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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    28

    Question

    I've been reading here and other places about top hive entrances... thanks to all that posted on the subject. I had some 1X3 pine laying around and decided to build a top entrance. It is built to the size (dimensions) of the boxes and has a 3/8 entrance from a cut 1X3. My intentions are to place it under the cover and above the top board. My thinking is it will allow a little more air flow at the top of the hive and easier access to the top as well. What do you think? Yes, no, maybe...
    "if it was easy everybody would be doin' it"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,341

    Post

    The problem with a one by three is you'll have 3/4" space at the top plus the 1/4" that was already above the frames making 1" of space. The bees will burr it up. But as long as you keep them from geting too crowded it won't be too bad. Mine is just a 3/4" plywood board with a cedar shingle shim on each side which makes the space 3/8" at the entrance and nothing at the back. Which, added to the 1/4" already there makes it 1/4" at the very back and 5/8" at the very front. Since they seldom burr up near the entrance (because it blocks traffic I assume), and since the rest is pretty close to standard bee space, I get very little burr. Two shingle shims under the inner cover work fine too.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beeslazy.htm#topentrance
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopentrance.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    6,222

    Post

    I use an inner cover, shimed one side. I use the upper enterence during the winter months when it is realy needed, and turn the inner cover around during the summer to avoid the bur comb. Still leaves the upper enterence for the upward draft.
    I dont know, works for me, but it requires another piece of equipment.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Devils Lake, North Dakota
    Posts
    9,123

    Post

    Are shingle shims simular to the shims I use when installing doors and windows?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,341

    Post

    >Are shingle shims simular to the shims I use when installing doors and windows?

    Exactly the same.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Worthington, Pennsylvania USA
    Posts
    1,848

    Post

    sneekybeez-This year we converted to all top entrances. We built ventilated tops with ten one inch holes screened with #8 hardware cloth on the sides and a two by four inch cutout screened on the 3/8 the plywood bottom that serves as an inner cover. Have not seen a beard on any hive this year so far. This winter we plan on filling the ventilated covers with wood shavings for insulation.
    "Younz" have a great day, I will.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    28

    Big Grin

    I'll let you guys know what results - good or bad - come from this... Thanks for you responses!
    "if it was easy everybody would be doin' it"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    28

    Question

    Just revised and completed my top hive entrance... Thanks for the words of wisdom! I am going to post some pictures of the contraption for your review. I made some modifications based on the responses to the original post. The top hive entrance also has ventilation ports and the entrance has been reduced to just over 3/8 inches with screen wire. Take a look and tell me what you think... Also I would like your opinions as to whether or not to leave the top board in or remove it and just place the new screened entrance??? Let me know if you have problems with the link...

    http://i68.photobucket.com/albums/i1...eEntrance2.jpg

    http://i68.photobucket.com/albums/i1...Entrance-1.jpg
    "if it was easy everybody would be doin' it"

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Raleigh, North Carolina
    Posts
    3,598

    Post

    sneeky

    the pics are kinda small
    it looks like you have the 1"x3"s turned so it's 3" tall
    they'll fill that space with comb, but if they fill the comb with honey maybe you'll have the ultimate organic top feeder [img]smile.gif[/img]
    I made some similar ones but used all that extra space to build in a top feeder
    here's a couple of pics

    http://www.drobbins.net/bee's/tf/

    Dave

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    28

    Post

    Dave,

    Sorry about the size of the pic's... Actually the bees cannot get beyond the 3/8' entrance - I build an insert and covered it with wire mesh and it sits directly above the opening - the vent holes are above the screen insert. The girls can come into the hive from the top and feel the cool breeze from the vent holes but that's it, that's as far as they can go up.

    Thanks to Michael for pointing out the additional space issue and potential comb problem that might result...

