Prime benefit is ventilation, nectar puts off plenty of moisture, secondary benefit is a few bees will take the easy road and not through the excluder, I do not care how they get to the nectar as long as they bring it home, bring it in girls!
I hate holes in my boxes. I always seem to forget them when putting bee escapes on or put my hand in them when picking up a box, or forget to close them off when moving etc. There never seems to be anything handy to close them either.
The hole isn't the best method to provide an entrance or to enhance ventilation. When I rehab old equipment, I plug any holes that have been drilled. It's easier to add a shim or to use an inner cover with a hole for a top entrance and for ventilation. I also hate having to remember to put the drilled box on top, etc. Too much work to keep track of.
Have some in some old equipment that I bought a few years back. Most important to me, the bees use and seem to love them. I don't worry whether they're on the top or bottom, front or back, and they don't seem to mind. It's just another way to get in. Sure there's more entrances to protect, but often their wild hives have multiple entrances. As far as plugging them goes, grab a tuft of grass and fold it according to the size of the hole and plug it. I'll do that for winter and for moving. No problem. The only drawback that I've experienced, though not a big one, is when working the hive and the body with the hole is set off, the bees used to using that entrance will remain in a "holding pattern" until their entrance is returned. When the hive is real busy it makes for a lot of bees in the air. I have no plans of plugging any of mine and have considered drilling some in the bodies that don't have them. Another beekeeper, another point of view.
I drilled a ¾ hole on each side of the finger grip just below the cover so rain will not get in. That was in December for winter ventilation as the snow piled up in front of the hive.
Yeah the bees seem to like landing up there and walking in but they also use the bottom. I cut up a ¾ inch dowel and spread the pieces around the pallets in the bee yard so they are available whenever I want to plug one. Rotated supers in the spring, plug the holes in the lower super and drill new ones in the top.
I use "hive attics" as top covers....covers that are about as deep as a deep box with three holes drilled in either end. All came covered in screen to keep out robbers. Does very well for providing cross ventilation to remove moisture. I removed the center screen on one end to provide an upper entrance, but few bees seem to use it. Don't know if it's due to the distance from the actual super or not, but that's been my experience.
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