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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Atlanta GA
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    250

    Default Entrance reducers for winter?

    How large/small an opening should I have as an entrance reducer for the winter? Let me know your thoughts? Thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    OKC, OK USA
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    2,870

    Default Re: Entrance reducers for winter?

    Personally I don't reduce however I suppose any size would work. Let me say that the new mouse guard I put on one of my hives did reduce it down to 6 or 7 bee size holes. The other hives have 1/4' hardware cloth on them.
    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,078

    Default Re: Entrance reducers for winter?

    3/8" tall... 1/2" wide. At least that's what I run. 1/4" mesh bent 90 degrees and stapled to the outside of reducer and front porch.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,224

    Default Re: Entrance reducers for winter?

    Mine are about 1/4" by 1.5", the same size Kelley ships with their 'starter kit'. I put mine on when the bees got fussy about strangers this fall (there is a big apiary a few miles down the road, plus a few hives within a quarter mile).


    Sized this way they keep robbing down, keep mice out (they could chew through, but I'd know), and keeps down the wind blowing through the hive. The bees don't mind at all.

    Peter

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    615

    Default Re: Entrance reducers for winter?

    There's a number of factors to consider. The first one is what is ventilation to minimze condensation and mositure build up yet not overly cool the hive. My guess is that Georgia is fairly high humidity and you need more ventilation than I would as we get a dry cold.

    Do you have a screened bottom board because if you do the air flow is controlled by the size of the top entrance.

    If you have a solid bottom board, you can control hive ventilation by the size of opening in the bottom entrance reducer and the top entrance only has to be larger than the inlet bottom entrance.

    Personally, I have solid bottom boards, bottom entrance of 1 inch and top entrance is 1.5 inches. I went one step further and run two 1/2 inch openings at either end of the bottom entrance. Center is solid and incoming air enters on side walls and does not vent to center of hive and cluster.

    Suspect, as Georgia humidity is high you need more than 1 inch by 3/8 high to control moisture.
    If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Atlanta GA
    Posts
    250

    Default Re: Entrance reducers for winter?

    OK..I am little confused by some of your answers. Let me tell you what I have. I have the generic entrance reducer that come with all hives on the smallest setting. So it is just the one little hole for the bees to get in and out of. I do have a Screen bottom board on mine. No top entrance on my hive..the only way the bees come and go is through the entrance reducer. Does this make sense? Today in ATL the temp is about 55 and there are quite a few hanging out in front. I am wondering if the one little hole is too small on a warm day? But then again I don't want a mouse or wind to get in there? Oh...I worry about these little bees. Let me know if you think the one small hole is OK? Thank you for your help.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    OKC, OK USA
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    2,870

    Default Re: Entrance reducers for winter?

    One thing to consider if using the smallest hole is winter die off blocking the hole. Here in Oklahoma we can get quite cold (last week we got down to 9 with 30 MPH winds. I neither reduce my entrances nor do I close my SBB and my bee do just fine. So 6 one way half a dozen the other.
    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Lititz, PA, USA
    Posts
    708

    Default Re: Entrance reducers for winter?

    Quote Originally Posted by SallyD View Post
    OK..I am little confused by some of your answers. Let me tell you what I have. I have the generic entrance reducer that come with all hives on the smallest setting. So it is just the one little hole for the bees to get in and out of. I do have a Screen bottom board on mine. No top entrance on my hive..the only way the bees come and go is through the entrance reducer. Does this make sense? Today in ATL the temp is about 55 and there are quite a few hanging out in front. I am wondering if the one little hole is too small on a warm day? But then again I don't want a mouse or wind to get in there? Oh...I worry about these little bees. Let me know if you think the one small hole is OK? Thank you for your help.
    Quote Originally Posted by SallyD View Post
    OK..I am little confused by some of your answers. Let me tell you what I have. I have the generic entrance reducer that come with all hives on the smallest setting. So it is just the one little hole for the bees to get in and out of. I do have a Screen bottom board on mine. No top entrance on my hive..the only way the bees come and go is through the entrance reducer. Does this make sense? Today in ATL the temp is about 55 and there are quite a few hanging out in front. I am wondering if the one little hole is too small on a warm day? But then again I don't want a mouse or wind to get in there? Oh...I worry about these little bees. Let me know if you think the one small hole is OK? Thank you for your help.
    Hi Sally,

    This is one of those "ask 10 beekeepers a question, get 12 answers" kind of things, and here it's even worse because some beekeepers use more than one of the answers just themselves.

    The only problem with those standard reducers is that they're not really mouse guards. Mice like to winter in hives not because of the honey or the bees, but just because it's a nice weather proof shelter with a built in heater (your girls). This is what all the mesh talk is about, keeping the mice out. Having dead bees fall in front of the hole and block it can be a real problem. A way to help prevent that is to turn your entrance reducer upside down so the hole for the bees to come/go is "up". The top of the hole is then the bottom edge of your bottom box. Make sense? This still won't keep a mouse out if the mouse wants in with your kind of reducer.

