Hello, I’m from Indiana and we just started a new bee club, at our first meeting they talked about getting ready for winter, a top entrance was brought up, I hate to drill a hole in my box, what do you all do ?
I would ignore that idea frankly, if there is no top entrance the bees will use the bottom entrance and your bees won’t have an additional draft into the hive. I have had hives in 25F to about 105F with just the bottom entrance and your bees will ‘air condition’ the inside of the hive. You can use entrance reducers to aid the bees when and if they need it.
You can use this instead. I actually use it year round on my traditional langstroth which has a Flow super on it during the summer. Works well, and has a ready made “upper entrance” for cleansing exits, without creating too much of a chilly draft for the hive.
I hate to disagree with @Peter48, but with your climate and snow possibilities, an upper entrance may well be a great idea.
Thanks so much for your help
@Dawn_SD, is your thinking should the bottom entrance be blocked by ice or snow? I will bow to you knowing the climate there better than me, not to mention the bonus for groveling.
Yup. I just looked at this:
There is enough precipitation and sub-freezing temps that snow could build on the landing board. Although the bees will cluster for much of that time, even a bee gotta pee sometimes! Also knowledge of the continental weather here. Indiana is just south of the Great Lakes. They get funny weather from those lakes in winter, which can include some unpredictable large amounts of snow.
If I was keeping bees there, I would want an upper escape hatch for them.
I’m totally with Dawn about top entrance especially during our Northern Hemisphere winters. I am a cheap skate so I just notch out a (approach) 1” wide hole in the front ledging edge of all my Crownboard (aka inner covers) with a hacksaw n/or chisel … (pix’s included here). We don’t get much or lasting snow n ice here in the foothills SE of Seattle but when it happens it does block the lower entrances usually. Plus if you forget to swept out the autumn dead bee die off your colony has a alternative fire escape .
Peter was right for his area … I’m guessing he doesn’t get into too many snowball fights where he lives ( right Peter ? )
My pix’s are only examples … not hard n fast rule of upper entrances …
Cheers n happy 1st winter ,
The closest we get to snow is the odd Summer hail storm from the confused weather, we don’t get anywhere near cold enough for snow. In my Winter I change from shorts to jeans for a few weeks. It’s real tough living here mate.
I like the idea of the wood shavings.
Top entrance along with a bottom entrance is one of the keys to survival.
I do what is shown in Gerald’s last pic along with a moisture/insulation board on top of that: Works great.
Thanks for posting the graph Dawn, it makes me appreciate where I live even more. It must make for a hard life for the bees and no wonder seeing those figures that colonies are lost in the winters. I guess we sometimes need reminding of the stark contrasts in world climates.
Thanks so much for all the great advise!
What I like is a downward facing entrance. I made a few up when making quick brood boxes recently. They work just as well as the entrances we’re used to. If I lived in a cold climate, I’d be inclined to stick with just the one downward facing entrance. That way snow can’t sit on the landing board, blocking the entrance. Plus driving wind can’t blow straight into the hive.
@Dee makes her own bottom board with a downward facing entrance, as I recall. A very cool design & not only great for avoiding winter wind in the hive, but also for aiding in the bees’ defense against wasps. In areas that get snowfall, you’d still need to be sure this type of entrance is clear unless your hive is higher off the ground than usual. With drifting snow, many northern US hives at a standard height would have under-entrances blocked easily.
I also recall @Dee building downward facing entrances. I thought about snow piling up under the entrance. There’s easy ways around that. A little fence for example. I like the idea of moving hives to sheltered areas near a house, under a verandah. Something like that.