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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
    6,588

    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
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  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
    3,441

    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
    3,772

    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
    2,901

    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
    10,020

    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

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Stephenson County, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: Upper Entrance Variation Question

    Thank you all for the responses, some very interesting ideas and concepts to consider. Since I am starting three hives, maybe I will try some different techniques on each.
    So if I refined my question to, "Can a hole be used as a main entrance, and if so, how big does it need to be?", what would your response be?
    If I were to use a slotted entrance, would 1/8" be tall enough for the bees to enter/exit or do I need 3/8" minimun?
    Thank you again for all the great ideas, keep them coming if there are more.
    As soon as I figure out how to post photos to posts or albums, I will be sure to share mine.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,588

    Default Re: Upper Entrance Variation Question

    Quote Originally Posted by MidwestPrimitive View Post
    If I were to use a slotted entrance, would 1/8" be tall enough for the bees to enter/exit or do I need 3/8" minimun?
    Bees are not going to fit through a 1/8" slot. Some people use 1/4" screen as mouse excluders, so bees generally fit though that, but I would suggest a 3/8" slot is more appropriate.

    Some people find it easiest to post images to a free photo sharing site like Photobucket.com, then link to those images at Beesource. Depending on the link style you choose, images can be "clickable," or displayed inline right in your post.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Stephenson County, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: Upper Entrance Variation Question

    Great, thank you for the info. I started a photobucket account the other day, maybe I will try that. I already have my photos in albums with descriptions on my FB page, I wonder if I can just link that...

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Stephenson County, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: Upper Entrance Variation Question

    I have some tongue-and-groove boards that i could glue into a solid board, I wonder if I planed it to 3/8" and cut a notch for an entrance maybe I could use it as a spacer between the supers. I assume I would cut grooves in it that would allign with the spacing between frames. That way the frames wouldn't have voids from upper box to lower box, but the area between frames would. I think it would look like a slatted board with the slats running parallel with the frames and the slats located where the frames are. Space between the slats to align with the space between the frames.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Stephenson County, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: Upper Entrance Variation Question

    Here is my progress so far with building my hives, hopefully the link works.

    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...1&l=f6da413cd6

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    597

    Default Re: Upper Entrance Variation Question

    In my short observations of my only hive, bees prefer a top entrance when foraging. But they use the lower entrance to get rid of the dead bees. I leave a small lower entrance for that reason. It just makes sense, bees fall to the bottom and they drag them right out. Otherwise, they have to drag them up, over, and out.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Montgomery,M.N.
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: Upper Entrance Variation Question

    I like your idea. Give it a try and let us know how it works.

    John

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    2,783

    Default Re: Upper Entrance Variation Question

    You are not that far from us, so I would suggest you:

    Use entrance reducers untill the hive is getting strong and the weather warms. When you see bees in a super, set it back the width of one bee. Continue to do so with every super you add, when it is occupied. When the flow slows in August, close all upper entrances to prevent robbing.

    Less hardware is more primitive, but less complicated.

    Crazy Roland

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Littlerock, California, USA
    Posts
    951

    Default Re: Upper Entrance Variation Question

    The upper entrance lets the foraging bees have direct access to either the brood or store areas without having to travel through the brood boxes.
    I have modeled my hive set up based on Jerry Hayes' POV article
    http://www.beesource.com/point-of-vi...oney-excluder/
    You may want to read his observations. I have not experienced a great amount of burr comb using the 3/8" shims. I do use the queen excluder above the two deeps. I reduce the entrance above the broodnest to about 3/8" x 1" and I keep the lower (standard) entrance and have it open to 3/8" x 3".
    “Everything will be all right in the end... if it's not all right then it's not yet the end”

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Stephenson County, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: Upper Entrance Variation Question

    I like that link ccar, thank you. It helps me visualize the layout and order. I think I have a solid plan for all three hives now. A shimmed/pitched opening above the brood nest on #1, a 3/8 inch board with an entrance cut and channels cut to match the frame layout on #2, and holes for entrances on #3. Although I might trade #1 for a full top entrance(I'm still thinking I don't want pitched supers). All using no/minimal access at sbb.
    Will a single 3/4 inch hole be big enough for a main entrance? Too big?

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Stephenson County, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: Upper Entrance Variation Question


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

    Default Re: Upper Entrance Variation Question

    I tried to link the photobucket album of my hive-building experience, but it says it needs to be approved by a moderator first. Did I link it wrong?

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