Need Bees Removed?
International
Beekeeping Forums
April 16, 2014, 04:09:16 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
News: ATTENTION ALL NEW MEMBERS
PLEASE READ THIS OR YOUR ACCOUNT MAY BE DELETED - CLICK HERE
 
   Home   Help Search Calendar bee removal Login Register Chat  

Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Can we talk bottoms for top entrance hives?  (Read 3180 times)
winginit
House Bee
**
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 262


Location: Batavia, Ohio


« on: July 25, 2010, 01:54:31 PM »

I need an extra, just-in-case hive, which means I need to invest in tops and bottoms. I also want to convert my existing hives to top entrances, as we get a lot of ice here in the winter, often combined with snow, which leads to treacherous conditions. I travel a lot so I could be out of town when a bad storm hits (I should be so lucky!). Also, we have skunks.

I've read Michael Bush's site on top entrances. I get the tops, but I don't get the bottoms.

1. For a new hive, can I just buy a slatted bottom board, put #8 screening on it, and set the whole hive up on bricks (is it really that easy)? Will the hive stay warm enough in a few days of zero degree (F) weather, and a lot of days with temperatures in the teens, or will I need to do something to the bottom in winter? With this setup, what is the easiest way to do a mite count in Fall, or is there one?

2. For existing hives, I have a screened bottom board that fits inside a solid bottom board (no slide out drawer). Come winter, can I just seal the entrance at the bottom or is there a preferable (and easy) way to convert the screen+solid bottom board? I think if I seal the entrance, there won't be any ventilation from the bottom.

3. Do you drill holes in the front of each super for added ventilation and escape hatches? Would this be just for supers above the brood box?

4. Lastly, I'm no carpenter. We have a lot of tools, but I need to keep it simple.
Logged
alfred
House Bee
**
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 399


Location: Loveland Colorado USA


WWW
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2010, 08:10:47 PM »

Here is how I have done it:

 


As you can see from the picture above some of my hives have individual bottom boars cut to fit as below and several are sitting on one larger piece of ply. One is sitting on an old standard bottom board I had around. All sit on pairs of 4x4’s elevated and laid out parallel like railroad tracks.

My bottom boards are simply pieces of plywood cut slightly larger than hive dimension. The angle of the picture has distorted the apparent size you will see below that the bottom is barely larger than the hive dimension.





My tops are made from the same pieces but with door shims stapled to the underside to create an opening. Same deal here with the size distortion the top like the bottom board is just a little larger than the size of the hive bodies.



Here is a top on a hive. You may not be able to see that the front overhangs the front of the hive just a little and is otherwise the same dimension as the hive body.
When I want to reduce the entrance I simply break off a piece of door shim to the appropriate length and fit it in the front. For the winter I do the same but since I want them to be more sturdy I staple the reducer in just as the other shims are.






Here are my screen boards which I use in the summer and remove in the winter. I used to simply close the opening with duct tape in the winter but after last years colder winter I will simply remove the screen boards this year. The hives will rest right on the bottom board.








Here is front view of hive on screen on board.






Here is rear view of the same. You can see how I could slide in a tray if I chose to.





I wouldn’t cut holes in my deep or my supers the screens should give plenty of ventilation. If I felt I had to I would use a shim between boxes to open it up more, but I wouldn’t.

All of this is very low tech and simple. The screen boards were made with 1X4 and 1x2 cut to length with circular saw and screwed together. I predrilled some of the holes with a small bit so that they wouldn't split out. The screen I just stapled on with a heavy stapler. The tops and bottoms were cut from a sheet of ply and painted on one side. The tops have the shims simply stapled in.

So that is how I have done it. Again I wouldn’t drill holes in my hive bodies.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2010, 08:46:00 AM by alfred » Logged
winginit
House Bee
**
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 262


Location: Batavia, Ohio


« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2010, 12:23:07 PM »

Thank you so much for all the work you did on this posting, it's very helpful. I'll be headed to Home Depot/Lowes soon for supplies.

In last weeks awful heat and humidity, I had opened up the tops of my hives and left the bottoms opened, too. Three hours after adding baggies of syrup yesterday, I learned about robbing. Boy was it obvious! I think my stronger hive was robbing my weaker hive. Activity at the strong hive was organized but busy, and their flight path had changed noticably. I ran down to the weak hive and it was a disorganized, loud circus of bees. So I closed up the tops and put cleats in the bottom of both hives, with just the smallest of openings. I'll open up the cleats a bit more tomorrow, won't open up the tops again until I have the whole set up fixed so I can control the size of the entrance. As you might imagine, I have completely lost my inclination to drill holes in the fronts of my supers!

We're in a dearth except for corn pollen. Lots of corn all around me, and lots of pollen in the hives.
Logged
KD4MOJ
Field Bee
***
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 645


Location: Tallahassee, FL 30° 27' 16" N / 84° 20' 48" W

Bees... Motorcycles... amateur radio...


