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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Hartington, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    58

    Default Top entrance propolis variation

    I run my 8 colonies with top and bottom entrances. Bottom entrance is normal full width of box, top entrance is a 2" slot cut in the inner cover on the underside which is intended for ventilation. A few bees stand guard up there all the time, there is a bit of traffic in and out for supplies, but mostly they seem to prefer the wide space of the bottom entrance. As winter prep they tend to accumulate plastic propolis near the top entrance, which is used to block off the gap in the inner cover. The top entrance is never fully blocked by propolis. I take from this that the bees see an advantage in the ventilation provided by the top entrance.

    What is a puzzle is the degree to which individual colonies block the top entrance. Some have blocked it off leaving enough passage for two bees, one on each side of the slot. Others have blocked it off hardly at all. My colonies are pretty even in terms of stores and population of bees, so I'm wondering what other factors might be involved in their decision to what degree to block the top. I was thinking perhaps other ventilation gaps (between boxes, through telescoping cover, etc) but again I don't see a correlation between hive integrity and degree of blocking.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    1,243

    Default Re: Top entrance propolis variation

    Genetic diversity is all the answer you need. No two colonies are exactly the same in genetic make up. Even sister queens (might be half sisters) mate with multiple drones. Drones only get one chance at it. Genetic diversity is insured, and is touted as beneficial for long-term species survival.
    Walt

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,492

    Default Re: Top entrance propolis variation

    The main impetus to propolizing is light. Upper entrances allow more light in.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    8,429

    Default Re: Top entrance propolis variation

    I don't concern myself with upper entrances that are propolised. If the bees put it there they can take it away when they want to. If it is 3/4 in or larger wood they can't make a new entrance or vent hole at will.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

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