I would like to hear some pros and cons on the top entrance
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    Louisville Kentucky USA
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    459

    Default I would like to hear some pros and cons on the top entrance

    I am a second year beekeeper and I cruise through here all the time trying to pick up good ideas.I have been on Michael Bushes website and read about a lot of the things he uses and he has a lot of good info and observations.I like the idea of his hive covers with the top entrance so I went in the shop and churned out a couple of them.They were real easy to make.I was wondering who else uses this type of lids and what was everyones opinions about how they work.I have to say I like a lot of Mr. Bushes ideas about doing things the easier way.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Snowmass, Colorado, USA
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    2,488

    Default Re: I would like to hear some pros and cons on the top entrance

    MB is a very smart man. I use top entrances and they work great...a must in colder, snowy areas.
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid. John Wayne

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Winsted, CT, USA
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    76

    Default Re: I would like to hear some pros and cons on the top entrance

    It is the only way I have ever done. You will never worry about skunks or snow bound entries. Truthfully, I think both ways have their merits so just pick one and go for it. Early on I studied MB's sight and the invaluable information within and so I decided to take that direction and not second guess every facet of the mix. I know others who use bottom entry and have success also. Perhaps just personal preference.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Cashmere, WA, USA
    Posts
    158

    Default Re: I would like to hear some pros and cons on the top entrance

    I'd be surprised if someone can come up with a con, the benefit in hive ventilation is huge, although mine are on the hive body not the top.

    I would think that the entrance on the hive body might have better ventilation benefit than having it on the lid but MB probably has his reasons. Someone posted drilling the hole the size of a wine cork (7/8") if you end up moving the hive to the bottom of a colony it can be easily plugged, which is the advice I heeded.

    Now that I think about MB's technique means you never have to plug when you move boxes around.

    I guess it is more area that has to be defended but not much.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Louisville Kentucky USA
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    459

    Default Re: I would like to hear some pros and cons on the top entrance

    Thanks for the responses. I'm sure not trying to second guess Mr Bushes knowledge.Just trying to gain a little myself.My dad always said if you dont know anything its a lot easier to learn something new and I kind of fall into that "dont know anything" category pretty easily.
    I have a buddy named Earl who is a beekeeper in his mid 70's and I hang around with him trying to pick up a little knowledge here and there.Earl likes to make his own stuff(as do I ) and we are always looking for ways to build our bee stuff without spending a fortune.Not that either of us is broke by any stretch of the imagination but we both like to wheel and deal and make stuff cheap and look for easier ways to do things.I own a business and have a rather large building(old cabinet shop) full of stuff that we have picked up over the years(I come from a long and distinguished line of packrats) so yesterday I was building some hive bottoms from a plan I found on this forum and I decided to try a couple of the Michael Bush style lids so I started to dig around for some 3/4 inch plywood and stumbled across a skid full of shelves that I've had 20 years.Just so happened that they were real good quality 3/4 plywwod 18 inches wide and 48 inces long so I can get 2 lids out of each piece.simply cut them in half,nail and glue the wedges and I added a 1 by 2 strip down each side to keep the wind from blowing them away.I have 42 shelves so that will total 84 lids for a total cost of -0-. I took a couple over to Earl and he seemed impressed so today I build lids.We are trying to increase our total amount of hives to around 50 this year. We started into winter with 22 and came out with 15.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Louisville Kentucky USA
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    459

    Default Re: I would like to hear some pros and cons on the top entrance

    By the way,if Michael Bush reads this post,I would like to ask a couple of questions about the top entrance.When I built my tops I left an inch or so overhang so that I could push the cover forward or back to keep rain from going in the entrance.I noticed on your later photos that the lid was the same outside dimension as the super so there is no overhang.Is a little overhang a bad thing? or should I cut them down a little more?
    Do you use inner covers and if so how do you modify them (or do you).
    The only conflict I see with this type of covers is the feeders we use go on top the hive so I will have to figure something out there but other than that I am looking forward to seeing these on my hives.
    I have 10 hives coming out of Alabama and I am trying to get 10 nucs and hopefully we can catch a couple of swarms or do some cutouts this year to improve our number of hives.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    CAMARILLO, California, USA
    Posts
    3,649

