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Hi,
I started two packages on April 8. They are in ten frame deeps with eight one piece plastic frame/foundation and a two frame feeder We have had a cool, wet slow spring. The fruit trees, lilacs choke cherries, and hawthorn are all in bloom. I checked the hives today and they both have eight frames full and we filling the inner cover with burr comb full of larvae.
I added a second deep with 10 frames adding two to the bottom and moved the feeder up. Since I want them to draw comb I am continuing to feed. I have entry reducers in that cut the opening to abut 3/4 inch. I have a second notch that would allow about 3 inches.
Day time temps are going from high 80s f to mid 50s, evening s now should stay in the high 40s and work their way up .
How do I know when and how much to open the reducers/
thanks
 

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I started my packages 10 of them in 8 frame equipment at about the same time as you, just a couple days ahead on the 6th of April. I have had my hives using the 3 to 4 inch reduced opening since the beginning. If you wonder when to change the opening what I tell people it's simple. When the temps stay above 40 at night and the bees are having a hard time getting into and out of the hive it's time to change the opening size. There is no set rule for when or why you change, it's more of a help to the bees is all.

One thing is for sure, using a reduced entrance insures two things, 1. You don't have to worry about rodents. 2. Your hive will stay stronger as the temp inside can be easier controlled.

Right now i have nearly 16 frames of brood and bees in each of my hives and a work force like no other. But if I were to open them wide open i'd have so many more guard bees and possible problems with pests too. So for me the larger sized opening of the reducer will work for good.
 

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Everywhere is a bit different, so adjust to what you see. If you see congestion, or a row of fanner bees lining up outside, it needs to be opened up. If you see fighting/robbers, close 'em down. They can deal with the cold easier than heat, but feeding can attract robbers, especially if you have any strong colonies nearby. Relax, sit off to the side for 10-15 minutes, and you'll figure it out by their actions. I'm lucky enough that I can go sit by my hives almost every day, and do so frequently. I consider it payback.

Mine have only been in a week, so I still have them on the small hole. I suspect it won't be long before I go to the larger one. I may give them a frame of emerging brood this weekend, and another, next. I've seen monster wild tree hives working out of a 6 square inch hole (2"X3"). Roughly equivalent of half the bottom board open. Sometimes I use a ~6" piece of 3/4 wood to block off one side or the other. Or broken entrance reducers of various lengths according to what I see. I suspect most hives around here would be fine with no more than just the middle half wide open, ever. I've seen snow from August to June. Upper entrances become a valid consideration, especially during peak flows.
 
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