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Author Topic: Guidelines for using entrance reducers?  (Read 4419 times)
Understudy
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« on: January 12, 2006, 08:46:48 AM »

What are the guidelines you use for using an entrance reducer. I realize they can be used to help protect against robber bees but I am mainly with this question concerned about temprature. I realize it will help keep heat in. Heat however in south Florida is not a problem. Right now I am going through my two week winter and temps will not get above 75F / 23C (maybe 80F for one or two days) after that things will get back to normal and stay in the upper 80's and then in summer easily hit the high 90's with 100% humidity(just the way I like it).  So at what temp range do you use your reducer and what opening size? Also on a silly note should the opening face up or down or does it really matter? Right now mine is facing up and the bees are doing fine, but I will ask for knowledge sake.

Welcome to WBEE radio traffic report, looks like Brendhan has screwed up the entrance reducer again causing massive traffic jams at the entrance to the hive. Avoid the on ramp by the four o clock plants, it is recommended that bees should approach through the veggie garden.<--- I could see this happening in the fututre.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2006, 09:03:03 AM »

the entrace reducer should be faceing down so they can walk outside instead of fly outside Smiley Doesn't really mattter though. It sounds like you really don't need an entrace reducer if you have a strong hive and its staying about 60 degrees f. Of course you could use a 50/50 entrance reducer. Whatever suits you.

Happy beekeeping. I'm sure my bees have reported on me like that too...
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« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2006, 09:27:45 AM »

Quote from: Understudy
What are the guidelines you use for using an entrance reducer.


You will see when you follow  how much  ventilation bees are in front of entrance.  

There are levels of hot

1) There is no ventilators . Etrance can be quite small.

2) Bees ventilate moist air from hive when they get honey. Those are insive of hive and under ten outside. It is good.

3) Tens of bees are in front of hive and on the front wall and they ventilate with wings in stupid places. - small troubles

4) If bees come out in clumbs, then hive is really hot or room is not enough.  - bees cannot work. A part of colony is out of duty.

If place is hot, entrance is better  be towards north.  

Hive temperature for brood is 32C. If it warmer outside you know why they ventilate so much  ---- warmer air in!.

They cool their hive with water if it is hot outside. If it is honey flow, they get their cooling moisture from nectar.

There is no need to just entrance all the time. If days and night are warm entrance may be quite wide. Perhaps you have enemies of bees there which are easy to go in if opening is too wide.
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Understudy
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« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2006, 06:11:30 PM »

Right now, the hive is in a weakened state and I want to keep heat in the hive so the entrance reducer is in place. There are bees on the outside of the box but they are bees either guarding or moving in and out.

I also want to keep predators and robbers out.  So the reducer right now is good. I am thinking of the next several months as "spring" comes and then summer.  Remember south Florida has only two seasons hot and hotter.

I will switch the entrance reducer to facing down Sunday. I was going to take look Saturday, but I have to work, so I will inspect the hive Sunday. I want to do this as a quickie inspection since the status of the queen in uncertain.

Also I am making a frame holder and waiting for the order of a second deep and frames. I don't expect to use it right away but having one for backup seems like a good idea.

I saw a cockroach the other day run out of the hive I almost burst into the hive at that moment. The last thing I want in the hive are roaches. However please note these are Florida Palmetto bug roaches and they are just huge and tough. I think I am liking the lizards more and more. They eat them.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2006, 01:04:30 AM »

sounds like you have things under control Smiley However, I have rarely heard of roaches in hives...The roach you saw probably was running out of the hive because of the bees dominating it.  Cheesy
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« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2006, 06:48:18 AM »

understudy, you will almost always find a roach or 2 in the intercover, they just love to get there, as for as the entrance reducer, I like to go by the traffic and like finsky said the heat has alot to do with it also, but never take the reducer out unless the hive can protect it self. I have different size reducers, 1 reducer might have 2 sizes like 1 inch and 3 inches, another reducer might have 5 inches and 8 inches size openings. in the end it will be up to you to chose when the hive is strong enough to remove it . when the hive builds up you will know.
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Jack Parr
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« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2006, 07:15:53 AM »

I live in deep Southe Louisiana and we have similar temps although somewhat colder in winter than Ft Lauderdale.  This year winter has been a non issue.

