Even kewler floors

So-called kewl floors have underfloor entrances that are pretty-much rodent proof (so you don’t need mouseguards in winter) and are easy to seal when needed for transporting hives or administering vaporised oxalic acid. They are very easy and inexpensive to build. The last batch I built were all fitted with a Correx landing board that protruded a centimetre or so. It turned out that the ‘design’ (a rather grand word for the bodged solution I came up with at the time) was not ideal so I’m gradually replacing them with a modified version that corrects the worst of the faults of the original.

New Correx landing board ...

New Correx landing board …

The problem

  1. The protruding landing board inevitably got a bit bashed about when transporting colonies
  2. The gap underneath the landing board disorientated bees who climbed up the hive stand or otherwise undershot. This was particularly noticeable when reversing colonies during vertical splits. I’d previously fitted a plastic ‘skirt’ to some hives to fix this (see pic below).
  3. The ‘edge’ of the Correx provided a narrow and slippery target for heavily-laded foragers returning to the colony. Many lost their grip and fell off into the grass before having a second or third attempt at entering the hive.

The solution

An L-shaped piece of Correx (of course), though this time not protruding, with a rough textured integral ‘skirt’ to block the gap below the hive entrance works well. To make an acute bend in Correx you need to make two parallel cuts through one skin and remove the intervening ‘rib’. This takes longer to write than to do. After stapling the Correx in place I spray paint it and sprinkle sand onto the wet paint. You can use different colours to help orientate bees and minimise drifting. Alternatively, use multi-coloured ‘repurposed’ estate agent signs and a clear spray varnish of some type.

Other improvements?

The final change I’d intended to make to these floors was to add a second entrance on the opposing side. Some hive manipulations involve turning the colony 180° on the stand – these include vertical splits and using a Cloake board for queen rearing. Rather than manhandling the entire colony it would be much easier to seal off the front of the hive and open a hinged entrance at the rear (much like opening and closing the gates on a Snelgrove board). Unfortunately, this batch of floors were over-engineered, with the upper upper rim glued and screwed in place, so this modification will have to be introduced when (or if) I next build floors.

New landing board in action …


The original landing board was held in place with gimp pins. Inevitably these had rusted which made removing them a bit of a pain. When replacing them I used stainless steel staples (like these from Arrow) with the hope that this will make future removal of the landing board easier.

 

6 thoughts on “Even kewler floors

  1. mike g

    Would these be “modified kewl” floors then?

    This is my attempt. I’m pretty pleased with the result. Using a mitre saw makes it easy to get everything straight. I’m sure it would have been a disaster if I’d tried to cut any of it with a hand saw.
    I now know to keep away from the woven steel varroa mesh – it’s nasty stuff.
    https://goo.gl/photos/vPurPxRD7bDUU9nBA
    https://goo.gl/photos/afRZvkNTdvMK7KydA
    The observant will probably notice I used 6mm instead of 9mm strips as spacers round the entrance here – fortunately I hadn’t glued anything and it didn’t take too long to replace it.
    I’ll see what the bees make of them in a few weeks.

    Reply
    1. David Post author

      Looking’ good.
      I’m modifying a couple of mine to provide a ‘door’ at the back so I don’t need to turn the colony round when I do vertical splits. It’s a bit of a botch and should have been incorporated into the original build.
      Cheers
      David

      Reply
  2. Richard

    Would a kewl floor prevent Asian hornets gaining access? Can they twist the L shape? Just wondering. We may at some point have to contend with a new pest.

    Reply
    1. David Post author

      It might … but I don’t think that would help. I think the AH picks off workers from the entrance and only enters the hive once the colony is severely depleted, much weaker and unable to defend itself. Whether or not the entrance restricts entry by the hornet, the colony will still be decimated. Sobering.

      I’ve discussed the current status of known Asian hornet introductions relatively recently. Vigilance will again be needed next year.

      Cheers
      David

      Reply
      1. Richard Senior

        Thanks. Before I decided to try building some of these floors, I wanted to know if tweaking some of the measurements may provide some sort of future-proofing in case the AH became established. Love your blog. Especially for a winter beekeeping fix! R

        Reply
        1. David Post author

          Thanks Richard
          Living where I do (Scotland) I hope I’m not going to be able to provide practical advice on dealing with Asian hornets.
          Snow predicted here again today … I feels like a long time until the beekeeping starts, though the buds on the willows are breaking which gives me a glimmer of hope.
          Cheers
          David

          Reply

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