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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    Norwich, NY
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    11

    Default Is entrance reducer neccessary?

    Hi all,

    I'm a second-year beekeeper. I started last year with a Langstroth hive, but now want to try the top bar hive design. Moving full Langstroth supers gets old really quickly.

    Anyway, I'm building my own top bar hive, using the Phil Chandler design. He advises drilling 3 1" holes for the entrance. A 1" hole is definitely big enough for mice to get in, but I really like the idea of being able to use a cork to regulate flow.

    So my question is: do I need an entrance reducer? I was thinking that 1/2" hardware cloth (which I have on hand), attached inside the hive would work as an entrance reducer and still enable me to use corks to regulate flow. Or would something like that mess with the bees? What's your experience with this?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Morgan, Utah, USA
    Posts
    252

    Default Re: Is entrance reducer neccessary?

    I don't like the idea of going inside the hive to place and remove wire mesh to reduce the entrance. I have five 1" holes on each of my TBHs and I plugged three of them on each to reduce the cold coming into the hive. The holes are about 2 1/2 ft. off the ground, and though I've had mice problems with my Langstroths, mice didn't seem to attempt to get into the TBHs. If you feel wire mesh is a must, I'd tack a piece over the holes on the outside so you don't have to open the front of the hive and move comb (likely with brood) around in the cold weather in order to give the bees their full entrance.
    If I'm neither sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric, nor melancholy, does that mean I'm out of humour?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Denison, Texas
    Posts
    510

    Default Re: Is entrance reducer neccessary?

    MY TBHs have 5 one inch holes on the end of them. If you're wanting to use the half inch mesh for mouse guards, you could
    just staple whatever holes you wanted left open with the mesh on the outside of the hive. This shouldn't bother them.
    You'll only need the mesh when the bees are clustered in the top of the hive when it's cold.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Denison, Texas
    Posts
    510

    Big Grin Re: Is entrance reducer neccessary?

    Ha Ha, dehavik.
    We said almost the same thing at about the same time.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,297

    Default Re: Is entrance reducer neccessary?

    1/4" mesh may inhibit mice, but it won't slow the bees down. Certainly sounds like a plausible use.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Morgan, Utah, USA
    Posts
    252

    Default Re: Is entrance reducer neccessary?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Ogborn View Post
    Ha Ha, dehavik.
    We said almost the same thing at about the same time.
    Great minds and all that.
    If I'm neither sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric, nor melancholy, does that mean I'm out of humour?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brainerd, MN
    Posts
    533

    Default Re: Is entrance reducer neccessary?

    I had a mouse nest in my TBH this winter. I had assumed that the height of my hive would keep them out, but I guess I was wrong. I would say that my entrance is easily 3.5 feet up (I'm 6'5" so a tall hive is nice on the back). You could also probably just cut some corks in half the long way and plug some holes that way.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Cookeville, TN
    Posts
    138

    Default Re: Is entrance reducer neccessary?

    I use 1/4 inch mesh on all of my TBH Swarm Traps in order to keep mice, birds, and other small critters out of them. My regular TBH's both closed off the entrance themselves, one only had a hole barely small enough for a bee to get in and out. The other one closed off half of it.
    IMG_0490.JPG
    IMG_0491.JPG

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,310

    Default Re: Is entrance reducer neccessary?

    hmmm...could cut a 1.5" wide by however long piece of 1/8"-1/4" stock; mount it to the hive with some screw that are just ABOVE and BELOW it, so only the screw heads touch it...inline with your entrance holes. Then you could slide it off to the side to open the "gate" more, or slide it back into place to close it more; if you make it long enough you could even slide it all the way over all the entrances to "close the hive" for transport :-)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Cookeville, TN
    Posts
    138

    Default Re: Is entrance reducer neccessary?

    You could make or use something like this too (if your using a round hole):

    http://www.brushymountainbeefarm.com...uctinfo/676DE/

    I know alot of people use them for swarm traps and even make them out of soup can lids.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Lafollette,Tennessee,USA
    Posts
    177

    Default Re: Is entrance reducer neccessary?

    If you just wanted an entrance reducer and not necessarily a mouse guard, you could just drill a 1/2" hole through a cork.
    Integrity - Doing the right thing when no one is watching.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,310

    Default Re: Is entrance reducer neccessary?