I do not, and, have not used an entrance reducer to date. This past year was my first.  I would use one if there were prolonged cold spells or if I were afraid of a robbing situation.

I also use screened bottom boards with a slide out tray under for Verroa mite drops and I find the debris that fall from the frames interesting. The screen bottoms allow the hive debris to fall, either, on the tray, or, onto the ground thus saving the bees the work of removing same from the hive, which they will do. If you have verroa mites you will readily find them on the tray.  You will also find sme small worms on the tray on occasion which are wax worms and not unusual to be found in the hive. Roches are a fact of life in the world and more so in hot humid climes and the slide out tray  will collect their droppings which look like small black balls about 1/16 " diameter and hard. Not much to do against roaches. Lizards are useful reptiles and they do enter the hives but I've not seen them eating bees but they do eat other insects.

We are dealing in the insect world after all and what else can you expect.

I have not been bothered with ants, but they are around.

Finsky has some interesting observations which sheds some light on bee activity as it takes place outside the hive around the entrance.

Mostly if you leave the bees alone they will " take care of their business".
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amymcg
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« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2006, 07:33:42 AM »

There are differing opinions on the way the entrance reducer should face, down or up. Some say if it's up, then the bees can walk over the dead bees at the entrance and still get out.  Mine got clogged up anyway, so I really don't think it matters.

One rule of thumb for enlarging the entrance is that if you have a traffic jam, like bees can't get back in from foraging because too many bees are coming out, then you should go with the next size up on the reducer, eventually they will be strong enough to just take it out.

Sounds like you're doing fine.  Over worrying is part of being a first time beekeeper.
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Understudy
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« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2006, 07:05:31 AM »

Quote from: amymcg

Sounds like you're doing fine.  Over worrying is part of being a first time beekeeper.


Me worried?!?!? (Grabs vodka and vallium) I have no idea what you mean.
I have no certainty as to the status of my queen. (Swallow's vallium)
The landing area of my hive looks like a trash can at an abortion clinic with dead pupae everywhere.(Drinks vodka)
There are nasty roaches looking my beehive like it was a luxury condo building that they have a lease on. (Shoots up heroin)
And to top it all off I have never done anything like this before.(Start's intensive electroshock therapy sessions)

Also today i discovered that I am a renegade bee keeper.
You are suppose to register your hives in the US with the department of Agriculture, but local county codes don't allow for bees in a residential area (let's just go straight to a thorazine drip shall we).
The front page of the newspaper in my area has an article about africanized bees that have moved into our area (I think treppaning is starting to make sense)

No I am not worried, I feel wonderful, I just seem to twitch a lot.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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Finsky
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« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2006, 07:37:22 AM »

size of entrance is painfull question also in our country. Some of you  live under palm trees and we here next nabour of Santa.

I use solid bottomboard, entrance reducer and middle way entrances.

Some in Finland use screen bottom year around. Some keep it open only at winter and  close it for summer and just calculate mites.

Many use not at all middle or upper entrances.

Now I have slanting bottomboards. Does anybody have such?

************
Many say that ventilation deminish chalkbrood. I noticed that when I shut upper entrances and deminished ventilation, 90% of chalkbrood went away.
***************
I have started heating hives with electrict at spring . Here some  say that it is worst I can do to bees. They love they bees as they say and I don't.

************

What a mesh.  That is why I stir at maximun honey yield. We can do what ever but if it has no meaning to bees do what you like.

However entrance reducer is very important to warm economy of our hives.  We had extremly hot summer and I opened all entrances because nectar yield was really big.  Queens rised to uppermost  boxes to make brood. Our hotes day is +33C during last 30 years.

***************
I MEAN : Everyone should learn to see signs of overventilation and under ventilation. No one else can do that.

