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Temperatures for using the Bottom Sliding (Ventilation) Board


#1

Hi Everyone,

As mentioned recently, i’m very new to beekeeping. I have a question relating to the thin board that slides in at the bottom of the hive (normally from the rear i believe) that can be used for ventilation purposes.

As we approach winter, at what temperature should i consider pushing this slide all the way in? I’m located on the Mornington Peninsula at Mount Martha, in Victoria (Australia). Also, at what temp should i remove it? Although the days are still warm here at the moment, some of the evenings are getting coolish, ie 14 degrees C. Is this board usually pulled out for the entire Summer period, or do beekeepers slide it in on cooler evenings to help the bees stay warm, and then remove it during the day. On my hive, directly above this removable sliding board is a stainless steel mesh screen.

Any advice that you’re can provide me regarding this bottom sliding board and the temperatures it should be used, would be very much appreciated.

Additionally, I’m really keen to find a mentor within my location who is willing to give me some ‘hands on’ advice/guidance.

Thanks in advance for your time and info.

Regards,

Paul.


#2

@Masonguitars Are you using the flow hive bottom board? Mine has two slots. I use the lower slot during the late spring into early summer. I have never completely taken it out. By the time it is that warm I have the entrance reducer completely out of the front and also have vents in the roof of the hive. This gives the bees the ability to bring in as much air as they need. When it gets that hot it would be more important to ensure that they have a solid water source to pull from as they will be getting water to bring in to use cool down the hive. Keeping the internal temperature of the hive at 93.7 degrees F is very important for brood development. I suppose I cant really comment to having it all the way out. I am willing to bet the bees would deal with it the way they know best but my gut tells me they would start to propolize the screen on the bottom board to restrict some of the air flow at some point. Having the cornflute board in also allows you to monitor pests such as varroa. I pull the board each time I inspect the hives and look at what is on it.

There are definitely many opinions on the screened bottom board and solid bottom board. I went to a workshop this past weekend and the one speaker only uses solid bottom boards like the commercial beekeepers do that he does business with. I like the screened bottom board for the simple fact that I can pull it out and clean it. You can’t do that with a solid bottom board. I realize that the most likely response would be that the bees would keep the bottom board clean and if you have a strong hive it probably would but if the bees remove mites from a bee and they drop they will fall onto the bottom board and be able to climb back on another bee whereas with a screened board they would fall thru and not be able to do so.

I hope this helps and I imagine that others will respond and give you their opinion too. Take all the info you get and make a decision that works best for you!


#3

Hi John,

Thank you for your reply and info. The hive i’m currently using is actually a traditional Langstroth hive. I should have mentioned that in my initial post. I have ordered a ‘Flow Hive 2’ however i’m not expecting to receive that for a few more months yet.

With regard to my earlier post though, the main question i was hoping someone could answer relates primarily to the bottom sliding board, and the actual temperature to either insert or to remove it. Ie, when could the bees do with a little bit of assistance from us to keep their hive warm or cool. The nights in my location are starting to get cool however the days are still quite hot. Should i be sliding that bottom board in at night to help them keep warm, or not? Is their an actual temperature that a beekeeper would deem cold for the bees, and as a result decide to slide the board in.


#4

Hi Paul, ventilation is an issue that appears to me to be confusing to many beekeepers and there seem to be many different views. Personally, I notice if it is warm and the bees are gathering at or near the entrance of the hive and fanning etc. and then I remove the sliding board, shortly thereafter, fewer bees are seen at the front of the hive and it returns to normality. I assume the removal of the board allows the hive temperature to reduce, but this is an assumption only.


#5

Hi Dan2, Thank you for your response. Much appreciated.

Additionally, i’m wondering if i should put some ventilation in the Parrot Box, which is where the bulk of the colony is residing. When i attached the Parrot Box to the new Lang Hive via the aligning of two 40mm holes, (1 in the bottom of the Parrot Box, and 1 in the top of the Lang lid) I also sealed what was the Bees original entrance into the Parrot box. The only way in and out of either box now is via the bottom landing entrance of the Lang. Maybe i should drill a ventilation hole in the Parrot Box, or remove the seal i place over their original entrance, and put some fly wire over it to allow for some ventilation in the Parrot Box. Currently there isn’t any ventilation apart from the hole that leads into the top of the lang. See the attached Pic which shows how i’ve got the 2 boxes set up.


#6

I experiment with different set ups in my three hives. Over the summer, two had just a 15 cm2 entrance slot, solid floor and no ventilation at all in the lid. The other had the original Flow hive base with the slide out corflute and no ventilation in the lid. One of the solid floor hives appears to have overcome chalkbrood and now appears to be nearly my strongest hive but when it got warm, there was too much bearding for my liking and I have given it a mesh floor with a wide entrance and I’ve given the other solid floor hive a different solid floor with a wide entrance. That other solid floor hive has done poorly with the exact same set up. I noticed the bees had eaten away the wood at the side of the small entrances, as if they were trying to widen them. The wider entrances see fewer bees outside these hives using energy to keep things cool. The mesh floors are closed off with the corflute overnight - and during most days - I only take it out if it were high 20’s, which is very rare here.

I think you have enough ventilation from what I can see but I don’t actually know for sure and I am experimenting all the time (like thousands of beekeepers before me) so what I have done and noticed probably doesn’t mean too much. The strength of the colony is probably more to do with the quality or genetics of the queen rather than how they are housed ventilation wise. I personally noticed that ventilation holes in the lids did not make the condensation under the lids less during winter but have had much more success, condensation wise, with polystyrene under the lids and no ventilation holes.


#7

Hi there we are in Brisbane and we put mesh over the feeder hole at the top of the flow hive and the bees just closed it even in the middle of summer.
I put vent holes in the sides of the roof of our hybrid flow and same thing they just blocked them off.
We leave the corflute slider in the bottom year round but have place 8mm timber all round it and place lime in it which traps all the moth larvae and small hive bettles. See the latest flow hive as it has a similar arrangement.
As many have said on this forum the bees are very good at controlling their environment without us. If they don’t like the airflow they do their best to adjust it.
FYI move the corflute slider to the top slot when taking honey off the hive to see how much is leaking through and harvest in small increments to ensure all is good.
good luck.


#8

Hello Gary,
I am Prospect Adelaide. When you say you put lime on the corflute, may I ask what sort of lime? Is it hydrated lime that is used in solid plastering on brick walls. A dying breed I must add with the advent of brick veneer homes.
Rgds


#9

Normal garden lime from bunnings is cheaper. Diatomaceous earth is better but costs way more. You just need to run your fingers through it every few weeks if gets a little hard. If you pull the slider out every few days and squash any beetles that are crawling around. Once a month I throw it into a sealed bin.
Get ready to kill any moths that survive.Look in this forum for my posts in pest and diseases for the setup pics.


#10

Thanks. Will look for it in the local Bunnings.