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I installed a package 5 days ago - brand new hive with no drawn comb. The weather has been pretty favorable and the bees have been pretty active. One thing I've noticed is that there is a bit of a log jam around the reduced bottom entrance (and small top entrance as well) with bees piling up to try and get in or out.

Is that fairly normal? It almost seems like I should increase the entrance a bit - perhaps to the 3 inch reduced width (currently on the smallest entrace size). I also don't want to make them vulnerable either. Are they OK with a traffic jam for now?
 

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I would open it up to the next step up. Keep and eye on it and if you need to you can close it back down.
 

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It is very normal and even more natural. Bees seek cavities with a small entrance. I think it is the bee suppliers that have eluded any studies beyond Tom Seeley's Honeybee Democracy. Wouldn't it be amazing if colonies died less with a smaller entrance closer in size to nature? Natural cell size, natural (foundationless) foundation and leave the front door wide open? If you have ever looked at your car radiator, ventilation system, or a fan there is a shroud to improve air movement efficiency. So hives go shroudless?
Traffic management engineers are actually learning from bees.
What ants, termites and bees can teach us about traffic control http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2012/11/06/what-ants-can-teach-traffic
[PDF]
Bee Inspired Bottom-Up Self-Organization in Vehicular Traffic ...
www.researchgate.net/...Bee...Traffic_Management/.../9c96...鈥
ResearchGate
by HF Wedde - 鈥嶤ited by 2
- 鈥嶳elated articles
Bee Inspired Bottom-Up Self-Organization in Vehicular Traffic Management. H. F. Wedde, S. Lehnhoff, S. Senge, A. M. Lazarescu. School of Computer Science.
[PDF]
Bee Inspired Online Vehicle Routing in Large Traffic ... - ThinkMind
www.thinkmind.org/download.php?articleid=adaptive_2010_3_40...鈥
by S Senge - 鈥2010 - 鈥嶤ited by 2
 

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I still have the reducers on my hives, and yes, there is quite a crowd there, but it doesn't seem to slow them down that much.

You should leave the reducer on a package until they have the whole deep drawn out and in use -- they need the protection from robbing. The wide reducer entrance (two inches or so) is fine. Only use the very small one, if you have one, if there is robbing.

Peter
 

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If you've ever had those "wild" bees that like to propolize a lot you'll see them adjust the entrance over the course of the year. Wider in a flow. Narrower when it's not a flow. Unfortunately, we bred that out of them.. The name "propolis" means "in front of the city" because that was where people first noticed it. I have no doubt, given a choice of a fixed entrance, that bees do better with a small defensible one.
 

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Wouldn't it be amazing if colonies died less with a smaller entrance closer in size to nature?
If you've ever had those "wild" bees that like to propolize a lot you'll see them adjust the entrance over the course of the year. Wider in a flow. Narrower when it's not a flow. Unfortunately, we bred that out of them..
I read a study that showed mites breed slightly less in high humidity.
IMO a smaller entrance would increase humidity in the hive, and a top entrance should too. Two entrances would greatly reduce humidity.

When I first started beek I purchased two full hives both were spring packaged with VSH queens. Both had bottom entrances and the same amount of bees. One had a hole in the second deep for another entrance. That hive had lots of mites, it made it to Dec. The other hive has been split every year and all have very low mite drop.
 
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