Hive Entrance Side?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    Fremont, California
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    Default Hive Entrance Side?

    How was it determined that a hive should have the entrance on the short side of the hive, exposed the ends of the frames?
    Seems that in nature, they build across the entrance, or at acute angles to entrance.

    Has anyone tried (besides long hives and top bar hives) to use a entrance along the long side of the box?

    Do the bees even care?

    Pondering things in Fremont.
    Phil

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Williamsport, PA
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    465

    Default Re: Hive Entrance Side?

    I think British National Hives are meant to rotate depending on the weather. They are square and in summer the frames are oriented same as a Langstroth. When the weather goes cold, they get rotated 90 degrees. It is supposed to keep the chill out of the back frames. I'm not very familiar with them and had kicked around making some, but decided to keep everything standard.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    Red Bud, IL, USA
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    1,789

    Default Re: Hive Entrance Side?

    I don't know who decided the entrance on the short side but orientation of the hive on a stand just works better with the entrance on the short side. I never found the bees to much care where the entrance was located, they just preferred you leave it in the same spot.
    “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Hartford Ohio
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    83

    Default Re: Hive Entrance Side?

    Have played around with both the last couple of years. That side entrances that we got in N.E. Ohio have been a tremendous pain. We are burning about 50 of then real soon. Was told that they work well in Quebec Canada and that may be the truth. Here, not so good.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    England, UK
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    1,298

    Default Re: Hive Entrance Side?

    I use both positions and find that in practice it doesn't appear to make any difference. With 5-frame nuc boxes I prefer the entrance on the sides (being holes drilled into the box side itself) as this gives a larger flat area upon which to mount an anti-robbing screen.
    LI
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Woodbridge, VA (But planning to move to NW Louisiana soon)
    Posts
    276

    Default Re: Hive Entrance Side?

    Quote Originally Posted by hankstump View Post
    How was it determined that a hive should have the entrance on the short side of the hive, exposed the ends of the frames?
    Seems that in nature, they build across the entrance, or at acute angles to entrance.

    Has anyone tried (besides long hives and top bar hives) to use a entrance along the long side of the box?

    Do the bees even care?

    Pondering things in Fremont.
    Phil
    Scott Hendriks is a Canadian beekeeper and posts videos on youtube. He rotates his hives, with the entrance on the long side. The bees don't seem to care, and it makes working the hive easy and efficient, extracting frames, covering the rest of the frames, being opposite the entrance, etc.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Hartford Ohio
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    83

    Default Re: Hive Entrance Side?

    I should clarify. I dot think it matters what direction or where they come and go from. What we tried was a version where the entire side opened up,.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,610

    Default Re: Hive Entrance Side?

    >How was it determined that a hive should have the entrance on the short side of the hive, exposed the ends of the frames?

    It's convenient when putting hives together.

    >Seems that in nature, they build across the entrance, or at acute angles to entrance.

    My experience is they build the combs 45 degrees from the entrance.

    >Has anyone tried (besides long hives and top bar hives) to use a entrance along the long side of the box?

    Yes. I ran a lot of Langstroth hives with the entrance on the long side. One nice thing is you get to stand at the back and yet reach the frames easily.

    >Do the bees even care?

    They seem to prefer a 45 degree angle to the entrance so they seem to care, but neither long or short side is a 45 degree angle.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Northern Colorado, USA
    Posts
    486

    Default Re: Hive Entrance Side?

    I wonder if it was done back in the day for strength with the same amount of material cutting. If you have two long boards and one short one the pressure (and shear force on the joint) is lower than with one long board and 2 short ones. Now days the materials and fasteners are strong enough it doesn't matter much, but 100+ years ago it may have. I have seen a very large hive (5 or 6 deeps) starting to tear the sides off the bottom board from all of the weight, but I dont think most hives get that big.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Izard County, AR, USA
    Posts
    126

    Default Re: Hive Entrance Side?

    I believe the entrance on the long side is called "warm way," and the traditional (short side) entrance is called "cold way." My nucs are cold way, my langstroths are all warm way.

    Cold way, you kind of have to inspect on the side, so you need more space between hives. And if you have your hives on rails or 4x4s on cinder blocks, it's hard to not trip over them.....Warm way means you can push hives together and inspect them all from behind, which also keeps you from moving around next to the entrance of the hive next to the one you are inspecting....(you stay out of their flight path.)

    For me, inspecting cold way colonies from behind is awkward....if frames are propolized down and you have to work them loose by reaching all the way to the front....

    Plus, it seems like warm way hives always have the frame closest to the opening as the pollen frame....so when I'm hunting for a pollen frame, on warm way colonies I always start at the front frame......
    8 years, 30 colonies, no chemical treatments

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    England, UK
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    1,298

    Default Re: Hive Entrance Side?

    Seems there's a lot to be said for square hives. As mentioned earlier, British 'National' hives are square, and all mine are run 'warm way'. Hadn't really thought too much about this before now, as I've never rotated the hives according to the season. Inspecting those hives from directly behind the entrance is certainly more convenient and more ergonomically satisfactory than when pulling frames from my 'long' Long Hives, which requires a person to adopt a somewhat sideways-on position to the hive body which is a tad awkward - bit like riding side-saddle, I guess. The shorter Long Hives (16-17 frames) can be inspected in the same way as the Nationals (warm way, standing at the back) - they just need a longer stretch.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Fremont, California
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    123

    Default Re: Hive Entrance Side?

    Thanks for all the inputs, and insights. I think, to keep things simple and not try to re-invent the hive, I'll just move all of my entrances to the corner. That way the bees are seeing the comb at 45 degrees to the entrance essentially. I usually only run about a 2" x 3/4" entrance.

    Cheers, Phil

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,610

    Default Re: Hive Entrance Side?

    I find the bees can guard an entrance better if it's no more than 3/8" tall... and no less than 1/4" of course.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

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