The Brynmair slant on the Dartington Underfloor entrance

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jenkinsbrynmair 

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Erichalfbee has asked me to share the plans for my underfloor entrance on here, saves me sending them out each time I get a request, although I still don't mind doing that if asked - this may take more than one post to get all the stuff on.

Years ago I was taken by an open mesh floor designed on the principle of the Dartington hive underfloor entrance, there were plenty of variants kicking around and after some research and modifying I settled on this pattern, now all my hives have these floors and more than one bee equipment manufacturer (including Thornes) have copied the design. You’ll have to excuse my switching between metric and imperial – my carpentry skills were taught by my father and there are aspects of both measuring systems I like.
Why underfloor entrances? There are many benefits:
Wasps hate them, a combination of having to creep up vertically through the slot and when they pop their heads up above the floor there are ranks of guard bees lined up on each side of the slot – I’ve seen wasps try, and tumble straight out subsequently avoiding the underfloor hives and trying their luck on stronger hives with conventional entrances.
Mice can’t get in through the narrow (between 8 and 10mm) overhead entrance so already you have saved on guards, the fiddle of installing them and the annual debate on when to put them on or remove.
No issues of pollen being knocked off by mouseguards or dead bees blocking the entrance. In midwinter when bees aren’t very active any bees that die and fall near the entrance just fall down or get pushed out onto the landing board below.
No need to reduce the entrance size during winter or when wasps are around – mine stay full width all year.
There is a three inch deep entrance ‘porch’ – bees have no problems landing in a sharp crosswind – even fully laden.



Construction:
I haven’t specified the lengths of any of the timber as it depends on the type of hive you have. For a National, the side rails would be 18⅛” (460mm) I then set these rails – outer edges 18⅛”apart on my bench and mark all the other components accordingly
First decide on the depth of your floor (either 3 or 4 inches) I prefer 4 inches as it allows more space in the ‘entrance’ I now just use 50x100mm CLS profile timber for the sides which is ideal.

All the timber is off the shelf dimensions which gives you a slight extension to the floor of the entrance lobby, Having a table saw I cut the landing board a little narrower so you haven’t got the extra ½” or so overhang – this just makes it a bit easier to strap up and stack them in a trailer or vehicle when moving hives around.

1) On a flat surface fix your floor batten and rear batten to your two sides:

2) Fix your entrance back to your side rails – I use two 9mm twist drill bits to size the entrance gap, easier than trying to measure/mark fix

3) fix your landing board

4) Then fix two lengths of light timber (½” or ¾” square batten) to the inside of the side rails as runners for the varroa inspection tray.


a piece of correx is fine for an inspection tray – you can tack a wooden batten onto it to close off the whole of the back.

5) All you have left to do now is staple on your varroa mesh.
 

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jenkinsbrynmair 

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and some photographs of the construction
 

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Seaholly 

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Thank you jenkinsbrymair. We have underfloor entrances on all of our hives and definitely don’t seem to have wasps in the hive - although there are still plenty hanging around outside. We bought ours but we will definitely have a go at making our next one. 😁
 

Erichalfbee 

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Thank you jenkinsbrymair. We have underfloor entrances on all of our hives and definitely don’t seem to have wasps in the hive - although there are still plenty hanging around outside. We bought ours but we will definitely have a go at making our next one. 😁
I love them. I have them on the nucs too. You can make the entrance further back as well. Some of mine are half solid floor half mesh.
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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Do you need to add a rail to allow for bottom bee space?
No, the bottom beespace is incorporated into your brood box - you don't need the extra 20mm beespace built into a conventional (OMF or solid) floor, which does nothing more than encourage swarm cells 😁
 

derekm 

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Honey bees (apis mellifera) behaviour changes with the configuration of the entrance e.g. keeping out wasps. In a tunnel entrance the tunnel is often filled with bees, You wont find it described anywhere because research is conducted in hives with conventional entrances. Why is behaviour different nobody knows. We do know honey bees have tunnel entrances in trees, and bees have been living in trees and around mice and wasps for millions of years.
 
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Jowlpost 

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.. and whats the deal with the mesh floor and a botton entrance, how does that help with letting the cold in and light in and the wax cappings and pollen cannot be recycled by the bees ending up as detritus under the floor to attract wax moth and soon small hive beetle. Cold air fed in at this time of the year! no wonder the queen ends up in the super, that is if you remember to take out the another human invention the bees dont want, the queen excluder. When will we observe and learn?
 

