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Hey all, I am planning on expanding my hive count as my main goal this year. After some research, I am leaning towards employing Mr. Bush's method of top entrance, and all mediums. Thanks for any input. G

1; It seems only wise to use all of the same size boxes for the obvious reasons.

2; It seems much more economical to manufacture my own woodenware, and the migratory cover with shims and slatted rack bottoms seem acomplishable without much trouble.

3; The method has undoubtedly been very successful for Mr. Bush.

My questions are,

1; For overwintering purposes, is there a solid bottom, similar to in a sbb that is used in winter as a break or is the slatted rack with wire open all winter?

2; Does Mr. Bush, or any of you employing the same methods reduce the top entrance in the winter? I would assume so for heat loss concerns but havent read.

3; Does anyone reading this run the same setups and are your experiences as positive as with traditional hive setups? ie; telescoping top, inner cover, bottom entrance.

Thanks again for any input. G
 

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Wow, alot of views and no suggestions? I guess I will find out through trial and hopefully not too much error.......:lpf:
 

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I have simple migratory covers (no inner, no tele) and top entrances on all medium 10* frame boxes. No bottom entrance/vent. I normally leave the top entrance open the full width all year. Works for me.

The setup above is the only way I have done it, so I can't compare it to any experience with bottom entrances etc.

If you want to get rid of winter humidity in the hive, you have to accept that there will be heat loss. From my perspective, bees are better able to deal with cold temperatures if they remain dry.

My hives do have a screened bottom, but there is an oil tray under the screen, and then a solid bottom supporting the oil tray. No significant airflow through the bottom board (just normal cracks, etc).

I build all my woodenware, and I do build in a bottom entrance to my bottom boards, just in case. :) But I block those bottom entrances with a removable piece of wood and so far I haven't removed any of those blocks.

I did also build some Miller style top feeders, and wasn't entirely pleased with possible robbing from a top feeder & top entrance. I have not used those Miller feeders this season, but that might be a reason to open my bottom entrances when employing those feeders.



* Those frames are built to be 1.25" wide, so 11 frames can fit in a 'standard' 10 frame box.

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I may be a newbee, all mediums is what I have started with for the reasons seem practical and logical. And currently feeding 1/1 with water and sugar with proper amount of honey bee healthy ; they only seem to slurp it up on cool nights, very few visit the feeder throughout the day. I do have a bottom entrance with a screened bottom board and plastic tray. The idea of the top entrance is bouncing around in my mind.....just have not firmly decided, once it warms up consistently, who knows what may happen.

It would make the traffic a bit less congested. I now have about a 2 1/2" opening at the bottom.
 

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I am a follower of most of M. Bush's recommendations. I used 10-frame deeps and shallows in the 1980s but when I started over in 2010 I switched to all 8 frame mediums and am delighted I did so, weight and uniformity being the issues.

I use screened bottom boards and never close them off, even in winter. I have my bottom entrance wide open all summer and only close it off with mouse guards in the winter, but leave plenty of holes open for the girls to come and go as needed. In the heat of the summer I also add a top entrance, or maybe off set a super or two which allows 1) better ventilation and 2) an upper entrance for the foragers to come and go so they don't have to start at the bottom and work their way up to unload whatever they collected. Back in the 1980s it was common to drill a small hole in an upper super for the girls to come and go out of, but putting a hole directly in woodenware supers has lost favor (even though they are easy to close off with duct tape.

One of the keys to keeping a hive dry in the winter is to be sure to tilt it slightly forward so if moisture collects on the cover, it will roll forward and down the front inner box(s) and not rain down directly on the cluster.

On Mr. Bush's advice I have not treated for mites since the fall of 2010 and I do not feed artificial supplements (sugar water, pollen patties, HBH, etc.) I lost a hive or two in the beginning, but all 3 of my hives and a nuc came through this past winter great. I have honey suppers on all my hives and will be putting on a second round of honey supers this week.

I control varroa mainly with drone removal, brood breaks and the screened bottom boards, AND keeping my girls as healthy as possible with plenty of their own food stores
 

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What's the benefit of moving the entrance ot the top?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for your replies. Interesting to me Rader that you are able to leave the top entrance fully open in the winter. I will try tinkering with different approaches as I grow and see which works best for me. I like the Idea of a bottom and top entrance, but Mr. Bush uses strictly top from what I see. I am going to go this route regardless, I think I am sold. Thanks again for your replies. G:thumbsup:
 

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> 1; For overwintering purposes, is there a solid bottom, similar to in a sbb that is used in winter as a break or is the slatted rack with wire open all winter?

Half of mine are solid bottoms. Half are SBB with a tray in or SBB where they are in the middle of the group and the wind doesn't blow in (They are 3 1/2" off the ground in clusters of 14 hives against each other).

> 2; Does Mr. Bush, or any of you employing the same methods reduce the top entrance in the winter? I would assume so for heat loss concerns but havent read.

