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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Hendersonville, NC, USA
    Posts
    160

    Default Reducing The Entrance

    Hi Folks,

    At what point do we start to reduce the size of the entrance; when the nighttime temperature drops below 50 degrees, daytime temperature drops below 50 degrees, at the changing of the leaves, Thanksgiving, evidence of drone eviction, etc., etc.?

    Mitch M.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    3,429

    Default

    I base my entrance reduction on the potential for robbing, more than temperature considerations. If there is a dearth in the summer or if frost has knocked out the blooms in the fall, robbing will be greatly increased and that's the time for me to choke down the entrance to help the colony be in a better position to guard against robbers.
    To everything there is a season....

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,316

    Default

    >I base my entrance reduction on the potential for robbing, more than temperature considerations.

    Ditto.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,770

    Default

    I reduced mine last year when I started feeding. That was about the right time to worry about robbing too.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,462

    Default

    I never reduce my entrances, but do insert a 1/2" hardware cloth wedge, to keep the mice out. I just don't see the robbing problem here, as so many others talk about.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Evansville, IN, USA
    Posts
    2,837

    Default

    Entrance Reducer - Reducing entrances in the fall reduces the risks of robbing, keeps mice from entering hives, and it allows bees to arrange their nest optimally for winter. It is best to place entrance reducers on colonies early in September to encourage bees to arrange their nest optimally for winter. The optimal winter nest will have honey on the sides and above the cluster. Colonies without entrance reducers frequently keep their brood nest in the second hive body and pack less fall honey into the brood nest. Entrance reducers make it easier for bees to regulate nest conditions in the bottom hive body, and early placement helps the bees prepare their nest for winter. On hot days in September, you may observe bees hanging out on the front of their hive when entrance reducers are in place. I (Marion Ellis) have not found any evidence that this is harmful to colonies, and the improvement in nest organization is a clear advantage [Marion Ellis, http://entomology.unl.edu/beekpg/tid...1.htm#Article2 - Accessed 3/13/06].
     Proper size of winter entrance is a debatable question [Ref 9, p280].

    Mouse Guard made of metal (1/4” mesh wire [DLW], 3/8" [Ref 4, p161]) should be in place by late September [Ref 7, p116], October (NC) [ABJ, 10/05, p791]. When temperatures drop below 55 degrees F, bees form a cluster, and mice can enter entrances that have not been protected. When mice enter hives they damage combs. They also cause the bees to be more active in winter, and colonies with mice exhibit dysentery and other signs of stress [Marion Ellis, http://entomology.unl.edu/beekpg/tid...1.htm#Article2 - Accessed 3/13/06].

    Close off Screened Bottom Board unless you are in the far south [BC Calendar, 10/07]. (See Entrance Reducer above) The need to close off SBB depends on the severity of your winter, and the exposure of the hive to prevailing winds. If there is a dead air space below hive because you have closed it in, SBB can remain open. Always leave some space open to enhance ventilation [BC, 11/06, p7]. Screen-covered holes in winter in SBB insert will assure proper airflow [BC, 12/06, p49, See Photo].
     I close my SBB when nights begin to cool (late September / early October) and about November 1st enclose area under hive w/ skirt [DLW].
     Long Island beekeeper, Mike Loriz, does NOT close off SBB over winter [BC, 7/07, p53].

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Dane County, WI.
    Posts
    3,721

    Default

    Dave W...........Thanks for the link about that; interesting information I didn't know before. Reducing your entrances depends a lot on what latitude/FREEZE zone you are in; AND beekeeper experience in a particular area. I would think 50 degrees F. day/night temps in your area is NOT a concern. In my area [forgot the zone] when average temps are about 20 to 40, night/day, which probably occurs around November 1st. I reduce my entrances [bottom] to 4 inches with appropriate mouse guards. I also have more than one upper entrance/ventilation hole [for moisture release] which is near the inner cover. I suppose it's difficult for a "new beekeeper" who have their hives in "northern zones" to overcome the "anthropomorphic" concerns about "our bees" when the temperatures are BELOW ZERO and a wind chill of -?? for days on end. One thing;..........MOUSE GUARDS are important to install when it gets cold. Mice can/will gnaw their way through wooden entrance reducers; trust me. I will see what I see in the spring of course; with my bees, too.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Edmonton AB Canada
    Posts
    705

