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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Having a small problem with my top entrances. I usually add a honey super when the first honey super is mostly drawn and 2/3rds to 3/4ths filled with honey, but not completely capped. After I add another super to give them room, with my top entrances the bees then begin drawing the top [newly added] super, and in fact seem to abandon the lower super in favor of the newly added super. I did not have this problem with my bottom entrances. So I am thinking I may go to a middle entrance with division coming between the brood nest and the honey supers to eliminate this perceived problem.

Any advice or recommendation would be appreciated. First time using top entrances and this time of year most of my colonies have both top and bottom entrances, and some have staggered supers. Whereas when I kept bees previously I only used bottom entrances and then staggered a few supers.

Regards
Danny
 

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I am planning on running my hives similar to the set up like in the point of view by Jerry Hayes.

http://www.beesource.com/point-of-vi...oney-excluder/

I plan on a couple of variances:
A standard bottom board, entrance reducer and a parallel slatted rack on the bottom of the brood boxes.

Is this similar to the configuration you are using, with two deep brood boxes? -or- with the upper entrance above the seper they are "ignoring"?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Your site didn't work for me. Some I have 1 deep and medium brood box, some 2 deep boxes but most 3 medium brood boxes. I am not having problems with the bees moving up into the honey supers. My problem is that when the first super is approaching full but not completed, I add another super on top, and with a top entrance, they don't seem interested in completing the original honey super, but instead begin drawing the upper super [the one just below the upper entrance].

It just seems to me that they dump the honey at the most convenient spot as they enter through the upper entrance.

Anyone else with upper entrances experiencing this?
 

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I've never had the problem you described and I have a standard bottom entrance and an entrance between the brood nest and honey supers on all my 15-20 hives. I use an excluder and place a 3/8 strip above the excluder on the back and sides. This leaves an entrance all across the front. For foragers to get into the brood nest, they have to pass through the excluder. I don't like to stagger honey supers (too much rain can get in) except maybe when it's really hot and bees are bearding all over the hive. When a super is 2/3 to 3/4 full, I place an empty below it and they still finish the 1st one before they put much in the empty.

I also attach an alighting board 3 or 4 inches deep across the front for a landing area to the middle entrance. It's on yearlong and my theory is it helps to ventilate. Some hives use the bottom almost exclusively, some the middle and some both. I haven't noticed a difference in amount of honey or any other differences between hives that use different entrances.

How do you make your top entrances? How much do they use them?

Actually, the more I think about it the more my solution to your problem may not make sense: with my setup, the bees are passing through an empty first and with your setup they are doing the same thing. It seems like it would make no difference whether they were entering from the bottom up or the top down. But then human reasoning and bee reasoning are very different.

If you try a setup like mine on one of your hives, I would be very interested in knowing the outcome.
 

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Swap the positions of your newest and partially filled supers. An alternative you can try later is to make a frame similar to an inner cover or wood-bound excluder above your excluder with a 3/8 to 7/16 entrance in the front. This will allow direct access to the honey supers and entice them to fill the lower super as you have them arranged now. A porch or landing board is optional. It is more what we think they want and not what they need. If you add the landing board you might as well add an awning and welcome home mat too! It makes a great conversation piece.
 

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One of our local beeks usually pulls a large amount of honey each year. What he does is pull capped brood above the brood box so that the baby bees emerge in the honey super. He uses one of those boards with the swinging gates on all 4 sides (name escapes me at the moment). They never know any other entrance than the top, and once they're out, the cells are cleaned & re-used for honey. Don't know if he has a problem with pollen mixed with the honey.

His rationale is once the brood cells are capped, there's no real reason for them to stay in the brood box itself. The nurse bees travel with the frames and become foragers themselves.
 

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It just seems to me that they dump the honey at the most convenient spot as they enter through the upper entrance.
I don't experience that, but I don't close any of my offset super upper entrances when I add additional supers, at least not until the honey flow has ended, and then I only do it to protect them from a robbing frenzy.
 

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The only thing it makes me question now is SBBs. If he argues that lower entrances effected brood patterns because of too much of a draft at the entrance, then what does that suggest about the increased use of SBBs?
I've never used one yet, but I've read on here that the slatted rack will keep them using all of the bottom of the combs. I got the impression it's not so much draft, but nearness to the entrance.
 

