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Author Topic: Top entrances  (Read 5397 times)
Georgia Boy
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« on: March 25, 2013, 09:22:46 PM »

I want to use top entrances.

Is it possible to do that with the inner and telescoping covers in place or do you need to change the top altogether?

Open to all suggestions.

The old saying "a picture is worth a thousand words" might apply here and be helpful.

Thanks

David
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bailey
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« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2013, 09:28:51 PM »

You can put a shim between the top box and the next one and have a space cut out in its perimeter that they can use as a top entrance and keep your telescoping covers.

Bailey
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most often i find my greatest source of stress to be OPS  ( other peoples stupidity )

It is better to keep ones mouth shut and be thought of as a fool than to open ones mouth and in so doing remove all doubt.
Joe D
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« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2013, 10:16:17 PM »

I have a notch cut into one side,top or bottom, of the board around the inner cover on three sides, and the telescoping top is a little larger than the top.  One or two sides would probably be enough.  Good luck GB
Since I also have a bottom entrance in the winter I close off notchs except the southern one.



Joe
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2013, 09:52:28 AM »

http://www.bushfarms.com/images/EightTenEightHives.jpg

The hive on the left in the picture has a widened notch in the inner cover, some #8 hardware cloth over the hole in the inner cover, an empty box on top and a cover on top of that...
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Michael Bush
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Georgia Boy
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« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2013, 08:36:27 PM »

Thanks for you help guys.

David
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capt44
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« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2013, 09:55:42 PM »

I use top entrances cut into my inner covers 3/4 inch.
Keep in mind that during hard times such as drought situations a top entrance can lead to robbing.
In that case add #8 screen wire to it.
It really aids in ventilation.
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Richard Vardaman (capt44)
greg755
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« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2013, 11:13:18 AM »

I drilled 4 small holes through the side of the inner cover, 2 in front and 2 in back or just make a 1 inch frame (with hole sand use it as a spacer)
To block the holes I just use those small corks that you use in test tubes.  They are cheap.  So During the flow all the holes are open.  In winter I can plug them up.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2013, 03:48:27 PM »

Top?  Bottom?  I like the middle  grin



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derekm
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« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2013, 03:47:34 PM »

Done with being diplomatic

Top entrances are the workof the devil.
You are dramatically increasing heat loss.  This is bad in winter and summer.

Everything the bees do needs energy and water and you throw it out with a top entrance.

Top entrances  are Apicide. Every watt of heat loss is a 100 bees a day!

Varoa reduce their breeding when its warmer and more humid, but U.S. beek practice wants to keep Bees in cold low humidity???

You force bees to cluster from early fall to late spring when they only need to cluster a few days a year (Even in Michigan, how many days are below -25C  -13F )

Bees evolved in heavily insulated trees and  have behaviuor to seek out bottom entrances if they can get them, but of course U.S. beekeepers know better
because the laws of physics dont apply to them, So they put bees in hives a tenth of the thickness in a tree and then open the top!!!

Come spring the bees need lots of heat to ripen the honey... Ahh beeks know better open the top and lose the heat.
Come late summer  beeks put the hives in full sunshine and  because they are thin wood  they grill the bees so they then need lots of energy to cool the hive.

CCD is  U.S. Specific because U,S. Beekeepers are pushing their bees,  so often,  so close to the edge, that anything else send them over  in to the abyss.
U.S. Bee colony losses are really down to U.S. Bee keepers keeping their bees on the edge of a thermal cliff.

Rant done ... Said the piece that been boiling  inside for over a year!

you need to improve the thermal conductivity of your hives to that of a tree nest ,  THATS a factor 10 from where you are now
« Last Edit: April 29, 2013, 04:01:59 PM by derekm » Logged

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?
Steel Tiger
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« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2013, 05:34:59 PM »

you need to improve the thermal conductivity of your hives to that of a tree nest ,  THATS a factor 10 from where you are now
I was thinking about the insulation of trees, porches, walls, chimneys and other places bees build in the wild. While thinking about that, I was trying to come up with ways to increase the insulation properties of a hive. Right now, the best I can come up with is using thinner wood and double the walls with a piece of foam insulation sandwiched between them. Spray foam with wooden molding over it will take care of the corners. It's a work in progress, I'm sure many others thought of the same thing and hit a snag that I haven't seen yet.

 As far as to entrances, I don't know how much snow you get or how high from the ground your hives are, but in northern and central US, we can expect 2 feet or more of snow. Having the only entrance buried for a day or three could be very bad news for the bees.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2013, 01:31:02 AM »

Rant done ... Said the piece that been boiling  inside for over a year!
It’s not healthy to be boiling inside for a year!  Glad you got that off your chest.

I ran around 35 hives over winter many with a bottom only entrance/vent to form a “heat bubble”.  I’ve run hives with a mixtures in the past, but not 35.  So this past winter was a bigger sample size.  I did successfully overwinter 4 frame medium nucs in Michigan with the heat bubble design.  I agree it is probably more thermally efficient (I wasn’t instrumented), but there was a LOT of condensation in those hives.  The hives that didn’t make it were a complete moldy mess.  The hives that did make it, were moldy on the outer frames.  The top vented hives were done dry.  I see the same thing in human bathrooms.  No top vent and you have mold growing all over the place.

Another strike I have against the heat bubble approach is it works too well in the spring.  I’ve already got bees bearding in those hives and it’s barely spring here.  It was snowing last week!  Hives should not be bearding already.  We’re in mid bloom of the willows.  The hives just get too hot in the spring, summer, and fall.  This is very bad news for the bees when a cold rain occurs and catches them outside.  

I also had some nucs croak from the bottom entrances getting clogged up with dead bees.  That NEVER happens with a top entrance.  

