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Author Topic: top entrances  (Read 1799 times)
markfitz
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Location: Ireland


« on: October 05, 2012, 12:49:35 PM »

I'm from ireland which has a cold damp climate especially during the winter months, i like the idea of top entrances but in a climate like irelands, would the bees struggle to control the temperature in the hive, with the loss of heat being greater with top entrances then bottom, what do people think especially people that have a similar climate to irelands.
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mark fitzpatrick
Vance G
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« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2012, 08:50:19 PM »

If the entrance at the top is the only one and sized for the activity and outside temperature, I think you will find they do very well.  They know how to control temperature if not overly challenged with too big a pneumonia hole.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2012, 12:49:45 AM »

Never been to Ireland (would like to) so I donít know how your climate compares to the different areas of the USA.  Iím guessing youíre more like the North West Coast of America/Canada.  Theyíre cold and wet, but miss out on the bitter cold waves coming down from Canada. 

Michigan has a continental climate which is mostly dominated by arctic air masses from Canada all winter long.  We do get the occasional break as warm air can push up from the Gulf of Mexico for couple of days.  It is usually pretty darn cold! 

I winter my full sized colonies with top entrances and my nucs with bottom entrances (mostly).  All my boxes are well insulated polystyrene.  I really havenít had any problems with my top entrance hives.  There is enough bees in them to generate enough watts of heat to keep the boxes warm even with top entrances.  I feel the nucs are a little different; with less bees, they donít have as much room for heat losses.     

My top entrances are not huge and there is NO bottom holes in those boxes.  Any gas exchange/convection currents have to come and go through a modest top entrance of 9mm x about 100mm in the coldest of the winter.  Some heat is lost, but without a chimney effect in place, the loss seems manageable IMO. 

The nice thing Iíve seen with top entrances is the bees behavior is more in phase with the outside world.  One a warm day, the top entrance hives get out and do cleansing flights while the bottom entrance ones donít.  This is probably due to the long thermal time constant in an insulated hive, it would not be as pronounced in a wood hive. 
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derekm
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Location: glow in the dark Hampshire UK


« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2012, 03:54:07 PM »

the bees chose bottom entrances themselves and their behaviour is oreintated to such a arrangement...
Thermally any opening at the top is detrimental as the warm air move upwards and out. Dont move to top entrance unless someone gives you convincing thermal conductance data that they have gained through either detailed mathematically modelling of heat and mass flow or properly measured experiment.
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If they increased energy bill for your home by a factor of 4.5 would you consider that cruel? If so why are you doing that to your bees?
markfitz
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« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2012, 03:47:16 PM »

thanks for the advice everyone
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mark fitzpatrick
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« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2012, 01:55:59 AM »

Good to see so many folks from across the pond here!  Vance
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T Beek
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« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2012, 07:49:25 AM »

I use a notched inner cover (notch down) as a top entrance year round (easily moves up/down with the expansion/contraction of the colony) with the smallest possible entrance (2 bee space max) on the bottom which is closed for winter upon wrap up (SBB are also closed).

I also use vent/feed boxes placed above the inner cover that are filled w/ dry sugar (for Spring feeding) and 2" insulation under homemade (deeper than standards) telescoping cover.  This method (top entrances) has worked well for honeybees throughout northern US and Canada (and I suspect Ireland) for many years.   

"All Beekeeping is Local."

I like top entrances, and so do my bees  Wink

After much research and contemplation, this year I experiment w/ insulating my hives all the way around.
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"Trust those who seek the truth, doubt those who say they've found it."
Bee Curious
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« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2012, 06:02:08 PM »


I also use vent/feed boxes placed above the inner cover that are filled w/ dry sugar (for Spring feeding) and 2" insulation under homemade (deeper than standards) telescoping cover.    


T Beek,
I will have my first hive next spring.  I'm planning on making my own deep insulated top cover as well as a 'candy' feeder with a top entrance.   Did you work from plans or just wing it on your top and feeder? 

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T Beek
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« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2012, 06:40:47 AM »

I build my own telescoping covers, they're deeper than what's available commercially, out of 1x4's.  My vent/feeder boxes are just old Deep (and a few mediums) supers (I use all mediums w/ my hives) w/ 2" holes on the 4 sides, screened and placed above the inner cover.  When empty they serve as a ventilation box during summer and then as a feed box during winter.

I block bee access to the vent box during summer but in preparation for winter I lay a piece of paper towel over the inner cover hole and pour in dry sugar on top, then insulation and tape over the 4 holes.

I like using the deeps for this purpose (mediums work too) because there is plenty of room for 5-10 lbs of dry sugar placed above inner cover w/ a piece of 2" insulation on top.

Good luck w/ your bees come Spring.
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"Trust those who seek the truth, doubt those who say they've found it."
Bee Curious
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« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2012, 01:16:03 PM »

I build my own telescoping covers, they're deeper than what's available commercially, out of 1x4's.  My vent/feeder boxes are just old Deep (and a few mediums) supers (I use all mediums w/ my hives) w/ 2" holes on the 4 sides, screened and placed above the inner cover.  When empty they serve as a ventilation box during summer and then as a feed box during winter.

Good luck w/ your bees come Spring.

Thanks for your explanation.  I was thinking of making a deeper than usual telescoping cover, with a 2" piece of styrofoam insulation between the top wood sheet and an inside wood sheet. 
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T Beek
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« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2012, 06:58:13 PM »

I just cut my insulation to fit tight 'inside' the vent/feed box.  I've tried something like what you describe (insulating top cover) but have returned to a cut piece, sized to fit.
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"Trust those who seek the truth, doubt those who say they've found it."
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