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ravenseye View Post
    I reduced mine last year when I started feeding. That was about the right time to worry about robbing too.
    I have done the very same thing yesterday.
    Konrad

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Evansville, IN, USA
    Posts
    2,837

    Default

    >I would think 50 degrees F. day/night temps in your area is NOT a concern . . .
    Our nights have just now started to dip into the 50's and I "think" mice are starting to look for a warm place.

    >when average temps are about 20 to 40 . . . around November 1st. I reduce my entrances . . .
    Are the mice already inside?

    >MOUSE GUARDS are important to install when it gets cold . . .
    "Before it gets cold" is a good time too


    The most important thing about closing off the entrance and the SBB may be to get the queen to move down.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Columbia, PA, USA
    Posts
    22

    Default

    Does a mouse guard ever really have to be removed?

    The reason I ask, this past spring I had trouble with skunks. :mad: I trapped/removed one, but kept smelling them. Someone suggested a mouse guard to keep them from reaching their paws into the hive, so on went the mouse guards. I never did take them off and see no problem with the hives (only 2 hives in my yard, not talking commercial here).

    The bees still had the full width of the opening. They just had to go through the 3/8" holes in the guard. So what is the harm in leaving it on and not having to agonize over what the mice might be thinking?:confused:

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Fredericksburg, Va
    Posts
    798

    Default

    Have not had a problem with skunks yet., But do smell them in the neighborhood. My plan is to place a carpet tack strip just above the entrance if I do see any signs. I also have my hives on stands that keep them about 18 inches off the ground. I understand that this is suppose to also help keep the sukunk problem at a minimum.
    Bee all you can Bee!
    http://www.hamiltonapiary.net

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Evansville, IN, USA
    Posts
    2,837

    Default

    Homestead Harvest . . .

    >The bees still had the full width of the opening. They just had to go through the 3/8" holes in the guard. So what is the harm in leaving it on . . .

    During a honey flow, the bees will (may) collect more nectar (collect it faster) if they can enter the hive without the "restriction" of 3/8" holes.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Windsor,NC,USA
    Posts
    285

    Default

    how many folks leave the sticky board in to close up the SSB over the winter?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Chicago, Illinois, USA
    Posts
    20

    Default Re: Reducing The Entrance

    [QUOTE=Dave W;263267] Close off Screened Bottom Board unless you are in the far south [BC Calendar, 10/07]. (See Entrance Reducer above) The need to close off SBB depends on the severity of your winter, and the exposure of the hive to prevailing winds. If there is a dead air space below hive because you have closed it in, SBB can remain open. Always leave some space open to enhance ventilation [BC, 11/06, p7]. Screen-covered holes in winter in SBB insert will assure proper airflow [BC, 12/06, p49, See Photo].

    I live in Chicago. My hive is set up on my roof sitting on top of solid cinder blocks so there is no air flow directly underneath the hive. The rear of the hive will definitely be exposed to prevailing winds. I have a screened BB and a slatted rack installed above it, just below the lower deep (brood chamber). I have left the slide-in IPM board (covered in vaseline) beneath the SBB most of the summer (except when it was 100+ degrees I removed it to improve ventilation) to keep an eye on mite populations. Should I leave the IPM board in for the winter? Since it doesn't completely seal off the opening in the rear of the hive where it slides in (there's probably a 1/4" gap or less), would that be enough for winter ventilation in addition to the reduced entrance and a top entrance/exit?

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,945

    Default Re: Reducing The Entrance

    Call me lazy but I left some hives reduced to the 4" setting all summer long and the bees did fine, even with temps in the 90s. I have auger holes (mostly 7/8") in most of my brood chambers, located just far enough away from the upper right hand corner (looking at the boxes from the bottom board entrance) to avoid the nails.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

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