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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    Columbia, Missouri
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    47

    Default Upper/ top entrance design -- Korschgen

    Frequently there is discussion about upper/top hive entrances and their benefits on this forum (and now detailed in Michael Bush’s book on page 329). Last summer I converted my nine hives to upper entrances and finally had a decent honey harvest from my older hives.

    I built upper entrances with a landing board that can quickly be placed between the hive bodies and the supers -- I do not use queen excluders. During the process of coming up with a design I looked at several of Joe Clemens designs (boy do I appreciate his CAD expertise!), the Imirie shim, and in the bee supply catalogs for options. My design is different than most that I have seen. It is constructed from 5 pieces of wood per the attached graphic. I make the opening about 20” in length, slightly longer than the standard 19 7/8” hive box, so that it fits easily on the hive box and there is a crack for a rain gutter on the front edge. As long as the two long shims are cut from good wood the frame is very sturdy.

    Contact me if you have questions or need additional information.

    Carl Korschgen
    carlkorsch@a0l.com
    573-819-8516


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,113

    Default Re: Upper/ top entrance design -- Korschgen

    That's almost exactly the 'Parker Shim' I came up with 9 years ago. The main difference is mine has no back support.

    http://parkerfarms.biz/equipment.htm...ized_Equipment

    How have you liked it? I started using mine upside down to form an 'awning' rather than a landing board. Works great for snow and gives a good place for bearding. http://parkerfarms.biz/equipment.html#The_Parker_Shim
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    688

    Default Re: Upper/ top entrance design -- Korschgen

    Has anyone tried placing a full width entrance above the two deep broods? And say bee space between the frames is maintained by using a deep super shortened. Another way would be to place a 3/8 round piece of plywood on top of frames(queen excluder of sorts) of top brood frames that fits inside of entrance shim?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    medina, NY
    Posts
    131

    Default Re: Upper/ top entrance design -- Korschgen

    This is the upper entrance I use, it is the same dimension as a super/hive body, except it is short, 1/2 or so. I made new ones that are right around half inch. I have not had any of the hives try to fill in under the lid, but when i open the lid there is always a big cluster of bees sitting there. The hives with the top entrance(5) out produced the bottom entrance hives(5) in honey produced, so all my hive will have top entrances this year. But i am going to try/experiment with several top entrances like shown on M. Bush's site.(shims)

    upper entrance.jpg

  5. #5
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    Dec 2002
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    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,113

    Default Re: Upper/ top entrance design -- Korschgen

    That looks like a thicker version of the Imrie Shim.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    San Jose, Ca
    Posts
    372

    Default Re: Upper/ top entrance design -- Korschgen

    That looks great. I was looking for an easy to build little addon that they could land on and go in. Like others have said, if the hive gets 5-6 boxes tall then they have to crawl through all that and time is honey.

    Thanks

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Columbia, Missouri
    Posts
    47

    Default Re: Upper/ top entrance design -- Korschgen

    Folks,

    Thanks for the comments. I put the back support on so that I can reduce the shims to 3/8". It is hard to fasten the intersection of pieces of wood that thin.

    My observation is that given a choice the bees will use an upper entrance more than a bottom entrance. I also noticed a lot less bearding during the heat of the summer. My hives have screened bottom boards with a bottom entrance that is restricted by an entrance reducer to 3/8” x 2”. I built these upper entrance frames with a 3/8” shim in consideration of bee space and also to keep mice out of the hive. The bees do occasionally bridge between the hive bodies and supers but not to the extent that they are hard to separate.

    Also, I don’t think the bees need more than a 3/8” deep opening across the front the hive. The year before I installed these entrances I could not entice the bees to fill out the supers. With upper entrances in place I took 60 quarts of honey off of 4 hives during a drought year – not the best but at least something.

    To prepare the hives for winter I remove the supers, partially close the SBB, install the inner cover on top of the upper entrance frame, and then place an entrance reducer (3/8 x 2” opening to hive) on the landing board of my upper entrance frame. I put an empty hive body on top of the inner cover and feed all winter long in this attic.

    Carl Korschgen

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Frederick, MD, USA
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    13

    Default Re: Upper/ top entrance design -- Korschgen

    Today I modified my (brand new) telescoping cover and inner cover to make top entrances for two hives. All western boxes with a screen bottom board, reduceable bottom entrance, no queen excluders.

    Inspired by looking at Michael Bush's site with shimmed top entrances... I wanted to keep telescoping covers to limit rain running down the sides and front. I also wanted an entrance on only one side of the hive, the front.

    Basically all I did was cut a rectangular notch out of the front of a telescoping cover- approximately 14'' x 2''. I attached the cut-out to the front of what will be a permanent top super to make a landing pad.

    Then I added 5/8'' "shims" to the bottom of my inner covers on three sides, all except the front. The result with the inner and top cover on and aligned is a 5/8'' x 13.75'' top entrance , with an overhanging lip from the telescoping cover, plus a landing pad under it.

