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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It looks to me like my new hive (from nuc) has bees crowding around the small entrance. They all seem to be able to get in and out, just have to wait a few seconds sometimes. How do I know it is time to change from the small entrance to the larger one?
 

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It looks to me like my new hive (from nuc) has bees crowding around the small entrance. They all seem to be able to get in and out, just have to wait a few seconds sometimes. How do I know it is time to change from the small entrance to the larger one?
It depends. If you are only running one hive, and winter is over in your area, then you can open it up earlier.

If you have several hives, one stronger than the other, you have to be aware of robbing. I have a very weak hive next to a booming hive. The weak hive has a 3/4 inch opening, while the strong hive has a 3 inch opening (both are bottom opening). Also my Italians are notorious for robbing.

Hope this helps.

Phil
 

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You won't hurt the bees by opening it up when it gets crowded at the entrance.

This video was made March 19 a couple years ago, in upstate New York.
It's certainly not too cold to have your hive entrance open more than this is Texas at this time of year!
 

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marant, You will probably need to adjust your entrance size throughout the year to adapt to changing conditions.

When there is a good nectar flow on in the spring and early summer the bees seem to lose all interest in robbing and it's usually safe to have the entrance wide open. When the nectar flow dries up in the heat of the summer I choke my entrances back down to a smaller opening. It does create a bit of a traffic back up, but it's much easier for the guard bees to defend the entrance from robbers. When our Fall flow ramps up the entrances can be opened up again for a while. Then in late Fall the Yellow Jackets show up and it's once again time to reduce the entrance.

You will have different patterns in the south, just adjust to the changes as needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks, Mike, that is the information I was looking for. Basically, another reason to watch the hive and pay attention to conditions.
 

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>How do I know it is time to change from the small entrance to the larger one?

If you never do they will do fine, but a major traffic jam is a good indication that a larger one would be more convenient for them. Many trees have only a very small entrance and the bees seem to thrive in them...
 

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I think my area in Cali is about like yours in that it warms up really early. I think of the entrance reducer as just a way of helping your hive protect itself. If you think they are strong enough to protect the entrance. I gauge that by the bees being backed up. When they do, I move up to the second size on most reducers. I also usually remove it when the flow is on because the other bees don't care about robbing when they can go to the flowers and get all they want. To know when the flow is on, that you will have to ask the local keepers that know your area.
 
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