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Poll
Question: Do you use top or bottom entrances on your hives or both?
Top - 4 (8.7%)
Bottom - 21 (45.7%)
Both - 19 (41.3%)
I don't know - 2 (4.3%)
Total Voters: 46


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Author Topic: Entrance Location, Top or Bottom?  (Read 3645 times)
contactme_11
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« on: February 23, 2009, 09:19:09 AM »

 Also please post your location.
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« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2009, 09:36:56 AM »

I use both,  (southern Il)   the top entrance always    between the supers and the deep.  I even have my own little landing pad spacers made up.   As an efficceny engineer,  I know it increases honey production.  in a full hive the foragers don't have to travel thru the congestion.   I also usually leave the bottom open also,  more because I am lazy than anything else.  no need in the summer to close it.
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« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2009, 10:13:50 AM »

gmcharlie

Can you post a picture of your top entrance?
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« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2009, 10:26:52 AM »

Bottom. Southeast, Louisiana.


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« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2009, 11:19:37 AM »

As an efficceny engineer,  I know it increases honey production.

Typical bean counter approach all about quantity and not quality Wink


I'm a bottom guy,  I hate standing in the tornado of bees while inspecting.
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« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2009, 11:38:59 AM »

quanity  not quality? I thought honey was honey...    Undecided   Actually I am trying to save wear and tear on my poor little bees....  instaed of makeing them climb up thru the whole hive   I let them start at the top!   

And who says efficency  is for humans only....!   cheesy
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« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2009, 12:01:06 PM »

I thought honey was honey...    Undecided   

Absolutely not.....

With top entrances you have the bees hauling pollen coming in thru the top and crawling down to the brood and even storing pollen in the honey supers.  All of which causes contamination of the honey and makes is cloudy to some extent.  Comb honey producers remove the comb honey as soon as it is capped because bee traffic acrossing the cappings make it darker (dirty),  and that is just from bees carrying nectar and that have already "wiped" their feet across the brood combs.     Which rooms in your house ends up with the dirtier floors?  The ones by the door or upstairs? 

BTW,  I'm not trying to give you a hard time, just playin a little with you.  I don't have an issue with some pollen in my honey, and some folks think it is beneficial.  But it definitely clouds the honey and you won't be winning any honey competitions that way.   My issue with top entrances is when you only have a top entrance and all bee traffic needs to pass thru it.   I find it very difficult to inspect a hive when you have a continuous stream of bees returning form the field and frantically looking for their entrance that is now gone.   Not to mention trying to put a hive back together with bees pouring in and out the top without squishing a bunch of them. 
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« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2009, 12:58:59 PM »

Thanks, Robo, for saving me all that typing.

Bottom entrance practitioner in NC.
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« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2009, 01:10:19 PM »

I use bottoms for all my hives. Then, I also use upper entrances, which are NOT top entrances.

Upper entrances are entrances on the second brood chamber, or on the supers above the excluder, keeping mind the importance of trapped heat.

It may not be as important during honey season when the temps are high anyways, but having an upper entrance in the brood chamber the rest of the year allows for the bees to regulate moisture and air flow better, provides a secondary entrance for snow/ice issues, etc. The upper entrances in the supers allow bees to enter the hive without going through the brood chamber.

Upper entrances, taking into account trapped heat and the benefits of such for early brood rearinf, etc., ....a good thing.

Top entrances....I see nothing beneficial.
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« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2009, 01:29:18 PM »

 interesting thought about the honey and tracking pollen,  but I would have to disagree..  although the cappings may suffer a bit  the diffences in pollen content of the honey itself is the same.  Honey is processed by the be such that contamination from things like pollen content are not a varible.   the differences in the honey itself is what it comes from.   
If I read your note properly I could place a doormat on my perch  and my honey will be clear..... (yes  I know your kidding)  and  I am too about the mat...

The color of the cappings doesn't bother me a bit.  I do suppose they "wipe their feet" in the brood chamber,  but my cappings are as clean as any other spot in the hive.   The bees themselves are so meticulous  there is no lose stuff running around.   the wax color depends on age and temp....

