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Thread: top entrances

  1. #1
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    Jun 2011
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    Campbell River, BC, CA
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    Default top entrances

    The plan this summer, is to add a top entrance for our hives. I've read a few simple ways, ie, move back a super as an example. Problem with that, we get a lot of rain in our part of the world, and, I'm not keen on leaving that crack exposed to collect rain. We've got telescoping covers on the hives, so, cracking the lid up a bit doesn't seem like the right answer either, it'll still be under the overhang of the telescoping cover. A shim between the supers will create a larger than wanted gap between frames.

    Is there any reason to look at anything more complicated than simply drilling a hole in the super for a top entrance ? And if we just drill a hole, is there any reason to make it any specific size, ie, is an inch to big, half inch to small ?

    Ok, now I'm ready for a hundred different answers.

    Plan right now, just drill a 3/4 inch hole in each super before they go on. I'm really wondering if there is any specific reason this is a bad idea ?

  2. #2
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    May 2012
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    Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
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    Default Re: top entrances

    I know a guy who just used upside-down bottom boards for lids, and from his experience, it worked well.

  3. #3
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    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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    Default Re: top entrances

    Simple top entrance is to removeall or part of front top 3/8 rim of inner cover for an entrance. Obviously, telescoping cover should not be blocking this entrance and may need to shimmed upwards so as to not block.

    Add four 1 1/4 holes in inner cover towards the four corners.

    Bees enter and crawl over inner cover and enter the hive via the four holes and hand hole in the center. Bees do not build any comb above the inner cover.
    If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  4. #4
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    May 2012
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    Rockford, MI
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    Default Re: top entrances

    Not a bad idea to drill, but an entrance in the rim of an inner cover is a better one. You can also install it with the entrance down for easier access for the bees.

    images.jpeg

  5. #5
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    Default Re: top entrances

    Quote Originally Posted by westernbeekeeper View Post
    I know a guy who just used upside-down bottom boards for lids, and from his experience, it worked well.
    This was in use as having a top entrance as the only entrance. I use inner covers with a 1" wide notch.

  6. #6
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    Apr 2011
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    lee county, fl, usa
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    Default Re: top entrances

    Quote Originally Posted by westernbeekeeper View Post
    I know a guy who just used upside-down bottom boards for lids, and from his experience, it worked well.
    If you needed to reduce the entrance, how would you do that?
    No landing board this way, correct? Would your new bottom board be a lid, or a closed off bottom board? What about the space on top that the upside down bottom board creates, what do the bees do with that? I've thought of trying what you suggest but have had these questions.
    Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Prvb 16:24
    March 2010; +/- 30 hives, TF

  7. #7
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: top entrances

    Mine are all top entrances. I create them with shims on a flat cover. I reduce them with a 3/4" by 1/4" by 10" or so piece of wood with a nail in the center to make a pivot. Rain has never been an issue. Overhangs just catch the wind and get more rain and cause the cover to blow off. Landing boards serve no real purpose.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopentrance.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8
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    May 2012
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    Default Re: top entrances

    Quote Originally Posted by bevy's honeybees View Post
    If you needed to reduce the entrance, how would you do that?
    No landing board this way, correct? Would your new bottom board be a lid, or a closed off bottom board? What about the space on top that the upside down bottom board creates, what do the bees do with that? I've thought of trying what you suggest but have had these questions.
    He used the bottom board with the 3/4" entrance facing down, and used a regular wooden entrance reducer when needed. No landing board. The new bottom was either a closed off bottom board, or just a 16 1/4" x 19 7/8" (hive dimensions) boards with 1/4" rails/rims around the edge to provide bee space underneath the bottom super of frames. He used both. I don't remember what he used to maintain bee space in the area created by the bottom board.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
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    Default Re: top entrances

    I would change over to all top entrances, but I would think that when opening up the hive and removing boxes, that would cause much confusion and lots of bees just hovering looking for the entrance. Those that have strictly top entrances, do you find that is what happens? Or do the bees just land on the top of the frames on whatever box is exposed and go in? I am starting to have skunk problems and lost alot of bees last season due to them, so having top entances would stop all that. John

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
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    Default Re: top entrances

    Attachment 4170

    I have some top entrances like the one in the pic. A piece of plywood with shims built up on the two ends to about 3/4" on the high side. The entrance is on the long side of the top and I can remove or replace sections of 3/4" strips to reduce or open the entrance width. Works pretty good, and no need for an inner cover.
    To everything there is a season....

