solid floor or mesh floor for winter?

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krennie 

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This is my first 'bee' winter...
and now wondering what to do about the mesh floor arrangement - I have a solid inspection board that can be slotted in underneath?
Planning to put insulation in roof as already mentioned on another thread, but what to do with the floor? Please can someone advise, thankyou.
 

Erichalfbee 

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Do what the bees are used to is my motto. I have some solid floors and bees have been in these all summer. My floors are deep so I can leave inspection boards in all year. The boards are all at least 5cm below the omf and open at the back. Some have them left all year some not. I don’t change anything for winter.
 

Poly Hive 

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Yesterday at 1:33 PM
I'll mention that when what we now call OMF floors were "invented" the work was being done to improve Wintering. This was decades before varroa. The research showed that the ventilated floors worked best with top insulation over the CB. The work was done by Rennie (I think) at Craibstone and I may have a pamphlet here covering it. The trouble is I am in a temp office and my stuff is everywhere.

If it helps my hives have been over wintering on OMF for near thirty years now.
 

gmonag 

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I agree. I use OMF for the benefits it offers but it does seem unnecessarily harsh to leave the bottom of the hive completely open all winter. So, like Dani, I leave the varroa board in about 5cm below the mesh all year.
5cm = 1/10 cubit = 2 1/4 fingers
 
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Boston Bees 

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This is my first 'bee' winter...
and now wondering what to do about the mesh floor arrangement - I have a solid inspection board that can be slotted in underneath?
Planning to put insulation in roof as already mentioned on another thread, but what to do with the floor? Please can someone advise, thankyou.
The sad truth is that, assuming your inspection board cuts off most of the air-flow to the open mesh floor, no-one knows the answer to your question. All they can do is tell you what they do themselves.

In general, the accepted approach has been that inspection boards are put in only when inspecting for varroa. So you wouldn't leave the inspection board in continuously over winter. However, this has been challenged by some, who say that the bees benefit from being protected from the cold winter wind gusting in from below.

There has been no proper science done to establish which is correct. Some people who leave trays in over winter report serious condensation problems, but others don't, and such problems may be nothing to do with the inspection tray (plenty of people report condensation problems with the tray out).

I suspect that the other decisions you make with this hive (treating, feeding, top insulation etc) will be far more important. So with regards to the tray, go with what feels right and don't worry about it too much.
 

victor meldrew 

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The sad truth is that, assuming your inspection board cuts off most of the air-flow to the open mesh floor, no-one knows the answer to your question. All they can do is tell you what they do themselves.

In general, the accepted approach has been that inspection boards are put in only when inspecting for varroa. So you wouldn't leave the inspection board in continuously over winter. However, this has been challenged by some, who say that the bees benefit from being protected from the cold winter wind gusting in from below.

There has been no proper science done to establish which is correct. Some people who leave trays in over winter report serious condensation problems, but others don't, and such problems may be nothing to do with the inspection tray (plenty of people report condensation problems with the tray out).

I suspect that the other decisions you make with this hive (treating, feeding, top insulation etc) will be far more important. So with regards to the tray, go with what feels right and don't worry about it too much.
I put my inspection trays in for Winter .
this fits in well with my varroa control as I vape either side of Christmas.
I don’t block the entrances when vaping 😌
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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I don't have inspection trays - waste of storage space for something that gets very occasional use. 50mm PIR insulation under the roof (and flush against the crown board). Open mesh floor is... err.............. open all year around
 
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madasafish 

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I put boards in in winter. I have at least 5cm gap getween OMF and tray.
There are enough gaps at the bottom to provide some inuslation even with boards in.
We get cold windy winters and sometimes Spring and are in a frost pocket.
I tested two colonies side by side and Spring build up was faster in the colony with boards in. The Qs also laid further down the comb earlier.
Condensation? on boards yes but irrelevant.
 

elainemary 

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This is my first 'bee' winter...
and now wondering what to do about the mesh floor arrangement - I have a solid inspection board that can be slotted in underneath?
Planning to put insulation in roof as already mentioned on another thread, but what to do with the floor? Please can someone advise, thankyou.
I’ve tried both. No difference. Left boards in last winter, (regularly clean), in my WBCs (1cm below OMF) and in the slot below my polyhives. All came through winter fine. Have Kingspan above crownboards in WBCs and put extra super stuffed with wood pulp fibre wrapped in hessian) above polyhive brood box and crownboard)

You can ‘read’ what’s happening in the colony with the boards in which I prefer e.g. varroa drops after Oxalic treatment, cappings and honey being used, brood cappings means queen laying, condensation (very little), general debris means not clustering strongly vs very little means clustering or is there something wrong…Have clear polycarb or glass crownboards so can keep an eye on them.
 

mbc 

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Mostly solid floors for me, I do have some omf but no trays as they're so few and far between I'd forget to take them out and the debris attracts wax moth.
Much better if you vape.
 

Foxylad 

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is It worth putting the board in to vape? Seems a few just vaping without the board in.
 

Boston Bees 

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This is my first 'bee' winter...
and now wondering what to do about the mesh floor arrangement - I have a solid inspection board that can be slotted in underneath?
Planning to put insulation in roof as already mentioned on another thread, but what to do with the floor? Please can someone advise, thankyou.
Krennie, in my post above I said that no-one knew the answer to your question, and that it probably doesn't matter much whether you put the tray in or not.

This is true, but if you want a more concrete answer then my personal advice would be that if your hives are in an exposed location I would put the inspection tray in over winter. If, on the other hand, they are fairly sheltered from the wind, I would probably leave the tray out.
 

Erichalfbee 

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is It worth putting the board in to vape? Seems a few just vaping without the board in.
If you are vaping under or over the omf then you need to close off underneath the hive. If you are vaping from the top you might get away without but personally I would put the tray in and block the back off
 

madasafish 

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is It worth putting the board in to vape? Seems a few just vaping without the board in.

If I vape without boards in, I see lots of vapour escaping through the OMF.
Not economic nor a sensible way to vape.
 

drdrday 

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is It worth putting the board in to vape? Seems a few just vaping without the board in.
As Dani says above, but I'd also say that the further into the hive you can get the vape the better. I tried from underneath the OMF once but you lose a bit of OA crystallising when it hits the cold mesh of the open mesh floor, before it even gets inside the hive. The OA on the underside of the mesh is visible, but I'm sure there was more lost on the surfaces underneath the hive where I'd blocked it off too.
It's therefore better to try and get the vape as deep into the hive as you can in my opinion so that it spreads through as far as possible before it starts cooling and crystallising on surfaces. I'm sure it's only small amounts, but then it all counts.
 

hemo 

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Floors stay open all year usually, inserts go in for assessing mite drops after vaping and to monitor whether extra vapes are needed after the 3rd or 4th vape.
For vaping I use a close fitting ply insert board, this is adapted to keep the pan in place and to prevent it spilling it's contents, the UFE design closes off all but the rear so this is plugged with foam to prevent vape loss. The insert sides fits snug and the front edge utilises a bit of P strip draught excluder to butt up snug. I see very little or no vape loss from under floor vaping, if one is concerned about vape loss just simply use a bit more. Typically I use up to 3g per vape per colony to allow for any small loss and for any that may reform on the mesh. I tend to find if the airflow under the mesh is nil then less or little reforms as white crystals.

P.s.
The entrance remains completely open.
 
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Erichalfbee 

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I vape from the back over the omf or from the top via an eke with a sublimox.
inspection trays in. I don’t bother closing the entrance if vaping from the top.
 

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