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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I rarely get to visit my hives in the middle of the day, and was a bit suprised today when I had the opportunity ... there seemed to be much more activity than I was expecting. I've included a video link to get feedback. I'm a new beekeeper this year ... couple questions:

1) Does it look like they need a larger entrance? I've just been using the largest hole in my entrance reducer (2 inches or so?) but it seems like i might need to remove that all together.

2) Is this amount of activity normal during a flow? (I don't know there's a flow right now, I'm just assuming there is :))

There's also a top entrance (notch entrance in inner cover) and I'm wondering if folks make that larger somehow as well?


https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6C21rk9q3kHU2dOaFllMVB3R1U/edit?usp=sharing
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Would you remove the entrance reducer completely? Or fashion some sort of reducer that would cut it down to 1/2 the width or something ... I want to give them more room but also don't want to open the door to robbing (since they're both brand new hives just building up).
 

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I have a similar set up as you in my backyard with roughly the same amount of brood (package starts in mid April). I work from home and watch them all day while working. I see my hives doing exactly what you recorded for periods of the day, then they will go quiet with just a few foragers returning. I recently inspected and found that they were traffic jammed at the entrance, and even more disturbing, moisture had begun to turn to mildew on the inner cover from lack of ventilation. I removed the entrance reducers 2 days ago and have carefully been watching them. They have stationed guard bees at the entrance and I have not seen robbing activity or fighting - likely because we are not in a dearth with everything blooming. I vote open it up.

I find the activity normal and fun to watch.
 

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You may want to open up the hive for ventilation purpose. It doesn't look like much of a traffic jam. I hived my packages on May 10th, and about a week ago the bees opened up their entrance all of the way. I used marshmallow as an entrance reducer and let the bees decide when to open it up. The funny thing is that even now with the entrance opened up all the way, The bees insist on using the corner of the entrance that was initially open. I guess they like to bump into each other.:rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

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dko, do you have a solid bottom board? If you have a screened bottom board, you don't need any more ventilation. With a solid bottom bottom board, some intermediate opening will be fine. I'm assuming it does not get that hot in B.C. ....?

BTW, you are seeing orientation flights. HTH :)
 

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I was just talking about removing the entrance reducer to give them a wider space to fan air through. Keep an eye out for robbing after doing so. I haven't seen robbing yet. But, I have looked at enough videos that I think I will know what it is when I see it. There are quite a few videos out there. I do have robbing screens on my two hives for this first year. When the hives get stronger and I have a few more hives I may try not having a robbing screen on one of the hives to see what happens.
 

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As far as the OP goes, take a look at your bees when they are not busy like that. Do you think they need a giant opening then? I wouldn't open it entirely just because of one mid-day orientation flight.
I have a piece of entry reducer that blocks 50% of the entrance. I use it for "between" periods, when there are bees, but not 60,000 bees.

As I understand it, as long as you have a flow on, the robbers stay honest.
 

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A minor point; your entrance reducer is up-side-down. It is suggested to have the opening up (not down) since it gives bees more room in case there are dead bees blocking the entrance (aka, they can climb over dead bees where-as the bodies would close off the entrance when the opening is facing down).
 
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