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Hive opening and pests?


#1

After reading several books which discuss the natural ideal hive criteria, I’ve become kind of obsessed with the hive opening in particular. It seems to me that the hive opening, size, location and shape could play a huge roll in minimizing or eliminating invasive pests.

I’m curious if anyone has done any research or has any person experience with not using a bottom board opening. In specific a round opening above the bottom of the hive floor. And even more specifically of the ideal size 1.7"(4.4cm) diameter circular entrance.

I was watching a video for the beetle jail SHB trap, and watching how much surface area the bees have to protect… there are just so many places for beetles and things to sneak in, it’s almost not fair to the bees. A “smaller” opening would allow the guard bees to easily encircle the opening and create a blockade for intruders. In the wild a bee would never select a hive with a bottom slit opening for it’s home, and yet we force them on the bees…


#2

All my openings are a bee space high and 3cm long.
The bees don’t seem to mind queuing
The only time I take the entrance block out is when I do a hive inspection to allow all the disturbed bees a quick return home.
I can say that it does work to repel robbers, bee or wasp.


#3

Do you have a picture of your hive in this configuration?


#4

My TBHs entrances are all wine cork size and I use wine corks to regulate the number of openings available. No landing boards, either. Bees fly straight in and out. Sometimes a bee will land on one of the wine corks. I have a few SHBs but the bees do a great job keeping them under control.


#5

That seems really small, how many entrances do you have open at any given time on average?


#6

They seem to manage just fine. In winter I have one entrance open, right now I have three open on each. There are a total of five entrances per hive.

Here is a link to a site that shows what they look like (I buy from this person): http://www.organicbeehives.com/index.html


#7

Okay that makes sense, I like the look of that. I’ll definitely try a top bar hive at some point after I get my Flow hive up and running.


#8

The Beetlejail reduces the hive entrance by more than half, I was surprised and a little worried at first as all my local club hives are the full width of the langstroth, but as SowthEfrikan has mentioned, the bees just queue on those busy days, the smaller entrance is definitely an advantage in protecting the colony from invaders.


#9

I use removable entrance closers to reduce the size of openings in winter - gives the guard Bees less area to patrol, In summer I use full width openings which also helps with air flow and cooling - It can get pretty hot here in Australia