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?
I do the same thing, but I keep them screened in the summer (so far anyway) and only open the top on during the winter for an extra entrance (others are covered by my winterizing system).
I just never knew any differnt since those holes were already in most of my boxes.
We did, inadvertently. The girls of Hive 2 dug out a hole out where the box edges meet and started using that as their main entrance. After I had my bad sting reaction from a bee trying to get back to the hive, I had to close it up. As an alternative, I drilled some holes in the front of the hive, below the hand holds. It took them a couple days to figure out, but they took to it. I closed up the holes in the winter with small corks.
Yeah I didn’t put it in the Post, but IT IS IMPORTANT TO DRILL THE HOLE BELOW THE HANDHOLES. A couple of my deep boxes were messed up because the hole was above the HH. That makes it real nice when you go to remove a deep hive body and you cover an entrance….. 🙂
I have been using several methods to cover them in the winter, anything is better than tape. Cork has worked well.