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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Columbia, South Carolina USA
    Posts
    2,598

    Post

    Wired - there is a commercially produced system much like you are describing. A midlle entrance and a pull out bottom drawer for cleaning. Check out Bee Culture for adds.

    Keith

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,033

    Post

    I am sure there is, but who has money for such things when I can make them for about $1 a piece?

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    Posts
    5,159

    Post

    I bought two of the full kits and five more of the entrances and tops. I have high expectations for the system that I will be useing this year.
    I also think that it will be very useful for fogging with FGMO.
    And yes they did cost more than a dollar..
    Bill

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,361

    Post

    The more I think if this the more I kind of like it. In the bee trees I've seen the bottom seems to be the garbage dump. It's covered with old combs, dead bees and wax moths. I'm not saying I think it's the most sanitary situation, but mites would be unlikely to find their way back up. Bees don't touch it so they can't get back on a bee. As long as you can clean it out, it seems like a nice idea. But then there was usually some space between the bottom of the combs and the mess on the bottom. I'm not sure how you'd enforce that and leave some space.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    Posts
    5,159

    Post

    Just make a two inch spacer box like a slatted rack without the slats.

    I am going to use regular bottoms with a screen above it and a removable tray under it. It will also have a screened front for air flow and an opening to clean out above the screen. No bees will be able to travel through my bottom arangement, however I should be able to keep it clean above and below the screen. Hopefully I won't need to clean above the screen very often.
    Bill

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,361

    Post

    I think it would be nice to be able to slid out the screened bottom for cleaning.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,033

    Post

    I have now designed and built a few of these entrances and plan to test them this season. My bottom boards will be screened and a 3/8" beespace maintained around the bottom edge of the hive body with a 1" long space open for cleaning bees to access and also for drones to escape if I should decide to use a queen excluder.

    Sol

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,033

    Post

    I have these entrances on 14 of my new hives. The best working hive at this point has quite a flow of air coming out the top even though the entrance is partly closed off. I have also noticed dead bees laying just outside the small bottom entrance.
    So far, everything seems to be working out fine.

    ------------------
    Sol Parker
    Southern Oregon Apiaries

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,033

    Wink

    Update:
    After having the bees on upper entrances for three weeks, most hives doing well. The hives that have upper entrances do not use the lower entrances, they are guarded in most cases, but not used.


    ------------------
    Sol Parker
    Southern Oregon Apiaries
    http://www.allnaturalhoney.com

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,033

    Post

    After the whole summer of trying the new entrances, I think I am satisfied. I think in the future, I will make the bottom entrance a little wider though, just for more ventilation.

    I wish I had gotten a hive big enough to try the unlimited broodnest thing. The highest I got a hive was two full boxes, and this from a hive that was split. It did really well, remember, it was a package.

    I wonder how often you can split a first year package and still get your best hive out of the deal?

    ------------------
    Sol Parker
    Southern Oregon Apiaries
    http://www.allnaturalhoney.com

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,361

    Post

    It depends on the queen, the weather, if you have drawn comb and if you want any honey.

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    Posts
    767

    Smile

    Hey Wired,
    What was your final configuration? Did you use an excluder above the top entrance? Was enough honey stored below in the broad chambers (especially the bottom chamber)? Here's the way I see it stack up:

    1. Super
    2. Super
    3. Excluder
    4. Main Entrance
    5. Brood
    6. Brood
    7. Small Entrance
    8. Screened BB


  13. #33
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,033

    Post

    I didnt end up with anything but plain bottom board, two or three deeps (top one not full) entrance doodad and then top.

    I plan to have an entrance on top of three deeps and have deeps for honey on top of that, however many I shal. need, I will see.

    ------------------
    Sol Parker
    Southern Oregon Apiaries
    http://www.allnaturalhoney.com

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    YANCEY CO., NC
    Posts
    634

    Default Re: Upper entrances, nature and IPM

    Solomon how did it go are you still using this setup or did you find that it was more trouble then worth it I want to know I'm going to try this on a few of my hives this year.