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Massillon, Ohio
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    3,440

    Default Re: top entrances

    jmgi,
    Skunks are the reason I switched to all top entrances and it's worked out great. At times there may be a bit more confusion and activity when inspecting the colonies with top entrances but it's usually not too bad. What I will do if they are a bit on the irritable side, and I need to do a thorough inspection, is to move the boxes and re-stack them on the cover off to one side, leaving one at the original spot. This keeps me away from the returning forager bees as I work through the boxes.
    To everything there is a season....

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Victoria, Australia
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    Default Re: top entrances

    I've being using top entrances and am now moving to making the lid the same as the base. The shim on the lid/base is 3/4" shorter than the length of the boxes, the entrance is a separate piece of wood that is 3/4" x 3/4" x the width of the hive. So it can easily be removed with a hive tool. The floor/roof has a bit of overhang, and I use a ratchet strap to keep the boxes and lid/base all together.

    As I want the entrance to be no higher than 3/8" I have the hole for the entrance cut into this piece of wood. It can be turned on it's side to close the entrance off completely. Or you could have two different width entrances for each piece of wood, top and bottom. I do also pull out one side, away from the hive, so the entrance width can be adjusted that way as well.

    The bees land on the front of the hive and walk up in the entrance, just like they do with a hive in a tree.

    Working the hive is different because you have field bees landing on the front of the box you are working on and going in at the top. So more bees on top of the frames towards the front of the hive and confused bees circling in front of the hive. You get used to it.

    Also, an excluder works much better when you have both a top AND bottom entrance. As my top entrances are in the lid, they are right at the top of the hive. It may work better to start with only a top entrance a week or two before you put on an excluder, so that the top is used as the main entrance.

    Having both a top and bottom entrance seems to work better than just one entrance.

    I would recommend a bottom entrance of only a 1/2 inch most of the time, and no wider than 1 inch (unless you have temperatures above 35C/95F). I have found that bearding in hot weather has stopped, with having both entrances. The fanners go to the bottom entrance and draw air down through the hive and out the bottom. The evaporation from the nectar helps to cool the hive, with the wettest nectar at the top, air is drawn down. So the foragers come and go in the top entrance without having to dodge fanning bees. We've had temperatures of 40C/104F and looking at the top entrance, you wouldn't even think they were hot. (I did open the bottom entrance to a couple of inches on these days.)

    The main thing is that the bees store less nectar in the brood nest and more above the brood nest! This helps to reduce backfilling of the brood nest, therefore reducing conditions for swarm preparation as well.

    Matthew Davey
    Last edited by MattDavey; 01-30-2013 at 06:11 AM.

  13. #13
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    Jun 2012
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    Houston, Texas, USA
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    460

    Default Re: top entrances

    Brushy Mountain also sells the inner covers with the 3/4" notch you can put to the front so all you have to do is push your telescoping cover to the front to allow them in. If you want to close it off, just pull the telescoping top to the back and it is blocked. If you have the tools you can probably notch any inner cover you have.

    http://www.brushymountainbeefarm.com...oductinfo/671/
    Mike
    N5RWH - 9a

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
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    968

    Default Re: top entrances

    I prefer top entrances, and have tried a few different styles.

    I also spent the first couple decades of my life in and around the Puget Sound and understand the rain issue.

    I prefer using a 3 sided shim btw brood chamber and supers,
    It's cut to leave rooma t front for a straight shim that can be slid left and right to reduce/open up the entrance.

    I've never had moisture issues, and the bees cross the extra 1/4" or so easily.

    If I were concerned about rain running down the side and entering the hive, I' d just set the super forward an eighth inch or so to form a drip line without leaving room for water to enter at rear.

    I've also used a piece of 1/2 in exterior plywood with a beespace shim on bottom as a lid with no inner cover and that works very well also.

    Either leave section a few inches long with no shim somewhere on the perimeter, or leave one edge with no shim permanently attached and use a straight one on one side to make an adjustable entrance as above.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: top entrances

    >I would change over to all top entrances, but I would think that when opening up the hive and removing boxes, that would cause much confusion and lots of bees just hovering looking for the entrance

    This happens with a bottom entrance too, it's just not as obvious. They come back looking for a hive of a certain height and certain landmarks, and where they expect it is a shorter hive with a tall white object next to it. The difference is that they are hovering lower with the bottom entrance, but they are just a confused.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  16. #16
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    May 2012
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    Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA
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    Default Re: top entrances

    I think you are definitely right, Michael. I was thinking the same thing.

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