    Here's a pic of my "door" on one of my TBH boxes.

    Tongue depressor slides Left for shut, Right for open...then I just tighten the screw holding down the lid to lock it in place. :-)

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Newport, New Hampshire, USA
    Posts
    241

    Default Re: Is entrance reducer neccessary?

    Quote Originally Posted by nysharps View Post

    Anyway, I'm building my own top bar hive, using the Phil Chandler design. He advises drilling 3 1" holes for the entrance.
    A 1" hole is too big to plug with a wine cork. 7/8" is a good size since wine corks will fit. I use a half cork opening in the winter.

    Quote Originally Posted by quevernick View Post
    I use 1/4 inch mesh
    1/4" will cause the bees to lose a lot of pollen loads.
    “We wage a war to save civilization itself”
    --George w. Bush November 8, 2001

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Norwich, NY
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Is entrance reducer neccessary?

    Quote Originally Posted by BoBn View Post
    1/4" will cause the bees to lose a lot of pollen loads.
    Actually, I initially said 1/2". Would 1/2" have that problem? It should be more than big enough for bees...

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,297

    Default Re: Is entrance reducer neccessary?

    I believe that mice can pass through 1/2" wire mesh without much difficulty.

    "They can slip through a crack that a pencil will fit into (sightly larger than 1/4 inch in. . .", a quote from http://www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/pchousemouse.htm.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
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    1,310

    Default Re: Is entrance reducer neccessary?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Clemens View Post
    I believe that mice can pass through 1/2" wire mesh without much difficulty.
    Hmmm...unfortunately, I have to agree with that one...pesky little buggers aren't they.....

    Ok, here's a new idea of something that should be 99.99% mouse-PROOF; and it's not nearly as complicated as it may at first sound:

    Step 1: Drill a decently large hole (we'll call it 1") in your TBH for an entrance;


    Step 2: Cut pieces of 3/8"-1/2" plywood and attach them to your TBH creating a "slot" around your hole;


    Step 3: Cut another piece of wood, large enough to cover the entire "slot," and with a hole (same size as the first one, preferably) near the OPPOSITE end of the slot, attached to the front of the plywood pieces. (The slot must be long enough that no portion of the holes "overlap")


    Now you should have something similar to this:

    That would require a Mouse-dini (or Houdinamouse) to be able to bend itself into 2 90degree angles at once, in order to invade your beehive! And, assuming the holes+slot are wide enough, should offer very little obstacle to your bees' entering/exiting and ventilating the hive.

    I haven't caught a single mouse entering my hives yet, so I haven't had the opportunity to try this myself; but I've seen mice getting into plenty of other things around my property, and I haven't seen any that could accomplish an invasion through THAT...fwiw

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,297

    Default Re: Is entrance reducer neccessary?

    robherc,
    Sounds like an interesting entrance design for top bar hives. Especially where mice infiltration is rife.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Norwich, NY
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Is entrance reducer neccessary?

    That does sound like a great idea. Kinda what the Ottomans did with castles to prevent the use of battering rams against the gates...

    However, is one 1" hole enough for a hive?

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,310

    Default Re: Is entrance reducer neccessary?

    Quote Originally Posted by nysharps View Post
    However, is one 1" hole enough for a hive?
    If you check quavernick's pic in this thread, his bees closed up all of the holes, except they left about 3/8"x1/2" open in one... If you find that your bees like the extra opening space, though, you could always put 2-3 of these "chicane" entrances on the hive...or use a larger hole, just that the "chicane" section needs to be at least 2.5-3x as long as the diameter of the holes (i.e. use a 2.5"-3" slot for 1" holes, 5"-6" slot for 2" holes, etc.) so there's no way a mouse could "cut a diagonal" through them.
    Last edited by robherc; 03-28-2012 at 09:32 PM.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Cookeville, TN
    Posts
    138

    Default Re: Is entrance reducer neccessary?

    The bees actually had the entrances closed up even further than the pictures indicate. I didn't think about getting a picture when they were almost completely closed up. I took the pictures in February and the bees had been going out quite frequently and had opened up the entrances some.

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