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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, all,

I'm trying some different things with entrance size and shape this year. Hitherto, I used a slot entrance ala a typical Langstroth entrance.

This year I am drilling a single circular entrance hole, either 1" diameter or 1.25" diameter. But only one hole of this size, no other holes that the bees can enter or leave. Then I will add smaller 1/4" holes around the large hole if / when the bees start bearding.

So the 1" to 1.25" hole is for the bees coming and going. the 1/4" holes are mainly for ventilation, the bees could go through them, but they don't bother.

I was wondering if anyone else had experience about this kind of entrance strategy!

Regards,
Thomas
 

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As it heats up I also put a 3/8 strip on 2 sides , non adjacent under the lid, the hive when a bit taller has good chimney effect. Any breeze will pull heat of with venturi effect as well. I have drilled supers with 5/8 it seems to help. Are you using a screened bottom? I like the slot on the bottom more junk can be drawn out.
 

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Never tried a 1" hole, but I use 3/4" holes on my boxes and it works great. I took this video recently a few days after adding an additional super on top with drawn comb. In general it looks like right now most of the bees are entering in the upper holes and leaving through the lower ones.

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1opV35OBFkgbiBwvAh7jxFI1498SqXkG4
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the reply Goose. I'm not sure what you mean by 3/8 strip.
As it heats up I also put a 3/8 strip on 2 sides , non adjacent under the lid, the hive when a bit taller has good chimney effect. Any breeze will pull heat of with venturi effect as well. I have drilled supers with 5/8 it seems to help. Are you using a screened bottom? I like the slot on the bottom more junk can be drawn out.
 

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For the past few years since I started using OAV to control mites I created bottom entrance exactly big enough to slide the vaporizer wand into the hive. Bees seem to love that size too year round here in upstate New York. I also put a small slot on one side of the inner cover for ventilation and summer upper entrance.
 

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Hi Thomas
Over many seasons I've eventually adopted four 22mm (7/8") holes per full-sized hive and two per nuc - although half that amount would probably suffice. 22mm is standard wine-cork size - so closures are readily available. With Open Mesh Floors under full-sized hives (solid floors with nucs) - this combination works reasonably ok. No losses other than from bad matings.

FWIW - yesterday I cobbled together a non-standard-sized hive containing an exceptionally powerful colony with a Cloake Board for the purposes of queen-rearing - and because of the size disparity, one of the boxes on the top deliberately overhangs the lower box leaving an 8mm full-width gap which the bees are now using as a 'vertically-upward' entrance. (The entrance slot itself faces downwards) I noticed that the foragers very quickly adjusted to using this slot (which is positioned about 12" above the previous entrance) and appear to love using it !
This type of positioning fits-in well with the bees' instinct to crawl upwards whenever they're uncertain about what to do/ where to go - so may have stumbled by chance upon a improved(*) entrance position ?
LJ

(*) Although a vertically-upward entrance is a feature of the 'Sun Hive' design, the hive itself ain't a very practical proposition.
 

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Hi Thomas
Over many seasons I've eventually adopted four 22mm (7/8") holes per full-sized hive and two per nuc - although half that amount would probably suffice. 22mm is standard wine-cork size - so closures are readily available. With Open Mesh Floors under full-sized hives (solid floors with nucs) - this combination works reasonably ok. No losses other than from bad matings.

FWIW - yesterday I cobbled together a non-standard-sized hive containing an exceptionally powerful colony with a Cloake Board for the purposes of queen-rearing - and because of the size disparity, one of the boxes on the top deliberately overhangs the lower box leaving an 8mm full-width gap which the bees are now using as a 'vertically-upward' entrance. (The entrance slot itself faces downwards) I noticed that the foragers very quickly adjusted to using this slot (which is positioned about 12" above the previous entrance) and appear to love using it !
This type of positioning fits-in well with the bees' instinct to crawl upwards whenever they're uncertain about what to do/ where to go - so may have stumbled by chance upon a improved(*) entrance position ?
LJ

(*) Although a vertically-upward entrance is a feature of the 'Sun Hive' design, the hive itself ain't a very practical proposition.
LJ what is the winter weather like there? what are the temperature for dec, jan, feb, highs and lows? I am this winter going to try to over winter some NUCs and was thinking of what kind of entrance to use. We have below 0 temps and lots of snow, so trying to think thru the options.
 

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This year I am drilling a single circular entrance hole, either 1" diameter or 1.25" diameter. But only one hole of this size, no other holes that the bees can enter or leave. Then I will add smaller 1/4" holes around the large hole if / when the bees start bearding.

So the 1" to 1.25" hole is for the bees coming and going. the 1/4" holes are mainly for ventilation, the bees could go through them, but they don't bother.

I was wondering if anyone else had experience about this kind of entrance strategy!
I use entrances that are ⅜” tall and the length of a medium box (~13”). This keeps out rodents where I am. This is also easily defended, and we don’t have a problem with congestion during a flow. I don't have to add and remove rodent guards every winter, and I haven't needed to use robbing screens. We use a ⅜” x ~1” notch in the inner cover.

