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Discussion Starter #1
I just went out to the side yard where all my hives are to take a quick pic of a feeder. While there I decided to take a couple pics and see what everyone thinks of this. Do you think it's time for me to remove the entrance reducers? lol..

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Pic of the beeyard all the hives so far. The singles are new splits with Russian queens just bought.

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Wow, that's an impressive set-up! Thanks for the photos! I'm a newbee...so I will watch to see how your question gets answered!!! But, my common sense voice tells me your houses need bigger doors!!! :D
 

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Might be time indeed.

You have a nice bee yard, but I would break up that long line of hives -- bees can't count past three, so they get lost trying to find home in a line of hives and end up begging in at the end hives.

Peter
 

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Might be time indeed.

You have a nice bee yard, but I would break up that long line of hives -- bees can't count past three, so they get lost trying to find home in a line of hives and end up begging in at the end hives.

Peter
Even if they are painted different colors? I thought I read somewhere that if the hives are easily distinguished from one another you are okay... I ask because I have a yard that (as I expand) I will have to put them more or less in a line - it is a long but narrow space....
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Very cool! Tell us about the hive cover design in the first pic, I haven't seen it before.

Cheers!
It's basically a modified version of a Migratory cover. I had warped plywood and needed to pull it out straight. They work quite well and it gives me a lifted area to put the feeder below it on when i pop the tops off. All the bees stay up off the ground that way in case the queen happens to be on the feeder. I use feeders that were designed by Don the fat beeman down in GA. Work like a charm. As for the bees finding their way home.. They have NO problems at all.. It's a proven fact that the bees can tell diff colors apart. So when they come out and orient to their homes, they come back to the same one. I've tested with powdered sugar just to make sure. They always come back home where they belong. I'm not saying there's not a stray one here and there, but from what i've seen it is making NO diff at this point. They are all just like the ones shown in the first pic.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Even if they are painted different colors? I thought I read somewhere that if the hives are easily distinguished from one another you are okay... I ask because I have a yard that (as I expand) I will have to put them more or less in a line - it is a long but narrow space....
Don't worry, put them in a line, just paint each of the bottom brood boxes a diff color that can be told easily apart. Bees can see color just fine.
 

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Once the hives are strong enough to defend and the temps warm above 40 of a night, I give them a full opening. I run solid bottom boards and the full opening allows better ventilation and does not slow them down coming in and out.
 

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Don't worry, put them in a line, just paint each of the bottom brood boxes a diff color that can be told easily apart. Bees can see color just fine.
1. Remove the reducers. If for no other reason, It'll sure help them when drying nectar.

2. The bee can distinguish only four different colors in the visible spectrum: yellow, blue-green, blue, and ultraviolet. (Carl von Frisch. Bees: Their Vision, Chemical Senses, and Language).
 

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We have a big orange letter A on one hive, and a blue-painted circular saw blade on the second. The third will have a green gutter strap. That will make them A, O, and I.

Watching the bees do orientation flights in front of the hives is fun. They clearly study the letters, zig-zagging back and forth in front of them for some seconds. Some bees scan them again when they return, others just zoom in for a quick touch down on the landing boards. I presume experience has something to do with it.

Noticing drlonzo's use of letters, I presume he has Spelling Bees.

On removing the entrance reducers, how much does that matter if you have vented screened bottom boards (specifically the vented Freeman traps)? It strikes me that the limit of ventilation is likely not at the bottom entrance, but at the top. If you just have one little notch on an inside cover and no other top vents, it would still be stuffy in there. I've enhanced the top vents by adding some screened holes to my top feeders. Others prop up the telescoping covers.

I'm leaving my entrance reducers in and have temporarily blocked the extra SBB vents until I see more comb drawn and more bees covering frames in the upper brood box. Our nucs have not built up strong enough for heat to be a problem yet. I moved a couple of frames up from the bottom box to encourage them to work the new box, and don't want them chilled on our cool nights recently. Our hives are pretty close to Ft. Gay, so the difference is hive strength.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I'm not sure that i have spelling bees, but my wife thought it would be fun. lol.. I like the ideal about the extra screened holes in the top feeders. They have a 5 inch by 1/2 inch wide opening where they come up for syrup, but i'm thinking maybe one closer to the rear of the hive about 2 1/2 inches screened would be in order too. I run solid bottom boards on my hives, so far no SHB found in the hives anywhere. But they are pretty strong hives too.
 

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Opening entrances depends on local conditions. We froze here last night. 30F when I got up. I won't be removing entrance reducers here for another month. I've gone to the mid position for populous colonies that seemed to want the extra space.
 

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That's a good looking apiary.
 

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Opening entrances depends on local conditions. We froze here last night. 30F when I got up. I won't be removing entrance reducers here for another month. I've gone to the mid position for populous colonies that seemed to want the extra space.
Ahhh, Washington County ... I recall many summers at Meddybemps. Yeah, I'll bet you have a few cold mornings to go yet, and then you get the dread blackflies.
 
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