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,033

    Default Re: Upper entrances, nature and IPM

    Wow, old thread, all the way back to my newbee days!

    I am still using a setup very similar to this and in fact, the vast majority of the entrances I'm using are the ones I built back then. Currently, I am using two entrances and two identical lids for each hive. From the bottom up, it goes, lid, entrance, box box box, entrance (landing board up to make an awning), lid, brick. On small hives, I will leave off either the upper or lower entrance.

    This year, I neglected to put any entrance reducers on, so we'll see how that goes. So far, no problems.

    I have seen the bees tend to prefer the upper entrances as a rule, with lower entrances being more or less vacant. Robbers go by smell and since the bottom is an intake, there doesn't seem to be much draw for them there.

    One other modification I have been using is making the bottom box a ten frame nuc with a permanently attached bottom and a 1.5" hole for an entrance drilled into the front of the box. Upper entrances have remained the same except for turning them over to make an awning rather than a landing board. Landing boards are unnecessary and awnings are much more useful in keeping rain and snow out.

    With upper entrances, I never have condensation problems.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    YANCEY CO., NC
    Posts
    634

    Default Re: Upper entrances, nature and IPM

    Thanks for the reply the last two years I've used a screened inner cover liked it very well do you use a queen excluder above the broodnest.And can you tell how much better your honey flow is compared to a regular setup.

  17. #37
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    5,777

    Default Re: Upper entrances, nature and IPM

    >> how bees want to keep an upper entrance rather than a bottom one. This defies the standard hive design straight off. A bottom entrance makes drafts in the brood chamber making it harder for the bees to keep a constant temp and humidity.

    I dont know how you manage the bottom entrance but I reduce mine for most of the year, except during the heat of the production season. They then use the entrance fully for fanning and to provide an opening large enough to handle the huge amount of traffic into and out of the hive through the day.

    In the spring fall and winter they have a reduced entrance which is much prefered over the full entrance
    upper entrance during the winter is key
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  18. #38
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    portland, dorset, UK
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: Upper entrances, nature and IPM

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    upper entrance during the winter is key
    Hi, is this a general reference to running colonies in your area or specific to your own indoor wintering set-up (as per that nice video you linked a while back)?

  19. #39
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Shoshone County, Idaho
    Posts
    567

    Default Re: Upper entrances, nature and IPM

    I went to all upper entrances on my 4-way pallets last spring and have eliminated skunk and mouse problems and produced the most honey since I started keeping bees.
    Completely eliminated the bottom entrance and the upper entrance is part of the rim on my migratory covers.
    Can't wait to see the honey production rates over several more years to see if it was just a good year or if the change really made a difference.
    I don't get bearding as much and the bees don't sit and fan since the entrance is at the top and lets the heat readily escape!
    Hugus Creek Honey Farm: St. Maries, ID / Lewiston, ID
    Like us on Facebook

  20. #40
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,033

    Default Re: Upper entrances, nature and IPM

    Quote Originally Posted by kenr View Post
    do you use a queen excluder above the broodnest.And can you tell how much better your honey flow is compared to a regular setup.
    I don't use a queen excluder for anything other than queen rearing (queenright cell builder and finisher). For that purpose, I have a handfull of plastic queen excluders. As for comparing with a conventional setup, I couldn't say. There is no honey to be had when it's hot enough to really need big ventilation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mtn. Bee View Post
    I went to all upper entrances on my 4-way pallets last spring and have eliminated skunk and mouse problems and produced the most honey since I started keeping bees.
    A skunk problem is what renewed my dedication to upper entrances. I had been less dedicated to it for a while. The skunk was what gave me the idea for the 10-frame nuc bottom box. The 1.5" hole has a metal disc entrance on it. I can close it off and still maintain ventilation.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

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