SCREEN BOTTOM BOARDS
Our Screened Bottom Boards are fully assembled and made with galvanized mesh wire to allow ventilation. Perfect for temperature control during climate changes and provides assistant with pest management. Available for 5 Frame, 8 Frame & 10 Frame.
As the name implies, a bottom board sits at the bottom of the hive; it is the “floor” of the hive. Basically, the bottom board is a platform connected to two side rails. The platforms sits 3/4” (though we call for 13/16”) from the top of the rail; this space lets us put in an entrance reducer when called for.
Times were when the platform was solid, but since the arrival of the varroa mite and the concept of “integrated pest management” (IPM) the “screened” bottom board has become more popular.
In a screened bottom board, the platform is replaced by a narrow frame and the central opening is covered by a wire mesh screen. Research has found that a certain number of mites fall to the bottom of the hive as a result of the normal hustle and bustle of the bees above.
On solid boards, the mites apparently hitch a ride on passing bees and return to the nest.
With a screened bottom, the mites fall through and away from the comings and goings of the passing bees; the mites perish.
Using a screened bottom board is a good way to control a certain number of mites in a non-chemical way. Screened bottom boards also have a role in monitoring mite populations. You can slip a sampling board under the screen from the rear of the bottom board and count the natural 24-hour mite fall. By charting this count over time, you can get a pretty good idea of the population trend of the hive’s mite load. If the trend is up, or sharply up, then it might be time to consider more mite control actions.
The sampling board is also used when dusting your hive with powdered sugar, another IPM mite control strategy. Bees dusted with powdered sugar will groom themselves and each other, thus knocking off a good number of mites. With a bottom board in place, you can count these fallen mites and again get a good idea of the phoretic varroa population of the hive.