About half of mine are. If I had the time I would get the other half done... the top box in the pictures of the bottom board feeder have the reducer in place. They are a piece of screen molding (3/4" wide, 1/4" thick) that is about 10" long with one nail in the center into the top to make a pivot so it can be opened or closed and the reducer doesn't get lost.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfeeding.htm#BottomBoardFeeder
 

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Thanks Mr. Bush. I see now, so the bottom feeder could also act as a form of vetilation. Thanks for your reply. G
 

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I liked all that I read from Michael when I was researching for a solid year before getting my first bees. When I got my first colony 4 years ago I decided I'd keep bees MB style. I run all 8 frame mediums. Shave all my end bars down to 1 1/4". Use a top entrance on all hives with cedar shims propping up a plain piece of 3/4" plywood. Bottom board is the same exact solid board as the top board I just described. I've never purchased or used any type of commercial foundation or treatment.

When I hive a new swarm I use a top feeder I built about 2" deep that I pour dry sugar in. It holds 4-5lbs of dry sugar. The bees definitely take the sugar if they need it. Saves a lot of time versus making up syrup. And no bees ever drown in the dry sugar ;) I've also never purchased bees. I get them all from feral swarms and cutouts. That has worked out great for me. Beekeeping has never cost the family any money. Pays for itself and then some every year so far.

Top Bar hives and the Warre approach are attractive to me as well and very similar to the main aspects Michael practices. The reason I went with MB's approach is because it keeps all the natural benefits of TBH and Warre, but uses mainstream medium size hive equipment. If someone wants to get into beekeeping I can sell them a natural feral hive and they can buy all the accessories (bottom boards, landing boards, fancy covers, inner covers, queen excluders, etc.) that all the beekeeper suppliers sell because the supers are industry standard medium size supers. The bees don't need any of that extra stuff but does make a hive look handsome.

Along those same lines, my apiary scales up very well with the absolute minimum of costs to each new hive from not needing all those accessories. Not buying foundation saves money. Not having to install it saves time. Same thing for treatment. The bees don't need it. If you get a colony that does, you probably don't want those genes mixing in with your good survivor colonies anyway. Let nature take its course with minimal beekeeper intervention.

I've never had a colony who's root cause of being weak was pests. It's always queen loss that I don't pick up on till it's almost too late. And at that point I either join it with another hive or give it a frame or two of brood from another colony that can afford to donate. Pests and diseases have never been an issue for me so far in my short stint. I'm not going to lie, Michael's book is basically my bee Bible. I almost do nightly devotions with it. Just kidding on that one! :lpf:

But I'm just like all the folks on here who say they don't know any other method because they started from Day 1 using foundationless and TF. I never developed any habits that got so ingrained as to make me throw the towel in. I've handled a frame of soft new comb the wrong way and watched the comb break off and hit the ground :eek:. That never happened again. After a year of foundationless, TF, top entrance, I predict you'll be glad you took the plunge.

Our honey customers don't mind the higher price we charge for our honey when I tell them, "We use no chemicals whatsoever, no commercial chemical-laced foundation. We don't feed corn syrup. We harvest via crush and strain only, retaining all of honey's nutrients." People rave about the flavor too. My dad and I think it's due to the fact that the comb doesn't get reused over and over. Just once. Then we turn the pure uncompromised wax into lip balm, diaper cream and other things we love.

All my experience with keeping bees this way has rubbed off on my father who now keeps bees TF and foundationess as well now. It's working for him too. So, go for it! Just like Michael's tag line says, "Everything works if you let it." It really will.
 

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Great Post HiveMind and thank you very much. This is my second year and am always looking back as reference to MB's literatue when I have questions, as well as the great advice I get here from so many. I started the only way I knew, the way that is sold to us, but now that I am more comfortable and growing I want to expand, this is a far more economical approach to expansion, as well as the other benifits, and also a chance to get more involved in the manufacture of my own woodenware with limited tools. Im sold, and will be working evenings getting the new setups going for my upcoming splits. Thanks again, to all who shared. G :thumbsup:
 

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>My dad and I think it's due to the fact that the comb doesn't get reused over and over.

My guess it's the exposure to air as it is flung across the extractor that loses some of the aromatics. Capping honey sometimes has the same advantage (because it wasn't extracted, just cut off) and comb honey also has all that flavor sealed in until you bite into it...
 

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>My guess it's the exposure to air as it is flung across the extractor that loses some of the aromatics. Capping honey sometimes has the same advantage (because it wasn't extracted, just cut off) and comb honey also has all that flavor sealed in until you bite into it...
That's a good theory. We're thinking about using a fruit press this year. I think that would limit air exposure even more than regular crush & strain since it's essentially the same as crush & strain but goes from comb to jar much faster limiting the air exposure even more. I'll share our experience with that later in a dedicated post.
 
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