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With a top entrance, how big is too big for each? It doesn't often get brutally cold here but the wind can be significant. I currently have a 2" top entrance and plan to reduce the bottom one to the smallest around 1" if I recall, and my hive is a little "leaky" between boxes that don't fit well. I was thinking of clear duct tape around the seams too.

Would closing off the lower entirely be too closed up?
 

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I leave the inner cover hole wide open and about a 1 in by 1/4 on the bottom.Last season i had an sbb on all winter and they did great.As has been said many times the cold will not kill the bees but moisture will.so closeing off the entrance or not leaving enough venalation is not good.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Do you mean you left the SBB open all winter? I don't think I could do that here, but I suppose even with the board in it'll leak some air.
 

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I usually reduce it to two or three inches on all the hives, not because of cold, but to cut down on robbing. A smaller entrance on the big hives creates a traffic jam in a robbing frenzy and it makes the weak hives more defensible. But I have overwintered with a full width (warm or cold way) which would be about 18 1/2" wide by 3/8" high the cold way or 15 1/2" wide by 3/8" the warm way. Ventilation is good. Drafts are not.
 

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"about 18 1/2" wide by 3/8" high the cold way or 15 1/2" wide by 3/8" the warm way"

Michael, What do you mean by warm way and cold way?

Thanks,
Mabe
 

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If you turn the hive sideways the frames run paralell to the entrance. This is commonly called "the warm way" because the combs help break up the draft. If you have your hive the "normal" way with the combs running at right angles to the entrnace that's "the cold way" because the draft can blow right down between the combs with nothing to stop it. So when the hive is turned "the warm way" the front of the hive is 19 7/8" wide. When the hive is turned the cold way then the ten frame boxes are 16 1/4" wide and the eight frame boxes are 13 3/4" wide.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Interestng! That hadn't occurrred to me; you're talking about your shimmed top and which edge is shimmed open, right (not the bottom entrance)?
 

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Ben,

I keep my hives on open SBB all winter with no added insulation. I do have slatted racks that might help keep them warm. I'm convinced that all the bees really need is a little ventilation, full sun, and no wind. Your neck of the woods might get colder, but central PA can have a miserable, wet springtime.
 

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Warm way or cold way is just which way the hive is oriented and nothing to do with where the entrance is, top and bottom, just which side it's on.

But befere that, I was talking about a winter entrance and I always have a top one for winter and I used to have a small bottom one too, but no longer bother with this because of mice, skunks, snow, grass, dead bees etc.
 
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