When to use entrance reducer
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2020
    Location
    Redding, California
    Posts
    18

    Default When to use entrance reducer

    I have a standard off-the-shelf 10-frame Lang. setup. My climate in far-northern California is Mediterranean. It gets very hot in summer and is supposed to be 104F by Wednesday (although that is extreme for this time of year). Yesterday I made a 3/4" entrance/vent hole in the super which I currently have screened.

    With that information, here is the question...... If I am not seeing any robbing activity is there any reason to use an entrance reducer this time of year? I have a screened bottom board but have been keeping that closed due to the chilly nights we are still having (or were until very recently). With the upcoming heat I plan to remove the board from the screened bottom.

    I did a forum search for this thinking it would be a common question but didn't find anything. If there is already extensive discussions here please feel free to point me the right direction. Thank you all.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2020
    Location
    Westphalia, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    97

    Default Re: When to use entrance reducer

    Here is an article on bee hive temperature regulation. Just some general info. (I don't endorse any particular vendor) https://www.honeybeesuite.com/physic...e-in-the-hive/

    The thing to watch for is a lot of bees fanning at the entrance, They are trying to increase the air flow to regulate hive temps. If brood gets much above 95 F. it might die. (I think sort of like us getting a high fever?) So increasing the hive opening is what you want to manage. They are fully capable of insulating a brood nest and considering that field bees will increase numbers in the hive during the night when temperatures drop, it is more likely that having larger opening vs one too small is the direction to err toward. So I start the season off with a weak hive with an opening of just an inch wide or so. I then graduate toward a 2-3 inch opening and eventually remove entrance reducers if the hive is really strong. Especially with outside temps above 90 F.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    5,013

    Default Re: When to use entrance reducer

    If you have a screened bottom board without the insert, there is no need to open the entrance reducer beyond the 4" opening. Assuming this is a fairly new hive as an established colony does not need an entrance reducer now at all.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2020
    Location
    Redding, California
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: When to use entrance reducer

    Thanks Trin and JWPalmer

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2020
    Location
    Westphalia, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    97

    Default Re: When to use entrance reducer

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    If you have a screened bottom board without the insert, there is no need to open the entrance reducer beyond the 4" opening. Assuming this is a fairly new hive as an established colony does not need an entrance reducer now at all.
    Hi JW, I have a couple of somewhat related questions. I have generally used screen bottom boards although I have a board to slide in to close off the screen ventilation. This slides in underneath at a distance that allows me to insert a lunch tray that I put veg oil in another slot. I normally remove the solid bottom when it starts getting hot outside if I remember. So there is more ventilation than a fully open entrance.

    I found out today that supposedly some Michigan BK use a screen top as well as screen bottom. The claim is that because we see high humidity during our Summers that bees have trouble controlling the temperature. I had never heard of this before, and am a bit dubious of the claim. All the same we are surrounded by water and I have seen Texan's flee during our hot and humid Summers because they "couldn't stand the heat".

    So: is there a case to be made that in some climates a bit more top ventilation might help bees with temp control. From my limited experience the bees I had in screen bottom board hives seem to do just fine. I haven't much data to draw any conclusions. People don't associate overheating issues with Michigan very often. I have had 2 borderline heat stroke experiences in Michigan. Hi humidity is not fun at all. You are so soaked with humidity and perspiration that you don't remember to drink enough water. Unlike many Southern states where the heat is dry and dry skin might tip you off to drink.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    5,013

    Default Re: When to use entrance reducer

    Bees cool the hive through evaporative cooling. In order for that to work, the moisture from evaporation has to have somewhere to go. Extra ventilation provides that avenue of escape. There have been a lot of discussions regarding cooled air and warmed air within the hive. Very few actually understand the concept. Somehow, the idea that at 100% RH evaporation does not occur just doesn't sink in. This is a fact anyone who actually has lived in a high temp, high humidity environment can attest to. The bees will let you know if they are getting hot. They beard. In my observations, a hive with adequate ventilation will have very little bearding, even on those scorcher 100 degree plus days.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2020
    Location
    Westphalia, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    97

    Default Re: When to use entrance reducer

    So a top screen cover might help on the days when it's in the 90's with 90%+ relative humidity.

    It occurs to me that some shade over the hive might help as well. Or maybe just a popsicle stick under the cover. That would be rather easy.

    Michigan weather can be a real pain. Once commonly fished for brook trout in the UP. One day in the upper 80's, humid, and mosquitoes were brutal. One pulled off a "death star" on me flying into my lung. Massive hacking caused a bloody nose...you can guess, like blood in the water for sharks. Fishing was good however. Next day 39 degrees and snowing. Caught bigger trout.

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