Open roof question

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Joined
May 28, 2023
Messages
67
Reaction score
56
Location
Highland
Hive Type
National
Number of Hives
5
Hello, Just joined but have kept bees for a while. I do brood in a half. I had terrible predation problems from housemartins (counted over 60 once on the telegraph wires by the hives) but have put up two bird kites this Spring and that has solved the problem!

I recently read a suggestion on here that having a second entrance on a strong hive might deter swarming, or at least give them better working room.

I took the escape cones off the two strongest hives and noticed after a week that in one hive they do not go up through the roof or use it as an entrance. They had however been using a sneaky wee crack that developed in the back of the brood box and I've plugged that (bees not happy but have stopped going around back). Strangely in the second hive the roof is always full of bees doing nothing, and yesterday I saw several in the escape cone hole fanning, it has been very hot for a while. I am being more proactive this year keeping adding the supers and frames so they don't feel crowded.

I realized there will be pros and cons on second entrances, and would appreciate feedback on this. It seems a long trek for a bee to go from the entrance through a BB + 3 supers and back.

Finally can I show off my Africa hive before the years remove the paint. I have always painted themed scenes on my BB's. Sadly my Orca Pod has peeled and needs new artwork.
 

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Hi and welcome. Nice hives. Be careful with opening roof entrances that they don't build wild comb everywhere.
 
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a second entrance on a strong hive might deter swarming, or at least give them better working room
Neither of these aims will be achieved by a top entrance.

To deter swarming give brood space just ahead of need. Brood & half is a tentative acknowledgment that one BB is not enough, so give two and gain easy brood frame management.

To manage swarming, practice an AS: takes 5 minutes.

Thermal regulation is bees' business, not yours, and a top entrance will drain warmth & humidity from the hive which bees have worked to maintain to their optimum. By opening the top you have made them work harder, age faster and consume more stores.

Bees in the roof are telling you they need space and pretty soon comb will be made up there.

Seal the roof, seal the crownboard, add at least 50mm of PIR insulation board on top of the CB, and give them the space they need in a place that you can manage: a box.
 
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@ericbeaumont I would normally have mesh on the CB holes for ventilation because I leave the correx floors in. My hives are raised and initially I had trouble with bees congregating underneath the mesh trying to figure out how to get in. I leave the grass long just underneath them now so maybe that wouldn't be a problem.

This leads to another question I've never got a definitive answer on and that is whether to leave the correx in the base or out. What would stop the bees trying to seal up the entire floor if the correx is out?
 
More entrances more places for Wasps to get in.
Thanks for absolving my guilt 😂 they were clearly very put out at having their secret exit hole plugged.

Thanks for comments. I will be reverting to cones and no roof access today or tomorrow depending on weather, thunderstorm forecast. These two hives have plenty of space at the moment, a nearly worked super and an empty super with all foundation.
 
mesh on the CB holes for ventilation because I leave the correx floors in
Topsy-turvy: the Correx is an imperfect seal and anyway, the entrance will draw in cold air as heat rises through the mesh.

You have created a chimney and though the colony will work to overcome the loss of heat & humidity, you're not working with the bees but against them.

Seal the top entrance, seal & insulate the CB, and if you wish, have solid floors with that combo.

OMFs are an unproven asset but sold by suppliers because years ago they saw a gap in the market when varroa came in. It was said (by whom?) that grooming by bees would offload 5 or 10% through the floor.

Correx floor? Waste of time, waste of material: varroa drop is an unreliable indicator of varroa load but suppliers sell it anyway, because they can.

Too many beekeepers leave in the board and watch it fill with muck & mould & wax moth.

If you want to give bees in the windy Highlands a good time, give them solid floors & sealed & insulated roofs and be done with it.
 
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two hives have plenty of space at the moment, a nearly worked super and an empty super with all foundation.
The consequence of leaky boxes and open feedholes is that the bees will take longer to draw comb, as the 35C they need to do so will be absent.
 
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To stop the bees underflying the entrance and congregating on the mesh just give the either a larger landing board or bock the area at the front of the hive between the entrance and the ground. Some good advice on this thread. Glad you asked the question.
 
What would stop the bees trying to seal up the entire floor if the correx is out?
Nothing, and if they do so, they'll be telling you they don't want a draughty bottom (who does?).

Edit: floors

Post 9 has photos of bees' modifications to OMFs.
 
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I recently read a suggestion on here that having a second entrance on a strong hive might deter swarming, or at least give them better working room.
will do neither I'm afraid - a bad idea. The only time you would use (not need) an upper entrance is if you had a Demaree going
I would normally have mesh on the CB holes for ventilation because I leave the correx floors in
both bad ideas, especially the first. All you've done is created a wind tunnel and buggered up the balance of the colony. leave ventilation to the bees - they're the experts.
If you don't want a mesh floor - buy solid ones.
 

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