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Author Topic: scientific evidence for top entrance/vent  (Read 3309 times)
derekm
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« on: November 13, 2012, 10:56:56 AM »

Can some one point me to reviewed papers published that investigate quantatively top vent/entrance versus bottom entrances
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BlueBee
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« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2012, 01:19:33 PM »

And how about some papers about mid entrances too?



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Finski
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« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2012, 01:31:57 PM »

.
That is a very good question.

We here in notrh, and many more north to me, would have much advantage if we would have researches about

what is proper ventilation

- mesh floor
- solid floor
- wind affections
- beginning of winter - late winter (brood)

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« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2012, 08:00:30 PM »

Not sure if this is what you are looking for:

The Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturalists wrote paper about 'The Biology and Management of Colonies in Winter'. On page 3 they have a short summary and diagram about 'the amount of honey consumed (winter weight loss), spring adult populations and nosema levels among colonies with different types of entrances'.  Sorry, I couldn't find the original Alberta study online.

Quote from paper:
"The best way to vent extra moisture from wintering colonies is with an upper entrance. This entrance is very important! A study from northern Alberta, for example, demonstrated that either a 1 x 1.5 cm top entrance built into the inner cover or a 2.5 cm diameter hole in drilled into the middle of the upper brood box greatly increased colony strength, health and decreased the consumption of honey stores (Fig. 7)."

Figure 7 compares:
"1) bottom and top entrances 1 x 1.5 cm each,
2) bottom (1 x 1.5 cm) and top (2.5 cm dia in middle of 2nd chamber),
3) bottom and side (1 x 1.5 cm each) and
4) fully open bottom entrance and no top (from Szabo 1982)."

http://www.capabees.com/main/files/pdf/winteringpdf.pdf
« Last Edit: November 15, 2012, 08:10:42 PM by Robo » Logged

Jeanette
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« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2012, 01:53:44 AM »

Jeanetta, thanks for that paper!  Some good points.

Certainly no reviewed papers coming from my little bee yard  Sad  I have been wintering bees in polystyrene boxes with an assortment of entrances/vents to see what works and what doesn’t work in my climate.

After listening to Derekm’s thermal arguments for a bottom only entrance/vent (ie “heat bubble”) I decided to go that route in my latest generation of foam nucs.  I sure hope he’s right! grin  Here’s a photo of my latest design.





From a physics perspective, Derekm should be correct.  These should be warmer than including a top vent or entrance.  For small colonies, I suspect that is a more important design attribute than for large full sized hives.  I’ve wintered my full sized foam hives with top entrances for a few years now with zero losses so far.  The large colonies stay pretty warm in my insulated hives even with a modest top entrance.
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Finski
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« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2012, 04:05:36 AM »

.

It has been a disaster that Floridan and Californian beeks give wintering advices to Michigan and to Canada, and now you have a specialist from Uk, which hardly has seen snow on ground.

Good Lord......



 
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little john
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« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2012, 04:34:40 AM »

Deleted - 'cause on second thoughts I've decided not to join in on this one ...
« Last Edit: November 16, 2012, 04:44:54 AM by little john » Logged
Robo
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« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2012, 06:31:49 AM »

After listening to Derekm’s thermal arguments for a bottom only entrance/vent (ie “heat bubble”) I decided to go that route in my latest generation of foam nucs.  I sure hope he’s right! grin 


For what it is worth, I've tried many incantations over the years,  but currently for last 3-5 years I have settled on overwinter with no upper ventilation in polystyrene hive without issue.   My personal opinion is a lot of folks leave too much space for the bees.  Despite conventional wisdom of 2 deeps here in the NE,  I knock all mine down to just one.   With the added insulation of the polystyrene,  consumption is greatly reduced and they have plenty of stores to get through the winter.Also,  another key point that Finski often points out is that you want the highest insulation value in your cover so that condensation does not take place there.
 
Here are some pictures.  I do put a 2" shim on to allow for feeding of pollen patties or sugar if needed. 



Here are some from last February  when I did a check.



