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Author Topic: Adding a upper entrance??  (Read 13134 times)
Queen Bee
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« on: June 07, 2004, 09:22:14 PM »

I have a very large hive that is going crazy-- I have 4 hive bodies and two supers on it!  New wax has slowed them down some.. My question is what would happen if I added a upper entrance? Would it benifit the bees or  harm their productive?  How would I 'make' this upper entrance? Any suggestions? I am in the Sandhills of NC. Our weather has been very hot and dry. My hives get early morning sun but are shaded in the afternoon.
I will be robbing them around the fourth of July!
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« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2004, 10:39:55 PM »

I really don't recommend upper entrances, the bottom board opening is about 10 to 15 times larger than the typical hive entrance in nature (even though the bee count and squar footage is relatively the samesize as a natural hive) and these large bottom boards can accomidate massive flights per minute - watch a swarm evacuate the hive in seconds and you'll get the idea.

I'm a little confused on your terminology, so I'll try to break down what I think you have. All hive boxes are "supers", you have deep (what I think you are saying are supers) medium and shallows: these are the three sizes.

So I'm not quite sure if you are saying you have 4 supers total (2 deep and 2 shallow) or 6 supers (2 deep and 4 shallow) or mediums if you use those. But 4 supers high EVEN 6 high can still make fine use of the normal unreduced entrance.

If the supers are drawn out and full of brood or food AND you already vent it by tilting the telescoping outer lid toward the back - then you might need to think about splitting up the hive into two MORE MANAGABLE colonies and this would reduce the traffic a lot.

Honeybees DON'T return from the field and walk all the way up to the top supers to store pollen, nectar, water or propolis - they pass it off to young worker bees just inside the entrance and these young workers do the marching up the hive to store the food in avalable cells.

This is an important part of hive communication - honeybees need to touch each other, pass food sources on, have internal storage plans: pollen in the corners along with drone cells for example, and nectar and worker brood in the center of the frames. All these "Jobs" are done through strong pheromonal scents from the queen and passed on from her, through her tending workers - it literally is important for touching NOT JUST SMELLING of the queen scent to pass physically from bee to bee to bee.

So walking the long walk from the bottom super to the top (or wherever the storage is being done) is an important part of the life-cycle and well being of the hive. I don't like to seeing supers OVER-STACKED though, it is an accident waiting to happen. Anything above or below the baseball STRIKE-ZONE is a "Back Injury" waiting to happen, so be careful with these tall hives.

IF you choose to make an upper entrance, then I suggest you make it AT LEAST the SECOND BOX from the TOP - not the top super - drill a 3/4 inch hole (no larger) and maybe glue a small landing board below it - again, I don't recommend an upper entrance, but if you  do make one make sure it is in centered in the super front and make sure it is a super that is drawn out fully. You don't want an entrance in a super that isn't drawn out, it invites thieves and opens the hive to infestation of other insects.

Personally though, if I had a hive 6 supers high (any size super) I'd split it, giving" both hives" equal food and brood and equal drawn comb. If it were 4 supers high, I'd probably keep it like it is and NOT add a upper entrance - also do regular harvest of honey to make room for continuous foraging and help keep internal temperatures lower.

Honey is a very AMBIENT product - like a swimming pool, it slowly changes AVERAGE temperature (unless of course you have serious temperature swings over a short number of hours - but generally, it is a "heatsink" in the Summer time, holding the heat "in" and making large bee count the main variable in the hive when it comes to temperature changes.

This is why you see bearding on the outside of the box in the evenings, the honey temperature CLIMBS SLOWLY throughout the day time and by time EVENING COMES the honey is at its HOTTEST and forces the bees to evacuate the hive to keep a steady 95F or as close as they can maintain for brood rearing as they can.

So even though it is COOLER in the evening, the hive temp is JUST THEN reaching its hottest temp of the day forcing the bees outside. Then it "cools off" over night, the bees return into the hive and "during the HOTTEST PARTS OF THE DAY" the honey is just beginning to warm up again. It has a very slow turn-around time relative to the hottest hours of the day. I think this confuses a lot of people, it seems Bass Ackwards: you would think the bees would be outside during the HOTTEST part of the day, not the cool evenings. But if you were to measure the internal hive temps, you would see that the hive is hottest in the early evening, long after the air temps have dropped off.

Hope all this helped Smiley
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Queen Bee
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« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2004, 11:30:14 PM »

Thanks for the great information! Just what I needed. This hive has  2 brood chambers (full of bees/brood and eggs)and 2 deeps and 2 med. supers high, Full of  honey. I had thought about taking the full supers and extracting Them and then replacing the drawn comb.  I will not add a upper entrance. thanks again Debbie
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Finman
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« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2004, 02:25:32 AM »

Quote from: Queen Bee
I have a very large hive that is going crazy-- I have 4 hive bodies and two supers on it! !


I have used upper entrances in finland 40 years. During winter they are vital necessary.

My goal is to keep 6-7 supers per hive. Upper entrances are in the first and second box.  If they are upper, they keep hive cool.

If honey flow is very heavy, like from turnip rape, I open all open, also from upper boxes.

