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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Clover, WV
    Posts
    152

    Default Top Entrance Issues

    I am using top entrances, with a telescoping roof that has a 9" opening, with a 3/8" shim around the inside of the top. My bottoms are the normal design, with a screened bottom. Most of the season, the bottoms have been closed off, with the bees only allowed to use the top entrance.

    Some questions:

    How are you feeding, only using top entrances? I like the idea of feeding through the inner cover hole with a deep around the feeder, but that doesn't work with the top entrance.

    If I want to feed, can I just close off the top, open the bottom, and expect them to adjust? Does that do any harm?

    If you have any photos of your setup that is working out well, it would be nice to see some ideas. There is too much snow where my hives are to use anything except top entrances, at least for the winter season.

    Thanks in advance,
    John
    John Sampson-Tucker County, WV
    14 hives - All cutouts and swarms

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,797

    Default Re: Top Entrance Issues

    >How are you feeding, only using top entrances? I like the idea of feeding through the inner cover hole with a deep around the feeder, but that doesn't work with the top entrance.

    I've fed all kinds of ways. Frame feeders, top feeders, jar feeders, but my typical current method is a bottom board feeder:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfeeding...tomBoardFeeder

    >If I want to feed, can I just close off the top, open the bottom, and expect them to adjust?

    No. It will take them days to even start to adjust and more than a week to work it all out.

    > Does that do any harm?

    Blocking the top when that is their current entrance? Yes it will stop all traffic for a day or two and most traffic for a week or more.

    >If you have any photos of your setup that is working out well, it would be nice to see some ideas. There is too much snow where my hives are to use anything except top entrances, at least for the winter season.

    When I use a miller feeder, I put a shim on each side (to make the entrance) and if there is access at one end, I put that end at the back. I also often break off a shim to 2" short of the width of the entrance and put that in for a reducer. When I use a frame feeder I have a reducer that blocks all but the last 2" of the entrance and the frame feeder is on the opposite side from the feeder. When I use a jar feeder I reduce the entrance to 2" or less.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Clover, WV
    Posts
    152

    Default Re: Top Entrance Issues

    Michael,

    I took your website advice about granular sugar feeding to be more of a winter emergency practice. My research has led me to believe that they could better process syrup, as long as the weather was above 50 degrees. All of my hives are cutouts and swarms from this year, and all seem light. Two of them have almost no stores. I was planning on boosting them up with syrup now, and using the dry sugar method for carrying them over if needed.

    Is this methodology wrong?
    John Sampson-Tucker County, WV
    14 hives - All cutouts and swarms

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    965

    Default Re: Top Entrance Issues

    John,
    I'm not Michael, but that's what I do with late season swarms or cutouts.
    I've never had disease or mite problems, and survivability is acceptable: usually the ones that don't make it are the ones where I knew I was "pushing it" by hiving them too late or with a very small population.

    Where cutouts are concerned, I wait til spring if they're not going to be able to build up well.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
    Posts
    1,256

    Default Re: Top Entrance Issues

    Actually, you can use a top feeder with a top entrance. I made these inner covers from 3/4" ply. This one is shown upside down.

    topenter1.jpg

    You have to use them with a migratory cover if you're not using them with an empty super, but they work fine. The slot is routed out 3/8" deep. The screened hole is sized so a standard Mason jar feeder fits.

    If you have to close them off, you can just flip them over.

    One advantage I discovered for these inner cover/entrances is that you can work the hive from the front and still be out of the bees' flight path, because the slot is on the side.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    965

    Default Re: Top Entrance Issues

    Does having a feed jar 3" from the entrance relief cut promote more robbing?

    I've used a similar arrangement, but placing a shim under a migratory top for bee space, and found a greater frequency of robbing.
    Maybe a tighter space over the bars, as it looks like this has, will make a difference.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Clover, WV
    Posts
    152

    Default Re: Top Entrance Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by rhaldridge View Post
    Actually, you can use a top feeder with a top entrance. I made these inner covers from 3/4" ply. This one is shown upside down.

    topenter1.jpg

    You have to use them with a migratory cover if you're not using them with an empty super, but they work fine. The slot is routed out 3/8" deep. The screened hole is sized so a standard Mason jar feeder fits.

    If you have to close them off, you can just flip them over.

    One advantage I discovered for these inner cover/entrances is that you can work the hive from the front and still be out of the bees' flight path, because the slot is on the side.
    This is a much better setup that I had planned on trying. I will build some of these tonight. Thanks for the photo.
    John Sampson-Tucker County, WV
    14 hives - All cutouts and swarms

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Clover, WV
    Posts
    152

    Default Re: Top Entrance Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Beregondo View Post
    John,
    I'm not Michael, but that's what I do with late season swarms or cutouts.
    I've never had disease or mite problems, and survivability is acceptable: usually the ones that don't make it are the ones where I knew I was "pushing it" by hiving them too late or with a very small population.

    Where cutouts are concerned, I wait til spring if they're not going to be able to build up well.
    That sounds reasonable. I just came across some freebie frame feeders, and will fill them fill of dry sugar and see what happens. I have tried to avoid doing cutouts late, but most of them get passed on to me from Orkin, and by the time people get annoyed enough to call Orkin, there is no talking them into waiting. Only once in 10 this year have I been able to convince someone that waiting is better.
    John Sampson-Tucker County, WV
    14 hives - All cutouts and swarms

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