I have also had good success with poly 5 frame nucs with no ventilation as well.  I do have a 1/2" weep hole in the bottom to drain any condensation that forms on the wall and runs down. They usually spend a good portion of the winter buried in the snow.


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Finski
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« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2012, 06:51:52 AM »

.
I have enough experience in wintering my hives.
Hives do not starve out and i do not give extra feeding after September.
My biggest concern in Spring is to get rid of the rest winter  food before when next summer gives honey.

Do better and better.  it goes enough this way and often this is boring after 50 years.


What I am interested  is better spring build up I know quite well how it goes.

If I would give water to them when they eate pollen patty, it surely gets better results but I must have life too outside those eternal hives.

I do not want either that hives are too much dependent on artificial systems which may collapse.

.it was interesting to see that when bees cannot get drinking water from soil, they did not eate patty. When they get it in the middle of day, it started again eating on afternoon.
Fist I thought that they did not like the patty formula.

Varroa and its viruses are bigger problem than insulation of hives. Ventilation and insulation is not a problem to me. I continue this way.



 
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« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2012, 02:22:15 PM »

99% per of my new Gen 4 foam nucs are single stories, but this one is a double decker in the back yard.  This photo shows the plastic sheet/inner cover I’m using on these hives.  The foam top is setting next to the hive, bottom down.  Note:  it is telescoping to ensure rain doesn’t drip into the nucs.



As you can see, the bees have propolized the plastic sheet to the top of the hive to prevent any air infiltration.  When I then put the foam cover on that, the plastic makes for a nice insulating gasket so there should be no air leaks at the top of the hive. 



The nice thing about these plastic inner covers is I can finally watch what goes on inside the hive during the winter.  The darker ares on the bottom of photo are bees; lots of bees  applause applause applause applause


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saperica
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« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2012, 02:37:41 PM »

bluebee thanks for photos and for the information about  using a hdps for making a nucs, and pe foil for cover of hive like in germany.
nice jobs.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2012, 02:47:31 PM »

Yeah, I stole....I mean borrowed  grin.... that plastic inner cover idea from some German video I saw.  Those Europeans have some good ideas! 
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« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2012, 04:54:53 PM »

I don't have any pictures,  but I build a few 2" blue insulation nucs this year and I glued pieces of the silver emergency blanket to the bottom side of the cover.   Creates the same seal, and perhaps reflects some heat back down to the bees as well.   I guess I'll see how it works.
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Finski
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« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2012, 05:01:36 PM »

.
Are we inventing a wheel again?
And who needs it?

Scientific hole...
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T Beek
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« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2012, 10:21:09 AM »

Excellent thread, thanks everyone!

As usual, great PICS!

What a difference a day makes.

On Tuesday the 13th my wife and I placed 1" foam around all of our 8 colonies.  On Wednesday w/ temps approaching the high 40's we had bees congregating around the entrances and flying who knows where.  This ONE experience has convinced me of poly/foams value even more.
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little john
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« Reply #15 on: November 19, 2012, 05:08:54 AM »

The nice thing about these plastic inner covers is I can finally watch what goes on inside the hive during the winter.  The darker ares on the bottom of photo are bees; lots of bees  applause applause applause applause





Great pictures !

Seeing those attempts to seal against the plastic reinforces my firm conviction that having any kind of space above the combs is fundamentally undesirable.
As David Heaf has astutely commented: "[In the feral nest] Round the tops and edges of the combs there is no bee space. Bee space was an invention, not a discovery, by Rev. L L Langstroth, for the convenience of the beekeeper." The Welsh Beekeeper, Winter 2011, p.14

Ok - so it's hard to imagine framed hives without having anti-propolising gaps between each box - but in long hives and the topmost box of stacked arrays, it would seem that not having a top bee-space would lend itself more readily to covering the frames with a sheet of plastic, thus enabling the bees to more easily seal their inter-comb cavities - as they are so wont to do.

LJ
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derekm
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« Reply #16 on: November 19, 2012, 08:43:28 AM »

So no one has a set of results comparing top entrance/vent with bottom only. Thats disappointment   My own quantitive experiments have led me to seal the outside box and  roof  joints  of our hives  with cling film/saran wrap. I would like to see some other research on this, for or against.
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« Reply #17 on: November 19, 2012, 08:57:45 AM »

.
I do not need science in my hives to see how bees react if I keep the upper entrance open or it is closed.