WWW
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2010, 09:29:24 AM »

 I have some vented top covers on top of the supers with the entrance but my bees just hang out up there, don't seem to really use it for entering/exit. I figured that even though my hives are the normal bottom entrance, they would eventually use the top entrance as well.  Seems to me they are "creatures of habit"!

...DOUG
KD4MOJ
Logged
CountryBee
House Bee
**
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 329


Location: Central, NY


« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2010, 09:33:35 PM »

Alfred, thanks for the pics!  You did an amazing creative job with your honey bees!  There are a lot of supers on them also, are they mediums?  All this years?  I live in NY and trying top entrances now and new to them also, kinda worried about winter.  Does it get very cold where you live in winter like here?  Thanks, Country Smiley
Logged
alfred
House Bee
**
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 399


Location: Loveland Colorado USA


WWW
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2010, 08:59:12 AM »

Hey Wingingit so glad that I have not had much trouble with robbing! Did two years ago and I think that it was simply because I was careless about spillage around the hives with the sugar syrup.

I too have been getting a lot of pollen so I have ordered a pollen trap to try out.
Logged
alfred
House Bee
**
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 399


Location: Loveland Colorado USA


WWW
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2010, 09:04:06 AM »

Thanks Countrybee! I have to give credit where it is due. Everything I am doing is based on stuff I have learned here on the forum.

Yes this is all this years build. The three hives on the far right of the pic are new packages.  One Carniolan, one Minnesota hygenic, one Italian in that order from the end... I think, I sort of lost track forgot to write it down, pretty sure that the Minnesotas are in the second from the right. Was supposed to be an experiment to see how they all do. So far all good and all three are doing about the same.

Then the next over is my one hive out of 10 that wintered through. They are from a swarm caught last year.

The next is a small swarm in the one box that I am trying to nurse. It was barely a hand full when caught. I was hoping to get to reasonable nuc size for winter but at this point will probably combine with another hive as they simply aren't building well. Then there are some empties stacked next to the buckets. The last two hives on the left side are from swarms caught earlier this year and they are doing very well.

All of my boxes are mediums. I figure that anything over the bottom three is mine to take at the end of the season!!! I let my queens roam free so there is brood in some of the supers though not much.

It does get cold here but probably not as cold as where you are and certainly less humid. Last year it got colder than usual. That is why this year I will be more careful about closing up my bottoms. I plan to simply remove the screen boards and drop the hives down onto the boards so that there is no bottom opening at all. The previous year I didn’t have screens and didn’t have the same losses but it wasn’t as cold either. Of course I also will reduce my entrances.

 If it looks like it may get really cold I may think about wrapping. But there is much controversy it seems as to whether or not that is a good idea, can’t allow condensation to happen. I think that having top entrances probably helps with the condensation issue though.
Logged
winginit
House Bee
**
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 262


Location: Batavia, Ohio


« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2010, 09:55:56 AM »

Do you ever use hardwood for bottoms?

"Pollen trap?" Something new to research.  grin
« Last Edit: August 01, 2010, 10:20:04 AM by winginit » Logged
hardwood
Galactic Bee
******
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 3482


Location: Osteen, Fl (just south of Daytona)

Alysian Apiaries youtube.com/MrBeedude


« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2010, 10:04:48 AM »

I ain't gonna sit under them hives all dang winter! grin

Scott
Logged

"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

Theodore Roosevelt 1907
winginit
House Bee
**
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 262


Location: Batavia, Ohio


« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2010, 10:20:49 AM »

 lau
Logged
alfred
House Bee
**
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 399


Location: Loveland Colorado USA


WWW
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2010, 11:55:49 AM »

I am rich in life but poor in cash. So I can't afford to pay Hardwood to lie down under my hives to keep them warm for the winter. Airfare alone would strap me bad. Besides I think that he might cause a real humidity/condensation problem.

Seriously, ply is cheap and hardwood isn't. My boxes are made of #3 pine (cheap) everything else is made of ply or other cheap-cheap material, much is scavenged. See the fence behind the hives. 100% salvage, 300 ft of fence put in for less than $200. Like I said my life is rich but not so much in cash.
Logged
CountryBee
House Bee
**
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 329


Location: Central, NY


« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2010, 04:10:05 PM »

That is how you run a business and make money instead of being in the red for years!  I have been learning how to build my own woodenware for a few months now and it it about a third cheaper than if I purchased it.  Found an idea on the forum to make the supers out of plywood or scrap and use 2by2's to hold the top and bottom together, still have to try it out.
http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,26187.0.html
Thanks for all the pics!  They give me so many ideas for my own beeyard. Smiley
Logged
Michael Bush
Universal Bee
*******
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 13466


Location: Nehawka, NE


WWW
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2010, 05:15:34 AM »

Anymore I buy solid bottoms and convert them to a feeder on the deep side and a top on the shallow side...

