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Author Topic: Ventilation holes..  (Read 3245 times)
SteveSC
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« on: October 01, 2006, 12:01:36 AM »

I have 1.25" ventilation holes front and back in the upper brood boxes on my hives.  I put them there for ventilation purposes for the summer.  The bees seems to like the ability to access the upper brood boxes through the holes instead of always using the bottom entrance.

My question is:  I'm going to be putting slatted racks on the hive this week-end coming.  With the added ventilation of the slatted racks on the bottom how much of the 1.25" holes should I cover for the winter ...?  There are two holes in each upper.  Thanks.

Steve in SC
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2006, 09:50:15 AM »

I always make sure I have an upper entrnace going into winter for these reasons:

o I never have to worry about the bees not having access because of the snow being too deep (unless it gets over the tops of the hives). So I don't have to shovel snow after a snowstorm to open the entrances up.

o  I don't have to worry about dead bees clogging the bottom entrance.

o There's not much condensation with a top entrance in the winter.

I prefer ONLY a top entrance (no bottom entrance) all the time because:

o  I never have to worry about the bees not having access to the hive because the grass grew too tall. I also don't have to cut the grass in front of the hives. Less work for me.

o  I never have to worry about putting mouse guards on or mice getting into the hive.

o  I never have to worry about skunks or opossums eating the bees.

o  Combined with a SBB I have very good ventilation in the summer.

o  I can save money buying (or making) simple migratory style covers. Most of mine are just a piece of 3/4" plywood with shingle shims for spacers. But some are wider notches in inner covers that I already had.

o  I can put the hive eight inches lower (because I don't have to worry about mice and skunks) and that makes it easier to put that top super on and get it off when it's full.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslazy.htm#topentrance

The slatted rack won't actually allow more air in, but it will control the ventilation better and have some more volume of air in the hive.  I like them, but they won't provide all your ventilation needs.
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Michael Bush
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SteveSC
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« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2006, 11:04:13 AM »

Thanks Michael...that's some good advice.  So I take it that you would keep the entire 1.25" holes open - front and back.

If you don't mine me asking...how many hives do you have going..?  

Thanks....Steve In SC
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« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2006, 12:24:45 PM »

>Thanks Michael...that's some good advice. So I take it that you would keep the entire 1.25" holes open - front and back.

Probably not.  But I would leave some kind of top ventilation.  Front and back could get quite a breeze going if the wind was right.  I'd close one of them off.

>If you don't mine me asking...how many hives do you have going..?

About fifty for the last five years, and about one to seven for the 27 years previous to that.

I'm (probably foolishly) planning to expand this next year to at least 75 or so.
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Michael Bush
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Zoot
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« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2006, 11:34:56 PM »

When using a small openning for winter ventilation - years ago I recall simply using the small notch in the front rim of my inner covers for this purpose - will the bees use it as a top entrance in addition to a typical bottom entrance (cleated down for winter) or will they generally favor one or the other?
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Finsky
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« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2006, 01:16:09 AM »

I have  15 mm   hole in upper part of boxes and the lover entrance is  about 20 mm x 10 mm.  The inner cover is wood and superlon insulation.

Good ventilation in Winter does not mean that all is open. It means enough. Warm, moist reaspiration air of bees escapes from upper hole. Finger size is enough.

Into hive blowing wind is bad.

.
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SteveSC
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« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2006, 07:06:49 AM »

My hives are oriented north to south. We get our winter winds out of the north so I'll close off the rear vent. holes ( north side ) and later on maybe reduce the front ( south side ) holes a bit.  Strange thing though,  the bees hardly ever us the rear vent. holes for an entrance like they do the front holes.  Thanks for the help on this..

Steve in SC
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« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2006, 08:10:54 AM »

By the way. I use tiny holes in rear part of bottom boad. When air circulates via back corners it keeps the back part of bottom board dryer.

These holes are only bees size.

When warm hive air meet cold corners moisture condensates. Little hole keeps air moving uppwards - I guess.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2006, 05:38:17 PM »

The SBB adds much more ventilation to the hive than a slatted rack does, in fact, a slatted rack adds a thermal layer the helps keep the hive warmer.  
I don't believe in large holes (larger than 1/2 inch) drilled in the boxes as ventilation.  On the surface there's nothing wrong with them but from the point of the hole to the top of the hive condensation can still form.  Less, true, but still condensation.  I use a method that vents at the very top of the hive.  Top entrances, as MB stated above, elimiates moisture in the hive because the entrance point is even or above the top of the hive, thereby venting all moisture outside.
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Zoot
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« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2006, 08:50:37 PM »

Brian, MB,

With regard to your top ventilation in winter - are the opennings below your top covers in front only or are they present all around?
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2006, 10:22:28 PM »

>With regard to your top ventilation in winter - are the opennings below your top covers in front only or are they present all around?