For example if i have in summer flow 4 medium supers and 3 langstroth deeps, my main entrance is widely open andthen I have 2 hole open in deeps. Super openings are all shut.

I look from number of ventilating bees, is that enough.

If I open more holes, the hive is cold and the queen tend to rise up to supers.

There are hot weeks and cold weeks and I do not run to open and close holes according the weather.

The importance of upper hole in winter I found it 45 years ago and since that it has been open.

If some say that I need not upper hole, thank you but I use it.
What ever the science says, I use it. And what ever guys say about mesh floor, I do not use it.

So simple.

.
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derekm
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« Reply #18 on: November 19, 2012, 11:06:50 AM »

.
I do not need science in my hives to see how bees react if I keep the upper entrance open or it is closed.

For example if i have in summer flow 4 medium supers and 3 langstroth deeps, my main entrance is widely open andthen I have 2 hole open in deeps. Super openings are all shut.

I look from number of ventilating bees, is that enough.

If I open more holes, the hive is cold and the queen tend to rise up to supers.

There are hot weeks and cold weeks and I do not run to open and close holes according the weather.

The importance of upper hole in winter I found it 45 years ago and since that it has been open.

If some say that I need not upper hole, thank you but I use it.
What ever the science says, I use it. And what ever guys say about mesh floor, I do not use it.

So simple.

.

but what problem is that upper hole supposed to fix?
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little john
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« Reply #19 on: November 19, 2012, 03:22:34 PM »

The importance of upper hole in winter I found it 45 years ago and since that it has been open.

If some say that I need not upper hole, thank you but I use it.


Isn't there a little bit of inconsistency here ... ?

From the "We in USA .....need not insulation" thread:
Quote
Reply #22 "Finski"
I must try that match stick method. I am eager to measure how fast the hive looses its winter stores. I bet that in 2 months.

But a hole is a hole is a hole - whether made by a tool, or created by a matchstick. In one thread you appear to ridicule the idea of top ventilation, yet in another you support the idea.

LJ (confused)

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T Beek
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« Reply #20 on: November 19, 2012, 03:33:20 PM »

Its that language barrier thing  laugh
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Finski
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« Reply #21 on: November 19, 2012, 03:43:00 PM »

But a hole is a hole is a hole - whether made by a tool, or created by a matchstick. In one thread you appear to ridicule the idea of top ventilation, yet in another you support the idea.

LJ (confused)



heh he. Take it as you will.

It is vain to discuss with English beekeeper about winter food saving and insulation.
You even not have winter. Just very long autumn.

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« Reply #22 on: November 20, 2012, 07:52:25 AM »

So no one has a set of results comparing top entrance/vent with bottom only. Thats disappointment   My own quantitive experiments have led me to seal the outside box and  roof  joints  of our hives  with cling film/saran wrap. I would like to see some other research on this, for or against.
If I was an enterprising applied entomologist, I'd get a grant to find a closed restaurant (lots around!), rent their walk-in freezer, buy a bunch of beehives, instrument them, and place a cluster simulation (heat and moisture source) in them.   By varying the cooler settings I could simulate different regions, and experiment with various insulation strategies, producing a zone map for beehive ventilation/insulation like is done for plants.  One interesting problem is that I have no idea what a *natural* beehive prefers (temps and humidity), so maybe I'd get another grant and a graduate student to find some bee trees, drill holes in the side, and insert probes that record temp/humidity over a year or two.  That all doesn't even address the specific- and different- question of how to optimize honey production.

I'm not that enterprising, so last winter I went down to my basement, got a retired beer brewing bucket (hole on bottom and lid), stuck a 25W light bulb in a can with a tray of water on top, and put a temp/humidity sensor inside.  I haven't looked at the results lately, but I dimly recall  that even a small (1/4") hole in the lid greatly reduces humidity and condensation without affecting the temperature much.   But if you really want to stop condensation on the underside of the cover, insulate the heck out of it.  Which, in the end, is just common sense. 

