Drilling holes in honey supers

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by arkiebee, Jun 17, 2009.

  1. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    Good Morning out there in Bee Land!

    We had our local beekeepers meeting last night and some beekeepers drill holes in their honey supers so that the bees can go directly into the super with their collection of nectar instead of entering at the bottom entrance then traveling up into the super. One beekeeper said that he uses an Imirie Shim that he places between his supers instead of drilling holes in the super.

    My question is could this start a problem of robbing? Or do a lot of beekeepers use this approach? Remember I am a new beekeeper and just learning these new-fangled ways of beekeeping!!
     
  2. indypartridge

    indypartridge New Member

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    I have some supers I bought from another beek that had holes in them so I was curious to see if they made any difference. None the that I saw. Plus, the bees worked very hard to try and close the hole with propolis. I've not tried Imirie Shims, and although I have great respect for the opinions of George Imirie, everyone I've talked to who have tried shims say the resulting burr comb is more trouble than it's worth.
    That said, I think there is benefit to having a top entrance of some kind.

    I haven't seen or heard of holes/shims creating robbing issues.
     

  3. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    Absolutely love them!

    I have a "upper entrance" (not to be confused with a "top entrance") in most of my second brood boxes. When I place my supers, which also have a drilled hole in them, I plug the lower hole in the brood box and the bees automatically adjust to the hole above in the super. If I was using queen excluders, this has bees going in above the excluder within seconds of placing the supers.

    I think they do help with traffic issues, increase ventilation, etc.

    I think by the time you put supers on, any cause for robbing should be non-existant due to the colony being so strong. If they are filling supers....they are strong enough to defend a few additional small holes.

    In dealing with insects, you will see everything. Of course there will be a hive that will propolise a hole shut. I don't see this as I take my honey off by the beginning of July in most years. If you leave supers on as we go into fall, bees will be more inclined to close them off.

    I do not like "Imrie shims" and think they are crap. They are burr comb producers. And why would you pay, buy, build, store, carry, or even consider......a piece of equipment that you could eliminate in one drilling of a hole?
     
  4. Hobie

    Hobie New Member

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    For what it's worth, I considered ths shim because it was easily removable, unlike a hole. The Imre shims are handy if you use Apiguard. Gives you a place to put the tray.

    Now before anyone chastises me about applying Apiguard when there are supers on, be advised that I let the bees keep all the late summer/fall honey they gather as their winter stores.

    That being said, you do get a mess of burr comb. Sometimes it's drone comb (instant mite check), and sometimes it's honey (afternoon snack for me!)

    Back to original topic: Never had a problem with robbing with these installed... probably because of colony strength, as mentioned above.
     
  5. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    i drill holes in my honey supers if it doesnt have a knot that can be knocked out
     
  6. arkiebee

    arkiebee New Member

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    OK - my next set of dumb questions are - How big of a hole should one drill in the honey supers? How many? and Where is the best place for them?

    I already have one honey super on my new hives and before I put a second on, I will probably put some holes in there.

    We have tons of white clover this year and the rains have been replinishing it - the bees are working their little hearts out around this area of the state.
     
  7. dogsoldier13

    dogsoldier13 New Member

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    it works better up north
     
  8. garvis

    garvis New Member

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    Alot of my supers have 1/2" holes about half-3/4 of the way up the super, I like them. never tried the spacers (doesnt sound like a good idea, I dont like extra burr comb).
    I also have some old supers that are worn out in spots and the bees enter and exit in these areas.
    Bees are going to take the shortest route they can and I think its good for them, helps them be more efficient.
     
  9. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Keep in mind that all bee keeping is local. What works in southern Florida will not work in Canada. Upper entrances work well where humidity and cold is a problem. There is little or no cold during the wax making times. A hive in the dessert will not thrive with the same treatment as a hive in a rain forest. Take all advice with a grain of salt and listen to local a bit more than long distance.