    Now, I've never done this before and I'm fairly inexperienced. Can anyone see any potential problems with this? Will the bees make a mess between the top of the frames and the inner cover, now raised? I could fill in the middle of the cover with plywood.

    I don't have pictures yet but if anyone is interested I can probably post some tomorrow. It looks really nice to me.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
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    2,644

    Default Re: Upper/ top entrance design -- Korschgen

    Almost the same as i use, mine is just the same landing pad on both ends. and I ususaly leave both open.... The extra 3/8 slows teh queen from climbing into the super. won't say it stops them, but its real rare for them to cross up

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Frederick, MD, USA
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    13

    Default Re: Upper/ top entrance design -- Korschgen

    So it sounds like you made an entrance in the middle of the hive between the supers and brood chamber?

    I have one entrance on the very top, one on the very bottom. With all medium bodies it shouldn't matter where the queen wants to go, I can rearrange the frames when I pull the ones full of honey.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    967

    Default Re: Upper/ top entrance design -- Korschgen

    I've been using a shim very similar, but without any cleat or landing board...just the 3 sided shim.

    I cut it so that the long side is 3/4" shorter than the box, and put a pair of straight shims into the entrance to serve as a reducer as needed.

    The corners are lap-joined...the shims hold up very well, and if painted several can be stores on any peg, nail, or branch in the bee yard when not in use.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Columbia, Missouri
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    47

    Default Re: Upper/ top entrance design -- Korschgen

    Davo
    Yes, I put my entrances in the middle of the hives (between my upper deep brood box and the lower super) during nectar flow. That way the bees have fast access to the entire hive. I keep a very small entrance at the bottom for housekeeping purposes. All hives have screened bottom boards and vent boxes above the inner cover.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Baker Oregon
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    2,408

    Default Re: Upper/ top entrance design -- Korschgen

    Last year I put entrances between the brood boxes, by cutting cedar shake dove to 3/4 inches wide. This made a nice 3/8 entrance across the hive. When I only had top entrances the colonies would never move down into the bottom boxs in the fall. Of course I lost most of my colonies this winter, but I doubt the two are related.
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 12 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  14. #14
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    May 2011
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    Livermore, CA
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    Default Re: Upper/ top entrance design -- Korschgen

    Heres my migratory cover entrances, really simple and easy to make and so far the bees don't seem to mind them either!!



    Just take a cover, notch out a square with a power saw, place cleat on top to prevent warping (like normal) and there ya have it!
    Coyote Creek Bees

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Frederick, MD, USA
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    13

    Default Re: Upper/ top entrance design -- Korschgen

    Quote Originally Posted by carlinmo View Post
    Davo
    Yes, I put my entrances in the middle of the hives (between my upper deep brood box and the lower super) during nectar flow. That way the bees have fast access to the entire hive. I keep a very small entrance at the bottom for housekeeping purposes. All hives have screened bottom boards and vent boxes above the inner cover.
    That sounds like a really attractive setup to me.

    The way I was taught to keep bees, they said to always work from behind the hive. Supposedly they are less disrupted and less likely to become aggressive. That's why I wanted two entrances on the front only. Do you find any difference between working a hive with a front and back entrance, opposed to front only?


    Edit: @ BeeGhost:
    I like your cover (also wish I had time to stain my wood rather than paint). Is one entrance that size wide enough for a bigger colony?

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Litchfield, CT, USA
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    430

    Default Re: Upper/ top entrance design -- Korschgen

    Carl, what do you use for a top cover?
    "Someday we will look back and realize someone was right...and conveniently forget we were the ones that were wrong."

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Jefferson County, WA, USA
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    132

    Default Re: Upper/ top entrance design -- Korschgen

    With an upper entrance like these, do bees build comb on top of the frames up to the migratory cover? I have telescopic covers and have been thinking of trying a few top entrances because of condensation problems. However, I worry that rain entering could be an issue. How about having an entrance shim like this one, then an inner cover, and then a top cover that only had three vertical sides on it with an extra over hang on the front (if that makes any sense)?

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Jefferson County, WA, USA
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    132

    Default Re: Upper/ top entrance design -- Korschgen

    Or how about instead of a Imrie Shim or 'Parker Shim', a inner cover with an thicker than normal rim that basically has only 3 sides. Similar to a notch inner cover only with a bigger opening. Then the modified cover to sit on top of that.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Livermore, CA
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    1,403

    Default Re: Upper/ top entrance design -- Korschgen

    Davo, this is just the top entrance, I run all bottom entrances on hive pallets that are about 6" wide and 3/4" tall, so I can fit the OA vaporizer in the entrance.
    Coyote Creek Bees

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Frederick, MD, USA
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    13

    Default Re: Upper/ top entrance design -- Korschgen

    Ok, I got around to taking pictures. I hope this works.

    CIMG3066.jpghv2.JPGhv3.JPG
    Attached Images Attached Images

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