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Author Topic: Questions on hive entrance  (Read 431 times)

Offline TheFuzz

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Questions on hive entrance
« on: September 14, 2019, 02:02:52 am »
1) Is it ever a good idea to have multiple hive entrances, not just one right at the bottom? I ask because I notice that, whenever there is a crack or hole in a hive where bees can fly out from, they seem to often prefer using that over go through right at the bottom.

2) Two of my hives have a lot of bees at the front, as show here:

https://imgur.com/a/f7aSxIE

Is this indicative of anything? Does it maybe indicate that they're looking to swarm? If I had a second entrance at the top maybe, would this possibly help with some sort of traffic congestion problem that might be happening here?

3) I built these hives myself and guessed the size needed for the hive entrance, as shown here:

https://imgur.com/a/mn0NXYh

Are these entrances possibly too small? I'm wondering if the size of these entrances could be leading to traffic congestion, or ventilation problems. I notice people talk about using entrance reducers in the winter, but I'm not sure if that's something that should be done where I live, in South Australia, which doesn't have cold winters, but gets very hot and it's almost always very dry and non-humid.

To expand on the ventilation, here's a picture of a lid I've got:

https://imgur.com/a/CA8jPFO

There's four of these holes on a lid, with a mesh barrier inside. Are these ventilation holes large enough? Some of my hives do sometimes have some moisture building up inside for whatever reason.

Offline Acebird

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Re: Questions on hive entrance
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2019, 08:05:03 am »

3) I built these hives myself and guessed the size needed for the hive entrance, as shown here:


Building your own equipment is a great idea but you should stick to the Lang design.  Make the entrance much larger and then use an entrance reducer when needed.  Nature's beehives usually have more than one entrance so they can adapt to one or a bunch.
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Offline cao

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Re: Questions on hive entrance
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2019, 10:23:52 am »
1) the bees will use any combination of entrance holes that are available.  It is up to the beekeeper and what he prefers.  I use a reduced bottom entrance all year.  Multiple entrances will work well for a strong hive.  A weaker one may have trouble defending the extra hole.

2) Bees outside the hive indicates to me a strong hive.  You have to look inside to tell whether they are about to swarm or just need more room.  It also depends on how hot it is outside and if they are outside all day or just during the hottest part of the day.

3) As far as top ventilation, I have found that holes that are screened over tend to get sealed up rather quickly. 

Offline ed/La.

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Re: Questions on hive entrance
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2019, 04:23:38 pm »
I often use multiple entrance. I always use top ventilation and screen bottom board. I live in zone 9.Hot and humid.

Offline TheFuzz

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Re: Questions on hive entrance
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2019, 04:10:21 am »
I did stick to the Lang design! I however seemed to have stumbled with the entrances. The entrances are 0.11 inches tall, and either 2 or 2.2 inches wide, and there's two front entrances. How much bigger should I make them?

I've also found screened holes get clogged up. What alternative option is there though? Would it be a mistake to have unsealed ventilation holes? If so, there will be multiple entrances for the bees at the lid.


Online sawdstmakr

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Re: Questions on hive entrance
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2019, 08:38:28 am »
You say the opening is .11 inch tall. That is less than 1/8?. It should bee 3/8?. 2-2 inch wide openings is more than enough.
I have a top opening that I can close for when I install a new small hive.
I just only use screen covered vents on my nucs/swarm traps. They are to provide more ventilation for when I catch a swarm to keep them from overheating while bringing them home.  Most of them have either screen tops or bottoms for the same reason. Once they are established, one 1 1/4 inch hole is all a nuc need.
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Questions on hive entrance
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2019, 12:04:46 pm »
Bees prefer entrances on the corner to entrances in the middle.  The problem with multiple entrances is that sometimes they forget to guard one and then they get robbed.
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Offline jvalentour

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Re: Questions on hive entrance
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2019, 12:53:18 pm »
I agree with MB.
I spent the afternoon taping over OAV holes and reducing entrances.
Had a real nice spring nuc robbed out.  (Or the OAV killed the queen).
Two entrances is enough for a healthy hive IMO.  One for a new hive. 

Offline TheFuzz

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Re: Questions on hive entrance
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2019, 12:47:20 am »
Is two openings of 2 inches width, wide enough as well?

Yeah it's 3 millimeters tall, I think it might be slightly taller than 1/8 of an inch. Why should it be 3/8 of an inch? Frankly it's a little shocking that they should be three times taller than they already are, what's the purpose of that?

It's really surprising, I thought they might not be wide enough, I had no idea that they weren't tall enough.

Online sawdstmakr

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Re: Questions on hive entrance
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2019, 07:52:50 am »
Your bees need to bee able to stand in the entrance and move air in and out oof the hive.
Jim Altmiller

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Questions on hive entrance
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2019, 08:11:12 am »
My hives all have one entrance.  It's 3/8" tall and 2 1/4" wide.  It's at the top built into the lid.
http://www.bushfarms.com/images/ReducedEntrance2Medium.jpg
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm  em portugues:  bushfarms.com/pt_bees.htm
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Offline TheFuzz

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Re: Questions on hive entrance
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2019, 11:34:43 pm »
Thanks guys. I checked my hives and to my surprise, the entrances for the boxs that have been used are significantly wider, and not evenly so. Could it be possible that the bees chewed the entrance to be bigger over time? That's what it looks to have happened, I'm not sure how else the entrance could have expanded in height.

