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BKHC Mid Entrance - NZ use and bee habits


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So a bit of background.

 

This hive was set up with the MidEntrance in spring. With the drone escape on, covering the conventional entrance, this hive flatly refused to use the MidEntrance . @Dennis C Earnshaw advised NZ users to remove the inner QE cover , which I did. I also removed the drone escape, to relieve congestion, and moved brood up into the second box.

Surprisingly, the bees preferred the conventional entrance until very recently.

Now, they use the entrance properly, and there are even drones above the QE, indicating they use the ME too.

This hive is working well now, although I have not put the inner QE cover back in.

These two hives are my only two with solid floors, and the only two bearding.

 

My other ME hive , set up exactly the same, worked well from day one, as in the bees used the MidEntrance properly

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I have a hive that will only use a top entrance. I have tried facing the hive the other way in case they didn't like the flight path but no, they just want to use the small gap in the hive mat and not the entrance proper. There are guard bees there but all traffic uses the top. I give up. Maybe they want a midentrace? They were a swarm but I don't know where they came from.

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@dansar One feature of a MidEntrance hive is that it does not require so many nurse bees to attend to the brood nest to keep it warm or to manage the flow of air through the brood chamber. Most of the bees "bearding" as you put it have not reached the foraging age and really have little or nothing to do. If one were to place new combs with foundation above the queen excluder many of the nurse bees that we see outside will go indoors and draw that new comb.

 

As any commercial beekeeper knows it is imperative to use young vigorous queens to get a hive to build up quickly and to maintain a large brood nest. Looking at the photo's @M4tt put up on the forum I would tend to expect from viewing the brood combs that the queen is not as vigorous as she should be, I say this because I saw a lot of honey in the brood comb above the capped brood. The other possibility is that the hive has been cold....note that the width of the honey in the brood comb is greater near the front of the excluder mat, at the entrance end. M4tt had opened this end to the brood below, we would not do that. Honey in a brood comb above the brood is placed there by the bees to act as a heat sink and/or to divert an air flow around the nest, and is a general sign that the bees are having to deal with cold air.

 

M4tt has said, one or two of his hives have been slow to move up into the second box, this again points to a poor queen. If this were to happen to us we would requeen immediately using a caged queen or if we had a spare nucleus, we would remove the old queen and add the nucleus, then problem would go away in a few weeks.

Like all things new it takes time to learn how to get the best out it so I say be patient with your BKHC MIdEntrance, and please feel free to contact us for advise if you think the hive is not working the way it should, we are very happy to help.

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Interesting points.

 

I have to contradict you a bit though Dennis.

 

The picture of the brood comb with all the honey on it is from the hive that is set up properly with the drone escape and QE cover mat on. It is the only hive I have storing excessive honey in the brood nest. Plenty above it in the super too.

 

The hive with all the bearding, which I believe are returning foragers, has nearly 10 frames of brood in the brood box with minimal stores. The third box( I took off for the photo) is ready to draw and the fourth box is full and nearly capped .

 

I believe the bearding is because they are just too hot

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  • 11 months later...
@M4tt Any more mid entrance gossip ?

Not at this stage . They are in the shed.

 

M4tt has said, one or two of his hives have been slow to move up into the second box, this again points to a poor queen.

Actually, there is a bit of an update.

 

I still have this queen. She is in a conventional hive this year, with 2 3/4 brood boxes and 3 FD honey supers above that. This is my biggest and most powerful hive this year.

 

I'm drawing no conclusions though. Different year, different circumstances

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Yes very good point.

A bit off topic, but since @Alastair rescued that queen a while back, I've been far less hasty with the thumb and forefinger .

Some that appear duds, perform beautifully in a different hive or with different bees .

Very interesting and has changed my perspective a bit

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@M4tt, Most beekeepers with experience would have observed the behavior of their queens in different situations, time of year, weather, and most importantly the nectar source or the lack of one. A poor queen can look good in a heavy flow, just as a good queen can look very ordinary in a dearth of nectar. Before we use the thumb and finger as Matt says, it makes sense to consider first the whole situation in which the hive is subject to, be it a ME or conventional a design.
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