What is the best entrance configuration for Langstroth hives?

Basic beekeeping, this is beekeeping after the first winter until about the third or fourth year. You are a beekeeper, but you still have a lot to learn. Talk about normal everyday beekeeping here.
Herndon
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What is the best entrance configuration for Langstroth hives?

Postby Herndon » Wed Apr 04, 2018 6:51 pm

Solomon had a great interview with Jason Bruns about trapping swarms. I saw on Jason’s website that he uses an upper entrance, lower entrance and 1” holes in the hive bodies and supers in Indiana. He runs his hives 3 deep.

What is the optimum arrangement for entrances (no bearding/great honey/overwintering)?

The beeks I know here (and me) do best running 2 deeps with a medium. I currently run a screened bottom board with a open entrance and Brushy Mountain inner cover with a small top opening. My survival rates are above average, but my bees will beard 5 months of the year when they should be inside dancing. I am in Hardiness Zone 7a on the East Coast where it almost never gets below 0 Fahrenheit.


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moebees
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Re: What is the best entrance configuration for Langstroth hives?

Postby moebees » Wed Apr 04, 2018 9:06 pm

Generally I think we usually have entrances too large. Feral colonies get by with very small openings and bees seem to prefer smaller openings.

I think the bearding issue is independent of the entrances. Bearding comes from lack of insulation and hives set in sun. If you want to reduce bearding insulate your hives or go to polystyrene hives.
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

Herndon
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Re: What is the best entrance configuration for Langstroth hives?

Postby Herndon » Sat Apr 07, 2018 3:12 pm

Thanks moebees. What are the advantages of polystyrene vs. insulation? What kind of insulation do you recommend?


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moebees
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Re: What is the best entrance configuration for Langstroth hives?

Postby moebees » Sat Apr 07, 2018 4:15 pm

The advantages of polystyrene over insulating a wood box (especially a box that wasn't designed and built to be insulated from the beginning) are that it is high R value while being very light, it is a single unit versus something attached so probably more durable and easier to work with. It is also difficult to achieve the same level of insulation value as the polystyrene hives. Here is a link with some data comparing various Langstroth configurations to Beemax polystyrene and to a bee tree. https://worldwidebeekeeping.com/forum/i ... 9#msg84989
The main drawback is expense of buying new equipment.

If you look on youtube there are a number of DIY insulation videos for wood boxes. Some sandwich the insulation between two layers of wood. Some attach the insulation to the outside and paint it. I have never done it and cannot vouch for any of the techniques but you can take a look. I would recommend the xps polystyrene you can get at the big box stores like the owens corning foamular pink insulation or the dow blue blue board. Try to find the highest compression strength you can. Usually that will be 25 psi even tho they make it up to 100 psi.
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

Herndon
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What is the best entrance configuration for Langstroth hives?

Postby Herndon » Sun Apr 08, 2018 1:47 am

@moebees The polystyrene hives are fascinating. The posts you shared are rather compelling. Funny to think that clustering may be unnatural beehavior. I had no idea and had been looking at getting one more full hive plus a mating nuc.

Any thoughts between Beemax, Paradise and Lyson? I have yet to see a brand shootout online.

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Dustymunky
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Re: What is the best entrance configuration for Langstroth hives?

Postby Dustymunky » Sun Apr 08, 2018 5:00 am

Hey Moe. Did you use poly hives? I looked into it but was concerned with moisture build up and long term durability.

moebees
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Re: What is the best entrance configuration for Langstroth hives?

Postby moebees » Sun Apr 08, 2018 5:15 am

Any thoughts between Beemax, Paradise and Lyson? I have yet to see a brand shootout online.


Rob Overton (the guy who runs the beevac.com site I posted the link above) prefers the Beemax. He uses both 10 frame and he overwinters in the 6 frame nuc. I have never tried the Beemax. The reason I have never tried Beemax is because the nucs are not stack-able like a regular hive and I use the 6 frame as my regular hive.

I have used both the paradise and Lyson 6 frame nucs and prefer the paradise. The Lyson are slightly short and some of them I have trouble getting the frames in and out. The other nice thing about the Paradise nucs is the double entrance with optional center divider so you can use them as mating nucs. The latches on the Lyson are nice as well as the extra space in the lid. All of them have way more ventilation than is necessary and I keep them all closed. The Paradise doesn't come with a means to close the screened bottom so I made a piece of xps polystyrene to insert and close it off.

The walls are slightly thicker on the 10 frames for both the Paradise and Lyson compared to the nucs so you get a little more R value with the 10 frames. I use the 6 frames mainly because I don't want to lift heavy 10 frames but also because I subscribe to the Tom Seeley small cavity concept.

There is an outfit (really a family) in Ohio that sells a US made polystyrene hive. It looks allot like the paradise in design but has the thickest walls I know of and the nuc and 10 frame are the same thickness. They claim an R value of 8. I have not tried them because they are more expensive (especially shipping) and they are not easy to order. You have to call their home and talk to someone unless you happen to be at a bee meeting they are attending. http://superiorbee.com/ I would love to try these but can't justify the extra expense and hassle. I have thought about trying to make some hive bodies myself but there doesn't seem to be a source for high density polystyrene in the US.

Those are the main pros and cons I know of.
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

moebees
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Re: What is the best entrance configuration for Langstroth hives?

Postby moebees » Sun Apr 08, 2018 5:23 am

Hey Moe. Did you use poly hives? I looked into it but was concerned with moisture build up and long term durability.