Offline TheHoneyPump

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Re: Questions on hive entrance
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2019, 12:29:37 am »
Mice are quite good at adjusting entrances.
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Offline paus

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Re: Questions on hive entrance
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2019, 09:47:08 am »
Entrances consideration should factor in your location.  I now use all DSBB with an oil pan between the screens for SHB and hopefully mite control.  There is ample air flow space around the pan.  I see no bearding more than a hundred or so even on our hottest days.  I caught a large swarm early in the spring in a ten frame deep.  They were in a good and a convenient location so I left them there.  I was going to check them out in July and they had just abscounded. Melting comb, and all frames were full or over half full of brood ,honey, nectar and bee bread. No robbing or web worms had found the hive, so all the assets went to weak colonies.  The entrance was an inch and half knothole in the upper right hand corner of the box.  This was the only opening.  I now use full screen or a screen vent hole and a screen top board in most of my traps.  If I leave them where I catch the swarm within a week or two I give them a DSBB with oil and a screen top with a cloth and saw dust or shavings the year round.  I'm in NE Texas and it does get hot.  Leaving the shavings year round was Jim's suggestion and it worked great this summer.  Thanks Jim.

Offline van from Arkansas

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Re: Questions on hive entrance
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2019, 11:29:47 pm »
The Fuzz, hello for Arkansas, south central USA.  I looked at your pics, specifically the entrance.   I like what I saw!!   I don?t see any big problem.  The entrance looks about 5/16 inch tall, ok that will work but I would make a bit taller:NOT 3 times taller., thickness of a wood pencil lead taller.  The height of a bee plus a pencil lead thickness taller, same as 3/8 inch.  I think you us metric is why I state common objects such as grapes, honey bee, pencil lead jus to give a general idea for height. You do not want the bees wings or back to touch the top of the entrance: that is the limiting factor.

My screens on some hives get propolis over so no air flows.  Other hives leave the screens alone and do not close with propolis.  Go figure??

 I use 3/4 inch entrance reducers [size of a grape] during cold season, 4 inch opening as warmer weather permits, finally full open entrance when 90F and above to make it easier on the bees to cure the nectar which is mostly water.  Full entrance on a strong hive only.  Weak hives, newly created, always have reducers on the entrance, regardless of weather.
Cheers Mate

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Offline van from Arkansas

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Re: Questions on hive entrance
« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2019, 11:36:43 pm »
Pic of full entrance;  about 3/4 inch tall,

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Offline TheHoneyPump

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Questions on hive entrance
« Reply #16 on: September 29, 2019, 01:07:20 am »
I just looked at those imgur pictures.

1st picture.  Shows alot of bees crawling up the box with something very nearby. Where is the entrance?   If it is on the side of the box the bees are crawling, there is a serious placement issue.  The front of the hive needs a clear open flight path of at least 2 meters with no obstructions.  The picture appears to have something right up near the hive entrance. 

2nd picture.  Slits in bottom of the box. If those are the entrance it is no wonder the bees are trying to get out elsewhere and use other openings.  Waaaayy too small.  A proper entrance needs to bee at least 3.5 bees high and 5 bees wide (wings spread and beating). This is so they have space for fanning bees to be stationed all around the entrance and still have room for foraging bees coming/going to walk between the fanners.

Perhaps I am misunderstanding the pictures but as is, I see it as there are major problems here of hive placement, entrance orientation, and entrance size.

Guideline:
- select hive placement so there is a clear 2 meter unobstructed flight path of 180 degree arc in front of the hive entrance.
- main hive entrance opening at the bottom of the hive at minimum 15 mm high x 25 mm wide. Further enlarge the entrance as hive gets stronger and weather warmer in spring/summer.  Reduce the entrance as the hive contracts and weather cools in fall/winter. Top entrance of 10 mm high x 40 mm wide is optional.

I use bottom entrances only.  In fall/winter the entrance is 20 mm high x 30 mm wide.  Mid summer the entrance is 20 mm high x 210 mm wide.   I do not use top vents.  The bees A/C system is quite sophisticated and effective all through the main entrance, when sized properly.  Adding extra vents and holes makes it more difficult for them to tightly control temperature and humidity throughout the hive.  Adding those extras, while with intent of helping them, usually makes it worse, not doing them any favours. Folks in very warm/hot climates may find different.

Hope that helps!
« Last Edit: September 30, 2019, 08:01:35 am by TheHoneyPump »
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Online sawdstmakr

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Re: Questions on hive entrance
« Reply #17 on: September 29, 2019, 08:12:16 am »
Thanks guys. I checked my hives and to my surprise, the entrances for the boxs that have been used are significantly wider, and not evenly so. Could it be possible that the bees chewed the entrance to be bigger over time? That's what it looks to have happened, I'm not sure how else the entrance could have expanded in height.
Bees are quite capable of enlarging the entrance on soft woods like white pine.
Jim Altmiller