I've been researching KTB hives lately, and I've seen various different models. One observation is that some have entraces located on the ends of the hive, (one or both of the narrow sides, where legs are usually attached to the frame,) while others have entrances located on the side, (in one or both of the long sides, cut in about the middle, directly through the support frame for the top bars).
Is there any particular advantage to placing entrance holes in either location?
Additionally, some models have single entrance holes located elsewhere in the hive - sometimes in the rear bookend between top bars in use and those not in use.
Experienced beekeepers please comment on what you consider to be an optimal arrangement of entrances, and why.
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I have 1 year experience with top bar hives and thousands of hours of spending time on biobees and beesource forum
Im going with the top entrance on all my hive so condensation is not an issue in winter. I use one entrance hole only which is 30mm so the bees can easily decide how much of hive atmosphere can be let out during the summer. Varroa doesnt prefer high temperature. I dont know if this is good dry climate but in my damp one it might help reduce the condensation levels keeping the hive dry. We have lots of water around here in form of lakes and ponds while in dry climate condensation is a great resource for the bees so bottom entrance is a better choice I think.
Boy, I wish I could tell you that it makes a real big difference and it is important where you place the entrance holes. However, within reason, it is 6 of one, half a dozen the other. I've had them in both locations but if you made me make a choice one way or the other I would make center holes. Dusko is right, center entrances require two follower boards, which really isn't that big of a deal. Bees are incrediably adaptable creatures with minds of their own sometimes. On one of my earlier Phil Chandler design Top Bar hives with center entrances, the bees worked down to one end and found a small crack in my construction at the end and actually, over that summer, enlarged it. That opening became as popular with the bees as the center 3 holes. So technically they made their own end entrance. One note, the crack opening was at the south facing end of the hive and usually sun warmest end of the hive. If you aren’t sure what entrance style you would like, I suggest you build two Top Bars identical, put the entrance in the middle on one and the entrance on the end on the other and keep us posted on your experience.
Ain't beekeepin' fun
there's a case to be made that top entrances help keep more formic acid vapor in the hive as it will sink. formic acid is likely an important tool for the bees to maintain the hive atmosphere and control parasites.
my own hives have bottom entrances, but they are vertical hives.