Upper holes are finger tip size. Bees like round entrances.

I use 3 lower boxes. The lowes is the vestibule. There are no larvas, only pollen and reserve space.  Honey boxes are  14 cm high. It has 15 kg honey when it is full. At winter I have 2 or 1 box.
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« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2004, 06:32:31 AM »

I agree that an upper entrance in WINTER is a great idea - for escaping, cleansing and venting. I'd still rather keep the hive entrances clear, but we rarely get buried in snow to the point where I can not clear the hives after a heavy snow fall. But as stated, block the upper entrance and use it as necessary.

Trapping your hive entrances under snow can cause GREAT humidity in the colony and as it melts flood the hives in very high (relative to hive height) snow falls.  The upper hole works as a great natural vent then, Humidity is a killer..  And yep on them round holes too!!!

I'd still restrict the upper entrance to OFF SEASON hive escaping in MOST cases. I don't see the need for an upper entrance in the typical beeyard, I think it asks for trouble unless the colonies are managed very closely. But a good "Chimney effect" can be made from one - but keep the plug handy and use it a lot Smiley
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BigRog
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« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2004, 06:54:18 AM »

I saw this in a catalog, would this be a good way to do it?

http://www.beeequipment.com/shop.asp
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« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2004, 08:38:57 AM »

Quote from: beemaster
but we rarely get buried in snow to the point where I can not clear the hives after a heavy snow fall. But as stated, block the upper entrance and use it as necessary.


I use white "geo textile" in front of nest like raincoat during snow months. It hints wind, snow to block ventilation and hints bird to disturb bees http://perso.club-internet.fr/geoca/images/m%E9sange%20charbonni%E8re%202.jpg
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Lupus
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« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2004, 02:24:06 PM »

Hello there:

I see you are in NC. I am in GA with probably similar weather. It can get pretty hot in the Southeast and ventilation can be a hot issue *G*. Ventilation and hive size seem to become related issues.

A Friend of mine BJ at Weeks Works (commercial) is screening his migratory pallets, which are his bottom boards, to cope with the problem. I believe BJ is using 1/4 inch mesh wire on his bottoms instead of the smaller mesh that bees can not pass through. I understand that some in the Southeast have found that robbing does not generally occur from under the hive. This method increases access and ventilation. If you feel adventurous you might give it a try.

Some current research seems to support the use of screened bottom boards to improve ventilation and brood rearing. I ordered a couple ventilated bottom boars and plan to try a hive with the 1/4 inch mesh to see what happens. I also ordered screened top covers and double screened "Dual Queen Management" dividers to experiment with.

A basic hive management principal is to try to equalize your hives. The idea being that equal hives: swarm less, produce more on average, have a lower mortality and are easier to work with. It can be scary to break up that big productive hive. It is pretty easy to take brood frames out of it, shake the bees off into their hive and swap it out for a frame from a weaker hive though. The big hives frequently end up swarming if they are not managed anyway.

Anyone else experimenting with ventilated tops and bottoms?
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Beth Kirkley
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« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2004, 03:53:56 PM »

I'm also in Georgia, and worry about the bees getting too hot. I have them in a spot where they get shade by noon, but it's still pretty hot (and a little humid) in the air.
I just built a two hive stand with screened bottom boards. The only thing left for me to do is paint it. I think it'll really help them. In the larger hive, the bees often hang around the outside front all of the late afternoon.

Beth
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« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2004, 04:05:27 PM »

Quote from: Beth Kirkley
In the larger hive, the bees often hang around the outside front all of the late afternoon.

Beth


That hanging is a bad thing, because bees stop working. A lot of workers must carry water into the nest.

One way is to turn opening to north, so opening is in the shadow and nest is still as warm.

In my conditions bees hang outside if they get too much honey or nest is too small.  

In your situation milddle openings will help ventilation, if you do not have.
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« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2004, 04:13:07 PM »

I that Finman, that if they're hanging on the outside of the hive, they're not working. They'll have the new hive stand with the screened bottoms within the next two days. The stand is also a foot off the ground, so that will allow a good air flow up.

Beth
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mattoleriver
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« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2004, 07:46:51 PM »

You might want to use an Imirie Shim for an upper entrance.  Here is a link to the proper use of one.  http://www.beekeeper.org/imirie_shims.html
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« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2004, 09:11:15 PM »

Here is another post that talks about supering and upper entrances.
http://beemaster.com/beebbs/viewtopic.php?t=516&highlight=shim

and another
http://beemaster.com/beebbs/viewtopic.php?t=748&highlight=upper+entrance


Just a reminder,  the forum has a great search function.
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Lupus
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« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2004, 10:00:48 PM »

EARLIER POST BY LUPUS:

I just received two screened bottom boards, two double screen dividers with open or shut openings and six screened inner covers. They are cypress but will get paint tomorrow when I paint the 3 supers I have that have been treated but not painted. So I plan to have some new ventilation options in operation by the end of the week.

I had no inner covers before since the hives I started with had migratory tops. I am hoping that I can leave the telescoping covers cracked open in the very hot weather. The small entrance on the screened inner covers should be easy to defend against invaders.

