Should we leave varroa board under the Mesh Floor in winter?

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Boston Bees 

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You don't need to. But you can, if you want. As long as your hive is well insulated above, it will make little difference I think.
 

bobba 

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I keep mine open except when vaping.

I thought that was the point of OMF.

Maybe if I had a weak colony with a small cluster of was overwintering a nuc, but for a healthy hive it open for me.
 

Erichalfbee 

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I keep mine open except when vaping.

I thought that was the point of OMF.

Maybe if I had a weak colony with a small cluster of was overwintering a nuc, but for a healthy hive it open for me.
Yes but leaving the inspection tray in a good few inches under the mesh leaves the mesh floor open but allows me to monitor what’s going on above it
 

elainemary 

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Have left mine in my wooden hives last 2 winters, agree with Dani re monitoring. Bit like having a solid floor for winter too, re protection from windy drafts.
 

Curly green finger's 

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I leave most of mine under the floors,
Some get blown away if they are on exposed sites, they do help as a wind break.
I've got into using some inspection board pushed up under my nuc floors in the early spring, does anyone else do this?
 

oliver90owner 

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The simplest answer. NO!

While they do not need as much bottom ventilation as an OMF provides, it is not generally a problem. Running extra-deeps, or with a shallow above a deep, is definitely a better situation for those weaker colonies caused by high varroa loads at inopportune times (particularly too many varroa while the winter bees are being brooded).

The above average or properly experienced beekeeper might compare a nest in a hollow tree - where there is only a small entry/exit at a lower level than the nest to a closed up colony with just the entrance as the source of ventilation. There are some who allow warmth from the colony to escape through, or around, the crownboard. Dim, IMO, when perfectly adequate ventilation can be provided below the nest.

I have used 3-4mm ventilation between the brood and solid floor (when OMF usage was unavailable). Worked perfectly with no dampness in the hive, good survival (of course). Think about it, is what I say. The inevitable conclusion should be that a board directly beneath the OMF will simply collect detritus (with possible nasties living in it), could restrict or almost completely close off ventilation for the colony (if the entrance gets blocked by dead bees, for instance).

Adding top insulation, with bottom ventilation, provides the best possible set of conditions for colony survival (not considering things like varroa load, insufficient stores, etc).

Let’s see uour arguments for this useless and possibly less than useless idea of closing up the bottom ventilation.
 

Erichalfbee 

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The simplest answer. NO!



Let’s see uour arguments for this useless and possibly less than useless idea of closing up the bottom ventilation.
Can I make it clear that leaving an inspection tray that is inches below the mesh with the back not closed off isn't closing the ventilation up but like somebody else has mentioned you have to clean it regularly.
On this subject, I have one colony on a solid floor with an UFE. Not a spot of condensation on the crown board.
 

Nannysbees 

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No we don't, it's the second winter we are going through and as we had a successful first winter we are doing the same this year. Easy to see any capping as they drop onto slabs below and on the straps that is holding the insulation. Floors go in for vaping to get an idea of how many varroa but not for long. Hopefully this will work for us again this year
 

The Poot 

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If there’s strong winds and cold temperatures forecast I put the boards in, removing them once the winds have ceased. As the colonies are in the garden it’s easy, but would not be practical for out apiary.
 

pargyle 

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Can I make it clear that leaving an inspection tray that is inches below the mesh with the back not closed off isn't closing the ventilation up but like somebody else has mentioned you have to clean it regularly.
On this subject, I have one colony on a solid floor with an UFE. Not a spot of condensation on the crown board.
My stands incorporate a shelf for the inspection board about 65mm below the mesh floor ... and the front of the stand is closed off so I don't get bees undershooting the landing board or any draughts blowing in.

Hive stand 1.JPGHive stand 4.JPGHive stand inspection board.JPG
 

madasafish 

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I run a mix of solid and OMF floors.
I leave inspection in trays in over winter as hives are on open stands and we have lots of gusty winter winds. And a frost pocket. I build nucs with solid floors.

I see a difference in Spring - closed floors are stronger.
 

Beebe 

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Just now, when I leave my front door open for more than a minute, I can feel the cold air even if I'm at the far end of the house. One of the sliding doors to the patio was badly fitted when new and there is a minor gap where the rubber seal doesn't quite meet; I can feel the cold air when I'm near it.

Obviously, all of my hives have open entrances of various sizes. They have various versions of sliding insert under the floor and all of them, bar the latest Abelo, by design have a loose or incomplete fit. In comparison with my home, the smaller internal volume of the hives in proportion to their "front doors" or badly fitting inserts implies that they are probably getting more than enough ventilation to control excessive condensation and it seems extremely unlikely that the bees will suffer from a lack of air.

Despite being so snugly retained, the bees are obviously still getting a very direct sense of external temperature variations because they appear and disappear in sync. with most reports of bee activity on this forum. I think the root of the debate concerning the retention of the inspection board or tray is related to the bigger dilemma of insulation and whether, in the UK climate, it is better for the bees to be exposed to the cold of the winter or to be protected from it.
 

Murox 

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....................snip..........................Despite being so snugly retained, the bees are obviously still getting a very direct sense of external temperature variations because they appear and disappear in sync. with most reports of bee activity on this forum. I think the root of the debate concerning the retention of the inspection board or tray is related to the bigger dilemma of insulation and whether, in the UK climate, it is better for the bees to be exposed to the cold of the winter or to be protected from it.
Are you skating on Wedmoreian thin ice??
 

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