My openings are the entrance.  The only entrance.  They are just a propped up cover.  No inner cover.  No telescopic cover.  Just a 3/4" piece of plywood the size of the hive with a shingle shim on each side to make the entrance.  They also have a SBB on them.
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Michael Bush
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Zoot
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« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2006, 10:31:02 PM »

Sounds nice and simple. Do the shims extend around the back or is that open too?
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2006, 06:47:57 PM »

They are shingle shims.  They are about 1/4" at one end tapered to nothing at the other end.  It only makes an opening on one side.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2006, 11:17:53 PM »

Quote from: Brian D. Bray
I use a method that vents at the very top of the hive.  


Brian,
Do you have a photo, or can you explain how this works? Do you use a telescoping cover? An inner cover? Something else?  Or is it like MB described?
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kensfarm
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« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2006, 09:59:36 AM »

I was down at the hives at sunrise the other morning.. it was cool (42F).. you could see the "steam" coming from the hive entrances.. you could also feel the heat w/ your hand coming out of the hive entrance.  

I have the inner covers w/ a oval hole.. and notch cut-out.. but didn't see the "steam" coming from the top.
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Finsky
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« Reply #15 on: October 05, 2006, 06:53:32 AM »

Quote from: kensfarm


 but didn't see the "steam" coming from the top.


If bees ventilate towards lower entrance, steam is of course there. I have same effect when it is frost in the morning and I feed bees for winter.

Bees ventilate during frost weather if it is moist in hive.  -5C is normal that some bees ventilate near opening.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #16 on: October 06, 2006, 02:54:27 PM »

>>Brian,
Do you have a photo, or can you explain how this works? Do you use a telescoping cover? An inner cover? Something else? Or is it like MB described?


Actually my top entrances look like a bottom board turned up side down. I use 2X4's flat side down/up and build the SBB so the the screen is the dimension as the hive body.  I put a slatted rack on top and then the hive bodies.  The top entrance along with the SBB provides all the ventilation a hive needs.

One caution;\: Using top entrances has a tendency to invert the hive putting the brood chamber on top and the honey stores on the bottom.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #17 on: October 07, 2006, 12:40:46 PM »

>One caution;\: Using top entrances has a tendency to invert the hive putting the brood chamber on top and the honey stores on the bottom.

Sometimes.  But it's sure easier to check on the queen that way.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #18 on: November 24, 2006, 11:58:09 PM »

So I added a ventilation slot on the top of the hive. It is a notch cut in the edge of a 1x2 board as you can see by the photos below.



The slot is the same size as the middle opening of a typical wooden entrance reducer. The slot faces the top and is next to the inner cover. I've adjusted the outer cover all the way to the front to provide an overhang as you can see from the blurry photo. 


Now I'm wondering why the bees don't use it. It's been on for about 2 months now and as you can see from this picture taken just this week during a warm day, they are quite clustered by the bottom entrance. If I watch long enough I might see one bee in a hundred use the top entrance.


Does it matter?  I guess the main thing I was doing it for was ventilation.

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Cindi
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« Reply #19 on: November 25, 2006, 12:12:02 AM »

Very clean and beautiful hive.  What is the apparatus on the front entrance that has the little holes in it.  I can't quite make out what it is.  Great day.  Cindi
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #20 on: November 25, 2006, 11:42:50 AM »

I'm not sure why you need so much room at the top, but the vent will allow ventilation and if the telescopic cover is slid forward it will let the bees out if the bottom entrance gets plugged.  Bees are creatures of habits so don't be surprised if it takes them a while to take advantage of it.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #21 on: November 25, 2006, 06:31:56 PM »

Very clean and beautiful hive.  What is the apparatus on the front entrance that has the little holes in it.  I can't quite make out what it is.  Great day.  Cindi

Cindi,
Thanks, I painted it myself  grin
The apparatus is a universal metal entrance reducer or mouse-guard. I found that one at Dadant: https://www.dadant.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=212

I'm not sure why you need so much room at the top, but the vent will allow ventilation and if the telescopic cover is slid forward it will let the bees out if the bottom entrance gets plugged.  Bees are creatures of habits so don't be surprised if it takes them a while to take advantage of it.


