Observations on upper entrances

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jenkinsbrynmair

International Beekeeper of Mystery
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Location
Glanaman,Carmarthenshire,Wales
Hive Type
National
Number of Hives
Too many - but not nearly enough
there have been a few questions on the 'need' (or not) of an upper entrance during warm weather or a flow.
Most of you will know that I use Demarree as my main form of swarm avoidance together with my Demarree boards with upper entrances, having one apiary behind the back garden with a few Demarrees running I thought I'd monitor them this season.
I usually run the Demarrees through until the middle of a big flow, the one thing I've found is that if I take the Demarree down early (after brood has emerged but the bees haven't backfilled yet) that many bees will consider the top box to still be their 'home' and will still land on the vertical surface of the box (fancy that eh? sans landing board!!) where the entrance was and bemusedly search for a way in for a few hours, but if they are well on the way to using the top brood box as a honey store, within ten minutes, hardly any bees aim for the top entrance and all go for the lower UFE suggesting that they really don't use the top entrance any more.
During this year's main flow, and when the Demarrees were in full swing, although the upper entrances were pretty busy during the day, as soon as the evening progressed and ripening started in earnest, the upper entrances became pretty quiet, and as the upper boxes vacated of brood and became just a honey store, daytime traffic at the upper entrance became very quiet as well which suggests to me that, even though the upper entrance was a lot closer to where the nectar was destined for, bees preferred to use the one designated entrance to hand over the nectar to the hive's storing bees.
also, in the evening, when ripening takes over, even without the top entrance there was no difference in activity at the bottom entrance.
All this was just in response to someone on here asking whether it would 'help' the bees if, during a flow they should remove the plugs from the 'handy' little holes in their Abelo supers. My thoughts are, after looking at the evidence - 'No'
 
Hi JBM,

Good read, interesting to hear what you have observed. I think this might be the post you were thinking back on.

https://beekeepingforum.co.uk/threads/what-did-you-do-in-the-apiary-today.8543/post-825570
Really like my abelo kit, but all the plugs and caps are such a faff, particularly the crownboards. Based on this think it might time to finally just glue them all in!

Although the upper entrance might not provide any advantage for returning foragers, do you think the bees use it for ventilation when they are drying nectar? I just wonder if it allows them to remove damp/warm air from above, or if they still ventilate in/out from just the lower entrance as usual?
 
do you think the bees use it for ventilation when they are drying nectar?
no, not really, as I said in my OP, all the activity was happening at the lower entrance, I made a point of checking the upper entrance in the evenings and nothing much was happening there.
 
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interesting post JBM, thanks for sharing...i will have a look too

and Tom H...the new Abelo crown board has 5 circular discs which are a real faff, completely agree...im planning to glue too
 
interesting post JBM, thanks for sharing...i will have a look too

and Tom H...the new Abelo crown board has 5 circular discs which are a real faff, completely agree...im planning to glue too
Don’t glue the centre one!:cool:
 
Yup bees do seem to be sticklers for teamwork and use the division of labour (caste system) adaptably to run well organised colonies.
 
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