Replacing mesh floor?

hello, I have a National hive first populated last May with Buckfast bees so am very new to all this.  Recently come to the view that Natural beekeeping is the only way that makes sense which means my National may not be the best option but its what I’ve got for now!  Reading various bee websites and particularly this ones makes me think that my open mesh floor is a bad idea.  Should i replace it, or put something underneath it to help the bees keep the temp in the hive right?  if so what?  They are on a stand which basically is a frame with 4 legs.   Help!  Apologies if this ends up in the wrong place on the site but I’m even newer to posting things on forums!

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About louisey2013

I got my first hive last May - a National - no honey last year, had to feed in October. Moved from Somerset to Surrey in November. Bees seem to be ok. I have realised over last 6 months that modern beekeeping methods do not make sense to me when looking after a creature that has been around for millenia. After lots of searching I found this site. Phew - very glad to find that my thoughts are not barmy!
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8 Responses to Replacing mesh floor?

  1. jen3972 says:

    Hi there, I have Nationals and WBCs (as I started out ‘conventionally’) but haven’t found any problems with the mesh floor. Indeed, I find it a useful indicator for judging the bees’ activity without having to go in to the hive as the floor shows whether the bees are using the whole area, how much and what sort of pollen is going in, whether varroa are present etc. I hope that helps!

    • louisey2013 says:

      Many thanks for your reply. I’m worried about them getting chilly as I have nothing underneath the mesh so cold air can whistle in!

      • jen3972 says:

        Oh ok, well I’ve got a WBC with no actual floor bit above the mesh, and solid floors, and varroa boards. They’re all doing fine, but maybe sit your hive up a bit so that it doesn’t get too much damp coming up from underneath.

  2. jen3972 says:

    Sorry, floor board underneath the mesh!

  3. johnmkubwa says:

    Louise, I too was running Nationals when I started to change to near natural or bee-friendly beekeeping. What struck me was the amount of heat the brood nest generated and the temperature required (35 degC) to ensure healthy brood development. While I used mesh floors to monitor varroa, I kept in place the under-mesh-board and sealed off any draughts. I also used two inch deep quilts, ala Warré, which keep in the warmth but allow moisture to pass thro’.
    Over the years I have moved to solid floor Warrés with smaller entrances than Nationals and made of thicker (warmer?) wood. I do routinely monitor hive debris at the entrance and on the floor to better understand what is going on in the colony. I no longer carry out detailed counts of varroa as I stopped all pesticide treatments 6 years ago. I still have bees and we share some of the honey :o)
    Regards John H, Stockbridge Hants
    P.S. I would be interested in knowing how your Buckfast queens behave over the next 3 years.

    • louisey2013 says:

      Hi John, for starters I better get a board to go under the mesh – poor bees they must be really chilly. Excuse my ignorance but what should I make the quilt out of and where should I put it? Can it go straight onto the bars or should I have a crown board and then put it on top of that with the lid over? Will let you know how the queens behave. What i do know so far is my bees are very calm (I was going to say chilled but in view of above that’s a bit close to the bone), produce a lot of propolis and will build comb anywhere they can. Many thanks for all your advise. Louise

  4. johnmkubwa says:

    Louise, The quilt works like our own bed quilts, retaining warmth but allowing moisture to wick away thus keeping us warm and dry.
    The quilt I used is a shallow ( 2 or 3 inch deep) wooden sided pillow filled with wood shavings or other natural insulation such as wool. It has a fabric base and could be open-topped or fabric covered. I used mine like Warré : A piece of hessian cloth starched/stiffened with flour paste is placed over the frame-topbars (bees will propolise this cloth) The quilt sits over the cloth and directly under the roof (no crownboard). It is important that the roof overlaps the quilt to prevent rain ingress; A 6 inch deep roof was OK but when using a shallow roof, I used a skirt of plastic pinned to the quilt to shed the water. Regards John H.

  5. louisey2013 says:

    Many thanks for that John. I have lots of wood shavings as I foolishly bought what turned out to be an enormous box of them for my smoker. Then it turns out I don’t need smoke as my bees are so relaxed!

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