    Any ideas about whether or not to leave the top board in place or remove it????
    "if it was easy everybody would be doin' it"

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Raleigh, North Carolina
    Posts
    3,598

    Post

    sneeky

    it's a little hard to picture what you've built
    it sounds like you have a 3" space above the bees but you've screened it off so the bees can't get into it
    and then I guess you have some vent holes
    that would be pretty good for ventilation
    I just decided to use that space for a feeder
    heck, there's no "right" way to do it
    let use know what results you get
    sounds kinda like a DE hive

    http://www.beeworks.com/

    Dave

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    28

    Big Grin

    I will Dave... I hope the girls like the new entrance and the cool breeze... I hope I've overcome the issues raised earlier in the post but only time will tell... I'll let you know how it goes... I'm working on a similar entrance that would accomodate a top hive feeder, i.e. top entrance ventilated and access to the feeder as well... I'll post bigger pic's on that one...

    Any advice on the top board???
    "if it was easy everybody would be doin' it"

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Wetumpka ,Alabama
    Posts
    510

    Post

    We converted to top entrances this year as well,Much better ventilation no bees bearding on front in the heat.We took 3 3/8"x1/2" wooden strips,half lapped them and nailed them in to a spacer that we placed under the inner board then took the telescoping top and cut a 3/8" x 6" slot where the 3/8" gap is.This way we could stil use the same tops.
    The only problem I have with a large opening would be robbing.With the 6" slot it can be defended somewhat.
    Over all I give top entrances an 'A'
    If you build it they will comb it.<br />Tim Rolan

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Raleigh, North Carolina
    Posts
    3,598

    Post

    sneeky

    let me know what you're up to with your plans
    I built 4 and I can see some issues with the way I did it
    I think if I build some more I would change a couple of things (like rotate it 90 degrees)

    Dave

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Portsmouth, VA
    Posts
    45

    Post

    Sneeky,

    In Florida we would have problems with small hive beetles taking over and breeding in any area not patrolled by bees. Even a strong hive would be overwhelmed by SHB breeding in 3" of beeproof space.
    James Burns
    Science is...the acquisition of reliable knowledge about the world (Jared Diamond).

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    28

    Post

    James - the space above the screen insert is for ventilation - the bees cannot get into the space. They can only enter through the 3/8" opening directly into the hive. Does that make sense?
    "if it was easy everybody would be doin' it"

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Casper, WY
    Posts
    526

    Post

    Hi Guys,

    While working thousands of hives, with migratory covers over decades, many of the covers would deteriorate and provide a top entrance. When the grass got tall, the bees would prefer the top entrance.

    But this beekeeper didn't. It seems that many of the hives were much more defensive when worked with a top entrance. Maybe more displaced guard bees, or displaced/disturbed entrance wound up the bees before getting into the brood areas. When seeing a top entrance in a beeyard, I would always check my smoker to be sure that it was operating properly :&gt

    Regards
    Dennis

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,341

    Post

    I think you'll find anything more than a propped up top is overkill for design of a top entrance. The top entrance itself will provide all the necessary ventilation. More won't hurt, but also won't matter.

    I have a variety of things depending on what equipment was laying around. I shim the inner covers or widen the notches on the inner covers. On the long hives I have 1/4" screen molding under the ends of a migatory cover with cleats. I also have a flat cover with shims. But that flat cover with shims is my favorite.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    28

    Post

    True Michael - but then idle hands are the... Spare time and spare lumber lead to projects on top of projects... PS - thanks for the imput earlier on the extra space issue - I think I resolved that one... More later...
    "if it was easy everybody would be doin' it"

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Hampton, VA, USA
    Posts
    175

    Default

    I've read this thread several times and had many ideas to add but I wanted to wait as I was currently looking at a design for a ventilated top. The top enterence I think will be a 3/8 x 2 inch notch in the top of the upper most super. My tops have a little extra length to them which will allow the bees enterence to this notch. I can slide the top backwards and close the enterence. I look forward to seeing the designs and will give mine up once done.

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