Yes I use them. Neither of those two concerns are an issue. They are very durable and I have seen no moisture issues. Check the link I posted above and read the Constructive Beekeeping paper by Ed Clarke. It may change your view of moisture in the hive.

This polystyrene is not like what you think of that we use for insulation. It is very dense. I use ratchet straps on the hive and this winter I put an extra piece of xps polystyrene (corning pink board insulation) on top. When I ratchet strap them down the strap easily collapses the xps insulation on the side. Same treatment has no effect on the polystyrene lids that come on the hives. The metal part of the ratchet will cut in if you have it in contact with the lid but otherwise no. I expect they will wear as well or better than wood given that they won't rot.
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

Herndon
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Re: What is the best entrance configuration for Langstroth hives?

Postby Herndon » Mon Apr 09, 2018 2:28 am

@moebees - thanks for the perspective on the hives. I did not see the extra ventilation on the Paradise type hive and was leaning towards the Lyson. Paradise sounds much better as does the American-made variation.

When I was poking around, I also came across the Apimaye hive. Looks like it has beehive gadgets built-in, has the latches like the Lyson and a R-Factor of nearly 7. Comes in 7 and 10 frame sizes. Ever heard of it?

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Dustymunky
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Re: What is the best entrance configuration for Langstroth hives?

Postby Dustymunky » Mon Apr 09, 2018 3:26 am

I read some of Ed’s book. Interesting stuff. Im a natural product guy. I just cant bring myself to make the poly leap. I do see the value to higher insulation though. Maybe you can start a thread in other hive types?

moebees
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Re: What is the best entrance configuration for Langstroth hives?

Postby moebees » Mon Apr 09, 2018 4:48 am

I read some of Ed’s book. Interesting stuff. Im a natural product guy. I just cant bring myself to make the poly leap. I do see the value to higher insulation though. Maybe you can start a thread in other hive types?


I guess we did get off topic a bit. I was just answering the questions I was asked. Dusty, if you do what I do and line the hives with wood perhaps it would ease your concern about unnatural? ;) I will start a thread other hive types.
Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

moebees
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Re: What is the best entrance configuration for Langstroth hives?

Postby moebees » Mon Apr 09, 2018 4:57 am

Sam Droege, a biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey—“bees are not optional."

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Greg H
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Re: What is the best entrance configuration for Langstroth hives?

Postby Greg H » Wed Apr 11, 2018 12:56 pm

I had bearding in my hives last year and simply placed a piece of the pink poly board on top of my lid and the bearding went away. I can only assume it helped with temperature control enough to allow the bees to go back to work. That is good enough for me.

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Michael Bush
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Re: What is the best entrance configuration for Langstroth hives?

Postby Michael Bush » Wed Apr 11, 2018 12:58 pm

"I had a neighbor who used the common box hive; he had a two inch hole in the top which he left open all winter; the hives setting on top of hemlock stumps without any protection, summer or winter, except something to keep the rain out and snow from beating into the top of the hive. he plastered up tight all around the bottom of the hive for winter. his bees wintered well, and would every season swarm from two to three weeks earlier than mine; scarcely any of them would come out on the snow until the weather was warm enough for them to get back into the hive.

"Since then I have observed that whenever I have found a swarm in the woods where the hollow was below the entrance, the comb was always bright and clean, and the bees were always in the best condition; no dead bees in the bottom of the log; and on the contrary when I have found a tree where the entrance was below the hollow, there was always more or less mouldy comb, dead bees &c.

"Again if you see a box hive with a crack in it from top to bottom large enough to put your fingers in, the bees are all right in nine cases out of ten. The conclusion I have come to is this, that with upward ventilation without any current of air from the bottom of the hive, your bees will winter well without any cobs."--Elishia Gallup, The American Bee Journal 1867, Volume 3, Number 8 pg 153
"Everything works if you let it"--James "Big Boy" Medlin
http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm

Herndon
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Re: What is the best entrance configuration for Langstroth hives?

Postby Herndon » Sat Apr 14, 2018 1:01 am

Greg H wrote:I had bearding in my hives last year and simply placed a piece of the pink poly board on top of my lid and the bearding went away. I can only assume it helped with temperature control enough to allow the bees to go back to work. That is good enough for me.


Thanks for the idea on the poly Greg. Sounds like a good way to get a quick win.

Herndon
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Re: What is the best entrance configuration for Langstroth hives?

Postby Herndon » Sat Apr 14, 2018 1:27 am

@Michael Bush - Wow! I did not realize that the American Bee Journal has been around for so long. Fascinating quote- it makes sense that constantly being exposed to death and decay would take its toll on the most perfect genetics. Time to make a top entrance!

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Michael Bush
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Re: What is the best entrance configuration for Langstroth hives?

Postby Michael Bush » Mon Apr 16, 2018 2:47 pm

ABJ was started by Samuel Wagner, the first editor, in 1851. It became a monthly magazine with the first edition in January 1861 It was edited by Samuel Wagner, followed by Wagner’s son, Elisha Gallup, Rev. L.L. Langstroth, Rev. W. F. Clarke, Samuel Wagner again, Thomas G. Newman, George W. York, C.P. Dadant, Dr. C.C. Miller, Frank C. Pellett, M.G. Dadant, G.H. Cale, Sr., J.C. Dadant, Roy A. Grout, Adelaide Fraser, Vern Sisson, Dale Maki, Jim Sheetz, Bill Carlile, Joe Graham and Kirsten Traynor.
"Everything works if you let it"--James "Big Boy" Medlin
http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm


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