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Author Topic: Entrance Reducer Question  (Read 2401 times)
jgarzasr
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« on: June 02, 2005, 04:50:42 PM »

Question about the Entrance reducer - I have installed my two packages of bees - one about a week and a half ago, another 2 and half weeks ago - both are doing good (eggs, larvae, capped brood) - I initially put the reducer on the big opening on the hive - but after reading a bee book - it said to utilize the smallest opening - so I switched it. But now I have a lot of my bees haning outside of the entrance.  Also the daytime temps this week have been in high 70's close to 80 - will this create a problem?  I guess my question is - what should the entrance reducer be set at?  Also another question  - I am a beginner at this so when I check on the bees I am still a little unsure of myself - but I always end up killing a few bees (crushing them).  Do any of you accidentaly do the same - or does it get easier with experience?  Thanks for any info you can give me.

- Jason.
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SherryL
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« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2005, 05:47:03 PM »

I can't speak for anyone else, but yes, sometimes a few bees get squished.  It's nearly impossible not to considering the sheer numbers when you're dealing with.  Friendly fire.

As far as the entrance reducer.... this is only my second season, so I'm not speaking with authority BUT, unless you have a reason to suspect that your colony would be in some sort of harms way (robbing, or mice, ect.) I don't know that you need an entrance reducer at this time of year.  You're really restricting the number of bees that can come and go in say 60 seconds time, multiply that by the number of minutes, hours, that they're foraging all day - not really helping your cause.

I put my entrance reducer on last fall when the temps made a significant drop to help the bees fend off any field mice looking for a warm home for the winter.  It stayed on all winter and I left it on for about 2 weeks in early April after I unwrapped the hives, that's about it.
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gsferg
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« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2005, 08:44:59 PM »

Where are you located Jason?

I've got mine set at the 4" slot and there are days when I feel like shutting it down more. It's been hitting 80 here the past couple of days and down to 50 at night. 3 of my hives were in NUCs the other day with a 1/4" x 2" entrance and one I had stopped down to 1/4" x 3/4" because I wanted to make it easier for them to stay warm- it was a weak colony.

I was looking at the hives today and the bees looked happy- no traffic jams at the entrance, no bees fanning to ventilate, and plenty of bees flying and coming and going. I'd say my entrance is about right for right now.

I'd say, if the bees are really piling up outside and there is obvious congestion at the entrance, open it up, especially if they're fanning to stay cool. Here in Maine, I imagine I'll probably go to an 8" x 3/4" (1/2 open) opening next month and leave it there for July and August unless we get a really hot spell and the bees make it obvious it's too warm inside in which case I'll open it up more. Remember, they want the brood nest to be around 93 degrees so when it's 70 during the day and you think it's hot out, the bees are probably thinking it could get a little warmer...

The average May temperature here was mid 40's at night, mid 50's during the day and it rained 25 of the 31 days. I had my entrances stopped right down. I only opened them up some a few days ago.

I guess the best advice I can give you is to let the bees tell you, by their actions, if the entrance is too big, too small, or just right.

George-
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"So long, and thanks for all the fish"
Kris^
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« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2005, 08:59:10 PM »

I discovered that the type of hive tool I used helped avoid squashing bees.  The tool I got with my first hive from Mann Lake was flat and curved up at the end, and in order to get frames out, I had to lift each end separately, which ended up crushing bees against the walls with the trailing edge.  Then a local beekeeper/metal fabricator  Cheesy  gave me a different style tool that has a hook on one end.  It made it much easier to lift the frames straight up, and I kill many fewer bees.  Maybe a hive-puller would help even more.

-- Kris
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Apis629
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« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2005, 09:06:01 PM »

Quote
Remember, they want the brood nest to be around 93 degrees so when it's 70 during the day and you think it's hot out, the bees are probably thinking it could get a little warmer...


What about down here?  We're hitting mid 80s at night and upper 90s durring the day!  I'm starting a package next week and I'm wondering how am I going to reduce the enerence withought causing the hive to overheat.

P.S.  It will get hotter from here untill October!
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lively Bee's
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« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2005, 09:45:50 PM »

I use them for 1 week when I first install a package or a swarm
then I remove them.  If I see a hive getting robbed then I will install one for a few days.

Now do you have a screen bottom board?

If the hives look strong and the queen is laying a good amout og eggs.  I would remove it all together but this is me.

Killing a few bees is nothing to be worred about.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2005, 10:47:09 PM »

If there is a traffic jam at the entrance, open it up more.  If there is not, a struggling package starting off is probably better off with a smaller entrance to reduce robbing and make it easier to maintain the humidity and temperatures they want.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
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Bill the Beekeeper
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« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2005, 11:54:02 AM »

I would keep the entrance reducer on, but not at the smallest entrance size. That's for winter. Flip the reducer to the bigger size entrance for now, then when your new hive really starts humming (about 3 weeks) then take it off entirely. They need the extra air to keep the hive cool in the hot weather.

And feed them sugar syrup all the time to help them build up honey stores.
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Bill the Beekeeper
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