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Author Topic: Change from bottom to top entrance  (Read 2206 times)
pawallinsr
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« on: June 17, 2012, 09:47:15 AM »

This has probably been covered before, but what is the best way to switch from bottom to top entrance?  Thinking of closing bottom entrance at night, both are open at present.
Any advise would be appreciated.
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Peter
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« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2012, 10:13:53 AM »

my favorite question:  why?  grin

i think you are better off having one or the other.  not both.  the idea of ventilation is highly over-rated except in the middle of summer.  if you want to close the bottom entrance, just do it.  leave it.  they will find the top entrance.
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LoriMNnice
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« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2012, 10:44:53 AM »

I have top entrances, but in my haste and nervousness when I installed the package in one hive and nuc in the other it was bottom for about 5 days on both hives and when I felt more comforatable I made it top just closed off the bottom. They found the top entrances pretty quick
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pawallinsr
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« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2012, 12:28:35 PM »

Thanks for the reply, will close the bottom to night after dark, hope all are inside. The hive is in Eastern Shore of VA and it gets hot
here, I think they will need the ventilation. Also i am heading north to NY and they will be unattended for some time.
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Peter
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« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2012, 08:31:52 PM »

All my hives are made from at least 1” thick foam insulation; some have 2" of foam on ALL sides.  Kind of like wearing a winter coat in the summer Smiley  It’s been around 90F here lately and the bees are doing great.  I’m going to agree with KathyP on the subject of ventilation; a bit overrated.  

Some of my foam hives have a top entrance but some have no top entrance, no top ventilation and no screened bottom.  They’re doing fine and don’t beard unless they are really crowed inside.  The foam does trap the bees heat inside the hive but it also inhibits the solar radiation from the sun from warming up the inside of the hive.  Probably a net good thing IMO.

If you want to switch over to a top entrance, I would go cold turkey.  That's what I did when I switched from bottom to top in the past.  Bees are really confused for a while, but they figure it out.  

From a human perspective, I can tell you it’s a lot easier to deal with a big hive with a bottom entrance than a top one.  I would stick with bottoms if I didn’t have so many skunks to contend with.    
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funbee1
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« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2012, 10:45:28 PM »

If you wanted a top entrance, where would you locate it? I recently added a med. super to my two deeps and as I was standing there today watching it seemed dumb for them to have to go in at the bottom and then work there way all the way up to the super through all that traffic so I grabbed my Makita and punched a 5/8 inch hole in the super. Thought about putting a small landing board there to assist them.

I only wonder about robbers.....may be an easy access with no guards to defend it.

A hole at the top seems like it would really help with ventilation. I worry about a lack of ventilation during the winter, bees keep hive warm, cold outside walls= condensation=wet/damp bees=dead hive in Spring.

Should I plug the hole tomorrow or run an experiment?

Thanks,
scott in MI
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LoriMNnice
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« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2012, 11:36:53 PM »

My top entrance is just a small piece of shingle folded in half and placed under the edge of the inner cover towards the front corner and it makes a crack for them. I don't know about winter yet, I haven't wintered bees before. My bees defend the crack opening just fine.
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Beregondo
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« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2012, 12:19:33 AM »

I'm not trying to be a wise guy, but it is as simple as closing the bottom entrance, and opening the top one.
The bees will find the top entrance, though a few might be confused for a day or two.
You can cut down on that confusion by making the change just before dark, so the bee reorient in the morning as they leave.


https://vimeo.com/channels/350335


Corrected link ...it should work now


Hope this is useful.




« Last Edit: June 21, 2012, 06:28:54 AM by buzzbee » Logged
pawallinsr
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« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2012, 06:59:25 AM »

Thanks All, any advice is welcome. Rain last night so I thought most all were in, closed lower entrance. I think from
the replies to this post that they will adjust. Undecided
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Peter
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« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2012, 08:29:58 AM »

If you wanted a top entrance, where would you locate it? I recently added a med. super to my two deeps and as I was standing there today watching it seemed dumb for them to have to go in at the bottom and then work there way all the way up to the super through all that traffic so I grabbed my Makita and punched a 5/8 inch hole in the super. Thought about putting a small landing board there to assist them.

I
I have holes in many of my old hive bodies.   As you stated you drilled the super.  You will find out that the bee's wont store anything near the hole so you lose a bit of harvest. 
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Dimmsdale
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« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2012, 12:42:58 PM »

I personally don't see any issue with running both upper and lower entrances.  Upper entrance is a notch in the innercover with the telescopic top pushed forward.  I've noticed that most of the returning foragers return to the upper entrance and head straight for the supers, instead of having to work their way up thought the bottom.  Most of the outgoing traffic leaves through the lower entrance.  I've had MUCH less congestion at the front of the hives this year with this set up.  I run 2 entrances all year round.  I reduce the lower entrance to 1 inch in the winter.
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danno
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« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2012, 01:41:32 PM »

I personally don't see any issue with running both upper and lower entrances.  Upper entrance is a notch in the innercover with the telescopic top pushed forward.  I've noticed that most of the returning foragers return to the upper entrance and head straight for the supers, instead of having to work their way up thought the bottom.  Most of the outgoing traffic leaves through the lower entrance.  I've had MUCH less congestion at the front of the hives this year with this set up.  I run 2 entrances all year round.  I reduce the lower entrance to 1 inch in the winter.
I completely agree.   I have all season vented inner covers with a 2" X 3/8" upper enterance with migratory covers and a full open bottom boards with robber screens on all 70 of my colonies.   
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pawallinsr
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« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2012, 02:08:35 PM »

How to piss off your Bees, close the bottom entrance!  They are adjusting slowly but I can tell there not Happy Sad
Time will tell if this was a good move or not.
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Peter
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« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2012, 03:08:22 PM »

.
The hole idea makes no sense.
If you have entrances, you cannot go and close them for night. And the question is why!
.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2012, 05:22:04 PM »

>my favorite question:  why?

