Need Bees Removed?
International
Beekeeping Forums
November 24, 2014, 12:47:35 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
News: Beemaster's official FACEBOOK page
 
   Home   Help Search Calendar bee removal Login Register Chat  

Pages: [1] 2 3  All   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Top Entrance Hive Questions  (Read 5544 times)
winginit
House Bee
**
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 262


Location: Batavia, Ohio


« on: October 12, 2010, 01:02:12 PM »

I am winterizing my two hives and have lots of questions. As a newbee, I've made every mistake in the book, or so it seems, and I just want to make sure I'm handling the top entrance hives correctly. I just removed the screened bottom boards and replaced them with a solid bottom board (1 inch ply). I reduced the top entrance on one of the hives to 3/8 inch tall by about 3/4 inch wide, but the whole front entrance cleat is loose (not glued). Is the entrance small enough, and do I need to glue it? My winters rarely get below 5 degrees maybe a few nights of 0, and lots of 10-20 degree weather. The last few winters have been very snowy and we get ice. Winters seem much wetter here than my old home in Kansas City, and most days we're ten degrees warmer than Kansas City, even though we're both in zone 6. I converted to top entrances mostly because of the winter precipitation, and a high risk of not being able to get to one of my hives after an ice storm.

I am not using an inner cover. Is that correct?

Also, the top cover (1 inch ply) is slightly larger than the hive body. Hives don't get ice cycles do they? If so, I guess I would just tilt the hive slightly back away from the opening? Right now it tilts ever-so-slightly forward so rain runs off but doesn't go into the opening.

Per Michael Bush's Lazy Beekeeping, the hive tops are not painted. I think I'm going to regret that!
Logged
danno
Super Bee
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 2272


Location: Ludington, Michigan


« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2010, 01:46:35 PM »

  3/8 inch tall by about 3/4 inch wide top entrance is large enough. Without a inner cover you must have added a shim to make this enterance.  As for the bottom you need a mouse guard.  Mice will move in come Nov and destroy combs and just stink the place up.  I also put a shallow vented box with some kind of insulation above a inner cover.   The ones I use are box, inner cover and top enterance in one with 10- 3/4" screened vent holes.  For insulation  I use R15 glass of just a 3" book of straw.  With insulation you wont have ice on top and infact up here in Michigan the snows piles up over a foot deep in my colonies.    I summer the insulation is removed but the vent box stays on for summer ventalation
Logged
kathyp
Universal Bee
*******
Online Online

Gender: Female
Posts: 15268


Location: boring, oregon


« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2010, 07:30:59 PM »

you'll start one of the great debates here!   grin  if you live in a cold climate i would not use both a top and bottom entrance.  one or the other.  i know people say that the top entrance allows for moisture to evaporate, but it also sucks the heat right out of your hive.  if you have a fireplace you'll be familiar with the effect.  tip the hives and any moisture will run down the sides.

i don't know why you are not using an inner cover?  i do.  they give a little extra insulation and a small air space to also deal with moisture.   depending on the type of cover you are using, they help keep the bees from gluing the thing on so tight you can't get it off.
Logged

.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
winginit
House Bee
**
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 262


Location: Batavia, Ohio


« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2010, 09:27:31 PM »

A little clarification--I have no bottom entrance. And yes, I added shims to the top cover.

So inner covers with top entrances are recommended?

Danno, I don't get it. Sorry! You have the hive, then the inner cover, then the top entrance cover, then a super on top of that for insulation? Or a super between the inner cover and the top entrance? And if the latter, how do you create a path for the bees to get through the insulation?

LOL Kathy, I'd love to start a debate!
Logged
Michael Bush
Universal Bee
*******
Online Online

Gender: Male
Posts: 13873


Location: Nehawka, NE


WWW
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2010, 11:03:20 PM »

>I am winterizing my two hives and have lots of questions. As a newbee, I've made every mistake in the book, or so it seems, and I just want to make sure I'm handling the top entrance hives correctly. I just removed the screened bottom boards and replaced them with a solid bottom board (1 inch ply). I reduced the top entrance on one of the hives to 3/8 inch tall by about 3/4 inch wide, but the whole front entrance cleat is loose (not glued).

Not sure what you mean by "loose".  It's stuffed in the gap?

> Is the entrance small enough

Yes.  It's fine.  I could even be wide open and be fine, but that's probably good.  Mine are more like 2" by 3/8" typically but often they are wide open because I don't get around to getting them reduced.

>, and do I need to glue it?

I'm not sure how solid they are.  Mine are nailed with one nail in the center so I can pivot it open.  How will you open it if you glue it?

>I am not using an inner cover. Is that correct?

I don't.

