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Author Topic: when to eliminate upper entrance?  (Read 901 times)
paulh
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« on: March 27, 2009, 02:50:42 PM »

Last fall, I notched an inner cover to provide better ventillation and for a second entrance in case the lower one got burried by snow.

About 10 days ago, while I was out of town for work, I asked the wife to feed the some table sugar, placed on the inner cover.  I'm home for a few days before the next job starts and the weather has been nice.  Lots of bees out yesterday and today.  There seemed to be a lot of activity around the upper entranceof the colony that was fed, so to avoid robbing that may get started, I put on a new inner cover, one with no entrance.  Half an hour later there were dozens of bees all around the cover, on all sides, looking to get in.  Did I just confuse to the bees who live there, or could they have been robbers? 

Is it too early in the year to close off any upper entrances I had in place for ventillation? 
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RayMarler
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« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2009, 03:02:10 PM »

They could very well have been robbers, I'd leave that upper entrance closed when feeding above the inner cover. If the bees belong to the hive, they'll find their way in to the lower entrance without too much problem.
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paulh
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« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2009, 03:15:06 PM »

I had a very bad experience with robbing last fall.  That's one thing I hope to not ever experience again.
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DaveKow
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« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2009, 03:47:41 PM »

I learned last year to not leave the top open while feeding.  I got my first lesson in robbing.  Luckily I caught it early enough, and there happened to be a recent post about "robbing" on this forum.  Saved by the wonderful members of the forum, again! 

By the way, the robbing hive had its "karmic payback".  They died over winter.  Meanwhile, their victims are booming. 

Dave
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gaucho10
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« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2009, 07:27:35 PM »

My two sence/cents...You replaced the inner cover while the bees were out shopping around.  They came home and someone changed the lock.  Eventually they will find the bottom entrance.  If they were getting robbed you would notice agressive activities near the entrance (which you shutt down.  You will know when they are being robbed because you will see "fighting".
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BjornBee
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« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2009, 07:33:50 PM »

I never eliminate an "upper entrance". But I never start a hive with a "top entrance"....  grin
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gaucho10
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« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2009, 07:48:44 PM »

BjornBee, explain...

I never thought of that.  Does it help in any way?  Personally (old school)  I allways had an upper entrance (vent hole.
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My favorite comedy program used to be Glenn Beck--The only thing is that after I heard the same joke over and over again it became BOOOORING.....

People who have inspired me throughout my life---Pee-wee Herman, Adolph Hitler, George W. Bush, Glenn Beck.
Notice I did not say they were people who I admire !!!
BjornBee
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« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2009, 08:03:09 PM »

BjornBee, explain...

I never thought of that.  Does it help in any way?  Personally (old school)  I allways had an upper entrance (vent hole.

Thank you for asking.

I think an upper entrance above the brood chamber can be good for many reasons. Ventilation, an entry point above the brood, an entrance above an excluder, and others positive benefits.

I however do not like a top entrance because of the loss of trapped beneficial heat, the loss of using a shim for re-queening, feeding, or anything else without shutting off the top entrance, dealing with guard bees from this entrance, etc.

Studies have clearly shown that bees prefer a lower entrance. Bees naturally will not select a top entrance if they have a choice. I think this is by design from issues with heat loss, possibly rain/water issues, etc.

I think that an upper entrance can be very beneficial to the enlarged cavities (unnatural) we provide bees and some good can be achieved from the use. But I feel no additional benefit can be gained by a top entrance. You can gain good benefits with an upper entrance. Beyond that, by going all the way to the top, you now lose benefits.

That is why I always point out that an upper entrance and a top entrance, are two different things.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2009, 10:14:34 PM »

I always have a top vent for humidity control on my hives year around.  Currently my top entrances are reversable bottom boards with the entrance reducer set to the smallest size (3/4 inch).  I have bottomless hives so the entire bottom of the hive is open for the bees to come and go through.  I've succesffully overwintered the hives using that configuration with prolonged temps into the single digits.

As long as the interior of the hive is dry the size of the bottom entrance is immaterial.  A top vent to let out the condensation is also a must year around.  Having stubbled upon the top vent for hives over 30 years ago I changed my method of beekeeping to reflect that.  The beekeeping methods I use now, verses what I used 50 years ago when I started, is a lot different that the currently accepted practiced and preached.  I've also never used any mite treatments in my hives, I promote chemical free, as feral as possible beekeeping. 

I can't say that I have extended lineage of untreated hives as living with a landlord who forbid beekeeping (on his long list of no pets) I had to give them up for a few years.  But the bees I have now are 3 years without a chemical treatment of anykind unless you consider feeding simple syrup chemical treatments.
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