There are a cpl of scenitific  documents and experiments on top entrances and they match what I see  15% more honey out of simalar hives in the same spots..........

BTW   I never strain honey anyway....  If I wanted strained honey its cheaper to buy.....(less stings)

The cloud of bees coming and going  for me is the same   I don't notice the difference myself.... 
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« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2009, 02:00:04 PM »

Bottom only here.  I get stung enough walking in the path of one entrance.  I don't need another entrance to help out.
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« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2009, 02:25:05 PM »

interesting thought about the honey and tracking pollen,  but I would have to disagree..  although the cappings may suffer a bit  the diffences in pollen content of the honey itself is the same.  Honey is processed by the be such that contamination from things like pollen content are not a varible.   the differences in the honey itself is what it comes from. 
Quote

Not true, you will get more pollen stored, not just tracked, in your honey supers with top entrances
 
Quote
There are a cpl of scenitific  documents and experiments on top entrances and they match what I see  15% more honey out of simalar hives in the same spots..........


I would be interested in seeing these.  Not that I necessarily disagree, but unfortunately with all things "scientific"  data can be interpreted many ways.  If there was indeed a 15% increase, I would bet every commercial beekeeper out there would be using them.

What I find interesting though, in my experience,  when I lift a cover for ventilation,  the bees won't use it for an entrance, but will continue to use the bottom entrance.  They will congregate on top of the inner cover, so they know it is open, but still prefer the bottom entrance.


Quote
The cloud of bees coming and going  for me is the same   I don't notice the difference myself.... 


How can that be, unless you are standing in front of the hive?   With bottom entrances,  the bees come and go without even knowing you are there.  Granted it is not as bad when you use both top and bottom than just a top entrance.   
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« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2009, 03:10:26 PM »

"But it definitely clouds the honey..."

I think (Robo correct me) what Robo is talking about with regard to honey cloudiness, is when the honey is extracted you would get pollen mixed in with it causing a change in color.  That is, the pollen stored along with the honey on that frame.  Some of the discoloration of the honey would also be due to a small amount of capping getting in there too.  He's saying with a bottom only entrance they stop at the brood frames and deposit the pollen, with a top entrance they might deposit it away from the brood with the honey.  Is that right?
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« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2009, 03:17:10 PM »

You got it!   Now if I could only better articulate what I mean  grin   Good thing my wife won't see this tongue
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« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2009, 03:46:27 PM »

Hive is in Allardt, TN. I'm in Chattanooga, TN.
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« Reply #15 on: February 23, 2009, 04:10:29 PM »

Some of my hives have a tendency to use both top and bottom even if my intent is not for them to use top.
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« Reply #16 on: February 23, 2009, 04:22:36 PM »

I have screened bottom boards with entrance on bottom. Also a honey run top cover that has a smallish opening for the bees. Sometimes they use both entrances, sometimes just the bottom.
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« Reply #17 on: February 23, 2009, 04:26:28 PM »

Top Entrances  Smiley
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« Reply #18 on: February 23, 2009, 05:04:05 PM »

     I use a lower entrance at the top of the bottom brood hive and a top entrance below the upper honey supper. I let the bees decide where they want to store food. I also use a SBB with a slide-in panel to adjust the opening, depending on the temps. In winter I close the lower entrance...leave a very small opening below the SBB....and a small opening above the top super to release water vapor.

