Removable hive floor

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New Bee
May 31, 2009
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North Linconlshire
Hive Type
Number of Hives
Do people keep their varoa floors (the plastic ones that go under the mesh) on the hives all the time or do they just sit there when you are actually counting mite drop? Does this depend on the time of year, ie off during summer and on during winter?
I only use the tray when I'm doing a mite count, otherwise it's off all the year round, even all winter, and they have a 50mm insulation board on top of the crown board to keep the heat in and condensation down on the crown board, helping keep the moisture levels low within the hive.
Been through three winters now, only had one colony loss, and that was on my one and only solid floor. Guess what, that floors been binned.

Keep mine out all year round. Only use the board for the mite count. Havent used insulation yet but being in the south east i suppose i dont need it ?
I think some of the idea is not so much to keep the cold out but more as to enable the bees to overwinter on less food, as keeping themselves warm consumes more. That's not to say to feed less in the autumn.

I see it as an insurance policy.

I had the scary situation of loosing half a cluster as some of them moved and the others ran out of food and died, this was pre-insulation days. I would hope that in an insulated hive they would be in a slightly easier position for moving on a milder day. Also if you insulate you reduce the space which needs heating.

In England though insulation should not block ventilation.

I wouldn't have thought the South East was so much milder, doesn't it have a slight tendancy to catch snow from France? :)

Remember to replace the tray when treating with apiguard - the thymol vapours are heavier than air.
I wouldn't have thought the South East was so much milder, doesn't it have a slight tendancy to catch snow from France? :)


No, all the French snow falls on me.:confused:

What is the reason for wanting to leave it off ? Or for putting it back?
In my case, I would leave it off if I had a problem of dampness- mouldy pollen, chalk brood, or any of the other nasties that are caused by damp conditions. But for this to work, you MUST insulate above the crown board, and have zero ventilation up top.( Otherwise the air that is warmed as it passes through the cluster will deposit its water vapour on the crown board directly above the cluster and you’ll end up with water dripping down on the bees and frames instead of going down the side of the hive).
So, the hive is drier and hence healthier. The problem now is the cold. The bees can deal with this- here winters are at minus 10 to minus 15,and I’ve never lost a colony to the cold. But they’ll end up consuming more stores to keep the temperature up. You can partly deal with this by having a hive size that is adapted to the colony size. And you must ensure that they have enough stores BEFORE going into the winter.
Without a damp problem, I see no reason for leaving it off, but perhaps someone else can give one………
I`ve got my trays in at the moment as I`m a bit unsure what to do In my area.
I live fairly high up not far from the coast, less than a mile from some wind turbines so as you can imagine it can get fairly miserable with driving rain, hill fog, sea mist etc. Do you think I should leave them in or take them out ?
That sounds mighty damp. Have you already overwintered your bees on solid floors, and had problems caused by dampness ? If you have done so, and all was fine, then I’d put the trays in. Otherwise, I’d leave them out, but I’m assuming your hives are well protected from those winds. If they’re not, then add some skirting so that the wind doesn’t blow straight up into the hive. Another possibility, if your tray has a lip around 3 sides, is to put the tray in upside down. This will give extra ventilation under the entrance, but protect against the wind. (Make sure the hive is tilting slightly forwards).
And now, just thinking out loud on something I know nowt about, could those mists & fogs coming off the sea contain salt water, and if so, could the salt prevent any spores from developing in the hives? Perhaps someone who knows about this sort of thing could put me straight on that ?
In coastal areas salt affects the land to a range of 8 miles. Source Professor of Botany, Aberdeen Uni whilst discussing wild white clover.

I haven`t overwintered any bees yet as this is my first year. I`ve got some of that green wind fabric that I could staple around the stand legs to reduce the wind.
Thanks for the replies Jean & PH.
i just checked my varrao floors and found quite a few wax moth larvae among the wax bits on the floor. floors out from now on. what i didn't find was any varrao mites. probably ants had taken care of them:toetap05:


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