Do underfloor entrances really work to prevent wasp access?

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bpmurray 

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Each year I slaughter literally dozens of wasp queens and still have to do all kinds of tricks to prevent the clouds of wasps from overwhelming even the strongest hive. While last year was surprisingly quiet, I want a more effective mechanism this year that doesn't require killing the queens. So I was wondering if underfloor entrances really work or if those that swear that they do are exaggerating their effectiveness. I imagine a few here have used them, so perhaps you can share your experiences. If they are worth trying, I was planning on making the third one described here, but if there's something more effective I could also try my pretty much non-existent woodworking skills on that instead.
 

Erichalfbee 

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I have my own versions of all three. The porch height is more shallow in some .
I never have problems with wasps. I think keeping all frames stuffed with bees is most important so all colonies go into autumn strong. All my overwintering nucs are on these floors too.
You can narrow the entrance down even more with a block going right the way back to the entrance slot, this creating a tunnel.
 

Hachi 

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I've used them and use a variation now and they're completely effective in my experience. Usually a well stocked hive can defend itself so you might want to look at the strength, or otherwise, of your colonies. Also, you could try moving the affected hives to a new location? Also, deploy effective PC. As in the military, defence is a layered approach not a single thin line.
 

hemo 

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At home and apiaries near to home no issue, a newish out apiary of 3 years last year was a nightmare. One colony esp I had wasps on the u/s of the poly carb CB and this colony was my strongest double brooder.
Just in case have now modified the UFE with a sliding entrance reducer to two bee space.
 

Erichalfbee 

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At home and apiaries near to home no issue, a newish out apiary of 3 years last year was a nightmare. One colony esp I had wasps on the u/s of the poly carb CB and this colony was my strongest double brooder.
Just in case have now modified the UFE with a sliding entrance reducer to two bee space.
You need that reducer to go the whole depth of the porch so that you have a tunnel easily policed by guard bees
 

bpmurray 

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You need that reducer to go the whole depth of the porch so that you have a tunnel easily policed by guard bees
What would be a good way to achieve that? The entrance in the design I mentioned is basically a 1" board 8mm from another board, so that the maximum length of the tunnel would be around 1" if straight through. I am the happy owner of a 3D printer, so would it make sense to run a 20mm wide diagonal path through the board width, which would give a tunnel of, say, 200mm - longer for the wasps to travel through?
 

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What would be a good way to achieve that? The entrance in the design I mentioned is basically a 1" board 8mm from another board, so that the maximum length of the tunnel would be around 1" if straight through. I am the happy owner of a 3D printer, so would it make sense to run a 20mm wide diagonal path through the board width, which would give a tunnel of, say, 200mm - longer for the wasps to travel through?
The latter sounds pretty good. Maybe half the length though?
 

AubMar 

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What would be a good way to achieve that? The entrance in the design I mentioned is basically a 1" board 8mm from another board, so that the maximum length of the tunnel would be around 1" if straight through. I am the happy owner of a 3D printer, so would it make sense to run a 20mm wide diagonal path through the board width, which would give a tunnel of, say, 200mm - longer for the wasps to travel through?
I am working on an underfloor entrance floor to match the poly brood boxes, 500 x 500, and using a solid floor. Anyway the final design has a small strip of mesh under frames 1 and 2. I'm hoping any wasps that enter the landing chamber will go to the mesh and not figure the route the bees take. The other reason for the mesh is to allow some venting when moving the hive. This is just a prototype so we'll see how it works in the field.

IMG_4573.jpgIMG_4571.jpgIMG_4570.jpg
 

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It's definitely an interesting design and anything that helps prevent robbing or Shrews/Mice etc is a bonus.

With that said, and this in no way is intended to detract from the positives, a few years ago I came across a WBC hive in my neighbourhood where the bees had become disorientated and were unable to find the hive entrance. Why, is anyone's guess.
Consequently, returning foragers had clustered underneath the Varroa mesh, most likely because it was the closest they could get to the pheromones. Sadly, they died in numbers.

My point is, in making things more complicated for robbers we risk making things over-complicated for the bees too.
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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My point is, in making things more complicated for robbers we risk making things over-complicated for the bees too.
I very much doubt that this is the case here, it's just a bog standard solid floor underfloor entrance but with a piece of mesh instead of the front solid batten - that area is so close to the entrance I very much doubt it will confuse the bees - unfortunately I would say the same for the wasps, I would have thought the entrance configuration would be enough to protect the hive against all but the severest of attacks in which case I would say that a mesh area such as this would fare no purpose anyway.
as for venting when moving the hive @AubMar don't you think the piece of foam stuffed in the lobby to keep the bees in would negate the ventilation opffered by the mesh?
 

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I very much doubt that this is the case here, it's just a bog standard solid floor underfloor entrance but with a piece of mesh instead of the front solid batten
Ordinarily I'd agree with you. My comment was merely an observation.
 

Karol 

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I am working on an underfloor entrance floor to match the poly brood boxes, 500 x 500, and using a solid floor. Anyway the final design has a small strip of mesh under frames 1 and 2. I'm hoping any wasps that enter the landing chamber will go to the mesh and not figure the route the bees take. The other reason for the mesh is to allow some venting when moving the hive. This is just a prototype so we'll see how it works in the field.

View attachment 25842View attachment 25840View attachment 25841
Trying to 'mask' the route into a hive is unlikely to succeed as a strategy on its own. The secret to a good hive entrance is quite simply that the line of entry into the hive needs to accommodate multiple ranks of sentry bees. That's what tunnel entrances achieve provided that they are not more than the height of one bee. In constructing underfloor entrances the entrance still needs to be a tunnel rather than a slit the depth of the floor. Ideally the length of the tunnel should be several bee lengths long (circa 100mm) and the width should be varied to reflect the strength of the hive and the amount of flow that's on.
 

itsbruce 

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What would be a good way to achieve that? The entrance in the design I mentioned is basically a 1" board 8mm from another board, so that the maximum length of the tunnel would be around 1" if straight through. I am the happy owner of a 3D printer, so would it make sense to run a 20mm wide diagonal path through the board width, which would give a tunnel of, say, 200mm - longer for the wasps to travel through?
No need to get complicated. This year I converted a conventional stand and floor to UFE. The height of the entrance space is just wider than some spare red cedar board I have, so it was easy to cut a shape a bit deeper than the distance to the back of the space and a bit narrower than its width. If I push it in centrally, the bees have two small tunnels, one either side. If I push it in to one side, the bees have one wider tunnel down the other side of the board.
 

BigAshW 

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I have asked this question in my magpie thread but thought I'd ask here as it's about underfloor entrances.

If I made underfloor entrances to my mini nucs does anyone think it would help against magpies? My theory is that bees fly straight in and out of the tunnel and don't wander around on the face to the nuc to be picked off?
 

AubMar 

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as for venting when moving the hive @AubMar don't you think the piece of foam stuffed in the lobby to keep the bees in would negate the ventilation opffered by the mesh?
Yes that would be true if I was using a foam blocker in the entrance but I don't as I've seen problems here in the past with bees getting crushed, instead I slide in a 7mm thick sheet that blocks the entrance at the bottom of the vertical tunnel, and thus allowing the mesh to vent the hive from the bottom as planned. I'll try it out and see how it goes as its the first (almost) solid floor hive I have tried.
 

citrus 

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last year was bad for wasps .. and i tried tunnels and trunking ... but the hives werent strong enough ... I think we had posts to confirm that you can do what you want with entrances but the wasps can get thru tunnels when the hive is depleted
 

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