    I'll throw in another option for you in case you're handy or you know someone who is. I bought a 1x4 board at lowes or HD. I cut it so the length is the length of the regular entrance reducer like you have. I then used a router to cut wide but low notches, maybe 1 1/2" wide but only 1/4"-3/8" high. This gives the bees a wide "tunnel". Mice really don't want to chew that far to get into anywhere so it keeps them out very well. It gives the bees a lot of room to come and go and the chance of it clogging is very low. And I think it helps keep the wind at bay, although that's just the "force" telling me that. I've attached some drawings. First is upside down, you can see the notches. Second is how it looks sitting on the hive itself. It covers almost the whole landing board and extends into the hive itself a little bit. The bees get used to it very quickly.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  9. #9

    Default Re: Entrance reducers for winter?

    Iím not fond of screened bottoms but do have a number of them (long story). I leave the corrugated sheets underneath during the winter. I donít use entrance reducers. I donít have ventilation issues. I do get mice in a few hives each winter. They do cause some comb damage but it isnít significant enough for me to take measures. The mice will move out in spring.
    I suppose, if we had severe winters I would use reducersÖ.
    Quote Originally Posted by SallyD View Post
    Today in ATL the temp is about 55 and there are quite a few hanging out in front.
    When we get into the mid fifties here I get a bit of traffic but havenít seen any congregations at the entrance.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,078

    Default Re: Entrance reducers for winter?

    Nasal,
    You have a completely wide open sbb, nor reduced entrance and an upper vent hole and the bees do well in those low temps?
    Seriously? That's amazing. Bees must be heartier than I first thought.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Atlanta GA
    Posts
    250

    Default Re: Entrance reducers for winter?

    Thank you all for your help. libhart thank you for the graphic. Now this is making sense to me as to why Brushy mountain said to turn the reducer upside down. I get it! I think that one small opening may be a little small. Dan thank you for reponse. I have my corrugated bottom board and should put that back in I think. Thanks again all for your help!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Saskatchewan, Canada
    Posts
    282

    Default Re: Entrance reducers for winter?

    I would have a top entrance as well. It allows humidity to escape the hive and it would take a heck of a lot of dead bees to block it! Even if it's only 3/8" wide.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    OKC, OK USA
    Posts
    2,870

    Default Re: Entrance reducers for winter?

    Yes sir, however next spring I am replacing all my SBB's with solid due to personal preference.
    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Atlanta GA
    Posts
    250

    Default Re: Entrance reducers for winter?

    Quote Originally Posted by doc25 View Post
    I would have a top entrance as well. It allows humidity to escape the hive and it would take a heck of a lot of dead bees to block it! Even if it's only 3/8" wide.
    doc25: Forgive my ignorance but explain the top entrance that is 3/8 wide. I have the telescoping cover and then the inner cover on my hive (the inner cover with the notch and hole in center).

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Saskatchewan, Canada
    Posts
    282

    Default Re: Entrance reducers for winter?

    Sorry I use a "migratory type cover" which is one piece of plywood on top of the hive and I have a notch cut in the front. For the telescoping cover you should have a flat side and the other side has four ridges with a ventilation notch cut in it. The part with the ridges faces skyward and the hole towards the front of the hive. The telescopic cover goes over that. If you make sure the telescopic cover is pushed forward it will allow a bit of space at that wentilation hole and the bees can use that as an entrance.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    615

    Default Re: Entrance reducers for winter?

    For winter, the side of the inner cover with the four "ridges" and the notch is placed on the under/hive side. Flat side to top.

    With the notch open, a smallish top entrance is provided. And also a exit for ventialtion air to remove interior hive moisture. There is a small continuous air flow that enters by bottom entrance and exhausts through top entrance.
    If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,122

    Default Re: Entrance reducers for winter?

    Haven't a clue what's necessary in Georgia. In Vermont, I leave the bottom entrance wide open with a wedge of 1/2" hardware cloth as mouse protection. Reduced bottom entrances seem to result in damp conditions within the hive.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Palermo, Maine, USA
    Posts
    724

    Default Re: Entrance reducers for winter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    Reduced bottom entrances seem to result in damp conditions within the hive.
    Do you use solid bottom boards?
    Like us on facebook This is the place to bee!
    Ralph

  19. #19

    Default Re: Entrance reducers for winter?

    Just remember KISS. Keep-it-simple-Sally.
    Don't reverse your inner cover. Don't drill any upper entrances. Don't add any entrance reducers.
    Nice and simple.....
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,122

    Default Re: Entrance reducers for winter?

    Solid bottoms

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