Solid Floor vs Screen Bottom Board

I picked up a swarm yesterday afternoon & brought it home. This morning I removed all of the foundationless frames that were used to support the frame of brood that I used. I replaced them with extra frames containing some more brood as well as some frames with fresh foundation.

Upon removing the empty frames, I noticed the solid floor was covered in opaque wax flakes. I assume those flakes will get picked up, mixed with bee saliva, then fashioned into honey comb (as in the video: City of Bees), which had already started. I reckon that all of those flakes would have fallen through a SBB.

I have seen those clear tiny flakes on a core flute slider of a SBB flow hive. Do you really think the bees would collect them all and use them? I had assumed that sometimes the bees produce them when they don’t need them- and drop them. Or just accidentally drop them. When I started out beekeeing I thought bees would re-cycle and collect wax so I would dump small pieces on the landing boards. In my experience they never really collected that wax- though they would hang out on it quite a lot.

I see them collecting propolis- and re-using it- but not wax so much. Bees are very interested in my hot wax dipper which has wax mixed with pine rosin. I think it is the rosin that really interests them- as it is like propolis. After I have dipped a hive I see bees collecting excess residue that is on the surface- and bundling it to their legs like pollen. Having said that: whenever I melt wax bees show up immediately- they are very attracted to the smell.

Once I caught a swarm and put it into a Nuc box- all night long it clustered on the outside of the box before moving in the next day. After they moved in there was a big residue of snow white wax left on the outside of the hive- like you see on a branch that a swarm has clustered on. Those bees never collected that wax and it stayed on the outside of the hive- until it melted into the wood in summer.

When you ask: Do you really think the bees collect them all & use them. I had assumed that sometimes the bees produce them when they don’t need them- and drop them."

In my situation, it was a swarm caught the previous day. Bees in that situation are big on producing wax in order to build honeycomb. It comes naturally to them.

The white wax you’re referring to has already been mixed with bee saliva & then deposited. I have no idea why they don’t re-use that. Maybe it works better for building comb with new opaque flakes.

I think they do use old wax mixed with new wax to some degree. If you place a frame with new foundation next to an old black wax frame, you will notice some dark color mixed in with the new wax they build. Something I used to try to avoid while I had my bees producing comb honey.


I don’t know if it’s a “versus”, there’s obviously pros and cons to both and comes down to the beekeepers choice.
This was cleaned out a week ago and some fresh oil put in and has drowned about 30 SHB that may or may not have been chased into beetle traps.

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Hi Brad, I really can’t identify any cons with using solid floors. What are the cons that you know of in using solid floors?

I realise you’re not a fan of ventilating hives other than the normal entrance, but for other people the lack of ventilation could be considered a con.
From my picture you’d see hive beetles fall through, chalkbrood, wax and other detritus that would otherwise collect on the bottom board that would require the workforce to remove fall through.
As I said, personal choice and the pros and cons of equipment choices can and will be debated until the cows come home.


Thanks Brad, it’s interesting to get your perspective. cheers

PS @Brad13, I couldn’t remember all night why I started this thread. I had to re-read my introduction. It was that new wax flakes also fall through a SBB. A strong colony always keeps a solid floor nice & clean, as well as air conditions the hive via the entrance.