I have a single deep with two medium supers above, the supers are separated from the deep by a queen excluder put in place once the bees started to draw out comb. I have the top super set back for ventilation and as a top entrance, along with an inner cover with an entrance. The bees are not using either of the top entrances. In fact, they still use just the side of the bottom entrance where the opening was with an entrance reducer when I established this hive from a nuc earlier this year. I see the occasional bee crawl out of the set back, but they just crawl back in.
This is my first year, so I am still in major learning mode. I am using the QE on advice of my mentor as part of wintering in a single deep strategy. I would like to get foragers using the top entrances to make collecting more efficient as we get into the late summer flows. I tried sticking some grass in the bottom entrance first thing this morning at 7am, but removed it after about 10 minutes when the early bird foragers returning from the field started piling up on the front of the hive. Should I give this another try to get them to use the top entrance although do it at night before any foragers leave, or should I continue to leave them bee?
Re: Top Entrance
I use a double deep/QE/supers setup with top entrances. When I switch new hives from bottom to top entrances, I don't worry about it, I switch them and let the bees figure it out. Just remember to leave a way for any drones to get out from the bottom, since they can't get through the QE. I like the foragers coming in the top to the supers and not having to go through the QE to get into the supers. I feel they super more honey that way, but there still is always honey in and around the brood nest and in the top brood box for winter. Plus it makes me leave them their fair share, whats in the bottom two boxes is theirs, whats up top is mine.