Welcome, Guest

Author Topic: Having second thoughts on top entrances  (Read 189 times)

Offline Duane

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 72
Having second thoughts on top entrances
« on: July 12, 2015, 08:49:47 PM »
I really liked the idea of top entrances, it made so much sense, and maybe I thought it would solve all the world's problems.  But.....

The advantages of top entrances if I remember them all:
Top ventilation with no mold, and with solid bottom, hive stays cooler.
Less problems with weeds, snow, and dead bees blocking entrance.
Less problems with mice and skunks.

Now that I've had the chance of using them, I didn't really mind as one described it, a tornado of bees when working them.  As some have said, just standing there causes a bunch of bees flying around.  But what bothers me is the bees going over the edge when you have more than one box.  I smoke them out of the way but before I can get the box back on, they are all over it.  The twisting movement only shears several heads.  And what I thought would make the bees cooler and not hang on the outside didn't seem to work out.  Curtains of bees hanging from the roof overhang, seeming to me blocking the ventilation I thought would keep them cooler.  Who knows, maybe there'd be more outside if it was a bottom entrance.  But my past hive didn't seem to have any more outside.  And I thought they were to bring in water and cool the inside.  Guess 90+ degrees is too much.  What if you really needed to get in and work them?  What do you do with a foot of bees hanging off the roof?  Sometimes I see them still hanging there early in the morning.  I thought they were a little cramped for room and added the second box, but now it's turned hot again, there are still a lot of bees hanging outside.  I guess I could not let the roof overhang, but thought that would prevent rain coming in. 

Unless someone can tell me how to deal with this or suggest an alternative (middle entrance solve anything?), I'm considering using bottom entrances.  But maybe going to top entrance for winter.

What I would be swapping by not having top entrances during the summer portion:
Weed problem at the entrance.
Maybe harder for them to evaporate the honey.
Skunk problem.  But if the bees are on the outside, it's just a matter of slurping them up anyway.


Offline Michael Bush

  • Universal Bee
  • *******
  • Posts: 14876
  • Gender: Male
    • bushfarms.com
Re: Having second thoughts on top entrances
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2015, 08:36:09 AM »
>But what bothers me is the bees going over the edge when you have more than one box.

They do this no matter where the entrance is.

>  I smoke them out of the way but before I can get the box back on, they are all over it.  The twisting movement only shears several heads.  And what I thought would make the bees cooler and not hang on the outside didn't seem to work out.  Curtains of bees hanging from the roof overhang, seeming to me blocking the ventilation I thought would keep them cooler.  Who knows, maybe there'd be more outside if it was a bottom entrance.  But my past hive didn't seem to have any more outside.  And I thought they were to bring in water and cool the inside.  Guess 90+ degrees is too much.  What if you really needed to get in and work them?  What do you do with a foot of bees hanging off the roof?

True the beard may be somewhere different, but generally when you start working the hive the beard dissipates.  When you get to the bottom box you'd have the same issue with a bottom entrance.

>  Sometimes I see them still hanging there early in the morning.  I thought they were a little cramped for room and added the second box, but now it's turned hot again, there are still a lot of bees hanging outside.  I guess I could not let the roof overhang, but thought that would prevent rain coming in. 

You really shouldn't work any hive in the heat.  Combs collapse.  Brood gets overheated.  Not a good plan unless you have no other choice (queen rearing comes to mind)...
Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
-------------------
"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen

Offline AR Beekeeper

  • House Bee
  • **
  • Posts: 113
  • Gender: Male
Re: Having second thoughts on top entrances
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2015, 12:04:46 PM »
When I tried top entrances I also found them to be more of a nuisance than they were worth.  Each beekeeper should try for themselves each recommended hive configuration or management philosophy, evaluate the results, and then go with the ones that best meets their needs.  In beekeeping one size does not fit all.  Different locations and strains of bees can often make a great difference in the results obtained.   

 

anything