>Also, the top cover (1 inch ply) is slightly larger than the hive body. Hives don't get ice cycles do they?

Of course.  I'd make them the same size as the hive as the blow off more often if they overhang.  They never seem to blow off when they are even with the sides.

> If so, I guess I would just tilt the hive slightly back away from the opening?

If you tip the hive back the water will get stuck in the bottom won't it?  Or do you have no drain in the bottom anyway?  There should be some way for moisture to get out the bottom even if it's just a crack somewhere.

> Right now it tilts ever-so-slightly forward so rain runs off but doesn't go into the opening.

Rain won't go in the opening to any extent that matters.

>Per Michael Bush's Lazy Beekeeping, the hive tops are not painted. I think I'm going to regret that!

Paint them then... I'd hate to see you regret it.  1" ply is pretty stable... but if I was going to paint anything on a hive, it would be the top of the lid.
Logged

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

Gender: Male
Posts: 3773


Location: Lewisberry, PA


« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2010, 06:53:04 AM »

you'll start one of the great debates here!   grin  if you live in a cold climate i would not use both a top and bottom entrance.  one or the other.  i know people say that the top entrance allows for moisture to evaporate, but it also sucks the heat right out of your hive.  if you have a fireplace you'll be familiar with the effect.  tip the hives and any moisture will run down the sides.

i don't know why you are not using an inner cover?  i do.  they give a little extra insulation and a small air space to also deal with moisture.   depending on the type of cover you are using, they help keep the bees from gluing the thing on so tight you can't get it off.

Your spot on with your comments. Although I personally would change the using one or the other, to just suggesting a bottom.

To add to your thoughts.....

Studies and observations in nature all conclude that bees prefer, seek out, and benefit from bottom entrances.

I have never seen a good reason to use a top entrance......period.

And as for moisture concerns....that is a beekeeper made problem induced and magnified by beekeepers feeding syrup in the fall and throughout cold weather. Quit feeding syrup, and you will not have moisture concerns.

Of course the industry promotes feeding syrup in the fall and winter and have all kinds on neat top feeders, etc. The after the moisture problem is created, they sell all kinds of other gadgets to take care of the problem. (ventilated tops, shims, etc.) The they turn around and sell wraps and other items to keep your bees warm. Then beekeepers come along and as they are always trying to be first and create the better "mouse trap", start giving advice that is far from what bees are programmed to deal with.

It' easy....

Honey....18% moisture
2/1 syrup  33% moisture
1/1 syrup...50% moisture.

In nature, nobody is feeding high moisture syrup. Bees seek out bottom entrances. Bees will propolize a nest with propolis, and bees do benefit from trapped heat in the upper chamber especially in late winter and early spring for brood rearing.

Not that hard to understand.
Logged

www.bjornapiaries.com
www.pennapic.org
Please Support "National Honey Bee Day"
Northern States Queen Breeders Assoc.  www.nsqba.com
Michael Bush
Universal Bee
*******
Online Online

Gender: Male
Posts: 13873


Location: Nehawka, NE


WWW
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2010, 07:01:32 AM »

Bees will not naturally choose an entrance that will get covered in snow and make easy access for the mice and vulnerability to the skunks... but most beekeepers give them one...
Logged

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

Gender: Male
Posts: 3773


Location: Lewisberry, PA


« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2010, 07:42:03 AM »

Bees will not naturally choose an entrance that will get covered in snow and make easy access for the mice and vulnerability to the skunks... but most beekeepers give them one...


That may be true. In nature they choose a cavity 10 or more feet high. But one with a bottom entrance. This is two different topics.


What beekeepers should do is understand the dynamics of the hive and why bees prefer one type setup over another. And studies have should that bees prefer bottom entrances.

Then they should as beekeepers, ensure that hives are on stands or elevated so skunks are not a problem.

But to leave them on the ground, then change over the hive configuration to a top entrance which goes against what bees call for in nature, is not solving one issue alone, your solving one issue by creating another.

As I said before...I have never seen a good reason for top entrances. And if this as good as the response is, it only reaffirms my position.

As for mice....not sure what type you have, but mice around here go into bottom, top and everything in between entrances, just fine. I hope your not suggesting from your last comment that mice can't scale the hives.  rolleyes

I have also had bees swarms select empty hives sitting on the ground making your idea that bees never select an entrance that will get covered by snow a bit questionable to me. It certainly is not the concrete statement cast in black and white you suggest.