Bearding does not bother me. In feral hives, it is an efficient way for the bees to balance the impact of seasonal population spikes with the advantages to the bees of policing and warming a relatively tight hive chamber during the shoulder and winter months. In both feral and managed hives, bearding is one of the tools bees use to manage temperature with a relatively small (and more “natural”) size hive capacity and a relatively small and more easily defended entrance.

Using a smaller, more easily defended entrance also favors, from a survival standpoint, less aggressive bees, particularly for those of us beekeepers who are more inclined toward the Ian Fleming approach to beekeeping. This is because aggressive bees will needlessly allocate resources to guard the colony (such as having an unnecessarily high ratio of guard bees to foragers) while less aggressive bees are allocating their resources to other things more likely to assure their survival and reproduction such as gathering nectar and pollen.

If I were to use a round entrance, I would make it 1¼” in diameter and put it ~3” from the bottom of the hive. This is because that’s what I do in swarm traps and it is like a neodymium magnet for bees.
 

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LJ what is the winter weather like there? what are the temperature for dec, jan, feb, highs and lows? I am this winter going to try to over winter some NUCs and was thinking of what kind of entrance to use. We have below 0 temps and lots of snow, so trying to think thru the options.
I'm assuming you have fairly predictable weather ? That's what we don't have over here. As the Earth rotates, our weather systems originate in the mid-Atlantic and then move across towards Europe - their landfall location depends upon the position of the jet-stream (which varies N-S), and so these 'Lows' bring with them highly variable wind directions. These in turn direct our weather upwards either from the equator (SW: warm and wet) or from North Africa (SE: warm and dry), down from the Arctic, or across from Russia - bl##dy cold in both cases !

Which is a rather long-winded way of saying that our winters are highly unpredictable - can be shirt-sleeve weather in mid-winter, or colder than Moscow. If we do get hit with snow, it's usually small numbers compared with what you guys get, and also fairly short-lived. Very rare to have standing snow for more than a week.

So I'm not really the best person to discuss prolonged sub-zeros and feet of snow with, as I just don't have that experience. Mike Palmer is a good guy to talk with about this - he's up there in Vermont which I believe is the same latitude as yourself - and I know there are several other people on the forum located either in northern States or in Canada.

I think you're wise to start thinking about this issue now, rather than leaving it to the last minute. Best of luck with this.
LJ

PS - this might be worth checking-out:
http://mbbeekeeping.com/wintering-2-frame-nucs-in-manitoba/
 

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I'm assuming you have fairly predictable weather ? That's what we don't have over here. As the Earth rotates, our weather systems originate in the mid-Atlantic and then move across towards Europe - their landfall location depends upon the position of the jet-stream (which varies N-S), and so these 'Lows' bring with them highly variable wind directions. These in turn direct our weather upwards either from the equator (SW: warm and wet) or from North Africa (SE: warm and dry), down from the Arctic, or across from Russia - bl##dy cold in both cases !

Which is a rather long-winded way of saying that our winters are highly unpredictable - can be shirt-sleeve weather in mid-winter, or colder than Moscow. If we do get hit with snow, it's usually small numbers compared with what you guys get, and also fairly short-lived. Very rare to have standing snow for more than a week.

So I'm not really the best person to discuss prolonged sub-zeros and feet of snow with, as I just don't have that experience. Mike Palmer is a good guy to talk with about this - he's up there in Vermont which I believe is the same latitude as yourself - and I know there are several other people on the forum located either in northern States or in Canada.

I think you're wise to start thinking about this issue now, rather than leaving it to the last minute. Best of luck with this.
LJ

PS - this might be worth checking-out:
http://mbbeekeeping.com/wintering-2-frame-nucs-in-manitoba/
Yes consistent from cold air from Canada and cold 3 to 5 feet of snow for 5 months. in shirtsleves for a day or 2 allows the bees to fly mid winter that is good.
 

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I have used 1" holes for several years. One is not enough. 2 should be great. 3 would be better because of the **** drones - they really hog entrance space. ;) I have about 1 full frame or more of drone brood that has emerged, per hive, so it is really a traffic jam when they go out!
Smaller holes - I would do more. With 1" hole, bees can exit the top of hole, enter at the bottom. Not so with smaller hole.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hey, what exactly is the Ian Fleming approach to beekeeping?
Using a smaller, more easily defended entrance also favors, from a survival standpoint, less aggressive bees, particularly for those of us beekeepers who are more inclined toward the Ian Fleming approach to beekeeping. This is because aggressive bees will needlessly allocate resources to guard the colony (such as having an unnecessarily high ratio of guard bees to foragers) while less aggressive bees are allocating their resources to other things more likely to assure their survival and reproduction such as gathering nectar and pollen.
 
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