I tried something similar in a new empty beehive outside, but my methods were fairly haphazard and the variation in New England weather (zone 5, USA) made the results obscure.   I started all this, by the way, as preliminary data before studying Warre quilts to see if I could rescue my sodden TBH, but never got that far.  After looking at homasote behavior (little moisture removal from system compared to venting), I concluded the quilt was probably more an insulator than a moisture remover.  If someone wants to give me that grant, I'll be glad to prove it.

Greg
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« Reply #23 on: November 20, 2012, 08:02:06 AM »

 goodpost
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« Reply #24 on: November 20, 2012, 08:30:39 AM »

I dimly recall  that even a small (1/4") hole in the lid greatly reduces humidity and condensation without affecting the temperature much.
Interesting.   A 1/4" dia hole is something like 32 mm^2, whereas the infamous matchstick (estd. at 2.3 mm) produces a 'hole' of very nearly 2000 mm^2 (if used on a National hive)

LJ

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derekm
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« Reply #25 on: November 20, 2012, 10:08:50 AM »

So no one has a set of results comparing top entrance/vent with bottom only. Thats disappointment   My own quantitive experiments have led me to seal the outside box and  roof  joints  of our hives  with cling film/saran wrap. I would like to see some other research on this, for or against.
... a bunch of beehives, instrument them, and place a cluster simulation (heat and moisture source) in them.  ...maybe I'd get another grant and a graduate student to find some bee trees, drill holes in the side, and insert probes that record temp/humidity over a year or two.  That all doesn't even address the specific- and different- question of how to optimize honey production.
...

this is what i'm in the middle of but I need the "research literure review" bit as well to write the paper...
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derekm
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« Reply #26 on: November 20, 2012, 10:12:52 AM »

So no one has a set of results comparing top entrance/vent with bottom only. Thats disappointment   My own quantitive experiments have led me to seal the outside box and  roof  joints  of our hives  with cling film/saran wrap. I would like to see some other research on this, for or against.
... a bunch of beehives, instrument them, and place a cluster simulation (heat and moisture source) in them.  ...maybe I'd get another grant and a graduate student to find some bee trees, drill holes in the side, and insert probes that record temp/humidity over a year or two.  That all doesn't even address the specific- and different- question of how to optimize honey production.
...

This is what i'm in the middle of but I need the "research literure review" bit as well to write the paper...

« Last Edit: November 20, 2012, 10:46:16 AM by derekm » Logged

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BlueBee
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« Reply #27 on: November 20, 2012, 10:36:39 AM »

I remember reading a study from the 1950 or 60s where they instrumented hives for winter studies in Wisconsin I believe.  I think it was a university funded study, but I can't recall for sure.  The attention to detail seemed rather dubious to me at the time, making the study questionable IMO.  Unfortunately I can't remember now where I read the study or if they covered the venting in detail.  It would certainly be great to have a modern quantitative study using modern materials.
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« Reply #28 on: November 20, 2012, 04:39:18 PM »

.
During that time when you whip your mouth on forum, you could execute all scientific experiments what you want.  To measure the meaning of upper hole should be easy to measure.

You put a colony to closed system. You measure the energy consuption with catching carbondiokside and measure heat production in various controlled circumtancies. So it happens.
What you do with that knowledge, I have no idea.

.
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derekm
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« Reply #29 on: November 20, 2012, 06:02:52 PM »

.
...
What you do with that knowledge, I have no idea.

.

Finski .. you have proved the maxim
you can lead a man to knowledge but you cant make him think



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« Reply #30 on: November 20, 2012, 06:21:57 PM »


Finski .. you have proved the maxim
you can lead a man to knowledge but you cant make him think


listen Derekm

i have got a biologican scientic reseach education in Helsinki University. I have nursed bees 50 years.
With all my knowledge I say that you are  quite a propel head


.

