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I am using a Queen excluder between my brood chambers and my Honey supers. If I add an upper entrance by using a notched inner cover will the bees be able to fill the honey supers faster?
 

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I am using a Queen excluder between my brood chambers and my Honey supers. If I add an upper entrance by using a notched inner cover will the bees be able to fill the honey supers faster?
Regardless of the opinions, no one really measured this.
If someone can correct me - go ahead.
I am yet to see such a study.
 

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There are so many strong opinions about QEs that this is a serious flame-bait question. :) You can probably find as many people to say yes as no.

However, the one thing I have read was that if you have an opening closer to the location of the honey that they are filling, there will be less traffic stains on the wax. You might even find that opening that second opening will incite some robbing. You might also find that when you do, the bees don't care about it and generally ignore it while continuing to use the entrance they have already been using.
 

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I am using a Queen excluder between my brood chambers and my Honey supers. If I add an upper entrance by using a notched inner cover will the bees be able to fill the honey supers faster?
They will fill the supers faster if they have a better flow.

You have to sit back and remember how the process inside a hive actually works. Forager returns to the hive and hands it's load off to a receiver bee, who then takes it to where it's being stored. This is why bee escapes work so well to clear supers over a couple days, initially the supers are full of house bees working on receiving and curing incoming nectar. They go down to the entrance to pick up another load, the move up to the new 'top of the hive' under the bee escape. Given a couple days, the supers above the escapes end up almost devoid of bees.

This is why I suggest, how fast a super gets filled is not about where the entrance is, but, about how much nectar is coming in.
 

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:thumbsup: I went all all QE's and no top entrance last year and had my best year in six. Of course it was also a good "flow" year. I continue to monitor with my insulating boxes on. As I put supers on the box moves with the supers exposing the lower brood chambers.

I had an idea using remote weather stations to record RH and Temperature and insulation. I have no measured data from prior years but with last years flow it seemed really painful getting to capped frame stage. So far I can clearly say two monitored points at the top of two big foraging hives with 2-3 supers on have had a dramatic downward change in RH while maintaining high temperatures. During winter and spring build up the RH was high ( 80-90% RH) with high temperatures ( 80-90 F). Now the trend in values 50-60 % RH and 88 to 93 F. Seemingly ideal conditions for drying honey while maintaining a comfortable RH for brood rearing. This has occurred even during wet and foggy days by the coast.

It will take time and more effort to prove the effect but I just saw my fastest capped supper of spring honey in six years. We just warmed up in the daytime and the "Flow Is On". As soon as I finish planting I will weight the hives. Just hefting from the rear tells a lot.
 

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Regardless of the opinions, no one really measured this.
If someone can correct me - go ahead.
I am yet to see such a study.
Well - Doolittle did something similar with a Gallup-Adair Long Hive (which had a reversed format: with the honey combs next to the entrance, and the brood-nest at the back - no QX) - he pulled in 566 lbs with that hive in contrast to an apiary average of 166 lbs. The speed of honey generation was such that he had to extract every 2-3 days.
LJ
 

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My bees say they don't care. I use the notch as an UE during the flow and very few use it. But I continue to believe they should so I keep it that way. J
 

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I believe George Imrie did a study on this, and from this came the Imrie shim which is a shim to create a second entrance above the QE. On the trials he conducted the hives with entrances above the QE out performed the hives with entrances below. I allways find that bees need to be encouraged to go above the excluder and this can be done by moving capped brood above the excluder and once the bees are established above the excluder will willingly use the top entrance. One needs to be careful not to take eggs and brood above the excluder as a queen can be raised above and that will make a mess of your supers.
 

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Well - Doolittle did something similar with a Gallup-Adair Long Hive (which had a reversed format: with the honey combs next to the entrance, and the brood-nest at the back - no QX) - he pulled in 566 lbs with that hive in contrast to an apiary average of 166 lbs. The speed of honey generation was such that he had to extract every 2-3 days.
LJ
I don't know, LJ - this is kind of similar but not similar enough to use as a benchmark and is not really repeated consistently to use as a reference.

For example, the upper entrance on the vertical hive does not mean that the bottom entrance is completely blocked (which should be per the Doolittle case). Not to mention a possibility that the colony itself WAS a killer honey producing colony that particular year on that particular site (genetics, what not) vs. the other hives on the same site.
Too many such nuances around a single Doolittle case, to consider these cases similar enough.

Overall, this would be very easy to measure in all proper setups, just as we speak.
In large enough sample groups, with identical setups, with enough collected numbers to support some kind of a repeatable conclusion.
Still, I don't know of such study.
 

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I don't know, LJ - this is kind of similar but not similar enough to use as a benchmark and is not really repeated consistently to use as a reference.
Fully agree, Greg. It was the only example of enabling direct access to the honey-combs that I could think of. Johno's example of the Imrie shim is a better example, but dunno whether or not that was fully documented at the time.

