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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am going to use top entrances on my hives this year and am interested in knowing if others who use top entrances also use screen bottom boards or solid bottom boards. I live in northeast Ohio which might influence any recommendations that you have.

Thanks,

Will
 

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Will,

I am considering using top entrances this year also and was wondering if those using them now might report the benefits and other insights gained.

Thanks,

Lee
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Will,

I am considering using top entrances this year also and was wondering if those using them now might report the benefits and other insights gained.

Thanks,

Lee

Lee,

Michael Bush advocates for the top entrance for reasons such as protection from mice and skunks, ventilation and heavy snow drift not covering the entrance. You can find his full write-up on his web site: bushfarms-dot-com. I was not able to find a specific statement on if he uses the combination of top entrance and screened bottom board so I thought that I would ask the group here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
By the way Lee, I believe in a natural bee tree, the entrance to the hive is much more often above the comb than below it.... I infer that as the bee's opinion on the subject of top entrances. :)
 

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>I am going to use top entrances on my hives this year and am interested in knowing if others who use top entrances also use screen bottom boards or solid bottom boards.

I have only top entrances. I think I have 150 solid bottom boards and somewhere between 50 and 100 screened bottom boards. I only buy solid bottom boards now. I do not let the wind blow in the bottom boards. They are either so close to the ground that the grass blocks the bottom or they have a tray in them.
 

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Will,

I use upper entrances on all my hives along with screened bottom boards. The screened bottom boards are closed from fall until late spring. I am going to use some solid bottom boards this year.

The main reason I use the top entrance is to avoid skunks and uniformity.

Tom
 

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I have converted to top entrances as well. I have both solid bottoms and a few screened. I am going to all solid bottoms as I think it works best.
 

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All my hive have top entrances.

I have closed screened bottom boards that I leave closed all year. And after reading all the dead outs over winter from people that leave them open I woudn't do it.
 

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I live in Florida, but we got down to 15 twice this year. All 6 of my hives survived and all have screened bottom boards. Some have trays, some don't. I intend to double my hives over the summer and will go with all SBB. I like the trays as they really knock the SHB down, probably help with mites. All my hives have upper and lower entrances.
 

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Along these lines.. with the top entrance do you not use an inner cover? looks like in this picture you (michael bush) don't. could you use a telescoping cover over that for rain protection?

 

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I don't use an inner cover, I use a piece of vinyl flooring that is 1 inch too small on the front and one side. The front gives easy access to the side gives me access to a frame feeder without moving the vinyl. The vinyl gives me a place to put SHB traps, pollen patties, what ever and stops condinsation from falling into the cluster. Learned it from somebody on this site and I really like it.
 

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I use my telescoping covers (with no inner cover) but have removed the (1 x 2) end (and bent the metal cover out) and put shims in like M. Bush. Works Great. In the winter I put a quilt box with an entrance on, then 1 1/2" insulation board (may not be needed, but keeps the telescoping cover from covering the vent holes of the quilt box) and then the top cover (w/o shims).
 

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>Along these lines.. with the top entrance do you not use an inner cover? looks like in this picture you (michael bush) don't. could you use a telescoping cover over that for rain protection?

I do not have an inner cover.
I do not want a telescopic cover for these reasons:

1) It will keep me from being able to put the hives all up against each other for winter (telescopic covers protrude in all directions)
2) They catch the wind and blow off easily.
3) They cost more.
4) The are one more piece of equipment to keep track of and haul around.
5) When the top telecopes it blocks the bees flying directly in the top entrance.
6) When the top overhangs it catches the wind and blows more rain in.
 

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Thanks Michael and Robbin. My hive will be up on a 2nd floor deck on the south and lee side of the house so i'm hoping tops blowing off won't be an issue. I already built a bottom board so maybe i'll do upper and lower entrance and let them decide ;)
 

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Will,

I live in NE Ohio too, and I use all upper entrances and SBB's. I reduce the upper entrance down to about 1" and slide the tray in the screened bottom board for wintering and in cooler weather. I don't seal the bottom off completely, I want it open just enough for "some" ventilation, but not enough to create drafts. Like Michael Bush, I don't use inner covers either.

If you do not have a specific purpose for using a SBB, it's not really necessary. I use them on all my hives in order to monitor mite fall and examine other debris that falls from the hive. I can learn a lot about what is going on inside the hive by reading the SBB trays.

Either solid or screened will work fine. Try both and see which you prefer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks everyone for the posts. This has been a very helpful discussion.

Mike Gillmore, I recently joined the Medina Beekeepers club. If you ever go to their meetings perhaps we can say hello in Person.

Will
 

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Mike what kind of top entrance are you using , I've been using a notched inner cover with telescoping top and see very little use as an entrance . Seems like it would be hard for the bees to use it as a entrance with the top coming down and more or less covering it even with the top pushed forward for clearance .
 

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How do you ventilate a nuc in 10 framer(without SBB and with top entrance) if you need to keep a reduced entrance?
I'm curiuous because I will make splits in summer and I need a solution for that. I'm thinking on having the bottom entrance wide open and screened.
I wintered my 2 colonies on both reduced bottom and top entrances in singles. They wintered fine but neither put to a real wintering test as we had a mild winter (some 5F and snow, plenty of cleansing flights in January... I miss the old time winters).
 

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Dear CristianNiculae,

If you will supply your postal address, I'm sure there are many beekeepers in the US who would gladly take up a collection to pay to send you one partially-used "Old Fashioned Winter." Frankly, we've had enough fun(?) with it, and most of us feel it's time to share the treat. The 2013-2014 model is unusually well-supplied with extreme cold, snow, and ice storms so you're sure to be able to still get some Real Winter out of it. And we'd be very happy to see it go to someone who wants to give it a good home. Just remember, you can't send it back!

Enj.
 
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