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Author Topic: Entrance - Size and Type  (Read 1716 times)
Chrisd4421
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« on: December 17, 2009, 07:28:41 AM »

Hi all,
    As I get closer to my ordering my first set of equipment, my questions are starting to slow....this week: hive entrances.

I know most have a bottom board entrance which you can put a reducer and/or mouse guard on when needed (mostly in the winter I assume).  I also have ready about a few who have a mid-hive entrance. Here are my questions

  • What are the advantages/disadvantages to either?
  • With a mid0-hive entrance, how would it be reduced most effectively?
  • If I were to go with a mid-hive entrance (between brood and supers (although they will be both medium supers in size), what additional equipment would I need?


Thanks all
Chris
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DavidBee
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« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2009, 09:12:10 AM »

I'm interested in this also, but please include top entrances in your pro - com comments. I know Michael Bush uses top entrances to good effect.
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fish_stix
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« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2009, 11:44:55 AM »

For what it's worth we use bottom entrance reducers year round with screened bottom boards for good ventilation (Florida heat!). During our nectar flows we use a queen excluder and top entrance so the field bees go directly into the honey supers. Less work for the bees hopefully translates into more honey stored in a given time period. Disadvantage: another entrance up high for SHB to enter, although so far we've managed to keep them under control. Keep the upper entrance small (3/4" x 3/4") so the bees have a fighting chance at guarding for SHB and robbers. If you're in a non SHB area disregard the above comments and just slide the lid back or put some shims under the lid to give them a large upper entrance.
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bassman1977
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« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2009, 08:05:53 PM »

I employ all three entrances simultaneously(one is not by choice really).  I use the bottom year round, then I prop the supers with door shims above a queen excluder and more often than not, they seem to find a way to use the top as an entrance as well.

The middle is basically a way for them to fly directly to the honey supers to store honey, avoiding the trek up the brood boxes.  Just shortens the walk for them.  The top, like I mentioned, is not intentional but they seem to find a way in and out of the top, unless I place a heavy cinder block on the outer cover.  I'm sure there are plenty of cons for having three entrances, like more bees needed for guards, but it seems to work pretty well and after doing this for two years, I have yet to have an issue with it.  I used to use an unlimited brood nest but going through and sorting honey frames from brood frames got old and tiring real fast (I may harvest up to 3 or 4 times per year), hence the queen excluder.  In the winter, I put mouse guards on, both to keep mice out and also so the bees have less entrance to guard.  I also prop the inner cover with door shims for ventilation.
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JP
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« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2009, 09:02:05 PM »

I use bottom entrances but some of my colonies, a few, have weaseled a mid level entrance here or there. I place my hives off the ground on 4 x 4's through cinder blocks. This keeps them out of any excessive water & makes it a little easier to work the bottom boxes.

Top entrances come in handy if you'll be placing your hives directly on the ground or very close to it. In this scenario top entrances mimimize water seepage, snow & deter mice, at least to some degree. Top entrances also help with ventilation as hot air rises as we all know.


...JP
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Chrisd4421
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« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2009, 06:37:21 AM »

I there any extra hardship or issues on the housekeeping end with a mid-hive or top-hive entrance?  I know bees are great housekeepers and I am thinking these entrances may cause undo stress...

Just my thoughts put to paper Smiley

Chris
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Robo
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« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2009, 07:20:30 AM »

Been there, done that -> http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,11577.msg77458.html#msg77458

As you try to calmly inspect and manipulate,  you will end up standing in exponentially growing tornado of bees that are returning from foraging frantically looking for their entrance that is now gone.

Standing in the tornado is just part of it, and didn't really bother me,  but it could for less experienced beeks.  My biggest issue was trying to replace supers removed for inspections.  With bees in the hive boiling out the top trying to leave the hive,  and bees crawling up the front and over the lip looking for the entrance,  it is impossible to put a super back on without crushing a bunch of bees.  Even using the slide or twist into place method doesn't really work as the bees continue to head for the opening as it is reduced.  Even as a seasoned beekeeper for over 30 years,  I find myself rushing, killing more bees and making them angrier.

There were no benefits to me that outweighed these inspection difficulties.
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