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Too Many Ventilation Choices!



I’ll throw proper insulation and sufficient head room (i.e. another super) to ripen honey into the mix.


The only ventilation choice you should make, in my view is the size & width of the entrance. The bees will do the rest.


Well, I guess you know my answer already, but just so that you know I haven’t changed my mind, I would go with the slatted racks first, plus an appropriately sized entrance, as @JeffH says. I wouldn’t use the ventilated inner cover - that has a specific purpose to ventilate closely packed hives on the back of a truck during transport, when the entrance is blocked off. You shouldn’t need it for a hive in an apiary.

I have not experience of the other options. Good luck in your experiments! :blush:


@Dawn_SD and @JeffH:

So the Flows have a 3/8" high slot for the entrance.
Leaving it wide open for the summer is sufficient ventilation (with or without the slatted rack)?

Thank you.


As in so many things in life, it depends… It will depend on your local temperature and humidity. It will depend on the bee density in your hive (more bees = more heat, but fewer bees = less fanning power). It will depend on how shaded your boxes are - midday and afternoon shade make for a cooler hive.

The optimal entrance area favored by feral bees, according to Thomas Seeley, is 15 square cm. The Flow entrance is about 1cm high, so if you leave 15cm or about 6 inches of the entrance open, you have given them what they choose in nature when they can choose their own homes. I am sure that entrance size is a balance for the bees too. They are balancing ventilation, defense, access and so on. So only your bees can answer your question, and you (and your local bee club) will have more of an idea of your local conditions seasonally. But the entrance size I mentioned is worth keeping in mind for a new colony.


Hi @Jstrano, yes I would leave it wide open in the summer & constrict it during the winter & also consider everything that @Dawn_SD has said. For me, I don’t have an open mesh floor or ventilation in the roof. With one opening/entrance, the bees are able to draw the air in one side & extract it out the other side. This is why I like a wider entrance so the air coming in doesn’t clash with the air going out. I believe that a top vent or mesh floor will only hinder that process.


Based on over 40 years of practice and Huber’s research, I’ve concluded the best ventilation is one small entrance at the top and let the bees manage it.


Thank you @Michael_Bush .

Would that be one additional entrance at the top or have the only entrance be at the top?


My only entrances are at the top. At least in theory. Broken corners and bent screens sometimes create other entrances I don’t plan on…


That’s incredible: Same species, two different continents. I always found over 28 years that bees preferred a bottom entrance. I made a verbal observation at the end of this video we made a couple of years ago.

The bees clearly had plenty of top entrance options, however it looked apparent to me that they preferred the bottom entrance.