John
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« Reply #19 on: February 23, 2009, 05:09:43 PM »

as of yet  I have not had any issues with pollen in the honey stores...  maybe my bees are smart???  Laughing of course,  as for not being in the way,  they bees that are coming and going just land on the open hive instead of the bottom board.   I honestly cannot notice a difference in the amount of flying bees,  but I can also say that I am used to a lot in the air and they don't bother me a bit.    only bugs me on a hot hive....  which I will genarly close and work later.
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« Reply #20 on: February 23, 2009, 05:48:50 PM »

I've done it all at one time or another.  I currently us a bottomless hive with a slatted rack.  I use reversable bottom boards for my top with the entrance reducer set to the smallest opening.  It provides a vent for excess moisture to exit the hive.  Some bees also choose the use it but most prefer using the bottomless entrance. 
As with most any method in beekeeping there are plus and minuses to consider.  To me the importance of a heat/moisture vent is near the top of the list as lack of adequate ventilation can cause a number of problems that a small vent can cure.  Since I've settled on a top vent/entrance in my beekeeping management style I've encountered a lot less disease of all types.  The mites are still there but that's a given anyway, but even then that small vent seems to help the bees and mite/SHB resistant bees is the solution we're looking for.
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« Reply #21 on: February 23, 2009, 06:53:58 PM »

OK,  after reading all these posts I am getting confused.  If you mean do I only have a top or bottom entrance then the answer is "I only have a bottom main entrance".  BUT, I use a ventilated inner cover which has a small front vent hole similar to a regular inner cover.  The bees use this as a main entrance now that they are on the top brood chamber for the winter.  The inner vented cover also has a round 4" center hole through which I feed the bees.  When opened during the winter the bees can access their food inside the inner cover but during the summer I close up the 4" center hole and just leave the front vent hole.
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« Reply #22 on: February 23, 2009, 07:07:56 PM »

I don't think I am allowed to post pics,  And I will have to try to take some,  but its simple 2 3/8 strips 3 inches linger than the hive to act as a spacer for the supers,  I put mine on top the deep  to increase the space so the queen is less likely to move up (has never happened to me)  I also put a landing pad on the ends to tie the two sides toghther,  Yes  I know its a total waste....  its actually for me  it ties the spacers togther to form a handle and keep them from falling off or out as I put the super back.  Its also wide enough I don't remove it to work the upper deep,  so the bees just land as normal not makeing a big swarm...  should I need to get into the lower deep,  its the same as usual as far as I can tell

I couldn't find the research paper I had read,  its been well over a year as I switched totaly last year after I read and confirmed the findings  The beek  was in Fla or GA,  (don't remember)  he had put top and bottom entrances on 40 each of hives that weighed within like 10# of each other   he weighed them before and after and kept records all season.  His synopsis was around 15% increase and he had all teh math to back it up....  as an engineer  I like the data  and was solid..
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« Reply #23 on: February 23, 2009, 09:47:22 PM »

I use top entrances. Heat in SoFla is such a factor that a hive can turn into an oven. I use it with a screened bottom board. The idea is to have enough ventilation that the bees are not having to work at cooling the hive. I have a few of the hives that also have a bottom entrance in addition to the top but that is because they were part of a combine and I was to lazy to close up the bottom after the combine was done.




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« Reply #24 on: February 23, 2009, 10:04:48 PM »

http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopentrance.htm
http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslazy.htm#topentrance

The biggest proponent I know of for top entrances (and where I learned to do the shims) is Lloyd Spears of Ross Rounds who does it on his comb honey hives and does a lot of comb honey.
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« Reply #25 on: February 23, 2009, 10:54:21 PM »

During the Summer, Spring and Fall I've only used a bottom entrance.  However, during the winter I close up the bottom entrance to a space approx. 1" wide and 1/4" tall.  Plus I also provide a small hole about 1/4" wide and tall at the top of the hive, but under the overhang of the top cover. This allows for some restricted air movement to prevent condensation during the winter. During the very early spring, I find bees using both. When I open the hive for spring, I'll open up the bottom entrance completely and close off the top.

I will sightly lift the back side of the top cover if the weather gets too hot during the summer. This improves the ventilation. If the bees exit using this opening (which is seldom) they are on the back side of the hive and have not been a problem, so far.