Whether or not this is germane to the current discussion - here's a shot from a Slovenian apiary (where a mix of conventional and A-Z hives are employed - bee-house in the background), showing entrance holes in every single bee-box.



I'd like to think there's some underlying logic behind that. :)
LJ
 

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Fully agree, Greg. ...........

I'd like to think there's some underlying logic behind that. :)
LJ
The "human logic" is about direct access, indeed.
But until consistently shown to actually be working - I don't know if this particular logic is "logical".
Too many cases where the operators swear by a single bottom entrance, etc, etc.
And yet no one bothers to actually measure the difference, compile documented support evidence, and present the findings to the public.

I have seen cases like you presented - entrance in each box.
I also have seen cases where only the bottom entrances - that 6-frame commercial operator (in Warre subforum if you recall) does bottom only and insists on his method; if anyone is interested in honey production volumes in sustainable manner, this would be the guy.
Michael Bush is preaching top-only entrance, whatever is his agenda.
Diametrically opposite cases are easily findable on youtube, google, etc.
 

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Keep in mind the "Access" is not the only vector in this equation. The bees evaporate the necter down to honey, so air flow is also important.

In a tall hive the top entrance can save time to enter and exit. as well , but the big deal IMO is the moisture coming out of the hive.

GG
 

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Johno's example of the Imrie shim is a better example, but dunno whether or not that was fully documented at the time.
While I wish I could say that I consistently implement and adhere to the precepts that Mr. Imirie outlined as regards maximizing honey production, it seems plain that he regarded upper entrances as one component of maximizing yield:

http://pinkpages.chrisbacherconsulting.com/1999_-_Optimizing_Honey_Production_-_ABF_Workshop.html

Again, while I confess to not using this to full-effect, he also discusses at length both the 'where' and 'when' to install these entrances to gain the fullest-effect. While anecdotal in nature, I have observed that maintaining upper entrances year-round may ultimately equate to less surplus yield based on what appears to be a colony's propensity to have brood near the entrance(s).

Just food for thought, but Mr. Imirie also points out several other good fundamental components to maximizing yield, namely a huge foraging force at the right time and an overabundance of drawn comb to give them places to quickly store nectar for drying down.

Now if I only had an overabundance of drawn comb laying around...
 

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Now if I only had an overabundance of drawn comb laying around...

Russ the way out of that Valley for me was an extractor, A few combs in the center really helps, to get the bees to move up.
Also then used mediums as brood, winter food , and super, this flexibility helped in several ways.

GG
 

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Regardless of the opinions, no one really measured this.
If someone can correct me - go ahead.
I am yet to see such a study.
Right here on Beesource is a pretty good article.
https://beesource.com/point-of-view/jerry-hayes/queen-excluder-or-honey-excluder/
I’ve got a lot of experience in this subject if I do say so having run lots of excluded and non excluded hives side by side for years. My take is if the hives are strong and the flow heavy it makes little difference with the caveat that a top entrance is beneficial if for no other reason than to help with ventilation and honey ripening.
At the other extreme, putting an excluder on a small hive in a weak flow will usually result in an empty box up top and perhaps a honey bound brood nest below. In short, leave the excluder off until the hive is heavily populated. Also be aware that if a box of extracted comb that has any honey odor at all is put on a weak hive above an excluder in a dearth it had better be bee tight above because it’s an invitation for robbers.
 

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Russ the way out of that Valley for me was an extractor, A few combs in the center really helps, to get the bees to move up.
Also then used mediums as brood, winter food , and super, this flexibility helped in several ways.
GG:

That's good feedback, and I appreciate it. So as not to hijack the thread, I'll refrain from commenting further other than to say thanks again!

Russ
 

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I'm a sixth year newbie with nine hives. I have been exploring the basic hive design effects with some simple tools. To quote "is beneficial if for no other reason than to help with ventilation". The upper vent will cool a hive in many place especially northern hives, especially at night. This is not a good effect for drying honey.

I am running my hives this eyar with no upper entrances / vents and with R10 insulation over the supers. I am stunned to see the the relative humidities in the 50-55% range at 90 to 93 F temperatures at the top of the hives - above the supers. Even when it is foogy or raining. I think outside. This would appear to be ideal conditions for drying honey for capping while maintaining brood temperatures and desired RH for brood rearing. I think I see fast drying capping in what seems to be a good flow. I do see differences between internal conditions for big foraging hives versus struggling hives ( late buildup).

It is not proof positive but now I now what to look for and will attemp to run a comaprison test and collect data at night too. A tough test as I believe one needs 8-10 hives for each setup to get good comparative information - more than I want to keep.
 

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I like to get a dome of honey and then keep the brood nest open so queen stays in brood boxes. Then remove the excluder.

I have experimented with vent boxes above the inner cover and saw no improvement and more likely less production.

There is a member of our bee club who manages winter moisture via a piece of Styrofoam with a 1 inch center hole at top of hive. She then places a Vivaldi box above that with burlap in it. It is a way to slowly wick moisture out the top without creating the "draft" and "cooling" of hive.
 
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