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I'm building migratory covers as entrances and using a plain board or an old box with #8 hardware cloth or old bottoms with #8 hardware cloth on them for bottoms. I just put 1/4" strip glued and nailed around the outside of the migratory cover with the opening where I want it.

If you build one of these you get ventilation because it's the entrance, it's easy to make and the bottom gets much easier to make.

There are advantages to both inner cover/telescopic and migratory covers. One is that you can stack migratory covered hives up against each other. Another is the price and anther is that the migratory covers don't blow off as much because they get glued down. A telescopic doesn't get glued down, although the inner cover does.

It's nice to be able to peek in a hive through the hole in the inner cover without pulling the top.

The inner cover eliminates some condensation on the lid to have a double layer there. That way it condenses on the cover instead of the inner cover.

But to work it needs a little space on each side, which is much harder to construct. Otherwise the errant bees that crawl out the inner cover get squished and the air space on top isn't there. And if there isn't some on the bottom you squish the bees on the top bars sometimes.

But you have the same problem with the migratory cover squishing bees on the top bars unless you add a spacer to it.

That's why I like the migratory top/entrance. Solves all my problems. I get a lid, an entrance, some space over the top bars, ventilation, no clogged entrance from dead bees in the winter and it gets glued down so it won't blow off so easily. And if I close off the entrance on the bottom I get no mice, no skunks, no possums.

That's my opinion.
 

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Thanks Michael. I have been toying with the Idea of a top entrance after reading that article. But it said to do it just abouve to brood nests. From what your saying is that your entrances are on the top of the hive. Do you get much travel stain on comb honey? Also has this setup increased your honey production? Could you also tack a screen on the bottom brood chamber and then lift it say 3/8 of an inch witha shim and have a screened bottom board to this also with a full open bottom for ventilation?
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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>Thanks Michael. I have been toying with the Idea of a top entrance after reading that article. But it said to do it just abouve to brood nests. From what your saying is that your entrances are on the top of the hive.

Yes.

>Do you get much travel stain on comb honey?

I just started doing it. I may put a Imirie shim in the middle under the supers if it seems to be a problem or do Bjorn's method and put a hole in each super and use corks to move the entrances around.

>Also has this setup increased your honey production?

As I said, I just started it. But the skunks, possums and mice did a lot of damage last year and I'm sure I'll get better production with live bees than skunk poop.

>Could you also tack a screen on the bottom brood chamber and then lift it say 3/8 of an inch witha shim and have a screened bottom board to this also with a full open bottom for ventilation?

I have a lot of SBB and am just closing the entrance with a 3/4 x 3/4" board and putting the hive on that. They are Brushy Mt style and have a plastic bottom that I can pull out. I am doing some variations. I have a double wide bottom box with a groove for a sideways queen excluder so I can make a stack of brood boxes and another of supers for a "twin towers" arrangement. I was going to do top entrances on both towers. It has a screened bottom that is open to the ground with five inches or so of space for debris to build up. Actually it has a removable screened tray so you can pull it out to clean the debris from the screen.

Another is just a two box long screened bottom board with no entrance and two or three inches of space for debris.

I can't say how I will end up doing it by the end of the year, but I think I'm done with bottom entrances.
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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For an opening/entrance, how much height does the opening need to have to let drones and workers crawl in and out comfortably?
 

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I prefer to remove the inner cover when its waxed to the frame tops, because I can twist it to break the wax.
Just started playing with the migratory this year, it seems to be harder to remove, when wax is on top of the frames.
 

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I also going to top entrances. I have some sbb with lower entrances and have recently made some with no entrances. Many of my colonies now have massive bee populations and so I have added an upper entrance with my sbb that have lower entrances. This seems to be working just fine for now; however when populations decrease I will close these lower entrances. On the colonies with my recently mfg. sbb with no entrances I stagger [about 1/2"] a box just above the brood nest. Of course when the flow is over I will be lining the boxes up evenly.
 

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Based on reading some of what Michael Bush stated earlier, I am also planning to change from bottom entrance to top entrance, though it was suggested to me that since I use a queen excluder just above my brood boxes, I may end up with a trapped queen and trapped drones in the bottom boxes - and if they needed to leave the hive for whatever reason (drones to mate, new queens to mate, etc.) they could not. Being a newbie, I look to you guys for advice! Any suggestions?

Beecuz
____________

"For breath is sweeter taken even as the last ...
in places dear with gardens, fields and dogwood trees...
In forest stands of bamboo shoots...
of ginger root and honey bees..."
 

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Its been about a month since I read the information, and I'm not going to go look right this instance, but if I remember right the solution would be to drill a hole in the brood chamber large enough for the drones to leave (If using a queen excluder)
 

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> since I use a queen excluder just above my brood boxes, I may end up with a trapped queen and trapped drones in the bottom boxes

There is no "may". You will.

> - and if they needed to leave the hive for whatever reason (drones to mate, new queens to mate, etc.) they could not.

There is no "if they needed to leave the hive" with drones, they will leave the hive every single day or they will die that day trying to leave clogging your excluder completely with drones and then trapping the workers as well who will also perish.

> Being a newbie, I look to you guys for advice! Any suggestions?

Easy. a 3/8" hole in the block you put across the bottom entrance. If you have skunk issues then put an imirie shim just below the excluder, or buy a wood bound excluder and put a notch in the bottom side of it...

I really hate holes in my boxes, but I suppose if you insist, a 3/8" hole in the box just below the exluder would do too...
 

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Thanks, Honeybull and Michael, for your advice. I have one hive with the excluder and will drill the 3/8" hole at the bottom of the excluder as suggested. The other hives do not have excluders, so I will happily change them to top entrances under my migratory cover without further adieu! :)

Michael, do you use any queen excluders at all on your hives? It sounds like you don't approve of them.
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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>Michael, do you use any queen excluders at all on your hives?

Occasionally in queen rearing I use one.

> It sounds like you don't approve of them.

The bees don't approve of them... and they create more problems than they solve. In fact they don't solve any problem that I know of...
 

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>Michael, do you use any queen excluders at all on your hives?Occasionally in queen rearing I use one.> It sounds like you don't approve of them. The bees don't approve of them... and they create more problems than they solve. In fact they don't solve any problem that I know of...
Why does MB thrive on giving contrary advice?
Queen excluders prevent a queen from going into the honey supers. If you have a lot of brood in the honey supers you have to sort it out frame by frame. This is very time consuming in a large harvest. It also raises the chances of loosing or killing a queen. I blew one out of a honey super last year she had sneaked into. I found her but blowing her killed the hive. Once there is brood laid in a honey super they are attractive to wax moths. I have honey supers 40 years old never protected from wax moths because I use queen excluders.
 
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