Portals.

The portal or baffle is a simple adaption to the modern hive that has been designed to suit the Honey Bee’s natural instincts and strengths. It provides an entrance system that works to support the colony.

The use of multiple, smaller entrances came about through Filipe’s experiences of beekeeping in Portugal and Africa. The more he researched and talked to fellow Beekeepers across the World the greater Filipe understood how multiple small entrances were actually just recreating what Bees would naturally to in the wild. You can read about Filipe’s observations and the Development of the Portal here.

The Entrance Size Is Critical for Colony Health, Defence, And Pest Management

Traditional entrances are too large

Honey bees are constrained to a pattern of ‘unnatural’ work by the modern hive with all the colony activity occurring via the brood box.

All the information widely promoted in the modern era on the subject of hive management and improving bee health fails to identify the issues regarding a nest (hive) entrance that is too large.

  • The entrance is indefensible; 
  • It does not encourage ideal environmental hive conditions
  • It directs all bee traffic through the congested brood box;
  • Its size is hard for the beekeeper to manage.

Improved methodologies, understanding and controlled use of entrances will ultimately improve colony health. Beekeeping is at its best and most productive through the interaction, sharing of experiences, knowledge and using skills to overcome obstacles.

In the Wild

Wild Bees are commonly found in trees and similar structures both natural and man-made.

They enter their nest structures through small holes, commonly between 4mm and 25mm diameter and a single colony could have several entrances.

These are easier to defend against wax moth, wasps and other predators as well as being easy for the Bees to adapt as conditions require. The colony will build a propolis barrier on the inside of the nest if the entrance is exposed, to deflect the wind or if required colony defence. You can read about UK-based wild bee populations here.

Advantages of Alternate Entrances

For the Colony

  • Decreased robbing – The Salbany Baffle shape leads Robbers upwards whereas the entrance is down. Thus Guard Bees can more easily channel offenders out of the portal entrance before they enter the main hive volume.
  • Improved hive protection from wasps – The primary entrance channel is the standard bee space of 1/4″ or 6mm.
  • Distinct ‘landing strip’ that becomes coated in propolis thereby improving hive hygiene 
  • Increased pollination and honey production as Bees recruit 3x more foragers on empty comb or honeycomb than on broodcomb (Tautz 1996)

​For the Bee Keeper

  • Ability to place a brood box directly on a board, thereby negating the need for a more costly standard floor.
  • Decreased aggregation of guard bees in one site (lower entrance)
  • Hive boxes can easily be moved around;
  • Decreased swarming due to reduced brood congestion and peak times;
  • Healthier bees;
  • Multiple queens can be used;
  • Easier and improved method of Rose Hive type beekeeping.
  • Increased pollination and honey production

Disadvantages

There are none!

There are a number of portal variations available and a wide variety of configuration to suit all colonies. Read about them on Which Portal and What Configuration.