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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Henry, Virginia
    Posts
    93

    Default When to change entrance reducer to larger opening?

    Hello all,

    Tomorrow will be 1 month of me having my 2 bee hives. I still have the entrance reducer on the smallest opening. I checked them out yesterday and there was major traffic jams going on.

    I have read that I should wait up to 8 weeks before changing it to the larger opening. It been up to 85 degrees here in south central VA. Should I wait a little longer, or change it now to the larger opening??

    Thanks for your thoughts and opinions

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    6,949

    Default Re: When to change entrance reducer to larger opening?

    I have no more than a 3 inch opening ever. My small hive beetle numbers plummeted. You can open your hive any time so SHB don't go on the endangered list up there.
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    moravia,ny
    Posts
    1,208

    Default Re: When to change entrance reducer to larger opening?

    odds are if you dont open the entrance now they will soon swarm. they need to cool their hive and not feel crowded. up here in upstate we have full entrance. any strong hive can control shb. not sure where you read they should have small entrance for 8 weeks came from but do not agree. every hive is different. good luck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    paradise,Texas,USA
    Posts
    116

    Default Re: When to change entrance reducer to larger opening?

    Keep the entrances reduced...I opened mine up this year and to my regret I ended up with a heck of a wax moth problem....The full entrance is just too much to guard...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Henry, Virginia
    Posts
    93

    Default Re: When to change entrance reducer to larger opening?

    It was in the Beekeeping for Dummies book. I will make sure to change it to the larger opening this week. The reason it said 8 weeks is because it said a new hive had to be protected and to wait until it got larger. Also so they wouldn't have to work themselves to death even more to protect a larger entrance. It will be changed tomorrow. Thanks for the replies

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Henry, Virginia
    Posts
    93

    Default Re: When to change entrance reducer to larger opening?

    I just meant the 3" opening on the reducer. Not to completely remove it. I am so indecisive!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    moravia,ny
    Posts
    1,208

    Default Re: When to change entrance reducer to larger opening?

    any hive that gets wax moths does not have much to do with entrance size. any hive that cannot defend itself against wax moths or shb is so weak that they have a serious problem. now I understand where the Ill advised 8 week thing came from. from my 50yrs experence and 3 yrs as a nys inspector I would give them a full entrance. good luck

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Chickamauga, Walker County, Georgia
    Posts
    392

    Default Re: When to change entrance reducer to larger opening?

    All I know is ... I've been watching a bee-tree in a city park and they have exactly two small holes. My gut-feeling is that nature has never offered honeybees a landing-platform (to defend...) that is a foot and a half wide.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Dane County, WI.
    Posts
    3,721

    Default Re: When to change entrance reducer to larger opening?

    My 2002 edition of Beekeeping 4 Dummies says you can remove the reducer completely after "about" eight weeks. I haven't read it in a while and couldn't believe it said not to change from the smallest to the next 4 inch [medium] opening until after eight weeks! It says to use the 4 inch opening after "approximately" six weeks,... Page 95.

    It also depends on when you hive the package and the weather. Around here we can get packages around the first or second week of April and it is still cool then for another six weeks although this year has been different. Another consideration is the 21 days from egg to a new worker bee. Give the queen a few days after she is released to get laying good and there will be 300-500 -800 maybe 1000 new bees emerging every day. At 85 degrees the bees might "work themselves to death" fanning to cool the hive.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Henry, Virginia
    Posts
    93

    Default Re: When to change entrance reducer to larger opening?

    Thank you all very much. It will be changed to the 4" opening today and then I will remove it completely in a few weeks. How does that sound??

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Brainerd, MN
    Posts
    533

    Default Re: When to change entrance reducer to larger opening?

    I would say that you will find that there is no concrete standard for most things. There are just way to many variables. Location, queen, forage, hive size. I would simply observe the hive. Do they look congested at the entrance? If they do open it up. If they look like they are doing just fine then leave them alone.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Henry, Virginia
    Posts
    93

    Default Re: When to change entrance reducer to larger opening?

    I am thinking one step at a time. Small opening with new hive, 4" next size up, then in a few weeks remove it completely. Thanks for all opinions, the more the better

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    El Sobrante, California, USA
    Posts
    148

    Default Re: When to change entrance reducer to larger opening?

    When I go to a wide/full entrance, I simply pull the reducer out of the hive about 1/4". This gives the colony a 'wider' opening, while keeping the 'opening' to the smallest of 'bee space' increments. I wait till I see a piling up of bees at the smallest opening, then adjust the reducer as I see fit. I also remove the tops and put a small cover plate over the inner cover hole, with small 3/8" spacers when I think things are heating up inside to give myself some top ventilation. My hives sit in their own stands with rails keeping the entire hive off of the cross rails. What this does is provide a 3/4" space under the hive from front to back. I cut a small piece of 2/4 with dados that allow it to fill the space under my bottom board slider tray[which I constructed myself]. I think I get good ventilation and when I remove the 'plug' in back I can look up thru the screen of the bottom board and examine the bottom of the frames in the lower brood chamber. It gives me a really good view of 'swarm cells' being built on the bottom frames, . Perhaps a convoluted system, but all the colonies are in my backyard and get constant observation. When I see them bearding up...I go and open up some ventilation.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Henry, Virginia
    Posts
    93

    Default Re: When to change entrance reducer to larger opening?

    I changed my reducer to the larger 4-5" opening, and it seemed to confuse them first, then they figured it out I think I will leave it like that a few weeks, then completely remove it. Our hives are in a shaded area with peeks of sun during the day, so heat isn't full blast. Any opinions on when the reducer should be removed completely?

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    seattle, washington
    Posts
    65

    Default Re: When to change entrance reducer to larger opening?

    I have only had bees for about 3 weeks.
    I started with a nuc, I took the reducer out completely about a week ago, they seem to be fine with it. I plan on putting the reducer back in when fall gets here or until I see some other reason.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    1,339

    Default Re: When to change entrance reducer to larger opening?

    My rule of thumb is keep the opening at somewhat less than the cluster width. As population builds, we sometimes give them half a reducer. When they have wall to wall bees in the lower box, they can defend a full opening, and they get one.
    Walt

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Victoria, Australia
    Posts
    660

    Default Re: When to change entrance reducer to larger opening?

    I do a similar thing to Walt. I base the width of the entrance on the width of the brood nest (ie. frames that have brood on them) minus one or two frames. So for example, if brood is on 6 frames, then the entrance is 4 frames wide. Ideally the entrance should be centered on the brood nest, so any pests or robbers have to encounter bees (on the brood nest frames.)

    If your entrance reducer is only on one side, move the brood frames over to the open side. So again that the entrance is no wider than the brood nest frames.

    If the bees are bearding in hot weather, provide shade on the hive.

    Matthew Davey

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Dane County, WI.
    Posts
    3,721

    Default Re: When to change entrance reducer to larger opening?

    > "Thanks for all opinions, the more the better "

    As the saying goes,..be careful what you wish for,.....

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