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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Stephenson County, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    20

    Default Upper Entrance Variation Question

    I want to use a style of upper entrance, but am unsure of a main entrance size. I want to get a main entrance above the broods living/storage area, but below the supers I will be harvesting from. I do not plan on using a lower entrance at all, but plan on using a sbb.
    I have read that using a spacer-style entrance can result in bur comb filling in the extra space between the upper and lower frames. A shimmed entrance adds pitched upper-supers to that issue. Opening the lid makes the fancy bee escapes I got useful for kindling. Sliding the uppers forward or back opens the hive to moisture, and exposes the un-painted inside of the butternut oak hives I just built to the elements.
    Could I make a solid board for the upper supers to sit on, like a 1/2"x20"x16" piece that would have an entrance notched out and some pattern of slots cut into it for the bees to acess the uppers?
    If not, can I just drill a hole in the super for a main entrance? Maybe to keep the supers interchangeable, drill a hole in all of them and use corks to direct traffic patterns.
    What is an advised size for a hole I can use as a main/only entrance?
    Has anyone tried this, or thought about this? It seems like it would be a good alternative to a true top entrance, and you wouldnt be ripping the bees front door off every time you took a peek. Maybe it would help change the traffic across the brood nest and upper supers... but maybe not.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    JinXian AnHui, China
    Posts
    3

    Thumbs Up Re: Upper Entrance Variation Question

    Good ideas , It sounds reasonable, maybe It will optimize the traffics greatly,You may just try one brood, if it works, then apply to all the other broods.
    Hope you share some photos for us then.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,321

    Default Re: Upper Entrance Variation Question

    I'm puzzled by what you expect to gain by making the entrance in between the brood boxes and the honey supers. It seems to complicate things unnecessarily.

    Michael Bush's top entrances are at the top:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopentrance.htm
    Graham
    -- The real problem is not precise language, it's clear language. - Richard Feynman

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Genola, Ut
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: Upper Entrance Variation Question

    I know a commercial beekeeper that runs his hives similiar to what you are talking about. He drills a hole on all four sides of his boxes. He doesn't worry about closing any of them up. It is not unheard of to run hives this way. Give it a try.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    3,429

    Default Re: Upper Entrance Variation Question

    I switched to upper entrances a few years back and had the same question about easier access for the bees to the brood area. Some people cringe when I say this, but I drill one hole in some of my boxes and use those for the third medium entrance, the typical top of the brood nest. Then with an upper entrance on top they also have access to the supers. I have no scientific evidence for this but it seems logical that bees carrying pollen would choose to use the lower entrance so they don't have to climb all the way down through the supers to get to the brood area. And more time would be spent foraging rather than facing traffic jams in the supers. The bees seem to love it and the hole entrance stays quite active. When not in use the holes can be plugged with wine bottle corks.

    Burr comb is bad enough without creating a gap and encouraging more of it. And I don't like the idea of sliding the boxes back to create an offset entrance. Just my personal preference.
    To everything there is a season....

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,770

    Default Re: Upper Entrance Variation Question

    A few years ago I made some ventilated inner covers. Essentially a traditional inner cover but with tall sides that had screened holes on all four sides. The front had a notch, just like many inner covers. With the notch down, the bees used it as a top entrance in every case where I used that cover. I didn't even bother to close the bottom and a few bees went in there too. I never have problems with comb being built because of the "floor" and in the winter I use it for dry sugar.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,897

    Default Re: Upper Entrance Variation Question

    I think using an entrance shim between the brood and supers is good if you want to get away from a bottom entrance altogether. Just make sure you cut some 3/4" x 1/8" strips of wood and glue them around the perimeter of the shim board (if you are using a piece of plywood) top and bottom to give you the proper bee space. Also make enough slots in the plywood to allow good ventilation through the whole hive. I wouldn't make the slots any wider than 1/2", but make them long. You can make the entrance slot as wide as you want instead of drilling holes in your boxes. Burr comb should be very minimal doing it this way. If you use queen excluders for honey production, you can still use them above the shim with no problem. John

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,757

    Default Re: Upper Entrance Variation Question

    Why can't you screw a sloped piece of wood to the bottom of the first super to cover the exposed opening when you stagger the boxes? Using sheet metal as a slide gate you can vary the main entrance on the overhung side of the box as needed.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

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