Michael,
Thanks again for your help. I have learned a lot from your webiste. Originally, the extra room up top was for the application of the Apiguard. You can see the tray in the top photo. The instructions said to put an empty super on top, but that seemed like an excessive amount of open space, so I made the small riser out of 1x2s and trimed the notch in it.  Now the mite treatment is over, but I thought of leaving it for ventilation. Some suggested simply proping up one end of the telescopic cover. I could have done that with some wedge shaped shims to block of the sides. 

This is my first hive, so I'm still trying to learn the best way to winter them in this climate of extreme temp swings: During most of the winter and early spring, the difference between the lowest possible temps and the highest is often about 100 degrees (F). For example lows of -20 to highs of 80 possible on any given day. They need to be protected from the bitter cold when it might drop to -20 overnight one day, then given enough ventilation to keep from baking when it goes up to upper 70s or even 80 on a warm sunny day. I'm planning to add another hive in the sping - would the Polystyrene hive bodies be a good idea?
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #22 on: November 25, 2006, 08:40:34 PM »

>I'm planning to add another hive in the sping - would the Polystyrene hive bodies be a good idea?

I have four that I never use, but that's mostly because they aren't eight frames.  Smiley  They wouldn't cut down very easily.

The one by two frame makes a great baggie feeder.  You put three quarts of syrup in a gallon zip lock baggie and put it on top of the frames with the one by two to make some room.  It would also work nicely for Mountain Camp's (from beesource) version of winter emergency feed.  He puts a newspaper on the top bars and pours sugar on top of that.   Baker's sugar (extra fine) would work even better.

But if you're not doing one of those things, it seems like just more empty space.
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Michael Bush
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My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #23 on: November 25, 2006, 10:27:06 PM »

A solid bottom board turned upside down is a migratory top with a top entrance.
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« Reply #24 on: January 24, 2007, 01:48:40 PM »

reviving this one!
OK, i want to make some ventilation holes, of course i'll wait 'till spring, but i'll try it on the two hives that are still empty. ok making a few holes just under the cover-top of the hive really isn't that big of a deal but i have something else to ask you. i have read that small tubes for entrance also prevent robbing, tubes are important for my top entrance since i don't want to do more than neccesary. anyway, i'll drill 3-5 little holes, and insert a tube, because the hive has an insulation space, so they won't go in there. what i want to know is, what is the minimum size of the tubes i should use, so they'd also help against robbing? 5mm?

if bee cells are 5,4 (currently, i'll try to go to natural size) 5mm sounds a bit...small, 7mm? please help!
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Finsky
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« Reply #25 on: January 24, 2007, 01:51:28 PM »

reviving this one!

if bee cells are 5,4 (currently, i'll try to go to natural size) 5mm sounds a bit...small, 7mm? please help!

15 mm hole is good for upper entrance. It does not develope robbing.
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Cindi
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« Reply #26 on: January 24, 2007, 07:00:40 PM »

I have a Bamix.  If any of you own one in your home you will know what I mean.  It is a device similar to a Braun, you know what I mean if you have one.  This Bamix is warranted for 5 years, home use or commercial use.  The most important tool in my kitchen.

I make powdered sugar out of granular sugar.  I make fluffy snow out of ice cubes (without the use of water of any sort).

Now, I think that if I were to do the emergency feeding with granulated sugar for the bees, I would use the Bamix and make fluffy sugar, would certainly make it easier, as mentioned, for the bees.  Great day.  Cindi
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« Reply #27 on: March 05, 2007, 04:33:36 PM »

reviving this one!

if bee cells are 5,4 (currently, i'll try to go to natural size) 5mm sounds a bit...small, 7mm? please help!

15 mm hole is good for upper entrance. It does not develope robbing.

the question!!! is one 15mm hole enough?

i made emergency upper entrances for my bees this year. the entrance is....about 5cm long and 5mm high. BUT, when i opened the hive, it was all moldy -the upper compartment of course, the brood nest is intact though.

now, i was planing to make 4 holes with 6mm diameter in each hive. let's say hives are the size of a deep. will the 4 holes do it? or should i make larger holes? even fewer?
anyway, HELP NEEDED!!!
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