Who would have thought floors would be the area of greatest disagreement even amongst natural beekeepers. There will be those:
- that advocate solid floors because …
- that use OMF Floors because its what came with their hive or their mentor used;
- that say a deep base should be used to allow better airflow convection throughout the hive;
If you are building an insulated hive then a floor that encourages airflow convection throughout the hive might be the final step to building a true 21st century National Hive. By adding a cold sump to the insulated boxes above you create natural convective currents that bring warm humid air to the bottom of the hive where it naturally cools (only slightly), releases the excess moisture and then moves back up through the hive.
But CONDENSATION I hear you cry. As a fellow beekeeper explained to me – Bees can be wet, they can be cold, but they cannot be wet and cold. By allowing excess moisture to leave the air at the bottom of the hive even if the bees are less than their ideal temperature they are not being dripped on from above due to their insulated roof. You do have an insulated roof don’t you?!
If you are one of those who cracks the lid on your hive to release any excess moisture then remember you are actually just letting all that hard earned warmth out as well.
Having tried all the above floor types I have settled on a modified OMF floor that has a closed back with a metal shelf because:
- The mesh reduces any varroa count by about 20% (apparently).
- The shelf allows for simple monitoring of hive health and varroa count. A healthy hive will have a relatively clean board and you’ll find lots of detritus on a struggling hive shelf. The shelf can be pulled without going into the hive so you can gain a deeper observation without interfering with the hive and in particular the brood area.
- The shelf being made from metal encourages that airflow circulation without the need for a deep floor.
- Closing the back of the shelf prevents Wax Moth from laying inside under the floor for the larvae to then climb up into the hive upon hatching.