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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Paw Paw, SW Lower Michigan
    Posts
    125

    Default Bees only using top entrance?

    My two deep hive made it through winter and a late spring. The bees have been very active during our sunny days, including today. However they are only using the top entrance, even when it's very crowded. I watched them today and the few bees that went in the bottom usually came right out. Others would look like they were going to land on the bottom board then appear to change their mind and fly up. I think the bees spent the winter in the top under the insulation. Will they eventually move down? Could there be a lot of dead bees or something else that would prevent them from using the bottom entrance? I have the bottom entrance reducer at the smallest opening. I'm leary to open up the hive as the days are still cool and the nights are near freezing. Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,771

    Default Re: Bees only using top entrance?

    They like it. You can check the bottom board but I don't think you'll find a blockage. The bees just like the top entrance. Many of my hives have a ventilated inner cover (think of a shim with ventilated holes all around and a notch in front, the whole thing being a couple of inches high and sitting between the top box and the outer cover) and the bees use that top entrance much more than the fully open bottom entrance. I leave both open all season and they most always prefer the top. Myu suggestion is to let the bees do what they think is best and become their student!
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,902

    Default Re: Bees only using top entrance?

    Ravenseye, when you use a ventilated inner cover a couple inches tall, do you get the bees building burr comb in that space? John

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,902

    Default Re: Bees only using top entrance?

    Never mind, I didn't realize how the ventilated covers were built until I just looked it up and saw a picture of one. John

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Baker Oregon
    Posts
    2,431

    Default Re: Bees only using top entrance?

    Quote Originally Posted by NonTypicalCPA View Post
    Will they eventually move down? Could there be a lot of dead bees or something else that would prevent them from using the bottom entrance?
    I also find that mine prefer the top (when I used bottom and top entrances). Yes they should move down, but should is the operative word. I have had problems with that, so I am moving to shim entrances between the brood boxes, when they have built up enough to guard it, and a small top entrance. Do check to see if the bottom is blocked, but I also doubt it.
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 12 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Old Town, Maine, USA
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: Bees only using top entrance?

    If you haven't been in to the bottom box yet, I would almost bet that the bottom board is full of dead bees. I have 2 in that state right now, but it still isn't warm enough to clean out yet.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,118

    Default Re: Bees only using top entrance?

    You know, there are some advantages to a top entrance. Could just go with it.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Baytown, TX., USA.
    Posts
    651

    Default Re: Bees only using top entrance?

    Ventilated covers are good for getting smoke on the top of the hive. It also lets you see if the girls are having a bad day or not, you can avoid getting hit with a ton of mad bees. You can put a puff of smoke and see the effect and just how long to wait before taking the screen off.
    On a recently caught swarm the top entry was used almost entirely, I think I will close the bottom entry.
    Julysun elevation 23 feet. 4 Hives, 2 years.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,771

    Default Re: Bees only using top entrance?

    I have never seen burr comb in ventilated top covers. The only problem I've had is making them too short. That is, making the vents too shallow under the outer cover so that the outer cover hangs down well over the vents. The next time I build them, they'll either be taller so that more vent is exposed to the breeze or I move the holes lower for the same reason. No burr comb on any ventilated cover I've made.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Bristol,MA,USA
    Posts
    728

    Default Re: Bees only using top entrance?

    If it is warm enough in your area, it may be time to reverse the supers. Bees travel the most efficient routes. The brood nest is at the top and so are their stores. The bottom super is probably empty. Just reverse them and they will start using the bottom entrance and neglect somewhat the top after a short time. OMTCW

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Paw Paw, SW Lower Michigan
    Posts
    125

    Default Re: Bees only using top entrance?

    Thanks everyone for the replys. I was wondering about dead bees in the bottom. As soon as it warms up I will open up and clean out and or reverse the boxes if necessary. I didn't have a top entrance last year so this is new to me.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,678

    Default Re: Bees only using top entrance?

    Today is going to be a warm day. May be a little rainy, but warm. BTW, mine are using the vent hole as well and I know the bottom board is clear since it is brand new. The easiest way to change out the board is to set a new one beside the hive and move the hive to the new bottom board. Remove the old one and slide the hive over.
    To get what you want to accomplish shouldn't take more than two minutes.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Kalamazoo,MI
    Posts
    331

    Default Re: Bees only using top entrance?

    The reason they are using the top entrance is because that's where the cluster is at.
    I wouldn't break any boxes apart just yet. Their still talking about snow flakes later this week. Your job now is to make sure they have something left to feed on.
    When you know that the cold weather is over you can swap bottom boards out.
    We use dual entrances all season long with good success.

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