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Author Topic: When to rotate entrance board  (Read 2344 times)
New Bee
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Location: Hopelessly Lost

« on: May 20, 2013, 04:19:43 PM »

My first time with bees.  I just picked up my first nucs.  I have put the bees in the hive.  When do I know when to rotate the entrance board.  When should I take my first look into the hive.
Queen Bee
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Posts: 1459

Location: Gonzales LA (Southeastern Louisiana)

« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2013, 07:11:48 PM »

My first time with bees.  I just picked up my first nucs.  I have put the bees in the hive.  When do I know when to rotate the entrance board.  When should I take my first look into the hive.

Not sure what you mean by "rotate the entrance board"?

As for taking a peek, I know it's tempting but would try and wait at least a week.

"We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions."
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House Bee
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Posts: 230

Location: Coastal Central California

« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2013, 07:32:58 PM »

Do you mean this device???

Step 1 rotate to the queen excluder position, allows foraging but keeps the queen in hive.  I think 3-5 days in that position is okay.  But call the nuc supplier and get his local recommendation.
Step 2 rotate to full open.  

I've never used these devices myself, sometimes I staple a scrap of queen exluder on the entrance, or stuff some dry grass in the hole to force reorrientation, slow the field bees exit.

Important-- make sure position doesn't slip, I have heard that many hives are killed when the entrance closes accidentally.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2013, 07:58:50 PM by JWChesnut » Logged
House Bee
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Posts: 85

Location: Central Louisiana


« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2013, 03:53:17 PM »

There's two things I think you might be talking about.  The first (and I think least likely) is the bottom board, the floor of the hive.  On your common bottom board, the hive entrance is taller when one side of the bottom board is up than it is when the other side is up.  I vaguely, distantly remember way back in some old book that this is on purpose, that the bottom board is intentionally made to be "reversible".  But for the life of me, I've never seen a single article or heard a single talk discussing this use of this feature of the bottom board, or when the correct time for "reversing" it might be.  I've always had em deepest-side-up and that's how they stayed.

The other thing I think you might be talking about is the entrance reducer.  It's the wooden cleat that sits across the hive entrance, blocking most of it except for a small notch.  At the appropriate time, you rotate this cleat so that a larger notch (larger entrance) is made; and then finally you remove the cleat altogether so that the whole entrance is open.

There are nuances involved; but generally, you want to leave the smallest entrance there until they've drawn about 7 or 8 frames in that first deep fully - in other words, you switch to the slightly larger entrance size at the same time as you put on your second deep.  Once that second deep is 70% drawn, remove the entrance reducer entirely.

Recently moved; re-keeping in 2014.
Joe D
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Posts: 2011

Location: Ovett, Ms

« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2013, 06:56:36 PM »

On some BB's there is a lip on 3 sides, 1 down each long side and 1 in the back, with the front, of course,open.  And you could flip the BB over and there was just a lip on the sides, front and back are open, supposedly to get better ventilation.  I have never used that side, have always used the BB with sides and back with the lips up.  If this is what you are talking about.  Good luck to you and your bees.

House Bee
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Posts: 106

Location: Bossier City, La

« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2013, 12:59:15 PM »

When I installed my nucs, I had the  entrance reducers that completely filled the entrance slot. These had two slots in them, one about 1/2" wide and the other 6" wide. As I installed my bees during heavy flow, I moved the reducers to the 6" hole upon installation. I still have the reducers in but I am thinking of removing the one from the strong hive completely this weekend as the population has exploded and there is congestion at the entrance.
 If you see your bees everyday, just watch them. If they are tripping all over each other, use the larger hole or remove the reducer all together. If they start tripping all over each other after that watch out for a swarm lol.

House Bee
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Posts: 86

Location: Colorado Zone 5a

« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2013, 10:26:47 PM »

I think he means the reversible bottom boards where one side gives a 3/8" opening and the other side a 3/4" opening.  I picked up an abandoned hive that was on the 3/4" opening (never had seen one before), so I put a reducer on it for the winter and this spring i tossed it.  When it landed I noticed the 3/8" opening side was up.  

I love my migratory tops/bottoms which, btw are interchangable.  If you knock off the front slat of the top cover it becomes a bottom board, add a slat it's a new top cover Smiley good stuff

Forgot to say, if that's what the original poster was talking about I would personally always leave it on the 3/8" opening, if you leave it bigger it's a pretty big opening to defend if the hive got robbed, also in the winter the mice will thank you.  My recollection after speaking to another beekeeper about it was he flipped in the late spring to the larger entrance and then flipped again in the fall.  If I were to ever use them I would always keep the small entrance and use a reducer when necessary, our temps can swing from -20 to 110 here.

Zone 5a @ 4700 ft. High Desert
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