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Author Topic: Ventilation holes..  (Read 3443 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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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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Michael Bush
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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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Finsky
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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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