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andynorton 

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Its a nice day today, and the bees are very busy. I've just been watching them - I could do that all day and not be bored.:)
Anyway, it looked rather busy at the entrance with not too much room for them to get in and out with the entrance block in. I considered removing it, but it seems rather a huge gaping hole for them to defend - they aren't a terribly big colony as yet (it was a 5 frame nucleus a week ago)
What do people normally do? Do you cut the entrance block down to make a slightly bigger entrance?, or remove it completely when it looks busy?
I'm having to use a solid floor on this hive at the moment as I can't get hold of a mesh floor at the moment, so worried about ventilation too.
 

admin 

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Ventilation is not a problem,I have seen pictures of bees in Morroco in an oil drum with a 3 inch entrance at 40c.

Regards the entrance block when I move my 5 fame Nuc's into Nationals I dont bother with an entrance block.
 

peteinwilts 

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so why don't bee hive roof's have chimneys to draw air through the hive on hot days?

they would be easy to make and install with a shut off feature. But I have not seen one so there must be a reason?!?
 

Poly Hive 

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The bees will organise their ventilation to suit themselves and I would take out an entrance block now.

PH
 

victor meldrew 

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so why don't bee hive roof's have chimneys to draw air through the hive on hot days?

they would be easy to make and install with a shut off feature. But I have not seen one so there must be a reason?!?
Bees not only ventilate hives, they also air condition them, bees can lower the temperature inside a hive by utilising the refrigeration principle !.(evaporation causes cooling )this they do by spreading moisture around on internal surfaces and then evaporating same . On nice warm days when nectar is coming in fast, there is adequate moisture to be evaporated (dual purpose, reducing moisture content of honey and cooling hive at the same time ) neat eh?.

John Wilkinson
 

andynorton 

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Just removed the entrance block. They look like they are finding it easier getting in and out now!
Thanks!
 

andynorton 

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With the larger entrance and having added a super on Sunday, I reckon they are finding it a bit chilly in there. Is this normal behaviour?

 

Busy Bee 

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Hi Andy

Looking at that picture I would be inclinded to do a hive inspection for queen cells, it looks a bit swarmy or maybe they want to ascond. I would also check the brood for bees and larvae of all ages. Also I would check to see if they have enough stores.

If you felt they were cold you could make a new entrance block about twice the size of the origional opening. Some of the more experienced bee keepers should have a look at that photo and give you their opinion.

Kind regards

Busy Bee
 

DulwichGnome 

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Hi Andy,

Not so experienced myself but from the look of the box you have the frames the 'cold' way, lined up left to right if you are behind it. I have all mine 'warm' way, frames lined up front to back. Not sure if it makes a great deal of difference but they might feel a bit more secure the warm way. Just a thought, I may be wrong, I am sometimes.....

Mike.
 
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admin 

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Dulwich you threw me then saying that as it took me a few seconds to realise that the brood box rails is what gave it away.
 

andynorton 

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I inspected the bees on Sunday, and didn't find any queen cells. Brood of all stages found and the queen was present. I added a super (perhaps too early) on the basis that there were bees working on, and almost covering all frames, and only had 3 left to draw out. Brood covered 6 frames.
Bees have gone from brood box only with a reduced entrance, to an open entrance and a super on top within a few days, which is why I thought they might be trying to keep it a bit warmer in there.
I considered setting up the hive "warm way" , as it would actually be easier to work on them in the limited amount of room I have. I just worked on the basis that all the "non square hives" are set up "cold way"
The bees have all gone back inside now, but are still blocking the space between the bottom of the frames and the floor.
I'm not too worried, but just wondered if this was usual behaviour?
 

andynorton 

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Just got back from work, and they have taken up the same position again.
Does anyone have an explanation...?
 

grizzly 

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did you have anything between the brood box and the super ? anything that may have caused an obstruction ?
 

JCBrum 

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Could it be that they are defending against robbers ?
 

Finman 

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If bees are hanging like in picture, they need more room.

BUT THAT VENTILATION...............

I use entrance block and solid bottom.

Like Wictor says, bees need to dry up the nectar and they need ventilation. But, the drying depends on temperature too. It is not air movement only.

In early summer, when the hive is small, heat is important to brood rearing.

Later in summer nectar foraging is important and I am not there setupping entrance all the time.

I put wide open the main entrance and I put extra brood box to buffer the cold against brood area. So the lowest box is like a outer hall, where foragers sleep, they store pollen there and nectar. It gives flexible limit for room needs.

Towards autumn I use again the block and the queen goes down to lay.

When I need extra ventilation, I use upper entrances too.

I read proper ventilation needs how much bees have ventilators by day and by night.

If bees have hot, they stop working or at least a big part stops.
Bees start to carry water to cool thehive.

Normally nectar drying keeps the hive cool when they are busy.

.
 

Finman 

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To Admin:


Strange place that British Isles, because bees do not suffer from cold or hot.
My bees suffer from boath and I try to arrange to them "human" conditions.

Today on my hive district the temp was 18C, just now a'clock 10:00 temp is 10C.
At night 04:00 temp may be 5C or even near zero. Even in July we get sometimes "frost warning".

Two days ago temp was 22C whole day, and next morning 06:00 it was 5C. And bees got a lot nectar what they ventilate.

So, it need to be tolerance to fluctuation of outer temperature.

.
 
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shrek 

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How soon after you put the super on the hive was this photo taken? If it was within about 15-20mins then I don't think there is anything to worry about. My bees often go outside and cluster like this during an inspection or putting on boxes and remain like this for up to 30 mins (depending on weather of course), until I have gone away.
As for opening up the entrance. As long as there is no chance of robbing from a stronger hive than the bigger the entrance the better.
Ventilated/mesh floors are supposed to be good against the Varroa. I am Varroa free and can't say too much about that. I do however have two small ventilation holes at the back of the floor which seems to help the airflow.
If the bees are cold they will cluster together inside the hive over food, not outside.
And your roof should have ventilation grids built in to allow the overhot moist air to escape, no need for a 'chimney'.
 

Finman 

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You need not take whole block away. I use next step HALF

If it is nice normal day and no ventilators, my habit is that entrance is too big. So I restrict the opening.
 

andynorton 

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Thanks for the replies. I only have a queen excluder on between the brood box and the super, so no obstructions as such I can think of. I only added the super on Sunday, so they can't be short of room already. I think I added it too early if anything, as there was still some room in the brood box.
Floor is solid (waiting for Thornes to deliver a mesh floor!)
I'm tempted to put the entrance block back in..... would be very interested and grateful for any other theories! :)
 
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