Bees not finding upper entrance
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Hiram, OH
    Posts
    128

    Default Bees not finding upper entrance

    Based upon Jerry Hayes' article, "Queen Excluder or Honey Excluder?", I am attempting an experiment. In order to increase honey production I am switching to an upper entrance exclusively. The configuration was: screened bottom board, lower entrance without entrance reducer, two deeps, queen excluder, medium honey super, ventilated inner cover with an upper entrance, then telescoping cover. Here's the problem: I completely closed off the lower entrance last night after the bees were all in. Today, there are ZERO bees using the upper entrance. No bees are leaving the hive. Since a small number of them had already been using the upper entrance before, which has been there all along, I expected at least a few to be using it now, but there are literally no bees flying today.

    Should I give them time to figure this out, or am I doing something wrong?
    “Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.” – Albert Einstein

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    4,974

    Default Re: Bees not finding upper entrance

    The way I read it any drones in the two deeps will be trapped under the excluder. They might have the excluder plugged so no bees can exit.

    I think there is a fly in that ointment!
    Frank

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Bailey, CO USA
    Posts
    67

    Default Re: Bees not finding upper entrance

    I have four hives. Two of the hives like to use the upper entrance, and two like the lower. The upper entrance is just the slot in the inner cover. It causes a traffic jam. I have tried blocking the upper entrance to encourage the two hives to use the lower entrance, but they refuse to change, so I removed the screen. I would like them to use the lower so there is no delay getting in and out quickly, but their mind is made up. I am only running a single deep super because they are new hives and have not yet outgrown the single box.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Hiram, OH
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: Bees not finding upper entrance

    Quote Originally Posted by crofter View Post
    The way I read it any drones in the two deeps will be trapped under the excluder. They might have the excluder plugged so no bees can exit.

    I think there is a fly in that ointment!
    I did consider the drone issue after I wrote the post. So I slid open the block I had on the entrance reducer to close it off, to make a hole just wide enough for a drone to get through, or more likely, two at a time. When I did that, the workers started blasting out of that tiny hole. So I had decided to leave it that way for now, thinking that the returning bees would try to find another way in due to the traffic jam. As of now, they are using that tiny hole, but a lot are bearding on the front porch. I think I'm going to just unblock the small entrance on the entrance excluder until I get some more advice.
    “Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.” – Albert Einstein

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Hiram, OH
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: Bees not finding upper entrance

    Quote Originally Posted by FlyboyBBQ69 View Post
    I have four hives. Two of the hives like to use the upper entrance, and two like the lower. The upper entrance is just the slot in the inner cover. It causes a traffic jam. I have tried blocking the upper entrance to encourage the two hives to use the lower entrance, but they refuse to change, so I removed the screen. I would like them to use the lower so there is no delay getting in and out quickly, but their mind is made up. I am only running a single deep super because they are new hives and have not yet outgrown the single box.
    My upper entrance is also a slot on the inner cover. However, on some hives in the past, they've used the upper entrance more than the lower, if not exclusively. In those cases, it didn't look like the traffic was really slowed down, just more dense. I could be wrong, but those hives are just as productive as the ones that use only the lower entrance.

    It's interesting that they find it so hard to change entrances. You'd think they would know that have to do that to survive. But they do seem to have a memory of where they've been using the entrance. When I remove my entrance reducers, they tend to come in and out where the slot on the reducer used to be, even though they have the whole entrance to use.
    “Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.” – Albert Einstein

  7. #6

    Default Re: Bees not finding upper entrance

    Bee will be bees.... We have slotted inner covers and some use them, but most hives use the bottom.
    Cheers Bill
    zone 9b

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Hiram, OH
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: Bees not finding upper entrance

    Update: I left the restriction block in place so that there's only room for two bees to get through at a time, and they seem to be finding their way up to the upper entrance, either by flying directly there, or crawling up to the upper entrance. Check out this video:

    https://youtu.be/Rwblrwmd8pk
    Last edited by Ricky Bee; 06-03-2017 at 05:16 PM. Reason: Typo

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Rutland County, Vermont,USA
    Posts
    2,245

    Default Re: Bees not finding upper entrance

    They seemed to find it now Ricky. Cool vid. Out of 2 hives with both upper and lower entrances, one hive used it over the winter. Now in the spring, that hive just uses the lower so neither of mine use them. Go figure.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Hiram, OH
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: Bees not finding upper entrance

    Another update: After another day, even though a lot of bees were crawling up to the upper entrance, there were still hundreds clustered under the bottom board. So I decided that forcing them to find the new entrance so far above the old one was too far, and thought it would be easier for them if I moved the entrance up one box at a time. So I slapped together an Imrie shim and put it above the lower brood box. This time, they had a much easier time finding the new entrance. I will wait a few days for them to get used to the new entrance, and then I'll move it up another level at a time until they find the entrance at the top in the inner cover. Here's what they did with the Imrie shim:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jbVTyzFs2s
    “Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.” – Albert Einstein

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Deerfield, Illinois
    Posts
    406

    Default Re: Bees not finding upper entrance

    With all due respect why don't you let your bees alone an stop manipulating them to act in an unnatural way? Use an uppper and lower entrance. I am no longer a fan of queen excluders but as I have had some success and some failures.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Fenton, MI
    Posts
    403

    Default Re: Bees not finding upper entrance

    Quote Originally Posted by Planner View Post
    With all due respect why don't you let your bees alone an stop manipulating them to act in an unnatural way? Use an upper and lower entrance.
    All of my hives have upper entrances as well as the traditional lower entrances. Some hives thrive on the upper while other hives ignore it completely. That's fine with me. If they are happy, then so am I.

    I'd rather see a hive have options rather than limitations.
    The question is what to do, and the answer, as always, is complicated by a muddle of reason, emotion, and doubt.

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