I would rather suggest to beekeeper to get the hives off the ground IF skunks are a potential problem. But I think suggesting changing over the hive dynamics to solve a skunk problem is a bit of the mark. Maybe it's just me, but I'm just trying to do things a bit more natural and learn from what the bees show us.... Wink
Logged

www.bjornapiaries.com
www.pennapic.org
Please Support "National Honey Bee Day"
Northern States Queen Breeders Assoc.  www.nsqba.com
danno
Super Bee
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 2272


Location: Ludington, Michigan


« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2010, 09:46:53 AM »



Danno, I don't get it. Sorry! You have the hive, then the inner cover, then the top entrance cover, then a super on top of that for insulation? Or a super between the inner cover and the top entrance? And if the latter, how do you create a path for the bees to get through the insulation?

LOL Kathy, I'd love to start a debate!

What I have is a shallow box 4" high with a pc a masonary dadoed in 3/8 of a inch above the bottom rim.  This leaves room for a 3/8 X whatever area to cut a top enterance below that masonary.  The box works as a inner cover, upper enterance, vent box in summer and space for insulation in the winter.  This sits on a double deep in the winter and in summer above the honey supers
Logged
L Daxon
Field Bee
***
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 669


Location: Oklahoma City


« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2010, 11:26:05 AM »

Danno,
How do you keep them from building burr comb with that much empty space in your shallow inner box? (or am I misunderstanding the set up.) I thought the catalogue say not to leave shims/rims on too long or the girls will burr them up.

And BB,
When you say you have never seen a reason to use a top entrance, period:  Forgive me if I am  mixing issues here, but if you are taking about having only one way in or out period, I understand the one way is probably best on the bottom, but do you never use a secondary (third or even more) entrance or upper offset when you are suppering during the flow so the bees don't have to crawl all the way down 3, 4, 5 or more boxes to get in and out?  I've always drilled a small hole in my honey suppers so the girls can get in an out quicker when they are really busy.  (But them I am a real slave driver.  I want them in and out as quick as possible so they can be out collecting more nectar!)
Logged

linda d
BjornBee
Galactic Bee
******
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 3773


Location: Lewisberry, PA


« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2010, 11:41:56 AM »

idaxon,

Yes, I use "upper entrances"...not to be confused with "top entrances".

I use these upper entrances when I unnaturally enlarge the colony by adding extra space, comb, and boxes, for honey production, etc. This may be for a period of 3 months or so for the late spring, early summer when supers are on.

I think the idea of extra upper entrances like having holes in supers, is a completely different discussion as compared to the promotion and use of year-round top entrances, and many times suggested in place of bottom entrances all together.

I actually have secondary holes in some my upper brood box. But the location is one that still allows a 75% of the upper box to trap heat. And over time, many bees will fill in this upper entrance since they are just hole in the box. Far different that the "top entrance" that some use which is constantly opened, the propolis seal is broken, and to which acts like a chimney letting heat out at the highest point of the hive.

There is also nothing wrong with one entrance....even if it is at the bottom. The hives, if properly positioned and slightly leaning forward, will not have an entrance completely covered in ice. I've seen some really bad ice storms, and within a day or two, the ice will melt away by the sun or the hive's heat itself. And I have NEVER had a hive suffocate. This whole idea that without a top entrance bees will suffocate or not have a way out of the hive is based on unpractical and situations that just don't actually happen.

Good questions.
Logged

www.bjornapiaries.com
www.pennapic.org
Please Support "National Honey Bee Day"
Northern States Queen Breeders Assoc.  www.nsqba.com
Tommyt
Field Bee
***
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 855


Location: TampaBay Fl


« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2010, 11:42:38 AM »

  I've always drilled a small hole in my honey suppers so the girls can get in an out quicker when they are really busy.  (But them I am a real slave driver.  I want them in and out as quick as possible so they can be out collecting more nectar!)
   Like a fire escape  grin

Tommyt
Logged

"Not everything found on the internet is accurate"
Abraham Lincoln
L Daxon
Field Bee
***
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 669


Location: Oklahoma City


« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2010, 01:26:55 PM »

Got it. Upper entrance vs top entrance.  I understand the difference now.  Some year i will get all my terminology straight.

Now about this "slightly leaning forward" thing.  Is that just in fall and winter when the girls aren't really building comb.  I thought the hive really needed to be level when they were building comb, gravity being what they go by and all.   I can see tilting the hive forward slightly during the winter so any upper moisture buildup might condense and roll to the front, then down and out the front entrance.
Logged

linda d
danno
Super Bee
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 2272


Location: Ludington, Michigan


« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2010, 01:37:03 PM »

Danno,
How do you keep them from building burr comb with that much empty space in your shallow inner box? (or am I misunderstanding the set up.) I thought the catalogue say not to leave shims/rims on too long or the girls will burr them up.


