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The theory behind this method is to allow the mites that fall off of their host bees to fall through the mesh and out of the hive.
You can use this method year round by installing a bottom board with a #8 wire mesh in the bottom. This is 1/8″ hardware screen that can be purchased at any home improvement store.
The results of this method are yet to be proven – there have been a few studies with significant mite drop counts, and many with very little advantage shown. It appears to be more effective in Northern climates. This is a passive approach to managing mites and should be used in addition to other methods.
Cons to this method: It may attract scavengers below the hive, could reduce brood rearing during early spring when the population is increasing. You may need to close the bottom board to aid bees in regulating temperatures in cooler weather. More light enters the brood nest and not all colonies will tolerate the amount of light (especially younger, less established colonies). This method may not be effective in cutting down mite counts.
Our Philosophy – We lean towards a treatment free philosophy which means that we encourage genetically strong, survivor bees. This type of apiary takes time to build and does not mean you don’t help your bees, it does mean that you can’t put unnecessary chemicals into your hive and that you take appropriate actions mechanically to keep your bees healthy. You can read our section on “Treatment Free Beekeeping” to get more information. This will be regularly updated.