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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK Folks, here's a tough one. I was looking at someone's hives the other day and they had their entrance reducers upside down (from my perspective). The 3/4" wide by 3/8" hole was on top. Their logic was that during the winter, dead bees can pile up on the bottom board behind the reducer without blocking the hole.

Makes sense, in an odd way. Seems to me it would help trap water (not a problem for you SBB folks). Anyone have any opinions about this?

George-
 

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Hole up. The reducer doesn't make a good enough seal to hold any appreciable amount of water, but it will hold dead bees, and by spring, there can be quite a few of them.
 

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Maybe you should split the difference and make a new reducer with the hole in the middle! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
2 holes up, 1 holes down...

A veteran beekeeper told me that checking the hives in the winter more than a couple of times isn't really that necessary- if they're dead, they'll be just as dead in the spring :-/

George-
 

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Why are you using a reducer? A hundred years ago it was thought to be a good thing. Now we know better, you want VENTILATION during the winter. A reducer will greatly inhibit it!
 

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Randy: How do you keep waps etc. out without reducing the entrance? Even with a thin 6 inch slot some daring wasps are manageing to get into my strongest hive.
 

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I use rat wire (1/2inch). It keeps mice out. Wasps and Yellowjackets are pretty common. They're always trying to get in, the bees are always trying to evict them. If you have a real serious problem then you probably have something wrong with the colony that has made them weak.
 

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Like Randy, I use 1/2" (chicken) wire on my bottom entrance. It's small enough to keep out mice and yet allows basically unlimited egress to the bees. It also allows full ventilation to the hive during the winter in order to keep condensation to a minimum.
 

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You people must have elephant mice. The field mice around here will go through 1/2 inch hardware cloth like it isn't even there.
I use a wooden reducer with a 3/8 high hole 3 to 5 inches wide. Keeps the mice out, most of the time, and ventilates sufficiently.
 

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When I had a bottom entrance, I put the hole down and had an upper entrance open. That way the water would run out and the bees could get out the top, not only when dead bees pile up, but when the snow piles up and then a warm day comes.

I've always used 1/4" hardware cloth for mouse gaurds. I'm quite sure my mice can get through anything larger. The bees have no problems with it and can defend it better from the yellow jackets and robbers as well.
 

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Greetings . . .
I have inserted my reducer hole UP and hole DOWN. When doing "spring cleaning", I have NEVER found a build-up (maybe 2 or 3) of dead bees on the bottom board. Guess it just "depends"
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Randy, if I lived in Maryland, I'd probably agree with you. I live in Maine where it drops to -30 degrees on occassion with weeks of sustained temperatures well below 0 degrees at night and rarely above 10 degrees during the day. Throw in lots of wind and sufficient snow, and entrance reducers are a must-have.

I actually left mine stopped down to 3" x 3/8" entrances all summer. I opened a few up more because the bees insisted, but most were perfectly happy. I'm currently of the opinion that a warmer hive is a happy hive. They get plenty of ventilation.

I was born in Maryland BTW.

George-
 

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Two points:
IMHO the degree of ventilation is better controlled by what air can get out the TOP. I have SBBs and even with the tray in they aren't air tight. I leave my miller feeders on all winter and cover them with a piece of homosote to absorb moisture. I put a hole in the middle for moist air to evaporate

I usually find dead bees in the entrance and hook them out with a wire. When the bees get active, they need a way to clean things up.

New food for thought. Years ago, I heard, only once, that the bottom boards, *Not SBBs,*were reversible. The narrow side was for a winter entrance and the 3/4 inch side was for a summer entrance. Anyone ever hear of this? What other reason could there be for the way they are made? If the ledge were 3/4 on each side, one could just flip them in the spring when cleaning up.

It would save a little lumber in the reducers we use now!

Dickm
 

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>Years ago, I heard, only once, that the bottom boards, *Not SBBs,*were reversible. The narrow side was for a winter entrance and the 3/4 inch side was for a summer entrance. Anyone ever hear of this? What other reason could there be for the way they are made? If the ledge were 3/4 on each side, one could just flip them in the spring when cleaning up.

Yes, that was the purpose, the reason for calling them a "reversible bottom board" and the mice get in less and the moths get in less with the 3/8" entrance.

The method popular around here is to leave the 3/4" side up and build an entrance that is a piece of 3/8" plywood with three pieces of 3/8" lath under it. It makes a sort of a slatted rack effect of keeping the draft out of the door and it seems to keep the mice out. For some reason the mice, who would squeeze through a 3/8" gap don't seem to do it when it runs for several inches.
 
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