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In the winter of 2014 - 2015, we overwintered 64 - 5 frame nucs and 56 hives without top entrances.  We did this because some emerging information seemed to indicate that smaller colonies did not require an extra top entrance for ventilation and in fact the top entrance harmed them because of the extra ventilation.  We also did it because changing the top entrance to the bottom in the spring can cause drift and weaken hives and finally because there is a lot of extra work associated with building for and wrapping top entrances.

Most of the hives survived, but were significantly weaker than our other hives and most of the 5 frame nucs died.  We think the difference was that the hives had screened bottom boards and therefore more ventilation that the 5 frame nucs.

Can bees be overwintered without top entrances?  We don't know, but over the years, ours definitely have been bred for overwintering with a top entrance as that's how we overwintered them and we won't be changing that anytime soon.


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