I am a first year beehaver/keeper. Due to rainy weather in Georgia where my bees were shipped from they came in late (may19), not so bad considering weve had a cold spring here in Jersey. Anyway I hived the bees and now I am now at the end of the third week . I examined the hive and have six frames of drawn comb most with at least a third capped brood.over the past few weeks it has rained and now it has been in the low 80's making it very humid. Finaly my question is : would it be to soon to remove the entrance reducer altogether or should I leave it,and/or open the larger opening until the brood are hatched?
I would remove the reducer. I'd keep it in place if robbing were likely. If not remove it. The bees should pick up speed as soon as new brood starts to emerge. But if you don't feel comfortable removing it yet it won't hurt much, but you probably don't need it there.
I agree. I think the main issue of using the reducer anytime it isn't a howling wind and 10 below is to prevent robbing. In the winter it's also to prevent mice getting in. The draft on a cool rainy spring day is not an issue.
Greetings . . . Xen,
I can only offer the following "text-book" answer, I am also a Newbee.
BEEKEEPING for DUMMIES, by Howland Blackiston, page 95:
"For a newly hived colony, leave the entrance reducer in place (utilizing its smallest opening) until approx six weeks after you hive your package. (Page 125 Then turn reducer so larger opening is in position. Remove entrance reducer completely in the eighth week following installation"
I enlarged mine 3 wks after installation, and removed it 3 wks later, after seeing some congestion at entrance, and a small 3" cluster on hive-front one evening (indicating a need for more ventilation?).
I figure you should always remove it if there's a traffic jam at the entrance.
When I was doing my initial research I saw both the timetable that was mentioned and I also saw elsewhere the advise that Micheal just gave. I decided that I would let the bees decide when they needed additional space at the entrance - and it has worked out just fine. The one caveat is that I have all package bee hives that are roughly the same strength - therefore robbing is not an issue for me.
I put the entrance reducer on with the smallest hole open. On the first sunny & warm day, there was a significant traffic jam at the entrance so I flipped it. It has been just over two weeks now since the packages were installed and there been no real congestion at the front of the hive.
One thing that really confused the bees was that when I flipped the entrance reducers, I left the small opening visible (but not open)on the front of the hive. Nearly every bee that landed on the bottom board landed near this "opening" rather than the new, wider entrance to the hive. After a couple of seconds looking for the entrance - they would wander down the bottom board (looking confused!) till they found the wider opening. So there was still congestion - but no longer at the opening.
I did, of course, flip the entrance reducer so that the small slot no longer showed on the outside of the hive and all the bees immediately started using the wider slot.
Oh well - Live and Learn.
Bees are like most creatures, they are creatures of habit.
Georgia ? Entrance reducer ? use it for kindling this winter.....