Author Topic: Upper opening on honey supers  (Read 539 times)

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Offline gibb

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Upper opening on honey supers
« on: June 12, 2020, 05:26:31 pm »
Is this a good idea to have an upper opening on your honey supers during a flow?

Offline Zweefer

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Re: Upper opening on honey supers
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2020, 11:27:29 pm »
I always have an upper entrance, as my inner cover has one notched into it...

What is the reason for asking, if I may?


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Offline gibb

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Re: Upper opening on honey supers
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2020, 04:34:07 am »
Wondering if it could cause robbing issues?

Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Upper opening on honey supers
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2020, 09:14:32 am »
I think there are mixed answers on upper entrances while honey supers are on.  I always thought they were a good thing for the bees during a honey flow.  I have never had a colony robbed out with honey supers on.  I think that's never happened because you wouldn't put a honey super on a colony that isn't strong.  Don't give bees more room than they can take care of.  The upper entrance saves a lot of time for the bees as well as less walking on pretty white cappings.

I recently heard an old time beekeeper, with 200 +/- colonies, say that upper entrances could be bad if the colony should supercede their queen.  She had seen the queen return from her mating flight and enter through the upper entrance.  You can imagine what happened.  She started laying in the super. 
If you have that many colonies you may not notice a colony that does not have a laying queen for a month.  Most of us would.

I think they can be good during hot weather.  It helps with ventilation.

Offline Zweefer

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Re: Upper opening on honey supers
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2020, 05:29:34 pm »
Now knowing your reasoning, I can say I have never had an issue with them during robbing like behavior.   The bees usually try to get in through the bottom, and the screen usually takes care of the problem. If you are in a good flow there should be very little to worry about.
Of course this is only my experience, your mileage may vary.  :yes:
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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Upper opening on honey supers
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2020, 06:52:26 pm »
I spent the day, virtually, at the University of Nebraska Bee Lab's Funday.  Upper entrances were mentioned several times.  I thought, how timely!

Dr. Marion Ellis, Prof. Emeritus, University of Nebraska Bee Lab, said never to use upper entrances when supering for comb honey.  You run this risk of getting pollen in your comb honey.

Gary Reuter from University of Minnesota Bee Lab said upper entrances used to make it easier and faster for the bees to store nectar is false.  Foragers pass the nectar off to the 15-21 day old bees in the colony.  Those bees store it.  I thought of that fact when I posted earlier, but didn't follow through.

So I thought I would add that information to the discussion.

Offline Zweefer

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Upper opening on honey supers
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2020, 07:05:32 pm »
Thanks bakers!  Was anything mentioned re ventilation?

Also if pollen would be stored up too, one would think it would work the same for nectar as well...
or is nectar the only thing passed off, whereas pollen is brought and deposited by the foragers?

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« Last Edit: June 13, 2020, 07:06:48 pm by Zweefer »
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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Upper opening on honey supers
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2020, 04:43:52 pm »
So Day 2 of the UNL Bee Lab Funday.  Dr. Jennifer Tsuruda showed a video of a pollen forager, inside the hive on a frame, unloading it's pollen basket and placing the pollen in the cell.  Bees in the 12-15 day range come along a tamp down the pollen with their heads.  A cell with pollen can have a number of different pollen sources.
Some of this I remembered, some I didn't remember.  I like these types of events because I usually forget so much.

Offline Wandering Man

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Re: Upper opening on honey supers
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2020, 05:30:55 pm »
I spent the day, virtually, at the University of Nebraska Bee Lab's Funday.  Upper entrances were mentioned several times.  I thought, how timely!

Dr. Marion Ellis, Prof. Emeritus, University of Nebraska Bee Lab, said never to use upper entrances when supering for comb honey.  You run this risk of getting pollen in your comb honey.

Gary Reuter from University of Minnesota Bee Lab said upper entrances used to make it easier and faster for the bees to store nectar is false.  Foragers pass the nectar off to the 15-21 day old bees in the colony.  Those bees store it.  I thought of that fact when I posted earlier, but didn't follow through.

