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Bees under wire wesh in eco floor area

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Guard Bee

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

PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2014 10:12 pm    Post subject: Bees under wire wesh in eco floor area Reply with quote

HI, All.

My first (and only) package arrived 4/09/14, bees hived successfully, queen out within 2 days, and so far, all seems to be going well. I'm dealing with the normal cross-combing problems, and have a plan to deal with that!

I am using the eco-floor, and placed wire mesh at the "floor" of the hive. The mesh has 1/4" holes (6.3 mm). For the first time, I saw bees under the mesh crawling about on the eco material (leaves, pine bark, etc). Not sure why they're discovering it now as they've shown no real interest thus far. I'm thinking that 1/4" was perhaps too wide, and I was supposed to go with 1/8"? I'm not opposed to the bees being there, except that means they can find the empty part of the hive on the other side of the follower board!

Is this something to be concerned about? I can always open the floor and add more material or a slim piece of wood (the flooring material has settled a bit). I know that Phil Chandler doesn't use mesh at all, but I've read other threads where the bees spent a lot of energy removing stuff from the hive, and I wanted to avoid that. The bees did not appear distressed, though I'm not sure I would know a distressed bee unless it stung me Smile. Thus far, the bees have been quite gentle (actually, seem largely unconcerned with my presence, which amounts to the same thing), though the new brood is just emerging, so there is still time for temperament to change.
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Site Admin

Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1857
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2014 8:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unfortunately you wasted your time and money on the 1/4 inch mesh as it serves no purpose, because as you can see, the bees pass through it.
To my mind it is better that the bees have access to the litter area anyway. At the end of the day, there will be a reason why they want to remove some of the litter we have used and it is probably because we used something they didn't like. The thing is to learn from that and give them something that they don't object to next time. You don't mention that your bees are trying to remove it, just investigating and I wouldn't worry about that. In a conventional hive there are often bees on the bottom board and I never give that a thought
There is no problem with the bees having access under the follower board into the empty area of the hive. A lot of us don't have good woodworking skills and there are gaps along the sides where they can squeeze through anyway. The only time it might become a problem is if you made a split or put a small swarm in the other end. Surely you could easily solve it by heaping some litter on the mesh on the other side of the follower and gently shuffling it back and forth until it dropped through the mesh and filled the gap, but the bees would still have the opportunity to make a way through it if they wanted.

I know Lizbee has started laying thin pieces of wood on top of the litter medium in her hive as she was finding the bees were removing it and building down into it. I quite like that idea as it still allows drainage and they can be replaced easily if/when they rot but provides the hive with a solid floor.

I already had an open mesh floor and bees in situ when I retro fitted my eco floor, so the bees unfortunately don't have access to the medium but my next one will definitely be open and I will be using old weathered shavings, possibly even used stuff from my horses stables as they seem to love to go up to my yard and extract something from the pile of urine soaked bedding. Obviously it will be rain washed, dried out stuff that I use in the hive though. I know it still sounds disgusting and unhygienic but our bees forage wherever they wish on whatever they need and take that back to the hive, so I do think that we perhaps worry too much about the "cleanliness" of what we use in the hive. They certainly hated the beautiful pristine fluffy white wood shavings I put in my swarm box last year, so they can't say I'm not trying to learn from them!


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Silver Bee

Joined: 08 Jul 2013
Posts: 613
Location: Malton, North Yorkshire

PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2014 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Honestly buddy I wold lose the mesh off the bottom of the hive completely if you are going with an eco floor or as you have found out it just make things harder.

Use well weathered woodchips instead of shavings and no bees are lifting those out of the hive. You can then push some up against the bottom of the follower board to provide a slightly more bee-proof solution.
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Guard Bee

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

PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2014 5:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for the fast replies. I used the wire we had in the garage, so didn't buy it, but building my own hive has certainly been a lesson in woodworking. I got a table saw for Mother's Day, so that should help Smile. I'll keep experimenting with a better built eco-floor.
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