    Default Re: I would like to hear some pros and cons on the top entrance

    My new Sundance 11 use a top entrance
    Erbie
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  9. #8
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Gloucester County, New Jersey USA
    Posts
    51

    Default Re: I would like to hear some pros and cons on the top entrance

    I use the MB approach to top entrances from late spring to early fall, but I use the beemax top with some ventilation/top entrance the rest of the time. I have not found any "Cons" to top entrances and come to think of it, I have yet to find any "Cons" to whatever MB does, keep in mind, his website is his journal of "Observations" in his particular locale. Mike's website is now and has been my "Bee Bible" and he is one Cool Individual.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lyons, CO
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    3,096

    Default Re: I would like to hear some pros and cons on the top entrance

    Top entrances are great. The drawbacks (or maybe "things to consider") that I've found have been 1) if you use a top feeder, you might need to come up with something else. Even if you arrange an entrance under it, robbing becomes easy (just like a boardman feeder on a traditional entrance). 2) The returning bees get a little confused when you're working the hive and there are lots more bees in the air, whereas with a bottom entrance they just keep doing their thing. It's not really a big deal in my experience. And 3) you need to arrange for the top entrance, either making migratory lids with shims like MB's which work great, or using Imrie shims or whatnot. Whereas most equipment has bottom entrances already prepared. Just an extra step/sawdust day.


    An overhang wouldn't hurt anything, but I don't know that it helps either. I don't think much rain comes in, and if it does it goes down the wall and not into the colony.
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    owensboro,ky
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    2,239

    Default Re: I would like to hear some pros and cons on the top entrance

    only 'con" i've found is its harder to clear bees from supers.
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    34,541

    Default Re: I would like to hear some pros and cons on the top entrance

    Look this up under "Search". It has been talked to death.
    Mark Berninghausen

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    North Bend, WA
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    494

    Default Re: I would like to hear some pros and cons on the top entrance

    Here's a question that's come up in the last few days. . .

    I'm sort of mentoring a friend of mine going to 8-frame western set-up, and we got on to talking about queens laying in the honey supers.

    Me: I don't use excluders, and the only top entrance I have is the little notch in the inner cover w/ the lid pushed forward. I can see a few bees use this, but not a lot. My queens never wander up into the honey supers to lay.

    She: Doesn't use excluders, has top entrances, and has queens laying in the supers routinely.


    Anyone care to comment?

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Louisville Kentucky USA
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    459

    Default Re: I would like to hear some pros and cons on the top entrance

    sqkcrk, I dont know if maybe I'm not doing it right but I havnt had a lot of luck with the search feature on this site.Could be because I'm kinda like a caveman when I'm sitting in front of the computor,staring at the screen,saying "uugh" a lot, and trying to figure out what to do with these opposing thumbs.I tried to search this and also read about it on several sites and it finally just came down to me posting a question so humor me a little.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    34,541

    Default Re: I would like to hear some pros and cons on the top entrance

    know what you mean. these conFusers can be, ummm, confusing, at times. I was just trying to save you some time.

    I don't really have an opinion about top or bottom entrances. My bees go in and out from which ever hole they find accessible. Some times that means a middle hole or a crack between the supers. Let the bees decide.

    I saw a hive one time, in VA, that was so full of holes, created by wood peckers, that the bees had an almost infinite number of choices of entrances and exits.

    Keep in mind what you find in Nature. Where, in relation to the majority of the comb in a bee tree, is the entrance, usually. I'm not really sure. But it may make a difference.

    Have fun.
    Mark Berninghausen

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Pigeon Falls, WI
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    2,532

    Default Re: I would like to hear some pros and cons on the top entrance

    I may be wrong with this so if I am point it out. If all you have is a top entrance what happens when you use a queen excluder between the brood boxes and the honey supers? If the hives decides to swarm how does the queen get out? If the queen is damaged or fails and she is superceded how does the virgin get out to mate?
    Leer Family Honey Farm-Shannon Leer

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Knox County, Ohio
    Posts
    2,668

    Default Re: I would like to hear some pros and cons on the top entrance

    You should have at least a 3/8 hole so a queen or drones can get out.