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« Reply #26 on: February 24, 2009, 07:55:36 AM »

I'm still waiting for the " I don't know " Beekeeper.  evil
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« Reply #27 on: February 24, 2009, 08:03:06 AM »

I'm still waiting for the " I don't know " Beekeeper.  evil

Just for you....... grin

Since I can not pick one of the other options, I might as well be the one.
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« Reply #28 on: February 24, 2009, 10:15:03 AM »

I'm still waiting for the " I don't know " Beekeeper.  evil

Just for you....... grin

Since I can not pick one of the other options, I might as well be the one.


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« Reply #29 on: February 24, 2009, 10:00:29 PM »

I can join the I don't know people since I don't have a hive.  grin  I'm leaning towards a top entrance though and you guys haven't swayed me from it yet.  Besides if we have to take bets I'm going with the engineer.  Wink  My sister is finishing up her engineering degree and we think the same.  I just don't have the motivation to go beyond a 2year programming degree.  An extra 30-50k a year is not quite enough to make go through calc 4.
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« Reply #30 on: February 25, 2009, 08:22:43 AM »

Besides if we have to take bets I'm going with the engineer. 

Well if that's your criteria,  I'm a hardware development engineer and would highly suggest as a new beekeeper you do not start with just a top entrance.  Not that engineering has anything to do with it, but you will end up standing in continuously growing tornado of bees that are returning from foraging frantically looking for their entrance that is now gone, as you try to calmly inspect and manipulate.   Then when you go to put the hive back together you will have bees crawling up the front of the hive, as well as bees crawling out the hive to exit,  and there is no way to reassemble the hive without killing bees.   Even as a seasoned beekeeper for over 30 years,  I find it a little stressful and find myself rushing which just seems to make it worse.

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« Reply #31 on: February 25, 2009, 11:47:02 AM »


Not that engineering has anything to do with it, but you will end up standing in continuously growing tornado of bees that are returning from foraging frantically looking for their entrance that is now gone, as you try to calmly inspect and manipulate.   Then when you go to put the hive back together you will have bees crawling up the front of the hive, as well as bees crawling out the hive to exit,  and there is no way to reassemble the hive without killing bees.   Even as a seasoned beekeeper for over 30 years,  I find it a little stressful and find myself rushing which just seems to make it worse.

I have one have that has a upper entrance and I can definately agree with Robo's statements.  I will add though, with my small sample of 3 hives, this one hive has produced more honey than the other two. 

I have added upper entrances to my other two hives now.  My upper entrances are just a 3/4" hole drilled in one of the supers. 
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« Reply #32 on: February 26, 2009, 09:31:54 AM »

gmcharlie

Can you post a picture of your top entrance?


here you go,  unpainted batch me and the grandson just finished last week.   Might also note I use screened bottom boards with them.


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« Reply #33 on: February 26, 2009, 06:19:42 PM »

gmcharlie

Can you post a picture of your top entrance?


here you go,  unpainted batch me and the grandson just finished last week.   Might also note I use screened bottom boards with them.





My brother and I made entrances just like those pictured back in the 1960's, it was then I stubbled upon ventilation problems as they exist in a langstroth hive.
The 3 hive we put those types of entrances on developed the following problems:
1. The standard brood area was abandoned and moved up above the "new entrance."
2. The abandoned area quickly became moldy and foul smelling and if we'd of had SHB in those days it would have been infested.
3. Every hive developed Nosema and chalk brood from the rampant dampness within the hive.
4. The moisture was so bad that the bottom boards warped and buckled.
5. I lost 2 of the 3 hives set up that way due to moisture and disease.

