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SHB and Eco (Deep) Floors

 
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msscha
Guard Bee


Joined: 29 Dec 2013
Posts: 59
Location: Newberry, FL, USA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2014 3:57 pm    Post subject: SHB and Eco (Deep) Floors Reply with quote

Hi, All.

Not sure if SHB is a problem in the UK yet, but it is an issue here in SE US. While I've seen a few SHB in the hive and flying outside, I am not having a problem so far as I can tell. But I've grown curious as to whether the eco-floor would provide a habitat for the SHB part of the life cycle where they drop to the ground and breed, then return to the hive. Clearly, if I'm not having problems, the answer may be "no", but I was wondering if anyone else had an opinion.

Just for kicks, here's a pic through the window, taken a few days ago. Bees are doing well! Given the heat, I haven't opened the hive for 3 weeks, but I watch every evening, and from what I can tell, they're enjoying a bloom b/c they are leaving and returning in multi-bee clumps!
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JGW07
Scout Bee


Joined: 06 Apr 2010
Posts: 270
Location: USA, GA, Hephzibah

PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2014 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Msscha,
I'm just north of you in Georgia. I built two hives with eco floors but didn't use them as such for long because of the American cockroaches moving in and I really worried it would become a hiding ground for SHB, too. I ended up converting them into traps with screens above and tubs of mineral oil below, and then as troughs with DE before taking them off completely when I found wax moth cocoons along the seams of the hives and eco floor. In the end I went with solid floors with screw-in mason jar traps baited with comb. I have a thread on that in the Bee Health section along with some of my observations over the course of a year. So far it's done a good job of catching a lot of SHB's and wax moths. Like you, I haven't inspected the inside of the hives for awhile due to the heat so I can't say yet how thoroughly the traps are catching everything. The last time I checked, though, the hives were clear of pests.

How long have you used the eco floor?
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msscha
Guard Bee


Joined: 29 Dec 2013
Posts: 59
Location: Newberry, FL, USA

PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2014 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, JGW07!

The hive has had bees only since 4/09/14, and I also have seen the roaches move in, though I haven't opened the floor itself ever. Partly this is because I used the wrong size wire cloth on the bottom, so the bees are all over the eco floor materials pretty regularly. I've already decided to build my next one with solid floors and some kind of SHB trap. Thus far, the bees seem okay! In another two weeks or so when it cools down just a little (we've had highs in the upper 90s the last few days, which is actually unusually warm even for us), I'm going to open the bottom and see what I find in there. If it's bugs galore, then I may cover it with a finer screen after placing some boric acid tablets and leave it otherwise in place. Although this is my first (and only) hive in my first season of beekeeping, I do think the eco-floor has kept the temp inside steadier. I have had no big-time bearding and no comb breakage. I took out the follower board, too, so the bees have the whole inside to spread out on. When it's really warm, I can see through the observation window that the bees have spread out over all the interior walls which is probably how they are cooling the inside.

Thanks so much for responding! I've been curious about this and your geographic proximity is exactly the kind of feedback I needed. I started with just a single hive, and so many lose hives, that I've been nervous the whole time about this gamble. I didn't get to split this year b/c I started from a package, but the colony is strong (a good 20 bars built, though not a lot of stores right now) and I'm thinking after the fall flow, that I'll be ready to split next spring. I really appreciate the feedback -- it will help me plan the next hive build!
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JGW07
Scout Bee


Joined: 06 Apr 2010
Posts: 270
Location: USA, GA, Hephzibah

PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2014 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We're neighbors, so I had to say hi! I live near Augusta. I go down down to Florida sometimes to vacation, the last couple of times to Vero Beach/Ft. Pierce area. It's always cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter there. We've been up around 100 the last few days. I'm in the wrong place!

I don't have cockroaches any more, but they were really fouling up the hive as well as the top of the bars. I had to clean the bars before opening the hive so their droppings wouldn't end up in the comb. Nasty stuff!

I don't have bearding even with these temps because I have a lot of ventilation. I drilled a lot of holes in my hives, front, back, and on the side, and when it gets this hot I open them all up. I have one hive with a special "attic" and gapped bars similar to a Langstroth that vents through the ceiling. One thing I worried about with the eco floor was whether the added space would make the hive harder to heat in winter or cool in summer. Good to know your bees aren't having a problem with that.

You must have good guides on your bars to keep them building straight comb given that you aren't using a follower board. My first year I ended up with bad cross combing. I still haven't been able to cut it all out of that hive because the queen LOVES it for brood comb. It doesn't matter to her that it's been moved all the way to the rear of the hive. The books say the queen likes to lay in comb closer to the entrance, but she clearly hasn't read the books. I'm hoping this year I'll find those combs full of honey and can finish cutting it all out.

If you haven't seen my design for small hive beetles, click on this link http://imgur.com/a/3YTzK . It's easy to make, doesn't expose the bees to oil or pesticides, is easy to switch out traps as needed, and extremely convenient to use a feeder if the bees get low on stores.
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