I try to get average yield 200 lbs per hive.  It is only what means rolleyes

.
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Jack Parr
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« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2006, 08:55:53 AM »

you come across as a " wild and crazy guy " and you should apply to Comedy Central or SNL. wink  

Since you are in Ft Lauderdale FL, I will tell you that ALMOST all the tips hints, advice, how-to, etc, on these bee boards, is really not much use to U. concerning winter. I am a little higher up in Latitude than you and I don't see much of anything going on in my hives that compares with folks doing beekeeping in northern climes and discussed on these boards. For instance the bees in my hives are out collecting pollen, almost daily.

U would be best served by contacting your Fl Dept of Agriculture and their Bee guy. I met him at the www.labeekeepersassociation.org and he is a nice and knowledgable guy about Flodida beekeeping practices. Maybe there is a nearby beekeepers association that would be useful. You are, almost, living in a year round nectar producing climate. There will be considerable differences in some aspects of what bees do, and when they do it,  where U live, that require different approaches than what  most of the posters to this board experience and suggest.  

Just a thought, then again maybe being a " wild and crazy " guy is what drives U.  

That is if you are really serious about keeping bees smiley  

Jack
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Understudy
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« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2006, 09:50:48 AM »

I had to drive out to Tampa yesterday for work.
As I was driving across SR 60 Just outside of Lake Wales I came across
Struthers' Honey. I met Alden Struthers. A very nice guy. One of the first things I asked him about is Florida winters and bees. THe rules are definitly different here. Bees work year round and honey extraction can easily be done year round. Because he is a commerical grower near orange groves he works with the orange season. Right now he is beginning his mite and other pest treatment. Around march he will begin extracting honey again.

He does not use entrance reducers but his hives are healthy and strong. He also has almost 2000 hives (my guess from what I could see).

I found out about the Palm Beach County beekeepers association at the South Florida fair. They have meetings at Mounts Botanical Garden the first friday of every month at 7pm. Which kinda of sucks for me because I will be working out of town when the next two meetings are held.

At least now though I have a couple of phone numbers for people a little closer to me.

The entrance reducer issue is very interesting to me because I think in the summer when it really hot in Florida, if the hive is strong enough could (maybe should) be removed. The hive temp could easily reach 100 F / 37 C without blinking an eye. I certainly can keep water and shade close by but and entrance reducer in the summer may become a heat trap.

I figure it like this if the temprature in Florida is 95F/35C with 100% humidity. THat the enclosed box could easily heat up a few more degrees due to poor air circulation. I realize that bees would work on cooling the hive, but the entrance reducer and heavy traffic could be a bad combination. In the summer here there are plenty of plants blooming. SO traffic from field bees and , waterboys and a entrance reducer seems like a possible issue.

Now these ideas are my uneducated guesses and time will definitly tell, as it gets warmer I think it will become more obvious.

As far as the other issues, dept of agriculture, local code enforment officers, and africanized bees. I am going to tread lightly. I am keeping my bees. I am just not planning on wearing a shirt that says "beekeeper in a residential area."

I may however when I do get to a meeting of the local beekeepers have to wear a mask and hide my identity.  I think a President Nixon mask or O.J . Simpson mask should work.

You may see me on the next episode of Cops being tackled for my underground honey lab.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2006, 11:56:19 AM »

>but I am mainly with this question concerned about temprature.

As long as it's not drafty and there's no excess space, it shouldn't be a problem.  If you have a strong hive space isn't an issue, but with a weak one, I'd reduce it to just what they can manage.  Remove all the empty frames and all the boxes that don't have bees in them.

> I realize it will help keep heat in. Heat however in south Florida is not a problem. Right now I am going through my two week winter and temps will not get above 75F / 23C (maybe 80F for one or two days) after that things will get back to normal and stay in the upper 80's and then in summer easily hit the high 90's with 100% humidity(just the way I like it).

What exactly is your worry then?  Too much heat?  Then I'd try to provide ventilation.  If robbing is part of the concern some Popsicle sticks on the inner cover will provide some upward ventilation.

> So at what temp range do you use your reducer

I don't use a reducer because of temps.  I use it because of robbing.  For ventilation I try to have a SBB and an upper entrance.  In fact my bottom entrances are all now complete blocked with just a SBB for bottom ventilation and a top entrance for top ventilation.

