Entrance Reducers
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Hillsborough, Central NJ
    Posts
    153

    Default Entrance Reducers

    What are some guidelines about when to use entrance reducers? Do you leave your hive entrances wide open in late spring/summer?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Sedgwick Co. KS
    Posts
    1,196

    Default Re: Entrance Reducers

    On smaller colonies I use the medium opening, but on the larger, more populated colonies, I leave them wide open unless robbing becomes an issue.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Delta, BC Canada
    Posts
    269

    Default Re: Entrance Reducers

    I would tend to use the medium entrance across all my hives throughout most of the season until robbing becomes a problem in the late summer, early fall. In my experience however, it doesn't seem to matter much to the bees, they do fine (minus the robbing season) no matter what size entrance you give them.
    Visit my YouTube channel 📺
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  5. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Butler Co, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    486

    Default Re: Entrance Reducers

    i use 6" entrances all year
    Hindsight is 20/10, not 20/20...
    After the fact, I always know what didn't work.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Rutland County, Vermont,USA
    Posts
    2,478

    Default Re: Entrance Reducers

    I think the only generally accepted guideline is the smaller the hive, the smaller the hole. In colder climates, most might agree to reduce as it gets colder. After that, you have a fight on your hands no matter what you say. J

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    England, UK
    Posts
    1,948

    Default Re: Entrance Reducers

    If you fit anti-robbing screens which stay on all year long, then the entrance size becomes fairly irrelevant - I keep the main entrance (behind the screen) at a small size and only provide additional entrances if a traffic jam should build-up during a flow (which, around here, is pretty minimal compared with what many of you guys see).
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Indiana, Clay County
    Posts
    741

    Default Re: Entrance Reducers

    The widest I go is 3 or 4 inches in the spring , in the fall, winter I go down to 3 bee width
    Dad always said " Smart like tractor, strong like bull "

  9. #8
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Hillsborough, Central NJ
    Posts
    153

    Default Re: Entrance Reducers

    Very helpful info, thank you!

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    Eugene, OR
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Entrance Reducers

    GREAT Info, Thanks, so Much!!

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    NW Florida
    Posts
    1,171

    Default Re: Entrance Reducers

    I like the idea of entrance reducers to help limit the need for guard bees. My five high has a 4 to 5" entrance with no issues.
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,942

    Default Re: Entrance Reducers

    >What are some guidelines about when to use entrance reducers?

    After years of experimentation, I leave them reduced to about 2" wide all year around. I only reduce them more if they are weak and robbing is a problem and I never open them completely anymore.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Location
    East TX
    Posts
    66

    Default Re: Entrance Reducers

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >What are some guidelines about when to use entrance reducers?

    After years of experimentation, I leave them reduced to about 2" wide all year around. I only reduce them more if they are weak and robbing is a problem and I never open them completely anymore.
    Could this be a location specific decision? i.e., would hot climates (like east TX) need a larger opening for ventilation? I understand bees are good at temperature regulation, but it would make sense to me that there might be differences in air circulation requirements between a hive in TX vs a hive in AK. I also have a riser on the top hive screen for summer to allow air flow.

    IOW, I wonder if a natural hive (in the wild) might select a more open ("airier") location to set up housekeeping in TX as opposed to a hive in AK that might prefer a more closed location. After all, these bees in my yard did not choose my hives to live in, and I can't ask them what they prefer.

    - djb
    The best things in life aren't things.
    2 hives, started 2018

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,942

    Default Re: Entrance Reducers

    >Could this be a location specific decision? i.e., would hot climates (like east TX) need a larger opening for ventilation?

    Everything in beekeeping seems to be location specific. But I think it's a mistake to think that because it is hot that you are helping when you create a bigger opening or more ventilation. The bees don't cool the hive merely with ventilation. They cool the hive with water and controlled ventilation. Too much ventilation and they can't control it.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    NW Florida
    Posts
    1,171

    Default Re: Entrance Reducers

    I'm in NW Florida and am seeing fewer entrance issues and shb issues with limited entrances. Wide open just seems to use a lot of resources, advertise where they are, and give shb a better opportunity to sneak in.
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Location
    East TX
    Posts
    66

    Default Re: Entrance Reducers

    Quote Originally Posted by Jadeguppy View Post
    ... shb ...
    Thanks, Michael.

    - djb
    The best things in life aren't things.
    2 hives, started 2018

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Posts
    485

    Default Re: Entrance Reducers

    Mine are a pain to remove so I can get the OAV inside, I am thinking just a piece of wood setting outside, is better than one between the boxes, where it's hard to get out.
    NCSBA Certified Beekeeper 2nd yr 15 hives
    https://www.youtube.com/c/BackyardBeesNC

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Jackson, Ohio (SE Ohio) USA
    Posts
    817

    Default Re: Entrance Reducers

    I use hardware cloth mouse guards with a brick holding them in place, this effectively reduces the entrance to 3-4". Bees seem to have no problem, don't have to remember (or guess when field mice are going to start looking for a winter home) to add them in the fall, and deals with any robbing issues even though I'm not there to spot them.

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Hubert, North Carolina
    Posts
    381

    Default Re: Entrance Reducers

    I think most companies that sell "entrance reducers" have 2 size openings, an approx. 4" to 5" opening and a 1" to 2" opening. This has been a standard for a long time. As my colonies have expanded I no longer buy entrance reducers, I make them. I always use the larger 4" to 5" opening. When robbing occurs I simply take the staple gun and #8 hardware cloth and reduce the entrance. I'm not going to take the time to pry the boxes apart to change the reducer to a different size. Most commercial beeks when building pallets also maintain a similar 4 to 5" opening. I don't think "the time of year" should be a determining factor, conditions should be.

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    NW Florida
    Posts
    1,171

    Default Re: Entrance Reducers

    Quote Originally Posted by ifixoldhouses View Post
    Mine are a pain to remove so I can get the OAV inside, I am thinking just a piece of wood setting outside, is better than one between the boxes, where it's hard to get out.
    This is how I reduce entrances. If I want the opening in the center, the board is still cut so that it sits on the outside of the opening instead of between the bottom and box.
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Jacksonville, Morgan County, IL
    Posts
    205

    Default Re: Entrance Reducers

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >Could this be a location specific decision? i.e., would hot climates (like east TX) need a larger opening for ventilation?

    Everything in beekeeping seems to be location specific. But I think it's a mistake to think that because it is hot that you are helping when you create a bigger opening or more ventilation. The bees don't cool the hive merely with ventilation. They cool the hive with water and controlled ventilation. Too much ventilation and they can't control it.
    They evaporate the water by moving air over it.

    So please explain your 'can't control it' assertion.

    Thanks

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