I finished the article on excluders and it looked promising to put the entrance on the top of the brood chambers vice a bottom entrance.........Has anyone tried it and if so how did it work.......the article said that there was no losses doe to skunks and that the brood chamber had more brood and it actually put on more honey than the control group or the bottom only entrance group......
If you are refering to the upper entrance conversion kit (Common Sense)sold by Country Flower Honey Farm, I have bought two complete kits and nine entrances and lids.
I have set them up in different configurations,
A: as sold with the bottom drawer, their top entrance and cover,
B: standard bottom board, their top entrance and cover
C: standard bottom board, Brushy Mt. varroa screen (blocked), their top entrance and cover
D: Screened BB, their top entrance and cover
E: SBB, no top entrance, standard cover
I had two hives set up in "A" configuration here in the city. Both were caught swarms requeened with Cordovan queens. One barely filled three mediums of PC, the other partialy filled the fourth.
The hive next to them, also a caught swarm, but requeened with NWC was in the "D" configuration and filled one deep and three PC full.
In the country where the "C" configs were set up on existing hives, the bees were confused and tried to return to the hive where no bottom entrance existed anymore. These bees were really dumb and could not find the upper entrance on three of four hives. I took the block out of the bottom entrance and the hives returned to normal with fair production. The one that I left the bottom blocked did as well as the unblocked ones.
When I removed the top entrance I had the same problem in reverse, bees could not find the lower entrance, so I am leaving it on too. One other thing that I plan on doing is to duct tape the top entrance closed and make a small hole in it to preserve heat and to control air flow.
All in all, I like the upper entrances they sell, I don't have to use a queen excluder and predation is non-existant on hives with no lower entrance. I believe from a production standpoint, I like my SBB and top entrances as that is what gave me the highest yield.
Smack dab in the middle of the country.
Actually I was refering to an article here on beesource.com it is here>>>> http://www.beesource.com/pov/hayes/abjaug85.htm It really had some good points to consider and I think that is the way that I will do things........
If you search here you'll find several discussions on the topic. I usually don't use an excluder anyway. But as to the top entrance, I think there may be an advantage in varroa control also. If the bees aren't coming in the bottom and getting varroa back on them that already fell off. If you take the 3/4" side boards of the top entrance and make them about 1 1/2" longer and put a 1 x 2 under the end you'll get a landing board. I am considering putting some top entrances on. I've usually had one at the vary top or drilled one in the front of a box when I do use an excluder.
As to the discussion of the excluders keeping bees from moving through them, I haven't had any problems with that. I think it is a management problem that can be dealt with by paying attention to your bees and what they are doing.
Manipulating frames to entice them to move up is a simple remedie for what I consider a non-problem.
Back to the excluders, I don't think that buying those fancy entrances is very economical when an excluder and a .15 cent cork will do just as good of a job in the long run.
I just finish reading the article, very interesting article for sure, definitely I will try it next year, I just have one question, what about swarms? it sound to me like it will make the bees swarm less since there will be always less bees in the brood nest, any thoughts?
Good fuel for thought. I was interested a while back about the Imirie Shim. Read the article and see if it doesn't corroborate the research previously done on the upper entrance. By the way for those of you who don't know, George Imirie has been keeping bees for over 70 years, that's seventy years.
And for forestbee's question: According to George Imirie, it does aid in swarm prevention, because it relieves congestion in the brood area. He ought to know.
All in all it looks like a viable alternative to the bottom entrance.
[This message has been edited by paulrowland (edited November 04, 2003).]
>it sound to me like it will make the bees swarm less since there will be always less bees in the brood nest, any thoughts?
A lot of things contribute to more or less swarming. Less bees congesting the brood chamber is one of those and I think it will help. Less congestion of honey in the brood chamber contributes to less swarming. More cluster space (slatted racks) contribute to less swarming. More ventilation contributes to less swarming. More space to store honey contributes to less swarming. A young queen contributes to less swarming.
It's a combination of all of that, but every little bit helps.
It would be a mistake to assume that one thing will keep them from swarming.
>Actually I was refering to an article here on beesource.com it is here>>>> http://www.beesource.com/pov/hayes/abjaug85.htm
While I appreciate the good tracking and all of the work that went into this article I have some problem intepreting the results. Mainly, what I see is skunks are hard on your colony. Since they didn't do anything for skunk control (elevated hives, electric fence, etc.) I don't see much else in the statistics. The excluder/no excluder question is still open. The bottom/top entrance question is still open. In fact the control and up entrance/excluder numbers track in similar ways. Is there something I am missing?
BTW, I don't use excluders and use a upper cover gap during warm months. No problem with queen forays into the supers.....yet.
>While I appreciate the good tracking and all of the work that went into this article I have some problem intepreting the results. Mainly, what I see is skunks are hard on your colony.
If you have some, yes. If you don't, then they aren't.
>Since they didn't do anything for skunk control (elevated hives, electric fence, etc.) I don't see much else in the statistics.
An eleveated hive works. One of those robber gaurds or a screen door (like Brushy Mt. has) with an entrance cut in the top of it works to keep them out. As do things in front of the thive that they don't like like chicken wire or carpet tack strips.
>The excluder/no excluder question is still open.
Open in what way? Forcing bees through an excluder is a lot of work for them. But useful sometimes. I usally don't use one.
>The bottom/top entrance question is still open.
I try to keep a top entrance of some kind in the summer for ventilation and so the bees don't have to trapse through the brood chamber.
>In fact the control and up entrance/excluder numbers track in similar ways. Is there something I am missing?
I don't think so. They are comparing a "normal" standard setup with the upper entrance version.
>BTW, I don't use excluders and use a upper cover gap during warm months. No problem with queen forays into the supers.....yet.
That's what I like about all the same size frames. When she does, I really don't care.
So if this research shows that the hive will produce 60% with the top entrance configuration, what does that mean in respect of the yard? Or by other word assuming that yard have the number of hives it can handle then all the hive has bee switched from bottom to top entrance will this mean this yard will produce 60% more that what it use to produce or it will produce the same but with 60% less hives?
Thanks and Regards, and sorry for all the questions,
In anything with statistics you have to figure out where you think the point of diminishing returns is. In this case, since it's bees, it will depend on more things than you can keep track of. The weather that year, the climate in general, how saturated the area is with bees etc. In a major honey flow there are never enough bees to haul all the nectar, but in a dearth the few flowers don't go far with a large population of bees.
My answer is: "Who Knows?"
Maybe I should stick with my standard answer: "It depends."