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesmisc.htm#BottomBoardFeeder
Logged

Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
-------------------
"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
specialkayme
Field Bee
***
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 924

Location: Central NC - (somewhere either in Raleigh, Greensboro, or inbetween)


« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2010, 01:59:40 PM »

Found an idea on the forum to make the supers out of plywood or scrap and use 2by2's to hold the top and bottom together, still have to try it out.

I make most of my supers from 1x4 furring strips. A 10' board cost about $1.70 at my hardware store. Glue two together, cut them up a bit, and i can get a super and a half out of two boards easy. That's like $2.25 a box, plus labor. A hell of alot cheaper than buying them straight up. Although, you do have to be picky on which ones you select. Many of them at the store are already warped, and usually about 1/4 of them warp before I can nail them together.

Bottoms and tops usually are made from old pallets. For free if you know where to go. Usually takes a bit more work to get the wood out of it, but as I said, it's free. They work well for tops, as the furring strips just warped when I put them on, even after trying to dry them out.

I usually just use a migratory top though, straight bottom board, and a ship for a top entrance. I get used deep boxes, cut them down to mediums, and use the excess from the cuts to get shims. I can usually get three shims to a deep doing it that way.
Logged
CountryBee
House Bee
**
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 329


Location: Central, NY


« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2010, 04:54:27 PM »

So many ways to build stuff!  I keep learning and I'll never know them all, but I do know that beekeeping is a free way to make money if you know what you are doing but expensive hobby if not! grin  Anyone else make supers and bases?
Logged
CountryBee
House Bee
**
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 329


Location: Central, NY


« Reply #15 on: August 04, 2010, 04:55:04 PM »

Or Pics? grin
Logged
winginit
House Bee
**
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 262


Location: Batavia, Ohio


« Reply #16 on: August 04, 2010, 09:31:15 PM »

I never would have gotten into this hobby if I knew how much I would have to build...at first I would have been happy to pay someone else to assemble. Yet now I find that it's quite relaxing and another great aspect of beekeeping.

Thanks all for sharing your secrets and shortcuts and I second CountryBee's request for pix.

Christy

Logged
alfred
House Bee
**
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 399


Location: Loveland Colorado USA


WWW
« Reply #17 on: August 05, 2010, 09:08:00 AM »

I've been making supers for awhile. I am no carpenter although I have had to learn a lot fixing on my house. I mostly make the supers out of cheap #3 pine boards. I haven't made any this year so I couldn’t tell you what the cost breakdown is. Cheap though.

At first I was using a circular saw to rip the boards to proper width and length and router and a cheap plastic dovetail jig to make dovetail joints.  Very  strong and pretty when all goes well, but not too forgiving if you don’t get things aligned and squared proper.   I was too impatient to get it down to a science and I wanted to be able to just rip these off so I switched to using just a standard box joint rig ( sorry I don't know the proper carpentry terminology). Basically I used the router table and a small piece of board for a fence and cut fingers on the boards. If you line it up right and use a vise to hold them together you can route all four boards at once.

Things got better when I got a table saw and could do better rips and cuts. Makes the whole job more accurate and quick. Just watch those fingers! This winter I got a new blade rig for my table saw that will cut grooves. I am looking forward to trying it and hope to use it instead of the router. The router is loud and hard to control and keep everything lined up. I am hoping that the table saw will be easier and quicker and more accurate.

Now the slowest part is assembling frames. I bought a pallet of unassembled medium frames just easier than trying to make them. I want to look at making one of the jigs for assembling them that I have seen around. Just takes forever to assemble them right now. Part of it may be that I am working too hard on them.

I do enjoy making things myself and that is a good thing because of cash flow. I love playing with the wood and the tools and seeing the finished product. I am currently working on an extractor made from a food grade barrel, bicycle wheels and various hardware. Have gone through some trial and error on it but think that I may have it now. Cost about… $75 and I think that I am over estimating.
Logged
CountryBee
House Bee
**
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 329


Location: Central, NY


« Reply #18 on: August 05, 2010, 05:20:14 PM »

We have curtis lumber over here and they are cheaper with wood than lowes.  I get a 1"by12"by12' for $8.26 with tax.  It makes 3 mediums.  I am an amatuer so it takes me about an hour to make 3 but they look good and work good. grin  And the price is right, but not free yet, someday I have to find how to make them free, maybe from pallet wood. huh huh
Logged
winginit
House Bee
**
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 262


Location: Batavia, Ohio


« Reply #19 on: September 04, 2010, 08:24:06 AM »

Finally found #8 hardware cloth. Sheesh, that was the toughest part.

I read somewhere--here or elsewhere I don't recall--to call old hardware stores to see if they still had some lying around. That worked! $21 for ten feet, not a great deal but cheaper than buying 100 feet. Now what to do with the screening that I bought on accident?
Logged
Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Beemaster's Beekeeping Ring
Previous | Home | Join | Random | Next
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines | Sitemap Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 1.76 seconds with 22 queries.

Google visited last this page April 06, 2014, 01:13:48 AM