The double screen dividers  (Dual Queen Managers) I plan to use to do splits, queen introduction, Dual Queen Management. The double screen  opening options should allow me to create additional entrances for ventilation and better access. A small section of the frame on one side of the divider is sawn through at an angle in two places about 2 inches apart. The loose piece is then attached with one nail which it can turn on. There are three of these optional entrances on one side of the divider. I think I will order or make more of these as I believe they will have a multitude  of uses.

I am also planing to construct a raised platform on treated 4X4 posts with  two 2x6's, edges up, for the hives to rest on. With only 2, 2X edges under them air should be able to circulate better.

I will report back when I find out which options work the best here in Georgia.

LATEST POST BY LUPUS

Hmm, guess I did not get logged in before since my post says guest, sorry.

I read that other post Robo and followed another link you posted which took me to an explanation of those shims. I think the Double screen/Dual Queen Managers are a similar device with some additional features. I plan to test them out very soon.

I am also very curious about the 1/4 inch mesh bottom "board". That would make a pretty big entrance, if it does not cause other problems.

I am more interested in increasing my hive numbers than honey production this year. I am also thinking about doing early season splits and Dual Queen Management next year in an attempt to head off swarms while producing lots of bees and drawn comb early in the season. The blackberry and Poplar flow here can be very fast early in the season but late frost or windy storms can make it pretty short too.

I need to get better at queen management for my strategy to work, guess that will be my next post/search.
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« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2004, 10:53:31 PM »

LUPUS:

Please read this post concerning logging in - I'm sure it will help, it's not your fault - we all suffer this quirk in the software, but you'll master it in no time:

http://www.beemaster.com/beebbs/viewtopic.php?t=399

Also, in case you accidently post without logging in - just end using your screen name at the bottom and we'll know who you are, and move the post if necessary. Sorry for this quirky log-in thingy, it has a learning curve.
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Finman
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« Reply #15 on: June 09, 2004, 11:14:56 PM »

We are discussing forum, where climate of members is very different from each other.  In southern Finland it is hot summer, if temperature is  during 2 weeks between 25-30 C. Normally it is only one week. Just now day temperature  is 12- 18 C, too low for bees. But they harvest Taraxacum blooming http://www.uwasa.fi/ktt/lasktoim/photoff/19995/99061009.jpg. They can fly at low level on the meadow with the help of sunshine.

I think, that I will get Taraxacum honey 15-20 kg per colony during 2 weeks. Blooming will be at the end during few days. There will be a 2 weeks pause in blooming, and after that it start main season on honey. Main season will be at the end about 27.7 -5.8. In August there is no blooming, red clover perhaps. Red clover needs over one week over 25 C to give honey flow, but that is rare.

From turnip rape we can get  60-80 honey per colony during 2 weeks. It needs  6-7 supers per colony. 4 is too few. I put 2 colony together, if colony is too small, or I make 2 from 3 small.

Good ventilation is needed when honey flow is enormous. In this case bees slow down working if nest is overheated.  Most of all it needs empty space and wide entrance at the bottom of hive.  If nest is overheated, season will be ruined.

I put bees in hot places. They love it.

But mostly our weather changes at once, and temperature may drop to 15-17 C. At night it may be 8-12C.  When nest is cool, chalkbrood can spread in nests very badly. Also in cool nest honey starts crystallise and it is difficult to harvest.

Many back yard beekeepers do not understand meaning of temperature of nest and ventilation.  But I think that it is easy to handle. I live 150 km away my nest and I handle nests only at weekends. I am not always installing their ventilation.

The key is, that I use one super at the bottom as reserve space. Bees can store there pollen and extra honey flow and they need not to hang outside the nest when it is hot. During July main opening is wide open.

In my opinion, people use many kind of constructions. But the point is, does it help to get honey. We can do many kinds of tricks, but they are not needed.
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Finman
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« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2004, 12:15:17 AM »

Quote from: Finman
We are discussing forum, where climate of members is very different from each other. .


I just looked the traffic camera information from my summer cottage area 6:30 morning. Temperature is  +5C.  http://www.tiehallinto.fi/alk/frames/kelikamerat-frame.html

The northest beekeeper I know in Finland is on Polar Circle level Rovaniemi.  There is also head quarter of Salta Claus.

My brother nursed bees 25 years in northern Sweden Luleå, 66 degree northern  altitude. My altitude is 60,75
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« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2004, 11:09:03 AM »

Finman:

I enjoyed looking at your traffic cams and I looked at them all, even the details I have to assume are charts of traffic flow/density - very interesting group of images and data.

Thanks for sharing that link - I highly doubt that I would have every found such an interesting link with out you posting it.
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« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2004, 11:26:11 AM »

Beemaster,

Could be you would enjoy the english version even better smiley
http://www.tiehallinto.fi/alk/english/frames/kelikamerat-frame.html

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Finman
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« Reply #19 on: June 10, 2004, 11:38:43 AM »

english version even better smiley
[/quote]

Thank You Viking!
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