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« Reply #31 on: November 20, 2012, 07:32:41 PM »

I remember reading a study from the 1950 or 60s where they instrumented hives for winter studies in Wisconsin I believe.  I think it was a university funded study, but I can't recall for sure.  The attention to detail seemed rather dubious to me at the time, making the study questionable IMO.  Unfortunately I can't remember now where I read the study or if they covered the venting in detail.  It would certainly be great to have a modern quantitative study using modern materials.


Was it:
http://www.beesource.com/resources/usda/electric-heating-of-honey-bee-hives/  ?

LJ
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« Reply #32 on: November 20, 2012, 07:53:38 PM »

Ah ha!  Yes, that was the study I was thinking about.  Hmmm, I did forget that little detail that they were heating the hives in that experiment.  Oops.  Undecided

I experimented with electric heat 2 or 3 winters ago and I guess I probably remembered that article from my research into electric back then. 
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« Reply #33 on: November 21, 2012, 07:17:35 AM »

This is what i'm in the middle of but I need the "research literure review" bit as well to write the paper...

Yeah, same problem.  I think I also posted some pleas for leads on various forums last year.   You'd think that with the internet this stuff would be accessible, but I guess someone's got to pay the bills of the organizations producing the journals.  I'm 30 miles outside Boston (MIT, Harvard, etc) and don't have a clue how to get access to any data or even how to do research nowadays.   I was at Cornell studying engineering the same time Thomas Seeley was there climbing bee trees and took neurobiology courses in the Dept. he later headed; maybe I shouldn't have thrown out all that alumni junk mail for 35 years.  

Mostly, I'm baffled that this kind of study hasn't been sponsored by the U.S Dept. of Agriculture and widely distributed decades ago, considering how big the pollination business is.  I keep thinking there's a reason for it, maybe I'm naive about the complexity, but really don't know.

(Edit 10 minutes after above post) I'll eat my words, at least partly-- I used to post at and read beesource often, not sure how I missed their USDA archives, because I'm pretty sure I never saw this:
http://www.beesource.com/resources/usda/the-thermology-of-wintering-honey-bee-colonies/

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« Reply #34 on: November 21, 2012, 09:18:13 AM »


I have this one already in its full form with graphs and diagrams. This paper has a few faults . The level of insulation is not quantified i.e. the overall conductance of the hive is ommitted. This is very important  as level of insulation used could be insignificant to the bees and ivalidate the results.. The results indicate an insignificant amount of insulation was used. "The mean temperature outside the cluster in packed colonies was 7º F. higher than in the check colonies." this is indicating somewhere between 1w/K  and 5w/K.  This study investigates bee behaviour only in high heat loss regimes. It tells us that when the box is providing little effect in terms of preventing heat loss, the location of the entrance is of little relavence.
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« Reply #35 on: November 21, 2012, 10:26:03 AM »

Iy, yi, yi  Smiley  All I know is that after trying bottom entrances only, and top entrances only, I've come to believe (so far) that for winter my bees do very well by leaving a 2 bee space entrance open on both top and bottom. 

As I am still conducting 'my' own experiments I still have 2 (not including Long Hives) colonies w/ just top entrances.  At least in my part of the world Top entrances seem to work better than just bottoms.  All Beekeeping is Local  cool
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« Reply #36 on: November 21, 2012, 10:37:39 AM »

Iy, yi, yi  Smiley  All I know is that after trying bottom entrances only, and top entrances only, I've come to believe (so far) that for winter my bees do very well by leaving a 2 bee space entrance open on both top and bottom. 

As I am still conducting 'my' own experiments I still have 2 (not including Long Hives) colonies w/ just top entrances.  At least in my part of the world Top entrances seem to work better than just bottoms.  All Beekeeping is Local  cool

how much insulation during
winter
summer
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« Reply #37 on: November 21, 2012, 10:46:43 AM »

I keep 2" rigid insulation above all year around (protects from heat and cold).  This year will be my first using rigid foam shells.  In the past all I did was wrap in Tar Paper with give and take success/failure until discovering top entances, which changed 'everything' for me and my bees.

Admittedly, I was becoming a better beek during this period as well, but top entrances effectively ended the condensation issues I had dealth with for several seasons prior.
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Beemaster's Beekeeping Ring
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