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I am planning on running my hives similar to the set up like in the point of view by Jerry Hayes.

http://www.beesource.com/point-of-vi...oney-excluder/
i just set up our hive like this yesterday. the difference being i left the standard bottom entrance open as well as adding a top entrance. i blocked off the bottom entrance for about 5 minutes but it didn't seem like the returning foragers were interested in a new entrance. anyone run their hives like this or have opinions? maybe closing off the bottom entrance at night when all the foragers are inside would help them make the transition?

here is a short writeup: http://provbees.tumblr.com/post/697361336/a-couple-of-experiments
 

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Turn the entrance reducer to the smallest opening. This will encourage use of the upper one. Also, the current foragers are the oldest bees in the hive and are imprinted to come to the lower entrance. Thus, training the new recruits as well. It took my bees a couple of weeks to really get the hang of it. They will beard up and start walking around on the front face of the hive looking for another way in, they will get there!
You have a nice set up there. I just used the shims from a solid bottom board set-up.
I am seeing comb bridging from the top of the brood box to the bottom of the super frames right through the excluder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
First off I would like to say thanks for all the replies and suggestions.

I've never had the problem you described and I have a standard bottom entrance and an entrance between the brood nest and honey supers on all my 15-20 hives. I use an excluder and place a 3/8 strip above the excluder on the back and sides.
I am thinking that I will try to go to a middle entrance and this will solve the problem. I have never used an excluder except for temporary management of a colony, like trying to locate a queen in a more restrictive area for making splits or requeening.

How do you make your top entrances? How much do they use them?
I take a piece of exterior plywood cut large enough to accommodate a 1"x2" strip nailed around 3 sided, the 2" strip nailed on vertically around the 3 sides creating a telescoping top on 3 sides. then I lay the 1" strip flat on the same 3 sides creating gap [actually about 5/8"] along one side [the front] which serves as the entrance. The front actually has no 1"x2" strip except from the flat 1" strip which runs down each side.

An alternative you can try later is to make a frame similar to an inner cover or wood-bound excluder above your excluder with a 3/8 to 7/16 entrance in the front. This will allow direct access to the honey supers and entice them to fill the lower super as you have them arranged now. A porch or landing board is optional. It is more what we think they want and not what they need. If you add the landing board you might as well add an awning and welcome home mat too! It makes a great conversation piece.
I don't use queen excluders, but if I get what you are saying what you are referring to is a middle entrance, which is what I will probably be going to with the division coming between the brood box area and the honey super area. Also mine seem to do just fine with the top entrance without a landing area, awning and also the welcome home mat :), but thanks for the suggestions.

Try turning the super around (180 degrees).
I did this and when I harvest this week I will let you know what I think about what difference it made, that is if I can remember to get back here.

Turn the entrance reducer to the smallest opening. This will encourage use of the upper one.
I don't use entrance reducers on my top entrances, and also, they use the top entrances just fine. Some do have both top and bottom entrances currently; although I will be closing the bottoms after the flow is over. I have all screened bottoms so circulation should not be a problem.

I am seeing comb bridging from the top of the brood box to the bottom of the super frames right through the excluder.
I see this generally in the brood super areas but not so much in the honey super areas, but they do create burr comb between the top super and the top entrance cover. I know that the 5/8" gap is probably to much.

Kindest Regards
Danny
 

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Where does an entrance occur, relative to comb, in a bee tree or the wall of a house? And is that relavent to keeping bees in boxes?
 

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Where does an entrance occur, relative to comb, in a bee tree or the wall of a house?
From what I've seen they are often around the middle.But this varies and as the colony expands ( and comb decends) the relative position of the entrance (to the comb) ascends.

And is that relavent to keeping bees in boxes?
I'd also like to know.
 

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Turn the entrance reducer to the smallest opening. This will encourage use of the upper one. Also, the current foragers are the oldest bees in the hive and are imprinted to come to the lower entrance. Thus, training the new recruits as well. It took my bees a couple of weeks to really get the hang of it. They will beard up and start walking around on the front face of the hive looking for another way in, they will get there!
You have a nice set up there. I just used the shims from a solid bottom board set-up.
following up on this... the field bees seem REALLY confused when the bottom entrance is reduced. i gave in and removed it. is it possible that closing off/reducing the bottom entrance at this time of year could lead to excessive congestion in the hive? perhaps even fomenting a swarm?
 

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I am a greenhorn and am getting along with the advice given on this forum and some book knowledge.
I am not totally sure of your hives or climate and so can only speak from my direct experiences.
Yes, my bees seemed very confused when I installed the entrance reducer with the one inch opening to the entrance. They were bearding up to the point of hanging off the front porch and just about covering the front of the hive. I opened it up to the larger entrance and they were content with that. However, they were disregarding the upper entrance with the exception of a few guard bees.
Since my hives are first year packages, I understand that they are in the "establishment mode" and are not prone to swarming. With that in mind and some advice from Jerry Hayes via e-mail, I decided to just put it to the test and set the entrance reducer back to the small opening and let it go. After a couple of weeks they are using both entrances.
It is hot here so the bees are still bearding but I do not think that that always means an intent to swarm. They are just cooling off.
 
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