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Top Bar Screened bottom discussion


Can someone clue me in on the pros and cons of a screened bottom on a top bar hive? I suppose one pro is ventilation in the summer. Is there a con for summer use? And I suppose a con in the winter is more draft in a cold climate, so can you totally close it off from the outside or something without removing all the bars with comb hung on them?

I have a top bar hive with a solid bottom and made it through a Kansas summer by opening two holes and providing late afternoon shade but I did have a lot of bearding on the real hot days. I’m wondering about getting a screened bottom for my second hive.


Small Town Girl,

Good question. We began offering screened bottoms due to years of requests. It was NOT due to our own personal preference for them. Here in Portland, Oregon, we’ve tried both screened and solid bottoms and seen no difference in success rate, varroa mites, etc. The arguments for screened bottoms seem to be 1) additional ventilation, and 2) they allow varroa mites to drop off the bees through the screen, either onto the ground or onto something sticky that has been placed on the board.

If you look at the bad photos (we’ll have our photographer do some real ones soon!), you can see there are two plastic inserts that go into the underside at each end. This allows you to open/close the bottom as needed without disturbing the colony.

Since it can get so hot in your location, it may be worth trying a screened bottom for ventilation purposes. It may work well where you’re at!