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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all.

I started last year and have managed to overwinter 3 out of 4 hives. I've made most of my boxes and 'succumbed' to the bottom entrances and they've worked w/o any issues. I only use screened bottom boards and have propped up some tops as needed or used inner covers to help with ventilation. Now that I'm starting to make more boxes, including nucs and a queen castle for some breeding and queen production I've started wondering about where actually the entrance really matters. All the commercial products feature bottom entrances including 'all' their equipment whether it's nucs, 8 or 10 frame equipment. I've read several articles in here whereby people use 'top' entrances instead and they seem to work. So my questions are as follows -

1. Given that I'm using only screened bottom boards, due to the excessive heat in the summer in SC and SHB problems I've had, what's to stop me from converting to top entrances or 'holes' drilled into new boxes?

2. If I drill a hold as a entrance, do the bees need some type of 'landing board' or will them manage w/o one? What size hole should I use - 3/4, 5/8, bigger?

3. What do people do if they have a 'bumper' year and have to stack 4 or 5 supers on top of their hives? Do you add some supers with holes in them so the bees don't have to travel as far to make their nectar deposits? If so, at what point to you add this type of box - 3 supers, 4 ? Or, do you use a top entrance in conjunction with the bottom one?

4. I just made 4 nuc boxes using D Coates' set of plans and plan to use these for 'what ifs' and some nuc splits I do this year. With these 5-frame nuc plans I plan to just staple the #8 wire directly to the bottom and leave them open. Anything wrong with this?

thanks,
 

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my current idea for top entrance is to put 1/4" thick strips around 3 sides of my flat migratory style cover. leaving the front open for an entrance. that way the top entrance stays at the top. if you drill holes then you'd have to make holes in each new box and plug the old hole etc.

bees don't need a landing board. most Top bar hives have none and do just fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Have you been 'in production' with this or just getting started with this method? I think that the existing bees will be able to remove any dead one's and do their normal 'clean out' without any issues but not 100 %sure as I haven't tried this yet.
 

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My hives have top entrances. I have dispensed with inner and outer (telescoping) covers. My only tops are essentially a migratory cover as JakeDatc describes. Drilling holes in each box just creates something else to manage and adds to potential rot opportunities.

More on top entrances here: http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopentrance.htm

I did build bottom entrances into my bottom boards - just in case - but they remain blocked year round.
 

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My hives have top entrances. I have dispensed with inner and outer (telescoping) covers. My only tops are essentially a migratory cover as JakeDatc describes. Drilling holes in each box just creates something else to manage and adds to potential rot opportunities.

More on top entrances here: http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopentrance.htm

I did build bottom entrances into my bottom boards - just in case - but they remain blocked year round.
I did this too.. might as well since you still need the bottom bee space. I may run the bottom in "small opening" mode like Michael Palmer does with duel entrances.
 

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This is what I did to make top entrances:


I've since just nailed the shims to the lids.

The bees don't care f there's a landing board or not.

These are Coates nucs, but it works the same on any size Lang boxes
 

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>1. Given that I'm using only screened bottom boards, due to the excessive heat in the summer in SC and SHB problems I've had, what's to stop me from converting to top entrances or 'holes' drilled into new boxes?

Good sense? I hate holes in my boxes...

>2. If I drill a hold as a entrance, do the bees need some type of 'landing board' or will them manage w/o one?

No they don't need a landing board.

> What size hole should I use - 3/4, 5/8, bigger?

I wouldn't drill a hole... but anything smaller than 3/8" is too small...

>3. What do people do if they have a 'bumper' year and have to stack 4 or 5 supers on top of their hives? Do you add some supers with holes in them so the bees don't have to travel as far to make their nectar deposits? If so, at what point to you add this type of box - 3 supers, 4 ? Or, do you use a top entrance in conjunction with the bottom one?

I have one entrance. It's at the top.

>4. I just made 4 nuc boxes using D Coates' set of plans and plan to use these for 'what ifs' and some nuc splits I do this year. With these 5-frame nuc plans I plan to just staple the #8 wire directly to the bottom and leave them open. Anything wrong with this?

A nuc has more trouble thermoregulating. The screen will make it even more difficult. I would put a solid bottom on it. Also, I don't know the height of his nucs, I assume they have a beespace at the bottom. If not then you need to make a bottom that leaves a space or the bees will propolize the bottom bars to the floor...
 

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I made up some tapered shims that create an instant entrance wherever you want it without making holes in hive bodies. I didn't find any problem of burr comb between boxes.




Frank
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all the advice. I'll try top hive entrances and see how well they do - or how well I seem to handle them. Ha Ha.

I was worried about a couple of things, but think I got all the answers I need for now. One thing that will be 'different' is that whenever I remove the top, I still have to deal with them thinking that this is their 'normal' entrance - but as I always have some 'circling and using this' whenever I'm working them I don't think that will be too hard.

One last question if I might - what is the hole size diameter needed for quart feeders - 2 7/8", 2 1/5" ? I'd like to purchase the correct hole saw the first time and not have to 'wallow' it out - if you know what I mean. ;)
 
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