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A way to make top entrance for Flow Hive


#1

I have figured out a way to do what I have been wanting to do, make my Flow Hive a top entrance system. You may find some flaws and your comments are welcome. I used @Michael_Bush method of two shims but in addition I added a metal clad cover that had to be modified to allow the bees to get to the slot. Then I added a landing board using a paint stick. Hope the pictures tell the story.

Now if I can just figure out how to add the pictures.


#2

When you are typing a message, just above the typing window is a bar with various symbols on it. The one that looks like a horizontal bar with an arrow pointing up above it is the upload tool. You can use it to upload photos. I understand that you can also drag and drop photos, but I have never tried that.


#3

This is the easiest way to do it, and unless I am on my phone the only way I add pictures. It is so simple.


#4

My images are too large. Will have to add them later after I downsize files.


#5

ah yes, I run into that problem, all the pictures my phone takes are over the size limit too. I use http://icecreamapps.com/Image-Resizer/ on my home computer and it works great. On my phone I have a free image resizing app as well.


#6






#7

Most of the pictures are for one of my regular hives. The unpainted new cover is for the Flow Hive.


#8

You might want to extend an eave over the entrance so that rain does not come into the hive. With a top entrance this will run down through the hive where with a bottom entrance it will only be at the bottom. Just a thought, very nice looking modification.


#9

The metal clad cover does serve that purpose somewhat. Prior to this I had an exposed slot and it was open to the rain for sure. @Michael_Bush seems to get away with just an opening. I had the metal lids so I wanted to use them to improve weathering.


#10

Are you making the top entrance to provide access above an excluder? or is there a different issue you are solving?


#11

I do not use any excluders for regular hives or Flow Hives.

I am following @Michael_Bush 's methods. Advantages include pests not being able to enter, or steal bees at the entrance (skunks, mice), grass not being an issue to block entrance, easier access to honey supers for foragers. See Michael’s site for more detail. Also I like his approach to non treatment of bees, smaller bees, foundationless frames.


#12

I have read the following:
http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopentrance.htm

I would only like to provide a counter opinion in your thread because of your comment “You may find some flaws and your comments are welcome.”

There a several practical reasons why the Langstroth design has the entrance at the bottom. Dead bees and debris removal is one of them (that is addressed in the top link). Removal of dead bees and debris is critical to the health of the hive, and making the bees work against gravity to extract these elements seems counter productive. If you are having issues with dead bees blocking lower entrances, your lower entrances aren’t large enough.

If pests are using the brood box for nesting you can place coarse mesh on the lower entries to stop intrusion. The entire hive itself should also be lifted off the ground to prevent interference from grass/weeds and to deter other pests that attack bees (eg. cane toads in Australia). In Australia, having the hive too low to the ground can also encourage snakes to nest under the box because of the generated heat.

The primary argument I have against this approach is that the Langstroth hive is designed to ‘trap’ heat. The vertically stacked configuration results in excess heat from the brood box being trapped in the super and under the lid which assists in maintaining the hive temperature. It is for this reason that opening hives on cold days is discouraged (due to heat loss when the lid is removed). This is also one of the reasons that Warre beekeepers go to so much effort to keep boxes together when nadiring their hives. Adding a top entry this high up is going to result in hot air rising and rapidly exiting the hive through the ‘entrance’ causing more work for the bees to generate heat to keep the hive warm (this additional heat generation will cost honey).

You will notice on many hive designs that top ventilation (if/when provided), is done so in such a way that the bees are able to regulate the escape of hot air using propolis to block the ventilation ports. With an opening this size, the bees have no way of regulating the escape of hot air out the top of the hive.

You may not be able to ‘see’ the impact of heat loss by visually ‘inspecting’ the hive, so I strongly encourage anyone running this form of top entrance to capture an image of the thermal profile of the hive, especially in winter, using a FLIR or similar technology.

If there is still a need for a higher entrance, I would suggest placing it between the brood box(es) and the super(s). There are excluder designs that incorporate an additional entrance above the excluder, or in your case where you aren’t running an excluder, there are entrances that fit as a ‘shim’ between the boxes to create an additional (or primary) entrance. (here is a commercial product for exactly this purpose)
https://www.ts-bee.com/component/jshopping/honey-production/technosetbee-top-entrance


#13

Thank RBK for your observations. I have actually worried about too much heat relative to the bottom entrances I have been using. I have no vent at the bottom and there is very little chimney effect since not much air will rise up out of the hive if there is no way for make up air to replace it. It is true that the vents at the top of bottom entrance hives do not have a ready path for air to move if the lid is sitting level. Sometimes I wonder if there is enough ventilation in either case.

I like to think that my newly designed tops provide a slight overhang that will maybe impede air flow some.

All that being said I am not an expert on hive temperatures (or on anything else related to bees). In four years I have lost one hive over winter (call it a 10% loss record) and we have had some doozies with temperatures of -20C on many occasions. Some of my more experienced friends have losses of 50% per winter. But having a hive survive is one thing, getting good honey production is another and what you say may be relevant to my honey production in future.

Thanks for taking the time to check out the site I follow and for writing a very long response.

Are you making Flow Hive a central part of your operation or in the experimental stage?


#14

Fusion,

Let’s say I am in the investigative stage currently :smiley:. To be honest I wanted some ‘hands on’ before committing to using Flow so I could determine how it will fit with my existing hives. I will likely be picking up a Flow super before the season ramps up later this year (in Australia) and will adapt it to work!.

It sounds like you have some impressively cold winters where you are so you face different challenges to me (I think -5C is cold!).

One concern I didn’t mention about the top entrance was robbing. I am not sure if robbing is an issue in your area, but the benefits you give your bees by providing direct access to the super also benefits the robbing bees. In a traditional Langstroth hive, robbers have to pass up through the brood frames before they get access the honey supers. I think giving direct access to the honey supers results in less chance of the robbers being challenged once in the hive. I personally shutdown my higher entrances (above the brood box) when the end of season is approaching (and robbing is more prevalent)… but this isn’t exactly the same situation/scenario as running your only entrance at the top.