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Hi
I was wondering, is there any way that I can remove the pheromone produce by the bees at the old location of the hive. I would like it to be natural or organic. I do not want to use chemicals. I'm against them. I know, that I'm demanding, but I want to start an organic or natural bee company. Anyway, my other question is how long should I leave my entrance reducer on the small end on my hives and the big side. The hives were split about a month ago, by the beekeeper, that I got them from. Thanks for all your replies.

Mr. Buzzy Bee :)
 

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The answer to your first question depends on what you'd like to accomplish. If you're looking to use the pheromone elsewhere, rinse the equipment with ethyl alcohol, collect the liquid and there should be some pheromone in the liquid you collect. Most folk who are worried about "chemicals" don't feel that ethyl alcohol is a chemical, even though it is known to be toxic and impair motor function in mammals. The alcohol should dissolve any pheromone but will not neutralize it. However, the amounts of pheromone will be very small and the longer the equipment has been without bees the less there will be to remove. (The amount was very, very small to begin with) Any comb will be damaged by this process but if you are simply trying to remove the 'scent' this should work. Time, moving air and sunshine are cheaper and work better.

If you'd like the pheromone for treatment of some type in another hive, there probably isn't enough to be removed by washing with alcohol. By the time you'd finish, you'd have a mess and little or nothing to show for it. If you want to use some pheromone elsewhere, why not just use some drawn frames from the hive?

As for the entrance reducer, this is my understanding as a new beek: The bees will tell you. If they're stacking up at the entrance during foraging and have to wait a while before they can even crawl into the hive, then the entrance should be wider. Keep in mind that low temps and cool wind blowing directly into the hive or across the entrance could cause problems with chilling. Also, that the wider the entrance is, the greater the risk of robbing will be. Robbing is less of a risk (still a risk) if the hive is well-established. I'm just a hobbyist with a couple of hives, so it's not a problem for me to remove the reducer early in the day and to return it at night. I think that some folk don't bother about this issue too much, and their bees are fine.

Good luck!
 

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Seems everyone has their own thought on entrance reducers but this is my "rule of thumb" for them: Small opening through winter, as weather transitions to summer I rotate to the bigger notch. Remove when night temps stay above 60 (usually late spring). For new hives I start with small opening for about 5 to 6 weeks. This gives the bees time to build up their numbers and defend the hive. Also helps for temperature control. Then I rotate to next bigger opening for a few more weeks. By the 8th or so week and the weather has stabilized for early summer I remove it completely. So far this has worked fine. May have to adjust a bit to the weather in your area.
 
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