Even though the center hole in my vent boxes is about 2 X 4 the bees seldom enter these so there is not a problem of burr comb.  The only time I find many bees in them is just after pulling supers. 
Logged
Michael Bush
Universal Bee
*******
Online Online

Gender: Male
Posts: 13873


Location: Nehawka, NE


WWW
« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2010, 05:06:23 AM »

I don't think that all moisture problems are caused by feeding syrup, but I'm sure a lot of them are.  Still moisture is a problem in humid Northern climates and a top entrance resolves those issues.
Logged

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

Gender: Female
Posts: 262


Location: Batavia, Ohio


« Reply #15 on: October 14, 2010, 10:13:18 AM »

I'm not sure how solid they are.  Mine are nailed with one nail in the center so I can pivot it open.  How will you open it if you glue it?

If you tip the hive back the water will get stuck in the bottom won't it?  Or do you have no drain in the bottom anyway?  There should be some way for moisture to get out the bottom even if it's just a crack somewhere.

Paint them then... I'd hate to see you regret it.  1" ply is pretty stable... but if I was going to paint anything on a hive, it would be the top of the lid.

Great idea to nail the shim and then pivot it. Right now it's stuffed in and I could see it coming out on accident. But it doesn't sound like that big a deal even if it does.

I don't have a drain on the bottom, and I don't know if the plywood has enough cracks.  Smiley

I'm sure not-painting works for you, but my carpentry experience is next to nil and after just a few months, the top of the box joints on my supers are warped enough to allow entrances. Of course, I only nailed where the nail holes were, and didn't glue. I'll do more next time. For the plywood tops, I'm just wondering what I'll learn that I did wrong there (besides making a 1/2 inch eave for the ice cycles!). Ah well, that's what's fun about this hobby, always lots to learn and multiple right answers.

But my problem is, I really want both my hives to survive the winter. I know I shouldn't set myself up for disappoitment, but I want it BAAAD.  tongue  We have a lot of winter and spring precipitation here, and one hive is in a misty valley, so I'm working hard to alleviate moisture.
Logged
winginit
House Bee
**
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 262


Location: Batavia, Ohio


« Reply #16 on: October 14, 2010, 10:14:46 AM »

What I have is a shallow box 4" high with a pc a masonary dadoed in 3/8 of a inch above the bottom rim.  This leaves room for a 3/8 X whatever area to cut a top enterance below that masonary.  The box works as a inner cover, upper enterance, vent box in summer and space for insulation in the winter.  This sits on a double deep in the winter and in summer above the honey supers

Do you have a picture?
Logged
danno
Super Bee
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 2272


Location: Ludington, Michigan


« Reply #17 on: October 14, 2010, 01:14:50 PM »

What I have is a shallow box 4" high with a pc a masonary dadoed in 3/8 of a inch above the bottom rim.  This leaves room for a 3/8 X whatever area to cut a top enterance below that masonary.  The box works as a inner cover, upper enterance, vent box in summer and space for insulation in the winter.  This sits on a double deep in the winter and in summer above the honey supers


Do you have a picture?


here are the plans
http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/plans/all_season_inner.pdf
« Last Edit: October 14, 2010, 01:28:50 PM by danno » Logged
L Daxon
Field Bee
***
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 669


Location: Oklahoma City


« Reply #18 on: October 14, 2010, 02:13:36 PM »

Danno,

I printed a photo of one of those built that I found on photobucket at the end of August but the link no longer works or I would post it.  I printed the pix out cause I thought it looked like a good idea and something worth trying to make.  Now I have the plans.  Thanks.

Linda
Logged

linda d
Michael Bush
Universal Bee
*******
Online Online

Gender: Male
Posts: 13873


Location: Nehawka, NE


WWW
« Reply #19 on: October 15, 2010, 12:42:17 AM »

>And if this as good as the response is, it only reaffirms my position.

You are fond of assuming a debate and then assuming victory...  your welcome to assume what you like.

I think all of those reasons, mice, skunks, blocked entrances from grass, snow, and dead bees, would be good enough for me, but better overwintering is also on the list... a tree has a lot less issues with condensation.  Between no cold lid, more overhead insulation, more moisture absorbing material (dead punky wood) it is a very different proposition.

I can't say I've seen any pattern to where  the entrance is.  Seems like bees take what they can find.  A hallow space seems to be the main criteria, but if what the bees want is the criteria then you need your hives more than 10 feet in the air probably with a MIDDLE entrance, but I don't like climbing ladders to work bees...

Logged

Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
-------------------
"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
Pages: [1] 2 3  All   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Beemaster's Beekeeping Ring
Previous | Home | Join | Random | Next
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.20 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines | Sitemap Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.578 seconds with 22 queries.

Google visited last this page November 01, 2014, 06:42:44 PM