> and what opening size?

If there is a traffic jam, it's too small.  If there's not, it's not too small.  If they are being robbed, it's too large.

> Also on a silly note should the opening face up or down or does it really matter? Right now mine is facing up and the bees are doing fine, but I will ask for knowledge sake.

I always faced mine down, but after some research I have discovered that many people face them up so the dead bees are less likely to block the exit.  Since I have a top entrance and I closed the bottom one, dead bees in the winter are no longer a concern.

>Welcome to WBEE radio traffic report, looks like Brendhan has screwed up the entrance reducer again causing massive traffic jams at the entrance to the hive.

Exactly.  If there are traffic problems, make it bigger.

>Right now, the hive is in a weakened state and I want to keep heat in the hive so the entrance reducer is in place. There are bees on the outside of the box but they are bees either guarding or moving in and out.

Didn't you say the temps are in the 70's?  What are the lows?  How strong is the hive?

>I also want to keep predators and robbers out.

If predators are a problem, I'd close it all together and prop the top up for the entrance.  What predators are you concerned with?  Mice?  Skunks?  Are they already a problem or you're trying to prevent a problem.

> So the reducer right now is good. I am thinking of the next several months as "spring" comes and then summer. Remember south Florida has only two seasons hot and hotter.

Which is why I'm a little confused about your concern about warmth.

>I saw a cockroach the other day run out of the hive I almost burst into the hive at that moment. The last thing I want in the hive are roaches.

One roach wouldn't panic, me but if you get in the hive and there are alot of roaches, that's a sign the bees have more room than they can take care of.  The roaches aren't actually the problem, just a symptom of too much hive for the number of bees.

>However please note these are Florida Palmetto bug roaches and they are just huge and tough. I think I am liking the lizards more and more. They eat them.

I don't think the Palmetto bugs are a problem, but if there are a lot of them in the hive, it's having problems and will soon be full of wax moths.

>There are differing opinions on the way the entrance reducer should face, down or up. Some say if it's up, then the bees can walk over the dead bees at the entrance and still get out. Mine got clogged up anyway, so I really don't think it matters.

I always faced them down and did fine, but the argument for up makes some sense.  once in a while you do get dead bees so thick that the bottom entrance gets clogged.

>Also today i discovered that I am a renegade bee keeper.
You are suppose to register your hives in the US with the department of Agriculture, but local county codes don't allow for bees in a residential area (let's just go straight to a thorazine drip shall we).
The front page of the newspaper in my area has an article about Africanized bees that have moved into our area (I think treppaning is starting to make sense)

I would argue that me having bees helps keep the AHB out.  Nature abhors a vacuum.  AHB will move in more quickly to a place where there are no bees.  I had unregistered hives for years.  I never had them inspected until the inspection process was discontinued and I was trying to sell queens.  NOW I have to pay to get them inspected.  Smiley

>Now I have slanting bottomboards. Does anybody have such?

I have a couple of 12 frame boxes with sloped bottom boards.  I like the bottom boards.  The water runs off nicely.

>Many say that ventilation deminish chalkbrood. I noticed that when I shut upper entrances and deminished ventilation, 90% of chalkbrood went away.

I'm sure it depends on your climate what will help with chalkbrood.  Some places the cause seems to be high humidity which more ventilation takes care of.  Maybe humidity isn't a problem in Finland but chilled brood is?

>I have started heating hives with electrict at spring . Here some say that it is worst I can do to bees. They love they bees as they say and I don't.

I tried your terrarium heater on a queen bank.  The bees seemed to like it a lot.  Smiley

>I MEAN : Everyone should learn to see signs of overventilation and under ventilation. No one else can do that.

Yes.  You need to know the signs.

>I try to get average yield 200 lbs per hive.

