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Thread: Upper Entrance

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Greenwich, New York, USA
    Posts
    10

    Default Upper Entrance

    I would like some feedback on your experience with upper hive entrances. Just got back from Spain and saw the original "mellifera iberica" in action (speel checkers may fault me- you know Spanish Bees). Fascinating to see the original american import. They are dark, large and not so mellow with lots of woldflowers to pollinate this time of year. The comercial beekeeper there didn't use a bottom board entrance at all, just a slot at the middle of the brood box. I think a reduced bottom entrance and an upper brood box entrance might be worth using but would like to know what others have experienced with this strategy. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    3,406

    Default Re: Upper Entrance

    The bees will adapt to, and get used to, whatever you set them up with. I've switched all my hives to top entrances in order to eliminate the problem of skunks and mice. The bees don't seem to care too much, I think it's mostly beekeeper preference. Some people don't like inspecting top entrance hives with returning foragers right in their face. I've figured out how to work around that and it's not a problem.
    To everything there is a season....

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,863

    Default Re: Upper Entrance

    I am trying upper entrances of some of my hives this year by notching the lower rim of the inner cover and propping up the outer cover so they can see the entrance better, I always thought that the incoming foragers would create a cloud of bees looking for the entrance when you are working a hive, not so, the returning bees just land on the top of the frames that are exposed and run right in, no problem. John

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,863

    Default Re: Upper Entrance

    Mike, what do you do for your upper entrances? How do they handle real hot weather with just the top entrance? I was wondering if using screen over the lower entrance to allow ventilation and an upper entrance would work? With a screened lower entrance would some of the bees still keep trying to get into the hive down there all the time? John

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,770

    Default Re: Upper Entrance

    I've mentioned this before but I'll post here as well. A few years ago I made a bunch of ventilation inner covers. Basically a thick shim with screened holes all around except that the shim has a floor making it a tall, inner cover with holes. It also has a notch in front the same as many standard inner covers. On every hive that has these ventilating inner covers the bees end up preferring the top entrance. They still use the bottom entrance but a few minutes of observation will lead you to believe that most bees choose to enter the hive using the top entrance. I often think (but I'm not sure) that during a nectar flow the bees carrying nectar instead of pollen tend to be the ones that use the top entrance. It seems that most of the pollen goes in the bottom. Again, I'm not sure but that's what I'm seeing.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    3,406

    Default Re: Upper Entrance

    jmgi,

    I just use plywood tops. I add a 3/4" wide X 3/8" thick strip of wood around three sides. If I need to restrict the entrance during the winter or when robbing is bad I just tack on sections of strips to close it down to about a 1 or 2 inch opening. I use screened bottom boards on all my hives so there is plenty of ventilation. I never have a problem with bearding or with bees clustering at the screen bottom board. If you screen off the bottom entrance they will eventually figure out they need to use the top entrance.

    I also have 3/4" holes drilled in some of my boxes and I'll have those open on my 3rd medium, the top of the brood nest. The bees enter at both locations, the broodnest area and at the top going into the supers.
    To everything there is a season....

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Westmoreland County, PA, USA
    Posts
    46

    Default Re: Upper Entrance

    I am a newbee, and am having great success with a top entrance. I started with a package in mid-April; lost my queen shortly after she was released, then the colony was plagued with laying workers. Shook and froze the package's frames, and installed a nuc on top of the package separated with newspaper. I was concerned that the nuc bees would not be able to get out of the hive, so I drilled a inch hole dead-center in the middle of the deep brood box. The hole is the same size as a wine cork, and I had a cork ready to stick in the hole if there seemed to be any problem. Quite the contrary. The bees seem to love the hole. They use both the hole and the bottom entrance, but there is usually a traffic jam at the upper entrance. Some bees land near the hole, others try to fly directly into it.

    Centerhole.JPGCenterHole2.jpgCenterhole3.jpg

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Knox Co, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    830

    Default Re: Upper Entrance

    I use upper entrances on all on my hives too. I incorporate a five inche entrance into a solid inner cover and/or a ventilated inner cover based on the Honey Run design. http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/wp-c...ason_inner.pdf I just cut out a five inch x 3/8 inch deep notch in the front. I use duct tape to reduce the entrance size. I have not had a problem with winter winds blowing the tape off during the winter.

    I plan to build more of the Honey Run style inner covers. I like them because they work well with paint can feeders or placing fondant on top too.

    Tom

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Grand Blanc, MI
    Posts
    169

    Default Re: Upper Entrance

    I will put a a stick in-between the top and inner cover. It helps with ventilation and also provides an upper entrance when needed.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,863

    Default Re: Upper Entrance

    spencer, I'm not sure that would work, the bees would have to walk all the way over to the inner cover hole to get in, not likely they would do that. If they are to use an upper entrance efficiently it has to be under the inner cover, in other words, in the lower rim. I use a piece of wood like you do to prop up the outer cover for better ventilation though. John

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Shelbyville,Indiana,USA
    Posts
    166

    Default Re: Upper Entrance

    here is an upper entrance on the first hive I made.
    IMG_1662.jpg

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