Beekeeping 101 - Seldom Used Equipment
There are all manner of things used in the art and business of keeping bees that do not generally get mentioned in the journals, the books, or at the meetings you regularly attend. That doesn't mean they aren't good, just that they are used so seldom that they command only a foot note in the references your use.
The following are some of these rare gems. There are more, certainly. Don't assume something doesn't work just because you haven't used it.
The slatted (or slotted) rack was used initially to take up the space of a deep bottom board. It assists ventilation and reduces brace and ladder comb. Some swear by them, some at them.
A division board is used to take the place of a frame in a super when a population is small. Easily homemade from a board and nails, they enclose a small cluster.
A robber screen can be used to protect small colonies, especially during dearths.
Top feeders work well because you don't have to open the colony to fill a frame-style feeder, they hold more, and are more durable than jars on the inner cover, and are as accessible.
A ventilated bottom board adds in ventilation, both during summer and winter. Used in England successfully, they are unique and probably should be tried more often.
Drifting can be a problem, especially when colonies are sitting in long rows. Painting various patterns on the front of colonies can help bees identify their own, thus reducing the drifting problem.
Drip boards serve several purposes. They collect errant honey leaks from supers stored on them, provide air space between the floor and the honey, and a space for two-wheelers to grip the stack. Placing a screened division board between two alien colonies enables them to gain each other's odors, while keeping them separate to do their own thing. Eventually they can be joined after this close but separate association.
Always consider new equipment. It just may be what you've been looking for.