top entrance do's an donts

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by 2kooldad, Oct 19, 2011.

  1. 2kooldad

    2kooldad New Member

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    ive gotton the impression that top holes arent for newbies....im almost a yearling an i still dont know why....i have 2 hives with top holes...one came that way with a hole right in the middle of the deep super an the other is on a top cover i made before i knew i wasnt spose to.....is there something i should be looking for that could be bad....im asking cause i dont know.
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Ask a hundred beeks. 50 will say you are wrong, 50 will say you are right. Do as you please and form your own opinion. I don't think the bees really care.
     

  3. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Ditto, what Iddee said. Jack
     
  4. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    I do not like top entrances. For reasons of guard bees as soon as you take off the top. And once you take away the top entrance, returning bees seem to get "lost" and fly around not knowing what to do.

    I also do not like top entrances for reasons of heat loss in winter.

    I do like "upper" entrances, which are different than top entrances. Upper entrances, like one on the top brood box, half way down, allows for ventilation, yet I can still take off the top and do a brood chamber inspection without them losing thier entrances.

    Once I place supers on, they also have additional entrances (3/4 hole) so additional ventilation is needed since we manage the bees into much larger colonies then they normally do on their own, by supering, etc. So the additional ventilation is really helpful.

    If I take off one of the supers (with a hole) the returning bees just go to the next hole down on the next lower box. They just are looking for a hole to enter. So there really is no confusion.

    I'm sure in Florida, the heat loss concern may be a bit less than in the north. Up here, brood is raised in Jaunuary and February. Two of the coldest months. And that trapped air, above the upper entrance, can be crucial for maximum brood production and conservation of food resources.

    For me, top entrances, and a good bit of crap sold to beekeepers, is just stuff aimed at solving a beekeeper induced problem to begin with. If beekeepers would quit feeding syrup all fall and winter, most moisture concerns, and the need and justification of top entrances, would be nothing to concern yourself with.
     
  5. Americasbeekeeper

    Americasbeekeeper New Member

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    Several of the beekeeping sites recommend an upper entrance under Fall management. Condensation and hypothermia can kill bees faster than any draft in the hive. Clustering is a radiant heat and has been measured many times. It is not convective. Nobody believes it gets cold in Florida so do not believe me even though it is in the 50s here at night.
    https://agdev.anr.udel.edu/maarec/wp-co ... LL_MGM.PDF
    www.nekba.org/uploads/Fall_Management__ ... weeney.ppt
    http://ento.psu.edu/extension/bees/bee- ... act-sheets
    www.ohiostatebeekeepers.org/.../OSBA_Be ... t_8_Fall...
    http://www.aces.uiuc.edu/~vista/html_pu ... hapt5.html
    www.tnbeekeepers.org/.../Bee%2520Manage ... tober%25...
     
  6. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    I looked at a fellows hive a short time ago and he had about 4 different entrances bottom to top. Since he only has one hive and no feral bees there, he did not appear to have a robbing problem, but it would be a disaster in most places. Have your entrance so that you can instantly close completely or severely restrict if you have to. I can see pro's and con's of upper entrance depending on varying local ventilation needs and temperatures.

    I have read that certain conditions of heavy flow and fairly crowded brood area that are likely to induce swarming can benefit from having an upper entrance even above the queen excluder. The idea is that it will remove some of the traffic of all supplies needing to come in the bottom entrance and move up through the brood chambers. If you do a google on Imrie shims you will get some thoughts on higher entrance.
     
  7. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    This summer, my one biggest hive really liked their top entrance in the inner cover above the honey super. It was very active.
     
  8. 2kooldad

    2kooldad New Member

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    i ''had'' one hive with a top entrance an bottom entrance....one hive still has the upper entrance (now that i know the diffrence) but i plugged it so now they can only use the bottom entrance....one hive had a non entrance vent top which i removed...an the other has only a bottom entrance....ima do away with the top entrance lid....it was an experiment and even though it did what i wanted it harbored alot of SHB an was heavy...3/4 plywood an 3/4 cherry that musta weighed 20 lbs....its spose to drop into the 50s here tonight so i solid capped the hives.....i didnt like all the ''lost'' bees when i took it off either
     
  9. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    top entrances seem to be a seasonal thingee for me.... I like them in the summer and either I or 'the girls' plug them when fall arrives. I don't like to drill holes in my boxes.

