Sydney, id be happy to tack another one on to my next order in January.

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I only inspected the hive once so far (next is this weekend, weather permitting) and yes I noticed it was impeccably clean. However once I placed the corflute bottom a lot of ‘crumbs’ accumulated there within just a few days. Pieces of wax or cappings I suppose. So I thought that these would end up on the slate if they’re flat.

Good to know that yours are clean, so they obviously clean them.

Thanks Ropate. That’s consistent to what I’m reading.

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