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Keep in mind this is Texas and it gets hot and humid. A buddy of mine has a deer lease in pearsall TX and a commercial guy has a few hundred boxes out there all had ~ 1” holes drilled in the middle. I searched and found some post about these that went back and fourth in the 2008 time frame any recommendations on this technique now days I was thinking of trying it anyone know of any research on it I can read?
 

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I have a one inch hole bored right below the handhold in many of my brood boxes. Mine are primarily there for wintering in country where snow can block entrances and prevent cleansing flights on warm days. Dead bees can easily clog up the normal entrance too in cold weather. I had skunk problems last fall, so I put carpet tack strip over the normal entrance so the skunks had to expose their belly to stinging insects when eating their pound of bees a night. When I suggest this, many newbies are aghast at the thought of marring their dine woodware. My boxes are just pine and The hole if not wanted or needed is easily covered with duct tape.
 

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My cover has a good sized vent in the front of it. I think it's more important to have a front top entrance for ventilation than anything else.

With that said, I do have a 7/8" hole in most of my hive bodies. I've found the field bees prefer using these over the hive entrance. In the winter they will propolis these closed. I also find a LOT of fanning around the holes in the honey supers. The extra ventilation definitely helps them evaporate nectar into honey.
 

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There is nothing you accomplish by putting a hole in the box that you can't do by sliding the box back 3/4” or putting in a couple of shingle shims or using a Imirie shim.

Here are times I regretted drilling holes:
• Times I wanted to close up a hive and forgot the hole. (moving and using a bee escape come to mind)
• Times I accidentally put my hand either over, under or in the hole when lifting the super.
• Times in winter when I wanted to close it up more.
• Times that a hive gets weak and forgets to guard both entrances and they get robbed and I have to find a way to close it off.
• Times that I need a box without a hole and the only one handy has a hole in it.

If you have holes in your equipment you can plug them with a tin can lid tacked over the hole. In the beeyard in a pinch you can plug them temporarily with a wad of beeswax. But you have to remember it's there...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Man I do have a skunk problem maybe that would help me to. I may try a few and see how I like them.
 

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Some beekeepers feel strongly against drilling holes in their boxes, and that's alright. I guess I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum. I now have 3/4" holes drilled in all of my boxes, which are all mediums for both brood and supers. I've found it to be helpful with my style of management. I'm not trying to convince anyone to drill holes in their boxes, but can explain how it benefits me.

I use all mediums for both brood and supers, and do not use bottom entrances due to issues with skunks. I always keep the holes in the bottom 2 medium boxes plugged so the bees are out of range of skunk harassment. Rather than having a single upper entrance at the top of the hive I wondered how the bees would react to having multiple entrances in several boxes. It seems to work pretty well for them. They have immediate access to supers or brood boxes and don't have to traverse through multiple boxes to get to where they need to go.

When reversing I'll simply remove the cork from the box being moved up and insert it into the box that was moved to the bottom, keeping the entrance in the same location in the stack.

When we get into a flow I can remove corks from all but the bottom 2 boxes and provide plenty of access for the bees to several different boxes at once. When it gets cool, or when we get into a period when robbing pressure increases, I can insert corks in some of the boxes and reduce the entrance areas the bees need to be guarding.

I use either #8 or #9 tapered corks from a wine making supply store and they work perfect for a 3/4" hole. For a 1" hole you would probably need a #12 or #13. They are pretty inexpensive, and I always keep a bag of them in my truck or jacket pocket if needed.

I suppose this could be debated effectively from either perspective. It boils down to a matter of personal preference for the beekeeper. Either way will work for the bees.
 

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In my infinite wisdom (pun intended), I dadoed 3/4"×3/8" hole on every box of my first batch for all the valid reasons: ventilation, upper entrance, access, etc. But eventually I have closed all those holes for the reasons Micheal mentioned. I now rely on top cover entrance exclusively for most valid reasons. I would occasionally shim a strong hive if they bread to much. I am not drilling any holes ever in my hive bodies.
 

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I've definitely tried it both ways. The ways my girls love using the holes makes it clear to me, they don't mind them. I get a lot of traffic on the first brood box hole and the honey super holes. No doubt a lot of bees full of nectar going straight to the supers...but the bees mostly covered in pollen use the bottom of the hive...curious.

A simply solution if you don't end up wanting it...a cork. My local Ace sells them for penny's in the hardware area. I put a screw through the cork, like a handle, and shove it into weaker colonies or if the girls haven't sealed up a hole entirely during cold weather. It's the laziest way I have found to vent my hives without having to move hive bodies, add shims, screens...yada yada. A hole and a cork.

But this is again a topic of much debate. Try it in one hive and not another and compare your experience. I wouldn't say I swear by it, but it definitely hasn't failed me or cause any major issues...I also don't have as many hives as Mr. Bush does...
 

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I will have to try the cork idea. I have too many corks at hand from all those wine bottles I drank already!
Bahaha! Just find a drill bit that will work with those and done!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well I already have plenty of corks in stock from when I make mead so that shouldn’t be a problem. Thanks for the replies.
 

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I don't put many holes in my hive bodies nowadays, but when I do, the cork sized hole works great. Winter ventilation, and reducing entrances to curb robbing are my principle uses of the removable cork. I vote with Mike Gillmore (and others) on this one. :)
 

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As for cheap corks I simply cut them from pieces of shipping foam. They look nice, and can be removed easily. When in place they make a complete weather tight seal. Some of my feeders have 2" holes that are open but screened on the inside for summer venting and closely sealed in winter with the foam plugs. Cost is $0.00.
 

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Where exactly do you drill a hole?
A lot of people do it about 1.75" below the top. Others do it in about the center of the box.

I'd think drilling the hole more toward the top would serve a better purpose, that being moisture control and ventilation.
 

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I drill my 1" hole right below the handhold. I want that warm moist area at the top of the nest where cold weather brooding starts in my colonies. I do not have water problems but I admittedly live in cold dry country. That said, I think a single mid level entrance would work anywhere.
 

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My nucs have the holes drilled on the box "end" below the handhold, about 1/3 of the way down from the top.

The 10 frame medium holes are drilled on the long side of the box, towards the upper right corner. Hives are set up with the long side of the box facing S/SE and the entrance hole is on that side, facing the rising sun. I work the hives from the back with the entrance on the opposite side.

Not sure how much it really matters where the holes are, that's just how I have them positioned. Years ago read about setting up entrances on the "warm way" side, tried it out, and it just kind of stuck.
 

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Here is something I am really wondering about: if the hole is in the brood box, where do the bees put the brood relative to the hole? I have a hive that looooves its top entrance, and I see a lot of advantages to mainly using 3 holes, 3/4 total, as main entrance up top. I am finding that some hives love their top entrance and are thrown off when they get a super - I don't want them to lose momentum then!

But... I don't want the hole to compromise any square inches of laying. I'm thinking 2 in below the top of the brood box - it is 2 meds deep - and that should be honey area anyways. My frames are 2 meds deep, single frame - a Dadant.

So, for those who had holes in boxes, and revealed where - could you share where the brood was relative to the holes?
 
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