I’ve now increased my apiary to two flow hives and five poly langstroth 8 frame hives,
I’m thinking of trying one hive without a queen excluder to see if it makes a notable increase in honey in the super and brood in the lower box…I won’t be doing it on my flow hives !!!
Just wondering if any of you guys and girls have tried this and is it worth it ? or will I just end up with a heap of brood in my honey ?
I’ve now increased my apiary to two flow hives and five poly langstroth 8 frame hives,
If you have a good arc of honey across all frames of brood, usually you will not get brood in the super. Usually. About 10% of the time, it happens anyway.
Another thing to consider is using a queen excluder, but also have an upper entrance during a nectar flow. Leave the lower entrance open too. The upper entrance allows returning foragers to offload their honey more quickly and get back to the field. It only takes a week or two for them to learn to use it. A drilled 2.5cm diameter hole is perfect in the front of the super.
My Poly hives have removable vents that can be plugged if needed, these vents are at the middle of the narrow end of the supers and each roof has four.
Which would you use for the top entrance ?
I would use the one in the super. The closer to where honey is being stored, the better.
Hey mate, If the black in the middle of the end of the box is a removable plug that would be an excellent entry for the foraging bees and give more air flow in the hot weather.
As for using a QX on a standard hive I am thinking they are useful for the same reasons for a flow hive. It saves brood being laid in the area you want to extract honey from.
I have early on tried plastic QXs but have found the bees a bit reluctant to go through them so have opted for the wire versions both on my flow hives and Langstroth’s. It is only a barrier to the queen and drones going up into the super.
If you won’t do away with a QX on the flow hives then why are you thinking of doing it on the standard hives?
Funny how our hive number increase beyond our plans, isn’t it.
I use the steel excluders also and keep one on the flow hive because I can only imagine the hassle trying to clean brood out of them.
If I get brood in my standard hive honey super I don’t see it as a major drama as I could use the frame to boost one of my weaker hives or crush and strain later
Hope your recovering ok mate, I’m thinking you could change your ID from Peter48 to…Smoky 48
Hi @Snapper, I will always use a QX in traditional hives. That way, as long as the queen hasn’t found a gap in the QX (and she can), you know where she is. You know there’s no chance of killing her while inspecting the frames above the QX. Sometimes it can be a pain when you find a honey frame fully capped with a small amount of worker brood in it. Drone brood is ok, I cut that out before extracting the honey. I never want to cut worker brood out.
I have 2 colonies without QX’s now, but it’s only until the colonies new queens are proven. Then I’ll place the new queen below a QX with the best looking brood frames.
What you say makes sense to me, I think I will use the excluder and try a top entrance directly into the honey as Dawn suggested.
My bees were going gang busters 4 weeks back but the honey flow has come to a grinding holt
I like one entrance at the bottom. Since being on this forum, I’m liking smaller entrances, but only one, or two small ones separated by an entrance reducer in the middle, instead of entrance reducers on the sides.
At the time of reading about small entrances, I took a look at one hive (that was given to me) that had only a 4" entrance which I’d been meaning to open up, but didn’t get around to it. Consequently it happened to be my best performing hive at the time. Needless to say, I haven’t changed it. It only has the one entrance, the bees perform beautifully with it.
If you look at what goes on inside a hive where the entrance is near the brood, you’ll see how all of the communicating (the waggle dances) takes place there. The transfer of nectar, the pollen gatherers deposit their pollen in cells near the brood etc.
Whenever I do a cut-out, I always find the brood just inside of the entrance. The honey is always further away.
Honey flows come & go. It has nothing to do with how your hive is set up.
If you supply a second entrance up higher, the bees will use it, for sure. Do they need it? I’m not sure.
Here is Rusty Burlew’s blog discussion about upper entrances to enhance honey production:
This post gives a bit more detail about the experiment:
The trouble with multiple entrances is that if you are in an area with SHB or wax moth the extra entrances give them easier access to the hive. I only keep one entrance 1x15cm with a 25mm baffled, screened vent at the top. Works well so they get ventillation but no chimney effect and need fewer guards. A busy entrance is a good entrance!
Looking at the photos in the lower link, it was as I suspected. He has seven supers on that colony. I can see how an upper entrance would be a benefit in that situation. Down here, a lot of us only use 2 supers, one brood + one honey. In those cases, I can’t see any benefit.
I have several hives with entrances direct into the supers- they are my 5 frame Nuc Tower Hives. i have a very small entrance at the top of the super and a slightly larger one at the base of the tower. bees seem to use both entrances equally. I have no idea if they like it or not. Those hives are going well.
Honey flows come and go even through periods we might expect it to be constant, that is something that we have no control over. The use or not of a QX has no input into what nature is dishing out to us.
I am progressively going over to two entrances at the bottom of the brood box of the same area as ‘normal’ for a single entrance, my reasoning is better air flow with less bees needed for fanning. Living in what most would regard as a warm to hot climate even in my winter the bees forage all of the year so I have also added a metal mesh vent at either end of the lids which I assume is benefiting the bees as they haven’t closed them up or built comb in the ‘tunnel’.
Top entrances may be of benefit but has the drawback of providing another entrance for SHB.
Seeing hives with 7 supers to me means a very lazy bee keeper who is not using his expensive bee equipment to his best advantage, in my opinion.
Thanks for those links Dawn, as usual I got distracted in the Suite…
I think it’s interesting that a landing board is also used.
I will try this on a hive just so I can say I’ve tried it. Any idea of the hole size?
And I know I’m now in the realms of ‘off subject’ but do drones use upper entrances?
Most people seem to use about 3cm (1 1/4").
G’day Peter, I’m not sure if it’s laziness or just how they do things up there. They must get a huge honey flow for about 2 months. I’m guessing they put all those supers on to cash in on it. Then they have one big robbing, then put the frames in storage somehow, til next season. We met a Mennonite part time beekeeper in Ohio who does something similar. They used to be Amish, they decided to change over to become Mennonites. That way they can use tractors & machinery on their farm. As well as drive a vehicle.
Each to their own way of managing a hive I guess, but there must be a limit in a “high rise” hive for the queens pheromones to travel in a hive before a worker on the top level to starts to lay eggs??
Going to my hives today and tomorrow to rob the hives for as long as my hands last, I have help for both days. I had an external look yesterday and there must be lots honey as I was going to rob the hives when the car accident happened.
Cheers to you and Wilma.
Thanks Peter, same to you & Maureen. I extracted 9 supers for about 225 kilos yesterday. It’s hard going in this heat. I’m going to return the stickies this afternoon. Most of the colonies I got honey from have loads of bees in the lids. So I have some serious weakening out to do. Lucky I have a few colonies I’m starting from scratch that will handle some boosting.
I’ll try to get it all done during early mornings.
Good luck with your task at hand. cheers for now.
Hi Jeff and members,
Can you tell me how you go about harvesting that many frames, do you put bee escapes on a few days prior, do you just remove the frames or take the complete super of each hive ?
I’m getting close to doing my first ever langstroth honey harvest so any tips would be appreciated !
One more thing if you have time I have a strong hive that a kinda mentor made into two brood boxes and a super, I much prefer the single brood set up as I can manage them ok myself.
I have more empty hives available,it’s summer here with only a small flow on at the moment and I have plenty room on a apiary about 3klm away.
What would you suggest ?
Ps this hive is a ripper, see the brood pattern and the capped frames are beautiful white wax