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My brood boxes have 3/4" holes in the front side. In summer the bees use thes as entrances. Should I cork them up for the winter. I have cut ventilation slots out of the top side of my inner covers. About a 3/8" X 1" slot front and back.
Read this post with the post of 10 minutes ago and what do you come up with.
My girls have to be put to bed for the winter before I go to Texas for the winter.:confused

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Erwin
 

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i typically cork up the holes in my hive bodies for the winter,but i've also had bees propolise them down to a small hole or totally blocked off by themselves.
 

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Last winter my one hive survived with two deeps and one shallow which had a hole that I left open for ventilation. I put a sheet of foam insulation under the telescoping cover, but didn't wrap. The hive was beside a large spruce which provided wind protection, and it came through a long, very cold winter in fine shape. I'm using the same system this winter, and crossing my fingers!
 

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I leave them open for extra ventilation(and reduce the bottom entrance).It was 15 degrees here last night and snowed a bit this morning.Some of the hives have partially closed the holes with propolis but most left them open.They are headed for warmer country shortly so i cant say what effect there would be in really cold areas but I would be inclined to leave them open.
 

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If you have other ventalation by means of the inner cover/top, then cork them. If not, get some screen from a hardware store and cut it in two inch squares. Then use a staple gun and staple over the holes. If they want ventalation, the bees will leave open. If they dont, they will propolise.

I like the idea of ventalation but not allowing moths in. In the early spring I plan on removing screen. Then it just acts as another entrance. I also corked all but one top hole. All other holes were corked for winter.

I am going with a little more ventilation this year as last year being so bad and figuring moisture was a problem.
 

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You can cork or not. I know beekeepers that do both with equal sucess. It is likely a less important thing. I'd be more concerned with amount of honey/ pollen stores, strength of bees.
 

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Clayton is right.If the hive isnt heavy ,with a good population of young bees,
the rest is irrelevant.After more than 30 years beekeeping I still cant decide if reducing the entrances is really worth the time!I have done it both ways and cant honestly say it makes any difference.But having a good population with a lot of feed IS critical.The rest is fluff.
---Mike(in NE. Cal. where 5 inches of fluff fell last night)
 

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My main reason for reducing entrances in the fall is to keep the mice out and cut down on robbing. I think covering a top vent hole with screen might help with the moths. They do fly when it's too cold for the bees to and then sneak in the top and lay eggs in the combs. But it's also nice to have a top entrance for when the bottom entrance is covered in snow.
 

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I assume the original post was dealing with healthy bees. If not he would be asking other questions. Reducing entrances for mice/moth/moisture control? is fluff? Nothing else matter except young queens and full of honey?

Can you please elaborate or "all else is irrevelent", and the "rest is fluff". Some new beekeepers concerned with ventalation, mice control, moth control, etc, could get the wrong impression. If a big ball of bees, a heavy hive and a new queen is the only concern, I'm missing something.

I guess we could break all questions down and just mention "more important" views and forget the small details. Then again, that would eliminate half of these discussions and topics.
 

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Bjornbee,

The point wasn't to under play the other issues here. But rather as you know with weak bees with little food, well they will most likely starve and the other things need not to be worried about as the bees will be dead (thus = in this sense fluff). Now bees are quite remarkable and can adapt and survive without the beekeeper adding vents and such. These things are rather cosmetic and strong bees are likely to survive inspite of wether or not they are done. But fail to have food for the bees and one won't need to worry any more by spring. Now this isn't to say that vents and such don't do any good. Just saying that it would be folly to ignore strong bees and feed chasing after vents, screens, ect. As I said though these things are good and help the bees. Food and strong bees are however of the uttmost importance. If they are taken care of wether or not you vent or not, the bees will likely survive.

>I guess we could break all questions down >and just mention "more important" views and >forget the small details. Then again, that >would eliminate half of these discussions >and topics.

You are right
 

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Clayton clarified what I meant.Also what works for me in the Sacramento Valley of Cal. winter using mostly Italian bees in a 1 3/4 hive configuration may not be relevant to you.For instance,the bees mostly are in the bottom box,strong,are fairly active all winter and will not tolerate mice.If you have a 3 deep hive in cold country,with the bottom box mostly unoccupied by bees that are dormant,the WELCOME MICE sign is out.I have never had a moth problem in winter deadouts so for me it isnt something to be concerned with.Robbing is only a problem in hives too weak to defend themselves,so I will always reduce the entrance of those hives(or better yet combine them).This all makes for an interesting discussion ,but to actually give advice should begin with MB's "IT DEPENDS...."
 

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Let's see if I can complicate this even alittle more (!)

Lots of people say that having an entrance in the upper brood chamber is important for over-wintering in cold climates, and I can see why. My question is: if you're using 2-hive bodies for the brood chamber, and you rotate the two stories during the year (and have a hole drilled only in one of them), how do you make sure that the one with the hole is on top when you want it to be? I see lots of pictures that have a hole only in the upper story (it doesn't look like there's a hole in the lower box that's corked). Does this mean people aren't rotating the boxes? Are they shuffling the frames while keeping the hive body with the hole always on "the 2nd floor." Is it easier to just have holes in both brood boxes? Am I (as often happens) missing something that ain't really that complicated?

Thanks in advance for your enlightenment.

John
 

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I can't speak for others but I have a hole in every box I make. It is difficult to add holes in the apiary. Any box I make or purchase automatically has a hole drilled and then corked. Solves the reversing, swapping, problems and what ever configuration they are in come fall, I can deal with it.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks for all the replies.
So here is what I done:
I have a bottom entrance. 5/16 X 2 inch surounded with metal and 3/8 inch above the floor. 2 hive boxes with holes corked. Inner cover with 3/8 X 1 inch slot, in top side, front and back. #/4 inch stryfoam same size as inner cover. Top telescoping cover with 1/4 inch space chisled out of inside of rim to line up with slot in inner cover so bees can get out no mater which way the cover is shoved. Then I sliped black cardboard over the hives with the top cut off so it fits below the telescoping lid. That will give them the benefit of black and some wind protection. To the northwest of the hives are spruce trees.
If that doesn't take care of FLUFF I don't know what will. Remember; beekeeping is a hobby to me and fluff is how hobbies go.

It hasn't thawed for severaal days and tonight is forcast near 0 so my girls will have a long winter. The hives are so heavy I can hardly lift them so they have all the feed that fits inside with them.
When I get back from Texas in April we will see what is there.
 
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