I stop using reducers as soon as the hive gets strong and the flow is on. Typically, I watch the entrance. If bees line up to get in...even using the large hole....the reducer comes off. I judge in the morning...not in the afternoon when I get the most orientation flights. I don't have hive beetles so others can help with that.
I have beetles, and do as Ravenseye, I watch the entrance. I adjust as conjestion dictates... and what surprised me last summer was when I reinstalled the entrance reducer! Much earlier than used to... but it does help.
During the North Carolina State Bee meeting March 5,6 Dr. Lilia I. de Guzman of the USDA/ARS Baton Rouge, LA presented information on SHB and how using an entrance reducer cut down on the infestion of small hive beetle. The entrance reducer was left on all year and it did reduce the amount of small hive beetles found in the hives and as a side note the reducer did not reduce the amount of brood or the amount of honey. Solid bottom boards were used for the study.
I am considering using reducers all year or maybe robber screens all year although I will be using screened bottom boards, so the amount of small hive beetles may not be reduced by much.
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