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i began my first top bar experience 6 weeks ago with a package, in a hive from bethinking that has three side entrance holes. The colony is thriving and has filled half of the hive. My question if anyone has advice, is when or if I open the middle hole supplying the bees with a second entrance source. I do not want to encourage robbing, but it's getting a little crowded at one end. Any thoughts?
 

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my hive has 3 evenly spaced holes on the long side. Last year, when I started, I kept the last 2 closed. This spring, I opened up the middle one, so now they have 2 entrances to use. First one is still their primary entrance. At least they started to put the honey in the middle, so maybe it's the nectar carrying bees that use the middle one. I don't believe I've observed a pollen carrying bee using the middle entrance yet. And now I have opened up the 3rd entrance, which they don't use at all. It is mainly for ventilation in the hive, but I don't see many guard bees over there either (but I still have a follower board that cuts the hive into 2/3 bee hive and 1/3 empty). The bees can get past the follower board into the unused portion of the hive.
 

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i began my first top bar experience 6 weeks ago with a package, in a hive from bethinking that has three side entrance holes. The colony is thriving and has filled half of the hive. My question if anyone has advice, is when or if I open the middle hole supplying the bees with a second entrance source. I do not want to encourage robbing, but it's getting a little crowded at one end. Any thoughts?
i've read that you could just keep the one entrance at the front and be just fine ...as it makes the hive easier to protect and less prone to robbing
but having the extra entrance open can help w/ ventilation and if your hive is strong enough ...it should be able to thwart any robbing

hope that helps!
 

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One of my hives was like that and I didn't like how far spaced the holes were. I drilled easy wine cork size holes with a spade bit beside the front hole,even to it, 1 1/2 inches over.On my hive I had room on both sides for another hole,so it looked "even". They started using them right away! Full traffic in all 3 after just a couple of days. Like you it just looked way too crowded at the entrance to suit me. I did it early in the morning before they really got going and it didn't bother My bees at all(can't say if yours would react). I did suit up in case of guards though. I'd tried opening that middle hole and they didn't want to use it and it seemed vulnerable,even though they had comb that far. I didn't much like drilling into my "pretty" hive but it worked So great I recommend it.
 
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