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Author Topic: Considering top entrances  (Read 405 times)

Offline yes2matt

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Considering top entrances
« on: November 22, 2019, 04:08:40 pm »
Let me acknowledge at the outset that I am moderately lazy and very cheap.

I have made up a bunch of 1.5 inch shims, one for each hive, for the purposes of "mountain camp" winterizing. I thought to myself that a 3/4 inch hole in the shim would make for a nice upper entrance. Then I imagined I could get away with a plain piece of plywood or underlayment as a bottom board, which would save quite a bit of woodwork and hassle.

But I have some Qs about this:
> do the bees keep the bottom clean or does it end up being a repository of decaying things and therefore maybe not healthy? Would I plan on scraping it off when inspecting?

> when I add honey supers I would put them above the entrance shim?  I wouldn't keep the shim on the top of the stack right?

> I dont know how much mite grooming my bees do. But would a solid bottom board and upper entrance give groomed-off mites a "second chance" that would increase the parasite load of the colony?


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Offline Acebird

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Re: Considering top entrances
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2019, 05:26:54 pm »

But I have some Qs about this:
> do the bees keep the bottom clean or does it end up being a repository of decaying things and therefore maybe not healthy? Would I plan on scraping it off when inspecting?
Bees don't do much house cleaning in the winter.  Many hives have solid bottoms.
[/quote]
> I dont know how much mite grooming my bees do. But would a solid bottom board and upper entrance give groomed-off mites a "second chance" that would increase the parasite load of the colony?
[/quote]
In theory yes.
Ah, tighter then bark to a tree... LOL
Brian Cardinal
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Offline yes2matt

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Re: Considering top entrances
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2019, 08:32:09 pm »

Bees don't do much house cleaning in the winter.  Many hives have solid bottoms.
[/quote]
> I dont know how much mite grooming my bees do. But would a solid bottom board and upper entrance give groomed-off mites a "second chance" that would increase the parasite load of the colony?
[/quote]
In theory yes.
Ah, tighter then bark to a tree... LOL
[/quote]I'm not going to modify the box situation before "winter" ... I'm thinking about spring and going forward.

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Offline Nock

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Re: Considering top entrances
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2019, 08:37:34 pm »
Interesting question that I?d like to see some responses to.

Online van from Arkansas

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Re: Considering top entrances
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2019, 09:04:14 pm »
Mr. Matt, according to Honey Bee Democracy by Thomas D. Seeley a test hive provided some answers to your questions.  Honey bees carry off trash accumulated on the bottom board.  In the real test, wood shavings were placed on the bottom of a hive intended to attract swarms.  The hive did indeed catch a swarm and to the surprise to Dr. Seeley, every little bit of sawdust and wood shaving was removed from the bottom of the hive with a top entrance.

Dr. Seeley was attempting to determine what swarms prefer regarding: top entrance, bottom entrance, various size entrance holes, size of the hive etc.  This test was on an island that offered a control basis due to isolation as bees will not cross large bodies of water.

For your question on top entrance and adding supers; place the entrance as you please, then leave the entrance in place.  Simply stated place new supers on top of the entrance and don?t keep moving the entrance as you add supers.  Just my advice, no data to back this up, just my experience.  Honeybees are sensitive about their entrance: I can remove a top and look inside a hive with little bother to the bees.  However if I mess with the entrance the bees get riled very quick.

Blessings
Van
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Offline yes2matt

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Re: Considering top entrances
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2019, 09:12:53 pm »
Mr. Matt, according to Honey Bee Democracy by Thomas D. Seeley a test hive provided some answers to your questions.  Honey bees carry off trash accumulated on the bottom board.  In the real test, wood shavings were placed on the bottom of a hive intended to attract swarms.  The hive did indeed catch a swarm and to the surprise to Dr. Seeley, every little bit of sawdust and wood shaving was removed from the bottom of the hive with a top entrance.

Dr. Seeley was attempting to determine what swarms prefer regarding: top entrance, bottom entrance, various size entrance holes, size of the hive etc.  This test was on an island that offered a control basis due to isolation as bees will not cross large bodies of water.

For your question on top entrance and adding supers; place the entrance as you please, then leave the entrance in place.  Simply stated place new supers on top of the entrance and don?t keep moving the entrance as you add supers.  Just my advice, no data to back this up, just my experience.  Honeybees are sensitive about their entrance: I can remove a top and look inside a hive with little bother to the bees.  However if I mess with the entrance the bees get riled very quick.

Blessings
Van
Thanks.

I (remember: am cheap) don't have that or his new book yet. Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat!

Maybe he/you can advise what size to drill the hole? I'm thinking so that it would be 4x bee space in diameter?


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Online van from Arkansas

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Re: Considering top entrances
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2019, 11:30:26 pm »
The preferred hive body size was between 30 to 60 liters, with 1.25 inch entrance hole facing south or opposite prevailing wind.

Dr. Seeley offered many types of hives for swarming bees to move into on the island.  The above sizes was the most favored.

I have a friend that also experimented with hive entrance.  Mr. Colin used three 3/4 inch openings.  The bees propolised one of the holes leaving two 3/4 inch opening.

I think bees are very tolerable with hive opening within certain limits.
Van.
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Offline Acebird

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Re: Considering top entrances
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2019, 09:10:44 am »
Maybe he/you can advise what size to drill the hole? I'm thinking so that it would be 4x bee space in diameter?
Hole size is relative to colony size which is why the 3/4 space for bottom entrance works so well.  You can vary it as needed.  You should imitate that feature for top entrance.
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Offline cao

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Re: Considering top entrances
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2019, 09:09:51 pm »
I only have one hive with an upper entrance.  It is a knot hole in the bottom edge of one of my supers.  When I added a super under it, the bees were confused for a week or two.  But they did work it out.  As far as leaving the shim on all year, I can see one issue that would stop me from trying it.  The bees will fill that space with comb.  I have 1" shims that I use for sugar.  If I don't remove they soon enough, I have a bunch of comb to remove.  Most of the time it is brood that they are raising for the spring.  So I bet that if you leave that shim on top for an upper entrance, that you will have it full of comb(probably brood) and you will not be able to access the box below it.  If I were to go with upper entrances, I would either use notched inner covers or just prop the lid open a little.

