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Why doesn't Flow Hive have a top entrance?

I was a beekeeper in the Puget Sound for twenty years and kept a maximum of nine hives at one time.

I thought I had retired from a very happy career of very active beekeeping in the Northwest, but since moving to Placitas New Mexico I find myself mentoring my daughter and son-in-law in beekeeping their two new Flow Hive 2’s.

I’ve never had a hive without an upper entrance! And for a wide variety of reasons I think it’s a serious oversight to not include one as an integral part of any hive system. It normally belongs in the inner lid on one side, so that it can be used or not by flipping it over at different times of the year.

However the standard configuration of the Flow Hive 2 makes no provision for any upper entrance at all, and the company videos seen to make no mention of one – though I admit I may not yet have viewed them all.

Does anyone else wonder about this?
If so does it not bother you as it obviously does me, or if it does what do you do about it?

I now plan to cut entrances of just over an inch wide in one side of both our inner lids immediately.


New Mexico USA

It apears that flow hives are designed with a 1 brood, 1 honey super configuration in mind. With that in mind, a bottom entrance that leads into the brood is all that’s required & from my experience what the bees prefer.

Over nearly 32 continuous years with between 30-60 hives, my bees have had countless opportunities to use top entrances, however they always propolize them up.

They’ll use multiple entrances adjacent to the brood, but not in the honey supers.

It’s great that you have the skills & are able to provide a top entrance, if you feel the bees need it.

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To be honest, I have never seen a truly successful upper entrance in this country, they are more of a novelty. Its an easy fix though.

I do prefer my foragers to enter the bottom brood and remain in the bottom brood chamber rather than having to cross all the supers to get to the nurse bees for nectar exchange only to have the nurse bees then take it back up across the supers during a flow.
Each to their own, I get it. If it works enjoy what works for you.

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I have one Flow hive with an upper entrance, and one without. They both did equally well this year (until insecticide poisoning wiped one of them out).

The bees really did seem to like the upper entrance though. It would often be really crowded, even when the landing board of the lower entrance was almost empty. However, the Flow hive roof can easily block a notch in the standard inner cover, so I bought a couple of these, which work brilliantly:

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What I have done this past year is to make two entrances of the same opening size of a single entrance on the bottom board, it certainly helps in the hot weather for cooling as the bees are smart enough to make one entrance for air in and the other to fan air out and so there is no vortex in the air movement.
I agree with @Rodderick in that I have seen a couple of hives modified with a top entrance but the bees don’t really put a top entrance to much use, maybe because when a bee returns to the hive with nectar they are happy to pass it over near the entrance to hive workers.

I run only a top entrance on all my hives. I’m sure the design of just a bottom entrance is working fine in Australia, though I think they would have less problems with cane toads if they went to just a top entrance. At all times of the year the bees need to get rid of moist air. To evaporate nectar and cool the hive in the summer and to keep condensation down in winter. Moist air rises. Need I say more?


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Hey Michael, with only a top entrance I assume you have a mesh floor so that the heated moist air can rise by drawing in outside air. It is not the moisture content that make the air rise but its temperature in relation to the ambient air temperature.
Cane toads are a major predator of bees, that is why most bee keepers have the hive on a stand and fit a mouse guard, or a cane toad guard, but a cane toad at night can be found sometimes even up on the roof of a hive if it thinks there might be a feed up there. So I really don’t think a top entrance hive will help as the cane toad will find the entrance wherever it is.
A double bottom entrance with cane toad guard fitted and vents in my roofs at each end to give a flow thru ventilation is the best I have come up with for here.

We put our hives on two besser blocks which prevents cane toads being a problem. My bees have voted overwhelmingly, 100% in favor of entering the hive adjacent to the brood. Putting brood at the top, with honey supers below just wouldn’t seem right. I couldn’t imagine removing the brood box every time I wanted to rob honey.

I have some screened bottoms but I prefer solid. I don’t want a chimney effect. I just want the moisture to passively leave the hive.

Bees store honey over the brood nest. No matter where the entrance is.

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Well you’re half right Peter, the second half of your sentence,
Humid air does intact rise as water vapour is lighter than air.

Humid air is heavier than dry air at the same temperature Greg unless the science is wrong and all my education was a waste of time.

I didn’t suggest at all that honey is stored anywhere else than over the brood, as it is world wide. Even ‘down under’ bees still behave like bees. :grinning:

No, Jeff suggested it.

Wanna bet?
It’s not the science that’s wrong, perhaps you just wagged that day. :wink:

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I did suggest it. Aren’t you talking about a top entrance? I would give the bees what they want, brood adjacent to the entrance. With that in mind, wouldn’t that mean, you’d expect the bees to store honey in supers below the brood box.

Unless you’re talking about making the bees use a top entrance, while at the same time still have brood in the bottom box. That just doesn’t make sense to me.

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I don’t have a problem in you believing whatever you prefer Greg, but if you want to loose money please do some research so that you are happy about giving me money… :smiley::smiley:

Who said beekeepers are stubborn? :grin:
My favourite quote.
I may be wrong, I frequently am, let’s examine the facts;

I’ll keep the money thanks.

Hi Peter, if you believe what they say in an article in The Washington Post, you’d be out of pocket. According to that article, dry air is slightly heavier than air with high humidity, at the same temp.


There is also evidence to the opposite which makes sense so maybe we can agree to disagree on that subject.

Yeah mate, and the earth is flat.
I’m out.