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PLEASE HELP! Entrance opening height


#1

You would think it’s top secret. Nowhere in the Beekeeper’s handbook can you find the spacing for a slotted entry on a landing pad. I made my entrance to my TBH with an angled slot because when I built it after looking everywhere for plans, the entries were large diameter or unspecified slots. I have concern of dirt daubers or wasps I have seen near where I have to place my hive.

I have come up with .165 inches which is also the dimension of a bee excluder space. This way I know the drones can go in and out. Will it be a problem since the queen does not leave the hive anyway. Does anyone know if this will keep wasps out? Once I know, I can place 1/2 of a brick on the landing pad in the place to limit the opening.

Also. I need to know if the bees need more entrance than just what I am incorrectly calling the front. If the bars are being viewed vertically, it’s on the left side where I will have them start the brood.


#2

DrDoorlock,

In Top-Bar Beekeeping Les Crowder and Heather Harrell write that they recommend an opening of about 3/8" x 6", described as just tall enough for a drone to enter, but keeps out predators such as mice. In their experience they found that when given a choice the bees would close up end entrances with propolis and use side entrances. They theorize that the location of the entrances makes a difference in how air is circulated through the hive by the bees. The authors do their beekeeping in New Mexico, so you may find it very helpful if you pick it up. I got my copy from Bee Thinking! ;)

Elsewhere I’ve read that if a hive is strong you probably don’t need to worry too much about invasion by wasps or other bees, but if you see that there is a problem you can partially block the entrance as needed.

Hope this helps!

Tom


#3

Tom, I appreciate the info. I have not populated my hive because I don’t have what I consider to be enough information. The class I am in does not address top bar hives and NONE of the catalogs give any dimensions. I’m going to take your advice about the book you mentioned. It is one of two things I considered buying. The other thing I wanted to get was an entrance feeder, but since my wife just got stung by a wild bee and we already have blooms (especially dandelions) here in Texas, I’m not sure I need to feed them after I get them this or next month. I’ll probably have the food there, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t need it. And we are about a quarter mile from creeks and rivers that feed a nearby lake. Lots of still water. I feel fortunate for my location.

Thanks again. I should be able to finish my hive WITH the slots in the side. I may leave the one at the end since it would be close to the end I will have partitioned to start the brood. It will allow good ventilation. We are enjoying four seasons in Texas. And that’s just this week. We hit 80 today and it’s going to be 44 tonight and not much warmer all of tomorrow.


#4

DrD,

Glad I could help! I don’t have populated hives either, but it’s almost a running joke in my wife’s family that when I get interested in something the first thing I do is go out and buy a bunch of books on the subject. Well, that’s not quite the first thing. The first thing I do is turn to the Internet. We’re scheduled for a class in April (the season starts later up here, of course.) We know it will be exclusively about Langstroth hives, but that’s OK. We figure we’ll still learn good stuff and we’re making friends who can give advice in other areas of beekeeping. We won’t be getting our first bees until after the class towards the end of April, unless we are able to lure a swarm in before that.

Speaking of turning to the Internet, here are a few sites that have helped me thus far besides this one. You may have seen them already:

http://www.topbarbees.com/

http://www.backyardhive.com/ The creator of this site has a good DVD on TBHs that I’ve reviewed elsewhere in this forum.

http://www.goldstarhoneybees.com/default.asp

http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm The author of this site has published a series of books called The Practical Beekeeper, almost all material from his web site. He points out that you don’t need to buy the book(s), but that he had enough people ask for it that he went ahead and put them together. The three books have been combined into one larger one for those that prefer it. I am in the process of reading it now, having first read Top-Bar Beekeeping and The Compleat Idiot’s Guide to Beekeeping. Michael Bush does use Langstroth hives, but his focus is on beekeeping without treatments, hence the subtitle Beekeeping Naturually. He uses either foundationless frames or small-cell frames.

You may be right on not needing to feed, but you may want to start out with a feeder for them to use if they need to while getting their bearings, so to speak.

Oh, one other thing about TBH entrances: most pictures and plans I’ve looked at don’t have landing boards. The entrances are usually just holes bored into the ends or the sides. One I did see with a landing board it appeared that the landing board was an extension of the floor of the hive, with the bottom of the end of the hive being cut short to create the entrance.

I’m looking forward to reading about how you make out during your first year! I plan on writing about my own experiences, mostly here for now but I’m thinking of doing so on a site of my own eventually.

Cheers,

Tom