Although I am very proud of my top bar bee hives, I am not a carpenter. As such, ‘true’ was just an ideal I strove towards when I built them.
The result in Hive #1 is an extra entrance to the hive where my poor carpentry skills have over time created an opening too big to close with propolis.
Although it might be beneficial at times to have a back door for increased ventilation and reduced traffic jams, the bees have to guard it against intruders, which might be a significant drain on resources.
I should probably plug it come winter, no?
Assuming the last question was not rhetorical, yes, we think the unintended entrance should be plugged.
What was holding the bottom board in place and is it still relatively straight? Or did hive humidity warp it?
We would be tempted to use a bar clamp or four to gradually coax the board back where it belongs and fix it with several long deck screws in pre-drilled holes.
Not rhetorical! That was the first hive I built and the bottom was designed originally to come open (hinged) with a mesh floor so the hive could breath during the summer and I could catch/count mites. But I didn’t give myself enough time to put in the mesh floor, so I have never opened it. Since then, yes, I am sure it has warped for the worse!
I can’t speak for your winters but here in Ontario I’d have to plug up that hole for sure – especially the last couple of winters!
Last year I used some shims and duct tape when I noticed some air gaps in my hives. Seems to work OK.
Nice work on the hives! I’ve been meaning to build a couple of top bar hives for awhile now, maybe a winter project?
It’s tricky here in the winter cause it can be warm enough some days to wake them up, which uses up more honey. Still, I’m sure plugging it is for the best. Thanks!