So I thought I would add that information to the discussion.

I was all set to run out and add a notch in some of my inner covers.  I've never had an upper entrance and while I recall hearing both positive and negative statements about such, I had not really understood why people do this.  Now I'm back to my normally confused self and not as motivated to notch out an upper entrance.

 ???  ???
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Offline Zweefer

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Re: Upper opening on honey supers
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2020, 05:33:34 pm »
It has been said, and I believe this is the only absolute in beekeeping, that if you ask 3 beekeepers a question, you will get 4 different answers...


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Offline Wandering Man

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Re: Upper opening on honey supers
« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2020, 05:34:21 pm »
I have been known to give more than one answer to a question about beekeeping ...
Never argue with drunks or crazy people

Offline Zweefer

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Re: Upper opening on honey supers
« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2020, 07:21:40 pm »
 :D I rest my case.
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Offline LazyBkpr

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Re: Upper opening on honey supers
« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2020, 07:58:54 pm »
LOL... too true.... I always run upper entrances, they are small entrances and easy to guard. Mostly for ventilation, and, i have also had some hives/bees fill them with propolis, while others used them regularly.  it makes the trip to the honey supers a bit shorter, but being a small entrance it can get busy and force the bees through the lower entrance.
   I have my hives inside the big shed now, and it seems to have evened out the entrance use.  Some of you may know that for the last two years I have SEVERELY neglected my bees due to LIFE interfering.. the bees I had that SURVIVED two years of neglect, were the ones inside the bee shed....  So thats where they are now, and we will see how it goes.  Going to INSPECT tomorrow!
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Offline Zweefer

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Re: Upper opening on honey supers
« Reply #13 on: June 14, 2020, 08:41:04 pm »
I know it's been a while since your last inspection, so if you forget what to do, just think back to your mentor and what he told you... for instance eat a banana and keep the empty peel in your back pocket during inspections.
Good luck!
 O:-)









As this is the beekeeping 101 forum, I feel the need to state that although LazyBkprs mentor DID tell him that, please note this is actually terrible advice...
Keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.
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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Upper opening on honey supers
« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2020, 08:49:42 pm »
LOL... too true.... I always run upper entrances, they are small entrances and easy to guard. Mostly for ventilation, and, i have also had some hives/bees fill them with propolis, while others used them regularly.  it makes the trip to the honey supers a bit shorter, but being a small entrance it can get busy and force the bees through the lower entrance.
   

LazyBkpr,  I think you missed what I wrote about upper entrances being a short cut to honey supers.  Gary Reuter, University of Minnesota Bee Lab, says it is NOT a short cut.  The foragers have to take their load all the way down to the 12-15 day old bees to take their load.  He firmly believes that it only makes it slower.

I personally like them for ventilation, but a popsicle stick between the inner and outer cover would do the same.

I think we could have the same discussion regarding screened bottom boards.   :D

Offline LazyBkpr

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Re: Upper opening on honey supers
« Reply #15 on: June 14, 2020, 10:27:59 pm »
hmmm, i wonder...   I have a couple lids that serve as upper entrances. When I used them, I put the reducer in the lower entrance.. sort of a switch... I didn't keep using them because I didn't notice a difference in production, or growth, and they were harder to set up for the robbing screens...    Makes me wonder if the younger bees were STILL in the lower part of the hive or if they stationed themselves near the actual entrance...   NOW I have to refill my observation hive in the window to see if I can figure it out...    :'(
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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Upper opening on honey supers
« Reply #16 on: June 15, 2020, 10:21:50 am »
Let us know what you find out, LazyBkpr.

Offline RAST

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Re: Upper opening on honey supers
« Reply #17 on: June 15, 2020, 05:16:43 pm »
I tried two Imirie shims this spring for kicks and giggles and that was all I got. Guard bees just set there, no coming and going.