I had a comment after one of my posts about the holes drilled in some of the deep boxes. When I initially got into beekeeping I purchased a lot of used equipment from a local guy. Most of his deep boxes had a 1 inch hole drilled in the front. They were just used the way they were, after a fresh coat of paint. Drilling holes into perfectly good boxes doesn’t make a lot of sense, but I have noticed that the bees seem to like them. What the girls want they most generally will get around here. The video shows the activity that goes on around these holes.
It seems to be a common practice around here for beekeepers to do this to boxes used for the brood area. Beyond Eastern Indiana I have no idea how popular this practice is.
Most of my initial reading pointed me in the direction of limiting entrances to the hive. That is a good idea when colonies are small and/or struggling with some other problem. I have seen many feral hives in structures and trees that have multiple entrances. As long as hive numbers remain high enough to ward off pests and invaders I see multiple entrances as a good thing since it can cut down on congestion and allow the bees to exit and enter closer to their destination within the hive.
All that being said every once in a while there will be a hive that refuses to use extra entrances. 1106 is one such hive. Why they won’t use em and I don’t know why. They are the hive that is to the right of the hive in the video. Perhaps evolutionarily there is a benefit to not all colonies utilizing multiple entrances and at the proper time I will see their wisdom. Until that time I will continue to ponder.
In the winter I have covered the holes with tape or stuck a cork in them to close up the hive. The decision has not been made on how to handle them this winter. That will be a post for another day.
Do you use alternate entrances? If so what is your method?