A bottom entrance and heat bubble probably are more thermally efficient, but IMO there are other things to consider too.

Personally I don’t like a top entrance in the summer.  I prefer a mid entrance.  As soon as you remove the top from a top entrance hive, you have a gazzilion bees flying around you looking for their entrance that suddenly doesn't exist. huh  That doesn’t phase some beeks, but I a little more order. Wink

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Jim 134
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« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2013, 08:11:51 AM »

This is the top entrances that I use.

http://www.viddler.com/v/4169aac7

The if you like and insulated hives why not try a Beemax hive Huh

http://www.betterbee.com/Products/BeeMax-Hive-Kits
http://www.dadant.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=940

They're are many topics on this form about Beemax just do a search this is just one I found.

http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,19391.0.html



                                   BEE HAPPY Jim 134 Smiley
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BlueBee
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« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2013, 12:18:31 PM »

Why not?  Because I can buy a whole 4’x8’ sheet of polystyrene for the same price as one commercial hive body.  I can make about 8 hive bodies per sheet of foam.  The lower density building polystyrene is probably a better insulator too (higher R value).  All this doesn’t even take into account the cost of shipping bulky foam across the country. 

If I were commercial and could deduct the capital costs out over time, the more durable commercial units would make more sense.  Then again if I were commercial, it might make more business sense to winter the bees in the south and not worry about winter in the first place grin
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mikecva
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« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2013, 02:15:51 PM »

Georgia Boy, wow a lot of info here. Here is my two cents: I put 2 screws into one end of my inter cover with 1/2" not screwed in. I put the side with the screws in it down for the summer (my top entrance) and up (facing the outer cover) for the winter. I have only been using this method successfully for about 17 years and with using the screws, I do not have to mess with the shims as I did before.  -Mike
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buzzbee
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« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2013, 09:27:09 PM »

CCD exclusive to US?  I think not. EU says they banned neonics because of it.Or is the EU in the US?

As far as insulated hives ,they are available, look up Beemax hives from Betterbee. I prefer their telescoping tops to the standard tin over wood tops on a standard hive.
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« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2013, 09:28:33 PM »

Sorry Jim, I missed the part of your post about Beemax.  
And Georgiaboy, I have two hives side by side in the yard. One hive comes and goes exclusively out the bottom. The other prefers coming and going out from the notch in the inner cover. This is their choice. Both hives have the option to exit top or bottom.
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Duane
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« Reply #16 on: May 13, 2013, 02:01:31 PM »

Come late summer  beeks put the hives in full sunshine and  because they are thin wood  they grill the bees so they then need lots of energy to cool the hive.
Well, because of physics, I'm considering going to top entrances.  I'm basing this on the idea that the bees can make the hive cooler than the outside air.  If you have a container of cool air with a hole in the bottom of it, the cool air will "fall out".  You could have a container with a hole in the top and the cool air would stay in it for a longer time.  So, by having a top entrance rather than a bottom entrance in the summer, it seems reasonable to me that it would be easier to maintain a cooler environment based upon the laws of physics.

Then, there's the issue of water vapor rising.  It's much harder to move warm moist air down than to let it out the top like BlueBee said about bathrooms.  Even when the temperatures are in the 60s, I see bees at the bottom entrance fanning their wings like they're trying to evaporate the moisture out of the honey they brought in.

So with just those two reasons alone, I am looking at using top entrances.  From what I've read, too much heat and too much moisture are bigger problems than not enough heat in the winter.  Then there's the grass, the mice, the skunks, and the snow.  True, locating your hive 30 feet up in a hollow tree would be better - for the bees.  But since that's not so convenient for the beekeeper, having top entrances when you locate hives near the ground seems better than bottom entrances.  A middle entrance may work, too, but not sure how the convection currents would work out.  Locating a middle entrance above the brood would help with cooling the brood and the honey would be no worse off than just having a bottom entrance.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #17 on: May 13, 2013, 03:37:27 PM »

In winter they need to move the moisture out.  In summer they need to move both heat and moisture out so they can get dry air to evaporate more water to cool the hive.  I think you are correct in your view that both are much easier with a top entrance.
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Michael Bush
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Jim 134
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« Reply #18 on: May 15, 2013, 08:45:12 PM »

Why not?  Because I can buy a whole 4’x8’ sheet of polystyrene for the same price as one commercial hive body.  I can make about 8 hive bodies per sheet of foam.  The lower density building polystyrene is probably a better insulator too (higher R value).  All this doesn’t even take into account the cost of shipping bulky foam across the country.  

If I were commercial and could deduct the capital costs out over time, the more durable commercial units would make more sense.  Then again if I were commercial, it might make more business sense to winter the bees in the south and not worry about winter in the first place grin

 
 <The lower density building polystyrene>
Is not the same material has the Beemax
  
<shipping bulky foam across the country>
 If you look at my post Dadant all so sell Beemax at all branchs and all so in Alblon,MI.

 http://www.dadant.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=940


                              

                              BEE HAPPY Jim 134 Smiley






« Last Edit: May 16, 2013, 03:47:47 AM by Jim 134 » Logged

"Tell me and I'll forget,show me and I may  remember,involve me and I'll understand"
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"The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale, and pays the freight both ways."
 John F. Kennedy
Franklin County Beekeepers Association MA. http://www.franklinmabeekeepers.org/
BlueBee
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« Reply #19 on: May 15, 2013, 10:48:14 PM »

Duane, that was a nicely stated post IMO.  applause

Jim, thanks for the link.  Albion, MI is 2 hours south of me though.  In all likely hood the BeeMax hive is probably superior to my homemade ones in many ways, but you know us beeks; we can be stubborn.  grin
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