    Crofter writes:
    I have read that certain conditions of heavy flow and fairly crowded brood area that are likely to induce swarming can benefit from having an upper entrance even above the queen excluder. The idea is that it will remove some of the traffic of all supplies needing to come in the bottom entrance and move up through the brood chambers. If you do a google on Imrie shims you will get some thoughts on higher entrance.

    tecumseh:
    pretty much the content of Jerry Hayes (Florida State Bee Inspector's) article written long ago in the ABJ titles 'Is a Queen Excluder a Honey Excluder'. <which may lead you to the easiest method of swarm control you can undertake and can give you a 10% increase in harvestable honey at the same time.
     
  10. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    Imrie shims are great burr comb builder devices. :thumbsup:

    If you like prying up the boxes and ripping comb apart, dripping honey, and either scraping off all the burr comb, (or smashing bees upon placing the boxes back together).......get some Imrie shims! The more, the merrier.

    As for "upper" entrances above the queen excluder, that is GREAT advice. ;)
     
  11. 2kooldad

    2kooldad New Member

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    i didnt drill the hole in the box....i bought it that way....the bees chose to use it as i had it plugged with a BIG wad of wax an they removed every single speck of it....twice....i plugged it again but since its cooling off i doubt they will dig it out again.

    now i have a question that came from the replys here....a while back somebody said that young bees inside the hive took the honey/pollen from the foragers an deposit it in the cells....the foragers didnt do it....is that true....an if it is then those bees that are older than nurse bees but younger than foragers are the ones hanging out on the honey frames....then the foragers have to bring it to them by crawling through all the other bees to get it there ???
     
  12. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    They pass off nectar. They do not pass off pollen. Pollen is deposited by the bee that collected it.

    While bees can collected both, and often do, you will get specialized bees collecting only one or the other, especially in heavy flows. So the returning bees with nectar, will go in above the excluder, pass off the nectar and leave again. That is why upper entrances can be a good thing. Keeps them from going in down below, and traveling through the brood chamber.

    Pollen is mostly stored down below in the brood area, many times on the lower half of the frames (especially for fall prep). So they will mostly use the bottom entrance if given a choice.
     
  13. 2kooldad

    2kooldad New Member

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    ok....thats good to know.....i dont mind the hole in the box....i just didnt like the top entrance that much....mostly because it interfears with them going in an out....before long you've got bees flying all around the hive...put the top on an they go right in immediatly...i dont use a veil most of the time an all those bees wizzing around my head an landing in my hair make me nervious....id rather them just go on with their buisness an me go about mine.
     
  14. 2kooldad

    2kooldad New Member

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    those specialized bees....do they revert when the flow ends or do they stay that way....also does hive population affect the traffic through the Q. Excluder....its seems they are reluctant to pass through them....does a massive population make them cross the line dispite their wanting to stay below it out of shear numbers ???
     
  15. milapostol

    milapostol New Member

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    We had an accidental top entrance which I've mentioned in another thread. It was a hole on the top edge of the box that the girls somehow widened and they were using it as their main entrance. Because it was in the back of the hive, I got stung one time because I was in their flight path, so I wanted to restrict to front entrances only.

    This hive is very prolific and had lots of honey this year, so I've been thinking about the advantages of another entrance. BTW, I took advice from this forum and drilled holes below the hand hold. It only took them about 5 days before they started using the front again.
     
  16. Hobie

    Hobie New Member

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    I generally set my hives up with the standard bottom entrance, and with the inner cover vent hole available as an entrance, and the top cover also shimmed for ventilation. About half the hives I have had use the bottom entrance only. The other half use the upper "entrances" only. Some used both during a good flow.

    Makes no difference to me, so I just let the bees choose. However, Mil is right... when they are using the shimmed cover, they do come out all sides, not just the front, which makes things a challenge.

    I do make sure there is an upper entrance of sorts for winter in case the lower one gets iced shut.
     
  17. Adam Foster Collins

    Adam Foster Collins New Member

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    I'm going to set some up this year with a top entrance and a bottom entrance, the only variation being that I'm going to make the top one larger than the bottom one. We never get very hot here, and I feel like the regular lang entrance is way too big. But we are also really damp here a lot, so wetness can be a problem. I'm going to try a 1" hole for the bottom, and a 3/8" x 10" opening at the top.

    Adam
     
  18. 2kooldad

    2kooldad New Member

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    my bees use both....well the hives that have them do anyways.
     
  19. gunsmith

    gunsmith New Member

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    Adam:

    1st question; Why do you feeel that the regular lang enterance is too big?

    2nd question; Do you have your hives tilted just slightly-1 to 2 degrees-to the front so the water can drain out?

    As I've stated on this thread, I'm a first year beek, and am still learning. Thanks.