The entrance size is critical for colony health, defence and pest management.

All the information of hive management and improving bee health fails to identify the issues regarding a nest (hive) entrance that is too large. 

As we implemented the idea on five colonies following the spring loss of foragers, more benefits came to light and we soon concluded that the design of the Langstroth floor/entrance was problematic for the following simple reasons:

 

  • It directs all bee movements through the already congested brood box;

  • The entrance is indefensible; 

  • Its size is hard for the beekeeper to manage.

 

After another season (2019) of observations and video clips the benefits to both bees and beekeepers were observed and included:

  • Easier for the colony to defend against wasps, moths, Varroa and rodents, with  wasps being totally excluded in our trials;

  • First line of defence in an IPM approach for honey bees to monitor the hive entrance;

  • Decreased aggression/defensive behaviour (a characteristic described by Wedmore when using middle entrances);

  • Easier hive ventilation without having to open the hives to check roof meshes and clean; 

Honey bees have evolved strategies to closely regulate the internal environment of their nest cavities through heating, cooling, and ventilation more often than not through very small best openings.

 

  • Makes ‘Cold Way’ Warm (Sword and Shield) with all its benefits for the storage of   pollen and honey;

  • Exit for drones above the queen excluder;

  • Improved uniting and potential maintenance of two queen colonies;

  • Increased hive volume without loss of foraging efficiency;

  • Improved use of brood comb for laying given improved; thermoregulatory effect;

  • Simple method to ‘bank’, mate and develop several queens in one colony;

  • Vastly simpler method of making an increase without the need to add a work force and transferring frames;

  • Simple method to close hives for transportation, to keep colonies in or while applying treatments.

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© 2020 by Filipe Salbany.

A Natural Nest Cavity Entrance

Single Nest Cavity Entrance to a colony of over 50 000 bees