Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Switch to Screened Bottom Board

I want to leave an entrance reducer on to prevent robbing of my boardman feeder, while still leaving enough ventilation for the summer.  So I replaced my bottom board with an SBB from plans at last Sunday.  I screwed up the dados, because 1) my tablesaw drifted up while making the second pass at the wide dado and 2) I mis-measured the second dado.  So the sides don't sit right, don't meet well enough for glue to hold, and are only held on by nails.  Also, the frame sits 1/8" too low, which I forgot about when cutting the back filler board, so I ended up with an extra entrance that I had to cover with mesh.
The only 1/8"x1/8" mesh I could find was gutter/vent screening by New York Wire at Lowe's, but it's only 8" wide.  So I had to use three strips and basically sewed them together to keep bees from getting between them.

The only intentional difference from the plans is that I used 2x4 instead of 1x4 for the side rails.  I'll get a picture of it soon, but they are crooked because of the crooked dados, so I'm probably going to add a front end board to act both as stop for the sticky board and to reinforce the side rails.

Once I got the hive on the new base, I tried to shake the bees from the old base into the hive, like when I installed them.  Apparently, this only really works if they are wet, as they just ended up in the air.  My wife got chased around the yard by one of them, so I figured it was probably a bad idea to also try to do a hive inspection.  I did one today instead, and I'll post about that next.

I did move the hive onto a new ant proof stand and put the boardman back in front with an entrance reducer.  I filled the now empty top box with 4 plasticell and 6 foundationless frames, figuring the bees should be about ready for it.  The two center frames are plasticell, with foundationless outside of those, then plasticell again, and the final outer two being foundationless.  I don't have starter strips or anything, so I figure the interspersed plasticell will help keep the combs straight.

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