That's never been my average.  But I have gotten it before.  On four hives.  Once.  Smiley

> It is only what means Rolling Eyes

It's a facial expression.  It could mean a lot of specific things.  Incredulity (disbelief) would be one of those.
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« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2006, 12:30:16 PM »


> I realize it will help keep heat in. Heat however in south Florida is not a problem. Right now I am going through my two week winter and temps will not get above 75F / 23C (maybe 80F for one or two days) after that things will get back to normal and stay in the upper 80's and then in summer easily hit the high 90's with 100% humidity(just the way I like it).

What exactly is your worry then?  Too much heat?  Then I'd try to provide ventilation.  If robbing is part of the concern some Popsicle sticks on the inner cover will provide some upward ventilation.

Yes, to much heat. Robbing is a minor concern right now.

>Right now, the hive is in a weakened state and I want to keep heat in the hive so the entrance reducer is in place. There are bees on the outside of the box but they are bees either guarding or moving in and out.

Didn't you say the temps are in the 70's?  What are the lows?  How strong is the hive?

The high temp for the next couple of weeks will be in the 70's F that is cold for south Florida. The lows are in the 40s F. The hive is in a weakened state due to the relocation and queen issues.

>I also want to keep predators and robbers out.

If predators are a problem, I'd close it all together and prop the top up for the entrance.  What predators are you concerned with?  Mice?  Skunks?  Are they already a problem or you're trying to prevent a problem.

Predetors such as mice, frogs, lizards, robber bees and toads. There is a lot of wildlife in my area, Having the wildlife isn't a bother. I just don't need mother nature having an open pass to the hive.

> So the reducer right now is good. I am thinking of the next several months as "spring" comes and then summer. Remember south Florida has only two seasons hot and hotter.

Which is why I'm a little confused about your concern about warmth.

Because the hotter season could mean the bees get cooked, literally.

>I saw a cockroach the other day run out of the hive I almost burst into the hive at that moment. The last thing I want in the hive are roaches.

One roach wouldn't panic, me but if you get in the hive and there are alot of roaches, that's a sign the bees have more room than they can take care of.  The roaches aren't actually the problem, just a symptom of too much hive for the number of bees.

I haven't opened the hive yet. Right now it is about mid 50F and the bees aren't flying as much. I may take a peek tomorrow.

>However please note these are Florida Palmetto bug roaches and they are just huge and tough. I think I am liking the lizards more and more. They eat them.

I don't think the Palmetto bugs are a problem, but if there are a lot of them in the hive, it's having problems and will soon be full of wax moths.

Yuck, I will look tomorrow

>There are differing opinions on the way the entrance reducer should face, down or up. Some say if it's up, then the bees can walk over the dead bees at the entrance and still get out. Mine got clogged up anyway, so I really don't think it matters.

I always faced them down and did fine, but the argument for up makes some sense.  once in a while you do get dead bees so thick that the bottom entrance gets clogged.

I have had it up, I am going to flip it over tomorrow and see what happens.

>Also today i discovered that I am a renegade bee keeper.
You are suppose to register your hives in the US with the department of Agriculture, but local county codes don't allow for bees in a residential area (let's just go straight to a thorazine drip shall we).
The front page of the newspaper in my area has an article about Africanized bees that have moved into our area (I think treppaning is starting to make sense)

I would argue that me having bees helps keep the AHB out.  Nature abhors a vacuum.  AHB will move in more quickly to a place where there are no bees.  I had unregistered hives for years.  I never had them inspected until the inspection process was discontinued and I was trying to sell queens.  NOW I have to pay to get them inspected.  Smiley

That would be great if logic worked with bureaucrats. I don't plan on selling anything. Maybe I could put some car parts around it and make it look like one of my neighbors abandon cars, that he keeps in his yard.
The department of Agriculture and I are already on a bad footing. Before I had the bee hive I had a letter come from them saying they wanted to come into my yard and search for citrus tree with citrus canker. I wouldn't let them because I had no citrus trees. I made them get a warrant, it ended up much like a mexican stand off (they were not able to get the warrant). I think somewhere in the agri offices my name has a big black mark next to it. If they found out I had bees, I think they would start foaming at the mouth out of shear glee.

Thank you for the other answers. I do appreciate the help.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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