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Entrance(S) confusion

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House Bee

Joined: 19 Feb 2015
Posts: 10
Location: Arkansas, Ozarks, USA

PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 1:11 pm    Post subject: Entrance(S) confusion Reply with quote

I'm a total novice bee keeper, but experienced carpenter; with the first of what I hope will be several TBH's. Everything seems to be in order as I understand things, except entrance placement.

I am uncertain just where to place entrances. No holes drilled in the outer body, and I intend to make the entrances 1 inch in diameter (need to become more familiar with the metric system.).

The end of constructed hive body, lets say to the left, has a feeder set-up, so that jars with screen/floats can be placed there. Then, a follower board with a (1) hole drilled low and just above the floor of the feeding area. I've next placed six top bars (1 3/8's inches wide) and the other follow bar.

A. Do I place entrances at that end, so the bees are forces to pass by the sugar water source?

B. Are the entrances placed at an end, so the brood will be first in the hive, then honey storage, or are holes placed in the center of the hive, allowing the bees to set-up their own interior.

C. How many holes, is another question?

Can supply pictures, and hope my question(s) are clear?

Thank you and off to plant new fruit trees/berry bushes.

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Site Admin

Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1857
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Bob.

I personally would not set up an area of the hive specifically for feeding as this limits your options and takes up space that you may need for other things. Also, the feeding area should be located according to the colony location and needs rather than the colony located to fit in around the feeding station. What I mean by this is that you want to be able to move the feeding station according to where the colony has located itself and be able to move it back as they grow. Ie the colony dictates the location.

The important thing is to ensure the feeding area is just behind the colony. If you have it between the colony and the entrance or on the other side of the entrance you invite robbers to come into the hive and not only take it but also rob your developing colony. Make sure the ONLY access to the feeder is through the entrance and the colony itself, that way they can keep it to themselves. Plug any tiny gaps where other bees or wasps could get in.... a friend lost a colony that she was trying to build up because the saw kerf in her top bars extended right to the end and wasps were squeezing in through it and taking the syrup from the jar and also the comb that the bees had stored it in. Very soon they were overrun and then wasps were just coming in the entrance as well and the colony collapsed rapidly from there.

As regards entrance location I think most people go for end entrances either on the sloping side or the vertical face. I prefer the latter but it is just a preference. Some people's bees manage fine with centre entrances but there is always the possibility that they store honey at both sides and during the winter they eat their way through the stores in one direction and then starve because it's too cold to cross all the empty comb behind them to access the stores at the other end. I also think end entrances give you more options/room when it comes to splitting or housing two colonies in one hive, even as a temporary measure.

What I would say is that there is no harm in drilling holes in several locations in the hive and plugging them with corks or whatever, so that you have the flexibility to use the hive in whatever configuration is most appropriate for your situation or change it if you find it's causing problems for whatever reason.


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House Bee

Joined: 19 Feb 2015
Posts: 10
Location: Arkansas, Ozarks, USA

PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Intended, I don't know about this, to place new bees between two follower boards and about six top bars. On the left side of the hive. Forcing the bees to go past the syrup mixture, on their way into the brood section.

I see now that it would allow wasps and robber bees access, so I'll move the floor into the hive (brood Chamber) as you suggest.

Your answer for entrances makes everything very simple so, three holes in the middle of the hive, and holes in the two ends, hmmmm Is that three holes top and bottom on both ends, then plugged with sponge.
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Scout Bee

Joined: 17 Jul 2011
Posts: 447
Location: Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find the best location for entrances is low down as it allows the bees to clean the hive easier. After saying that I am not at all against top entrances, I just think they should be ran alongside bottom entrances.

If you drill holes and want to plug them use old wine/champagne corks as the bees will eventually chew up sponge.

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