    I have heard that in cold climates, like parts of Canada, when they get a cool spell bees will leave the honey supers and retreat back down towards the broodnest if the honey supers get too cool. The bees were then slow to return to the honey supers once it warmed back up. Allen Dick at www.honeybeeworld.com used insulating pillows instead of inner covers for this very reason.

    He did have holes in the brood boxes, which act as a top entrance in wintertime.

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,610

    Default Re: I would like to hear some pros and cons on the top entrance

    >When I built my tops I left an inch or so overhang so that I could push the cover forward or back to keep rain from going in the entrance.I noticed on your later photos that the lid was the same outside dimension as the super so there is no over>hang.Is a little overhang a bad thing? or should I cut them down a little more?

    In my climate it's a bad thing. Overhangs catch the wind and the lids blow off. No overhang never catches the wind and evey with no brick it seldom if ever blows off. I don't like overhangs on lids. What little blows in quickly loses it's momentum and runs down the sides. I've never seen an issue from water blowing in the entrance.

    >Do you use inner covers

    No.

    The only conflict I see with this type of covers is the feeders we use go on top the hive so I will have to figure something out there but other than that I am looking forward to seeing these on my hives.

    I just put a shim on each side of the top box and set the feeder on top of that. Often I break a shim and put it across to reduce the entrance to prevent robbing.

    >1) if you use a top feeder, you might need to come up with something else. Even if you arrange an entrance under it, robbing becomes easy (just like a boardman feeder on a traditional entrance).

    You will need to reduce the entrance. If there is one acces point put it in the back...

    > 2) The returning bees get a little confused when you're working the hive and there are lots more bees in the air, whereas with a bottom entrance they just keep doing their thing. It's not really a big deal in my experience.

    I don't think there is really any difference. Anytime you are working the hive returning bees are confused.

    > 3) you need to arrange for the top entrance, either making migratory lids with shims like MB's which work great, or using Imrie shims or whatnot. Whereas most equipment has bottom entrances already prepared. Just an extra step/sawdust day.

    A lid with shims is the easiest piece of equipment I've built.

    > I may be wrong with this so if I am point it out. If all you have is a top entrance what happens when you use a queen excluder between the brood boxes and the honey supers?

    The bigger issue is the drones have to be able to get out. Listed at the bottom of my top entrance section of lazybeekeeping. If you put a 3/8" hole they will get out and the queen can get back in.

    > If the hives decides to swarm how does the queen get out?

    The 3/8" hole that you will need. But why not just get rid of the excluder?
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  19. #18
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Lincoln,Nebraska,USA
    Posts
    210

    Default Re: I would like to hear some pros and cons on the top entrance

    Pros: no skunks,do not seem to have condensation problems
    cons: have not really found any

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Ferndale, Washington
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: I would like to hear some pros and cons on the top entrance

    I use top and bottom entrances.
    Top is a vent also.
    U can add a top feeder, first attach #8 screan to vent.


    This will work on all tops, 5 frame, 8's and 10 framers as well.
    Jim

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Oberlin, OH
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    120

    Default Re: I would like to hear some pros and cons on the top entrance

    I'm a new beek. We had a tough winter. When there was a warm day I checked my ladies. Both hives had reduced bottom entrances. There was snow on the ground but it wasn't over the bases. The hive with a top entrance was doing cleansing flights and cleaning out bodies. The other I was worried was gone. There wasn't any movement. I opened the top and I could hear them. I hadn't realized that the telescoping cover had shielded the top entry. So, just in case, I took a small stick and put it under the cover, now the inner cover slot was open to the air. Within an hour they were out taking cleansing flights. I don't think they wanted to venture down to the entry, or it is clogged with bodies (I don't think so but it could be). Either way just that quick fix made a huge difference.

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