going bottomless

several of my hives don't have any bottom board at all. the lowest box is just open to the air on the bottom. anything that might otherwise clutter up a bottom board or start molding or try to climb back aboard a bee to cause problems just falls to the ground instead. most folks would probably recommend against this option. there's a pretty good chance that bees will consume more honey keeping warm over the winter without a bottom board. there's also a chance that a hive will be more vulnerable to predation and robbing without a bottom board because they've got a lot more territory to guard. but there's also a chance that the colony will adapt to the situation and more bees will act as guards and end up less vulnerable to predation and robbing than with a bottom board at some small-ish metabolic cost to the colony because those guards won't be foraging or doing any of the other important tasks bees do. I do recommend trying this if you've got more than one hive and you're willing to experiment a little (or if you're stingy). if you do choose this route, it's probably worth sheltering the hive from wind as well as you can.

-$10 (subtract $10)

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