My favorite answer: skunks.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopentrance.htm
http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslazy.htm#topentrance
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnotinvented.htm#topentrances
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pawallinsr
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« Reply #15 on: June 19, 2012, 08:38:31 PM »

Thank you Michael. Those are the reasons" WHY" They seemed logical to me when I read them on your bushfarms.com.
Also I only closed the bottom entrance and did it at night because I thought most of the bees would be in the hive. They would
have to use the top entrance to leave in the morning.
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Peter
BjornBee
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« Reply #16 on: June 20, 2012, 06:54:43 AM »

Honey bees actually favor cavities with entrances at the bottom. This has been shown in studies for years. They actually will choose a bottom entrance over a top entrance in swarm traps if given the chance. This is for reasons of rain, air flow, and the loss of heat.

Years ago, beekeepers told the standard story that the bees only heats the cluster and not the hive. This totally ignored the benefits of trapped heat in the upper half of the hive, especially in late winter when bees start brood. They move upwards throughout the first half of winter and they start rearing brood in this heated upper half in later winter. Heat imagery pictures clearly show that the top half of the brood chamber is much warmer than the bottom half, and brood rearing is much easier for the bees in colder climates when the heat is trapped in the top half of the hive.

Then we moved on to top entrances for moisture control. But if the average beekeeper would stop feeding syrup in cold weather by using other feed options such as fondant or sugar , the bees would have a minimal problem dealing with moisture, just like in feral colonies.

Then it is on to skunks. This was dealt with years ago by having hives on stands or other easily placed items like carpet strips. The idea that one would change the hive's air flow and heat dynamics due to easily handled skunk problems, is funny to me.

Over the years, I have heard other justifications for top entrances to even include mouse problems. Like if you can't keep mice out of a bottom entrance, like your going to keep them out of a top entrance. What a joke. Mice do climb really well.

But beekeepers have always gone this route. From the days of beekeepers placing in swarm frames, to Imrie shims, beekeepers are notorious for coming up with "special fixes" to problems that are corrected in easier manners, and usually ones that were solved years ago.

But we need book filler. Every person coming out with a new book needs something different to write about, otherwise their book would be the same as the last guy who wrote one.

Yes, I add a few extra entrances when all the supers are on, for increase air flow, etc. When we build the colony up much larger than normal by adding supers and so on, some beekeeping management might be needed. But when the supers come off, and the bees are in their winter configuration, a bottom entrance is all that is needed. Bees will seal off all cracks, and trap as much heat as they see fit.

But I see the next justification for top entrances by this previous post....

>>>>I personally don't see any issue with running both upper and lower entrances.  Upper entrance is a notch in the innercover with the telescopic top pushed forward.  I've noticed that most of the returning foragers return to the upper entrance and head straight for the supers, instead of having to work their way up thought the bottom.  Most of the outgoing traffic leaves through the lower entrance.  I've had MUCH less congestion at the front of the hives this year with this set up.  I run 2 entrances all year round.  I reduce the lower entrance to 1 inch in the winter.>>>>

I have never heard this before. Most bees all leaving on the bottom, and then returning via the top entrance. And repeating this throughout the day and thus keeping congestion at the entrance lower. Very interesting. I am sure someone will want to research into this as the bees have now been shown to be organized in the hive that a "one way street" approach has been found. This is all new to me.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2012, 07:43:14 AM by BjornBee » Logged

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BjornBee
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« Reply #17 on: June 20, 2012, 02:12:03 PM »

Ok...update.

I spent about 30 minutes observing a hive earlier today where the bees have both a bottom entrance, and an additional entrance in the one super, which is the third box.

I counted the bottom entrance bees as they came and went. For every bee leaving in a given period of time leaving via the bottom entrance, I had about the same amount of bees returning and using the same entrance.

I will start marking the bees as they leave by the use of a trap and see if the same bees return and use the same entrance that they had departed from. This of course will keep any skepticism of not knowing if all the bees leaving by the bottom entrance was returning to the top entrance, and the same number of bees leaving the top entrance and then returning by using the bottom entrance.

Anybody have a neat trick to mark only those bees leaving by the way of one entrance?
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« Reply #18 on: June 20, 2012, 05:12:43 PM »

You could get a small paint roller and rub their backs on the way out!! grin grin
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« Reply #19 on: June 20, 2012, 05:14:38 PM »

The supers I have on are slid fore or aft just enough for the bees to crawl in or out. tehe is still a lot of hanging out around the bottom even though some access through the upper positions.
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