What experiences does anyone have with upper entrance hive setups?
I have most of my hives set up with top entrances now. I don't use a queen excluder, so I don't have to worry about drones trapped in the brood area.
Advantages to only top entrances:
Good ventilation of moist air to prevent condensation.
No problems with mice.
No problems with skunks.
No problems with deep snow smothering the bees or not allowing cleansing flights in the winter.
Makes a good top vent (especially if there is a SBB) for flow through ventilation in the summer.
There are pictures of some of my top entrances here: http://incolor.inetnebr.com/bush/bush_bees.htm
The simplest is just use some tapered shims to prop up a migratory cover to make the entrance across the top.
I use upper entrances in addition to lower
entrances. Some colonies will favor the
upper, some the lower. Clearly, this is
only practical for strong colonies capable
of defending two entrances.
The only drawback to adding an upper entrance
should be obvious to even the casual observer -
when you remove supers from a hive to inspect
it, returning foragers will be landing right
where you are working, or buzzing around in
confusion over where the entrance might be.
If you are wearing a bee suit - YOU are now
the tall, white object, and the actual hive
is suddenly much shorter.
Of course, there is little need to do much
inspecting of a clearly prosperous colony
in the middle of a nectar flow, so I don't
run into the problem all that often.
I have had hives with all three setups. Only bottom, only top, and one of each.
With the only top, I do find the bees get upset quick when they are piling up looking for the entrance. I know there has been discussions on the advantages of just an upper and no lower entrance. I do not see the benefits.
I have a limited bottom entrance on all my hives. I have the metal reducers that are held on by clips. They are easy to flip around and block off the entrance for easy moving. I also do not remove the metal reducer on any of my hives. This creates an entrance of about 1/2 by 5 inches. This limited bottom entrance is more than the bees need. (Completly "standard" open bottoms are overkill and invite a host of problems.) I have an upper hole in my upper brood box. Some are open and some are screened. Most of my supers have upper entances that are used by the foragers and for added ventalation. If many supers are used, the number of holes usually does not go above two.
I like the upper (added) entrances. It may lessen the traffic in the brood chamber and thus help minimize swarming. The added ventalation helps with stress deseases that are moisture related. ie. chalk, sac, etc. I also like the upper entrances with remote yards in dealing with tall grass or weeds that sometimes get out of hand.
Nice pics MB.
>If you are wearing a bee suit - YOU are now
the tall, white object, and the actual hive
is suddenly much shorter
Unless you are wearing a RED beesuit....
Michael, I did enjoy your photos very much, thank you!
I like the idea of the migratory cover just for the fact that they're cheaper, and easier to remove than the telescoping covers. Am I correct in assuming no inner cover used along with the migratory cover?
In looking at your shim arrangement with the migratory cover,it appears that the gap could be 3/8ths of an inch. Is this correct?
Does the snow blowing into the hive and melting cause you any problems with moisture?
Thanks for your reply.
>Am I correct in assuming no inner cover used along with the migratory cover?
Yes. There is no inner cover.
>In looking at your shim arrangement with the migratory cover,it appears that the gap could be 3/8ths of an inch. Is this correct?
The shims are tapered and don't have to run all the way to the other side (but mine do) so you can adjuste the opening to what you want. I think mine are between 5/16" and 3/8".
>Does the snow blowing into the hive and melting cause you any problems with moisture?
I closed up about half or more of it on most of the hives for the winter with just a strip of 3/4" by 3/8" wood. If it doesn't look like it will stay, I can just staple it. This is my first winter with the migratory version. I've used other types of top entrances (wide notches in inner covers etc) and snow hasn't been a problem. I did put some scraps of sytrofoam on top of some of the migratory covers, and not on others. We'll see how they do. Since there is a bit of slope, I hope any condensation will run downhill to the side, but I don't think there will be much condensation since the entrance acts as a vent.