Entrance reducer
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2020
    Location
    Kemptville, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    20

    Default Entrance reducer

    At what point is the entry reducer not required ?
    I started the colony with a 5 frame nuc about 1 month ago and they have increased to about 8 frames.
    Currently I’m using the second notch on the reducer.
    They seem to be crawling over each other to get in.
    I’m ok with just leaving it on. Just wasn’t sure if having it reduced negatively effects them in any way
    I have an upper entrance as well built into the inner cover. But they don’t seem to use it much.
    Just the odd bee hanging out there.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Sisters, Oregon
    Posts
    273

    Default Re: Entrance reducer

    I had a robbing situation and wasp invasion in my first year so I have zero tolerance for it. I use BeeSmart robbing screens (Ebay) from early spring until late fall after robbing season. After that I put on mouse guards for winter. I'm not a fan of an open entrance unless it's a very limited timeframe to allow them to clean out debris. Even then it's only a few days. Bees in the wild usually have small entrances.

    Consider robbing screens an inexpensive insurance policy. Once robbing starts it's difficult if not impossible to stop.
    I'm smart but at the end of the day I'm still the help.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    5,611

    Default Re: Entrance reducer

    Brandon; You have not got to robbing time yet but a bit later when things dry up, populations are higher and forage scarcer, plus stores to protect, robbing can be fierce.

    difficult if not impossible to stop
    is no exaggeration.
    Frank

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2020
    Location
    Kemptville, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    20

    Default

    So am I ok with just leaving the entrance reducer in ?

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Location
    Columbia, Maryland, USA
    Posts
    178

    Default Re: Entrance reducer

    Many beekeepers use the smallest entrance all year and never remove it. The bees somehow stay coordinated! If you are just starting a colony, then they are getting most of their energy from the feed you give them in the hive, many of them don't even have to leave the first year since you are feeding them so you can leave the entrance on for as long as you like. You just have to make sure that dead bees/other debris don't pile up and block the entrance, the bees can't dig their way out!
    USDA Hardiness Zone 7A, Hobbyist, First Hives in 2017

  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2020
    Location
    Kemptville, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    20

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by crofter View Post
    Brandon; You have not got to robbing time yet but a bit later when things dry up, populations are higher and forage scarcer, plus stores to protect, robbing can be fierce.

    difficult if not impossible to stop
    is no exaggeration.
    Robbing is something I have not really researched. I would assume late August October and early November are when the robbing starts?
    Are robbing screens worth investing in?
    I’ve seen pictures of just screen put on the entrance to direct the bees a different route to stop the robbing bees.
    Is it really something I have to worry about with 2 hives?

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    5,204

    Default Re: Entrance reducer

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon O View Post
    Is it really something I have to worry about with 2 hives?
    YES.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Northern Colorado, USA
    Posts
    844

    Default Re: Entrance reducer

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon O View Post
    Is it really something I have to worry about with 2 hives?
    Yes, unless you know for a definite fact that there are no other hives within 3 miles of you in any direction, you can not control the other hives trying to rob yours.
    3 Hives, Started in 2017, Learning as I go
    My data logger

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Sisters, Oregon
    Posts
    273

    Default Re: Entrance reducer

    As mentioned I love the BeeSmart design for robbing screens (eBay). The other added benefit is- the design seems to confound wasps. The reason I'm urging you to add them is trying to spare you from the destruction and the helpless feeling when robbing starts. This is a journey to be sure and your path is your own. But this is mostly avoidable. And especially valuable for smaller colonies just getting started or recovering.

    As far as season, anytime when there are fewer resources. Robbing season is mostly fall, but if they see an easy target it can happen any time. I will even start taping the seams and close or screen top entrances during that time.
    I'm smart but at the end of the day I'm still the help.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    Canandaigua, New York, USA
    Posts
    94

    Default

    Hi Brandon. Watch the bees and they will tell you. On these hot days as they are multipling they may need more ventilation from the entrance. Once they start bearding on the front, you'll know your entrance is to small. Hope this helps.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    May 2020
    Location
    Kemptville, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    20

    Default

    So I actually witnessed my hive trying to be robbed today when I got home.
    I didn’t know what I was looking at till I saw a different looking bee. A lot more black then mine.
    Then I saw the fighting some in the air and some at the entrance.
    Looked like my bees held them off. Went on for at least 20 minutes.
    The odd robber tried to get in after. But I noticed that 2 or more guard bees would push them back till they took off.
    Neat to see actually.
    They seemed really agitated and the entrance wasn’t as organized as it usually is during normal days.
    I’m glad you guys told me about this or I would not even of known what I was looking at.
    Should I install some robber screens now.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    5,204

    Default Re: Entrance reducer

    You betcha. I do not know how the flow is in your neck of the woods, but here any hive that is weak gets either a reduced entrance or a robber screen once the flow is over. Since I run all SBB, I do not have to worry about excessive heat on our 90+ days.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    May 2020
    Location
    Kemptville, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    20

    Default

    The Hive they were trying to rob is a full box. Tons of bees. Almost overflowing when I take the inner cover off. I am putting a Queen excluder in tomorrow and putting my first super on it.
    Looks like they need the room for storage.
    I would say in my area the honey flow is in full swing right now. I’m not really sure how to tell that but Judging by the amount of honey they are capping and nectar in every corner of the brood frames I’m gonna take a guess to say that mid to late and July is Probley the main flow here.
    Lots of yellow and orange pollen comming in as well. Even saw a big patch of different coloured brown pollens stored. No idea what that is.
    Not sure why they chose this hive to try and rob. But they failed.
    The hive right beside it was never touched. And they are just a tad under 9 frames of bees.

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