Let's talk top entrances

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justinross
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Let's talk top entrances

Postby justinross » Fri Jun 26, 2015 4:01 pm

So... I've been considering going from a long langstroth to standard, 8-frame medium boxes (mostly for the simplicity and not having to futz around with building from scratch). One concern (which is stretching the word "concern") is that I like the idea of a top entrance, but I've heard (I think Solomon mentioned it when we were recording the latest podcast episode) that bees like to keep brood close to the entrance. In a horizontal langstroth, this isn't a problem, as you can just keep honey frames at the end opposite the entrance. In a vertical, though, if you keep the entrance at the top, will they just keep moving their brood upward to follow the top entrance as you add more boxes?

Is there a compromise somewhere between? It doesn't seem like shimming a box to leave a gap between two levels would be ideal, for a few reasons. Anyone with top entrances on their traditional langs have input?

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Tyson Kaiser
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Re: Let's talk top entrances

Postby Tyson Kaiser » Sat Jun 27, 2015 5:05 pm

I have tried top entrances but I'm not a fan. I haven't enjoyed inspecting top entrance hives because foragers stack up by your head wondering where their entrance has gone. I haven't seen a practical benefit to it yet, but that's me. I have all bottoms and don't see a need to change it.
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Chuck Jachens
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Re: Let's talk top entrances

Postby Chuck Jachens » Tue Jun 30, 2015 1:28 am

Three practical applications of top entrances are 1. Snow country, snow may block bottom entrances so the top entrance gives the bees a way out on the rare warm day for cleansing flights. 2. Skunks, top entrances make the skunk expose its belly so the bees can sting it. 3. Tall grass, you don't have to mow or weed eat right in front of the hive.

kalama_beek
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Re: Let's talk top entrances

Postby kalama_beek » Tue Jun 30, 2015 5:41 am

2 more -
4. Better ventilation - warm moist air rises (Michael Bush)
5. Statistically less opportunity for varroa to fall onto foragers re-entering the hive (Phil Chandler). Apologies to those guys if I didn't articulate the points fully.


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justinross
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Re: Let's talk top entrances

Postby justinross » Tue Jun 30, 2015 6:05 am

So, is there any truth to the idea that bees will try to keep the brood nest near the entrance, moving it upward through supers to follow a top entrance?

Where my hive is, I'm not at risk of snow, skunk risk is fairly low, no tall grass, etc., so bottom entrances wouldn't be a problem. I also, just today, saw someone mention research that suggests bees look for natural hive locations with lower entrances vs upper, so that's something I'll be keeping in mind.

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Michael Bush
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Re: Let's talk top entrances

Postby Michael Bush » Thu Jul 02, 2015 4:30 pm

>So, is there any truth to the idea that bees will try to keep the brood nest near the entrance, moving it upward through supers to follow a top entrance?

All things being equal (and they seldom are) the bees put honey over the brood nest... so no, it does not.
"Everything works if you let it"--James "Big Boy" Medlin
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justinross
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Re: Let's talk top entrances

Postby justinross » Mon Jul 13, 2015 5:45 pm

Thanks, Michael. I probably just misunderstood wherever I heard that.

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Michael Bush
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Re: Let's talk top entrances

Postby Michael Bush » Mon Jul 13, 2015 8:22 pm

The problem is that general statements are almost never true unless everything else stays equal. The fact that they prefer the brood nest near the entrance is perhaps a useful generalization in a horizontal hive since the entrance could be anywhere. The fact that they prefer to put honey over the brood is a useful generalization in both a vertical and a horizontal hive as it might explain why your top bar hive has a lot of honey on every brood frame (a band of it on every comb). But there's not much you can do in this case. In a vertical hive, it explains why we take the honey off the top. But now you take two generalizations and put them together. (e.g." brood near the entrance" and "honey over the brood nest"). The bees will make a choice, and in this instance, that choice is almost always "honey over the brood nest".
"Everything works if you let it"--James "Big Boy" Medlin
http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm

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Allen Newberry
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Re: Let's talk top entrances

Postby Allen Newberry » Mon Jul 20, 2015 6:28 pm

I mainly use top entrances. It is probably due to the ease of making simple tops with a couple of wedges glued/tacked on to a piece of plywood.

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EkiPoPo
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Re: Let's talk top entrances

Postby EkiPoPo » Wed Jul 29, 2015 12:05 am

justinross wrote:So... I've been considering going from a long langstroth to standard, 8-frame medium boxes (mostly for the simplicity and not having to futz around with building from scratch). One concern (which is stretching the word "concern") is that I like the idea of a top entrance, but I've heard (I think Solomon mentioned it when we were recording the latest podcast episode) that bees like to keep brood close to the entrance. In a horizontal langstroth, this isn't a problem, as you can just keep honey frames at the end opposite the entrance. In a vertical, though, if you keep the entrance at the top, will they just keep moving their brood upward to follow the top entrance as you add more boxes?

Is there a compromise somewhere between? It doesn't seem like shimming a box to leave a gap between two levels would be ideal, for a few reasons. Anyone with top entrances on their traditional langs have input?
All my hives have bottom entrances and each box has a 1 inch auger hole. So I guess that's a compromise. The brood is in the bottom 2 or 3 med boxes any thing over that is honey or empty comb. They don't seem to follow up keeping the brood near the auger holes. And of course in late winter early spring the bottom box is empty of all brood at the bottom entrance


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