Erichalfbee 

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.. and whats the deal with the mesh floor and a botton entrance, how does that help with letting the cold in and light in and the wax cappings and pollen cannot be recycled by the bees ending up as detritus under the floor to attract wax moth and soon small hive beetle. Cold air fed in at this time of the year! no wonder the queen ends up in the super, that is if you remember to take out the another human invention the bees dont want, the queen excluder. When will we observe and learn?
Mesh floors are part of IPM in the U.K. for years beekeepers kept their colonies in solid floors. Many still do and more are returning to them. JBM’s floors were a revelation to me but I have gone further in that my entrance slots are half way back reducing the mesh to half the area.
The BBKA which is responsible for a lot of the teaching is obsessed with ventilation to the extent that many beekeepers not only have mesh floors but leave their crown board holes open too 😱
When my floors go out of use the solid parts are always as clean as a whistle.
 

Murox 

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Mesh floors are part of IPM in the U.K. for years beekeepers kept their colonies in solid floors. Many still do and more are returning to them. JBM’s floors were a revelation to me but I have gone further in that my entrance slots are half way back reducing the mesh to half the area.
The BBKA which is responsible for a lot of the teaching is obsessed with ventilation to the extent that many beekeepers not only have mesh floors but leave their crown board holes open too 😱
When my floors go out of use the solid parts are always as clean as a whistle.
Thats a very interesting modification. Have you noticed any difference/change in the placement of brood ? at different times of the year for example ?
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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.. and whats the deal with the mesh floor and a botton entrance, how does that help with letting the cold in and light in and the wax cappings and pollen cannot be recycled by the bees ending up as detritus under the floor to attract wax moth and soon small hive beetle. Cold air fed in at this time of the year! no wonder the queen ends up in the super, that is if you remember to take out the another human invention the bees dont want, the queen excluder. When will we observe and learn?
Have you any evidence to support whatever you are trying (not very coherently) to say?
And what's this obsession with queens in supers
Or is that another euphemism for bats in belfry?
 

Jowlpost 

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its not a question of proof or statements of facts. Observaton suggest to me that the bottom entrance is the biggest problem for beekeepers that we keep trying to fix, with complicated floor modifications , queen excluders and ventillated roofs, so where did it originate from?
.. look back 170 years and you will see if there is any logic from when it first appeared. I cant see any yet the whole western bee keeping industry uses it. Langstroth invented the removeable frames ,, fantastic ,, but the disservice he did to us was he patented his whole hive .. ever since then people who copied the removeable frames also copied his entrance, assuming it was equally well researched. Ever since we have been trying to fix the issues it creates. instead of trying to relicate the way bees want to live we force on them a 2 story detached house with a permanetly open fron door and hole in the roof (national). Believe it or not they don't need humans to help them survive so if they are dying out in the rate reported by the BBKA (well understated) then we are definitely not as clever as we think..
 
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Erichalfbee 

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Thats a very interesting modification. Have you noticed any difference/change in the placement of brood ? at different times of the year for example ?
With mesh floors and UFE with a short porch the bees tend to put their brood at the front and their stores behind them. These modifications are new so I will pay particular attention to what happens this winter but so far this year I have had wall to wall brood except in one hive which has food at each end of the box and brood in the middle. (warm way)
 

Jowlpost 

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Ok forget it .. if you cant have a civil conversation.
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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Observaton suggest to me that the bottom entrance is the biggest problem for beekeepers
And whose 'observations' are they? I've yet to speak to a beekeeper who said that bottom entrances are a 'big problem'
Again, I see no evidence of this, or data to prove your claims.
I think we just have a pet theory/prejudice against accepted and time tried practices.
Ok forget it .. if you cant have a civil conversation.
No incivility from me, all I can see is someone flouncing off in a huff as they have no argument to support a tenuous theory.
 
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Murox 

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its not a question of proof or statements of facts. Observaton suggest to me that the bottom entrance is the biggest problem for beekeepers that we keep trying to fix, with complicated floor modifications , queen excluders and ventillated roofs, so where did it originate from?
.. look back 170 years and you will see if there is any logic from when it first appeared. I cant see any yet the whole western bee keeping industry uses it. Langstroth invented the removeable frames ,, fantastic ,, but the disservice he did to us was he patented his whole hive .. ever since then people who copied the removeable frames also copied his entrance, assuming it was equally well researched. Ever since we have been trying to fix the issues it creates. instead of trying to relicate the way bees want to live we force on them a 2 story detached house with a permanetly open fron door and hole in the roof (national). Believe it or not they don't need humans to help them survive so if they are dying out in the rate reported by the BBKA (well understated) then we are definitely not as clever as we think..
Oddly enough around 1814 the Ukrainian Petro Prokopovych gave his invention of the first moveable frame beehive to the world. He considered the frame as a module of the beehive - which is now used today by millions beekeepers all over the world. Another of his inventions was a wooden partition with apertures, which was passable only for working bees (Queen Excluders) making it possible to get pure honey in the frames above it. It was only in 1852, (two years after the death of Petro Prokopovych) that the US Patent Office gave a patent number to Lorenzo Langstroth for a moveable-frame beehive. Langstroth's hive was the first successful top-opened hive with movable frames and was a direct descendant of Dzierżon's hive designs.
 

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