With all that said the system has since been made to work:
1. Vents at the very top of the hive, any vent lower than the top bars of the top super still allows moisture to build up.
2. Screen bottom boards, the vents need to create a chimney so the bees can be more efficient by directing their airconditioning in one direction.  The normal action of the bees forcing air up onside of the hive and down the other side doesn't work on the boxes below the new entrance because of the large additional entrance and solid bottom board.  Essentially without a top and bottom vent the introduction of the upper entrance created a serious ventilation/stagnant air pocket within the hive which was abandoned.
3. Queen excluer, if the hive becomes too drafty with such a large upper entrance the brood chamber will get chilled and the queen will move up. Adequate ventilation should preclude this but the excluder will help in keeping the queen down.
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« Reply #34 on: February 27, 2009, 06:00:17 AM »

Brian, those are interesting points to keep in mind as far as I am concerned.  Presently I have 4 deeps stacked up with a screened bottom board.  The SBB has the tray nearly closed off.  I also have a ventilated inner cover with 1" screened holes all around and a 4" center hole through which I am presently feeding honey.  When warm weather arrives I am curious as to the effect moister is going to have on the bottom brood boxes.  Bees seem to be doing good so far.  They are all the way at the top of 4 th. brood chamber.
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« Reply #35 on: February 27, 2009, 08:47:08 AM »

interesting comments,  makes me ponder why you would have a mositure issue with a top entrance/vent.   kind of defies logic.   the only thing  I can wonder is if the bottom was totally closed maybe??  but it still makes no sense to me as we have (beek's in general)  have been useing the langstroth style with vented tops for years.   Personaly I have been useing this style for about 4 years and have absolutly none of the issues you mention. 
The increased gap keeps my queens down.   I don't use excluders at all.
Other than a few mites  no issues.   
 Agreed that moisture in the hive  will cause all the mentioned issues,  opening a gap in the supers increases cross flow.     You did mention drafty makeing the queen move.   I haven't had that issue,  but I do remove just after the leaves turn to avoid cold or frosty drafts.
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« Reply #36 on: February 27, 2009, 09:13:09 AM »

gmcharlie

Can you post a picture of your top entrance?


here you go,  unpainted batch me and the grandson just finished last week.   Might also note I use screened bottom boards with them.





Oh, so you are using these as mid-entrances then.

http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,11577.msg77458.html#msg77458

I never had a moisture or mold issue with them either.  Though I did have them heated, so that would most likely cause any moisture to evaporate and move up and out.
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« Reply #37 on: February 27, 2009, 11:59:52 AM »

Mid  would probaly bee (pun intended) a better desription.    I put them on top the deeps but under supers.  I will put them between supers also if the flow is real good.     I am wondering this year I am wanting to try a top style pollen trap.... so ......
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« Reply #38 on: February 27, 2009, 05:47:48 PM »

I think if you reread my posting you'll see that it was then that I discovered the necessity of ventilation in bee hives.  Prior to the 1960's the standard practice was to button the bees up as tight as possible with solid bottom boards and telescopic tops.  Ventilation was ignored for the most part.   Most of the advances in ventilation in a bee hive have been made since the 1960's because of situations like the one I described.  A single vent hole at the top of a hive goes a long way in reducing the possibility of an experience such as mine occurring.
The important part is that  you need a vent at both ends of the hive.  In the wild the tree trunkkabsorbs much of the moisture which increases the rot within the hive chamber and allows the bees to enlarge it over time.  That doesn't happen in manufactured equipment.
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« Reply #39 on: February 27, 2009, 07:12:00 PM »

gmcharlie

So your bees can enter from the back or front with your entrance?  And you put it between two supers that the bees are storing honey in?
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« Reply #40 on: February 27, 2009, 08:12:05 PM »

yes,  they can use either side.   Since its 3/8 if robbing may be an issue you can use and entrance reducer.  I keep most of my hives at least 30 feet apart to minimize robbing.  I usually put it between the supers and the deeps.  the additional "space"  acts as a queen excluder.  I don't put on more than 2 supers usually,  but if I do I will add another entrance above.   The goal is to have basicly 2 seperate work forces.  honey gathers,  and brood tenders.......   and to make each groups job uncluttered.....   the hives I do this on seem to produce more brood as well as more honey,  but that may be from amny other things and I would need to set up a study to  prove it....  (not worth  it to me)      So may say that its too much open space,  but after looking at several dozens of wild hives I say baloney.....   most wild hives have 6-8 inches of open space....  some are almost totaly open.
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