Offline yes2matt

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Re: Considering top entrances
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2019, 06:35:48 am »
I only have one hive with an upper entrance.  It is a knot hole in the bottom edge of one of my supers.  When I added a super under it, the bees were confused for a week or two.  But they did work it out.  As far as leaving the shim on all year, I can see one issue that would stop me from trying it.  The bees will fill that space with comb.  I have 1" shims that I use for sugar.  If I don't remove they soon enough, I have a bunch of comb to remove.  Most of the time it is brood that they are raising for the spring.  So I bet that if you leave that shim on top for an upper entrance, that you will have it full of comb(probably brood) and you will not be able to access the box below it.  If I were to go with upper entrances, I would either use notched inner covers or just prop the lid open a little.

I came back to the thread to ask about exactly this.  We get on a flow and I'm going to have 1.5 inches of mess between the boxes.  So that is not a good plan.holes

I think this should be an easy answer, but I'm a little slow these months.  Why wouldn't I just drill an inch hole in the brood box and put one of those chinese spinning door things on it?  Most of my brood boxes (lang deeps) I have scored already to bee queen castles if I add the dividers. So why not drill in four holes and put four doors on a box (for a grand total of $3) then I could have a piece of plywood on the bottom and a piece of plywood on the top and some weatherproof roof.


Offline Acebird

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Re: Considering top entrances
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2019, 09:07:51 am »
Why wouldn't I just drill an inch hole in the brood box and put one of those chinese spinning door things on it?

I have drilled holes in boxes against the advice of Michael Bush and I won't do it again.  There is no good reason for doing it and there are good reasons for not.  I have not found anyone cheaper than I am.  I built boxes from dumpster diving and an extractor from a ceiling fan and plastic drum.  Drilling a hole in a box will eventually bite you.
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Online van from Arkansas

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Re: Considering top entrances
« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2019, 10:11:02 am »
Matt, I use those spin plates as you refer to.  The round disc with options for: completely close off, vented, queen excluded, or full open.  I only use the vent option for:
1.  To reduce moisture in honey
2.  To vent a hot hive from summer heat.

I have not used the excluded or full open.  I use only the 1/16 vent holes or completely closed.  They work well for me.

Van

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Offline paus

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Re: Considering top entrances
« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2019, 11:33:01 am »
I have needed those disc and did not have one so I used an old CD ,a hole saw and small drill no QE I drilled several vent holes works great

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Considering top entrances
« Reply #13 on: November 24, 2019, 12:36:27 pm »
I have needed those disc and did not have one so I used an old CD ,a hole saw and small drill no QE I drilled several vent holes works great

Great idea Paus
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Considering top entrances
« Reply #14 on: November 25, 2019, 08:58:21 am »
Problems with a flat bottom board with no added space:  There is only an 1/8" space at the bottom and this will get propolized.  When you pry out a frame the bottom bar comes off and is stuck to the bottom.  The other problem is bees can get squished when you put the frame back in (or set the box down) and one of those may be the queen.  I would recommend at LEAST 1/8" space added at the bottom.  3/8" would be better.  On top you can cheat a little since the bees don't want to interfere too much with traffic so if you have a little over bee space (max 3/8" min 1/4") at the front it may not get comb built there because of traffic, but most of the top space should fall in the 1/4" to 3/8" range if you don't want it all connected to the top bars.  1/4" is the space if you use a flat cover.  I would not exceed 1/2" at the very front and it should be 3/8" or less by the middle.
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Offline FloridaGardener

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Re: Considering top entrances
« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2019, 07:47:37 pm »
For better or worse, I used a 5/8" spacer on the bottom, and I haven't seen any burr comb under the bars...yet (meaning all year).  Maybe because of the screened bottom, they aren't building burr.   

The biggest puzzle was making robbing screens for top entrances. Something simple like "w"-folded screen didn't keep robbers at bay. *sigh*  In the end I built something that covers an inch over the top.  It's a face-frame with side entrance.  So my lang hives sitting together have taken on a sort of "Rudolph Schindler" style.

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Considering top entrances
« Reply #16 on: November 26, 2019, 08:47:18 am »
Up to 3/4" works on the bottom.
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Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Considering top entrances
« Reply #17 on: November 26, 2019, 09:36:37 am »
Up to 3/4" works on the bottom.

Though I do not have top entrances (yet), I use 3/4 spacing on the bottom with no problems.
Phillip

Online van from Arkansas

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Re: Considering top entrances
« Reply #18 on: November 26, 2019, 10:19:13 am »
I?m gonna try the pvc with 45 bend for only entrance on some hives as previously noted by BenFramed to exclude small hive beetle.  The idea is based on the fact beetles can?t hover thus cannot enter the pvc entrance.

Thank you, Phil for the heads up!

Blessings
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Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Considering top entrances
« Reply #19 on: November 26, 2019, 10:41:58 am »
I?m gonna try the pvc with 45 bend for only entrance on some hives as previously noted by BenFramed to exclude small hive beetle.  The idea is based on the fact beetles can?t hover thus cannot enter the pvc entrance.

Thank you, Phil for the heads up!

Blessings

You are welcome Mr Van.  It does look and sound promising according to Langford. I hope it works!  I am going to experiment with a few hives with this suggestion from Woolley Bees also!!
Blessings,
Phillip