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Discussion Starter #1
I hived my two packages on March 29th. On April 11 I had some capped brood so I reckon bees should be hatching out now. My question is should I widen the entrance reducer now? Its at its smallest width and by next weekend the temps here will most likely be 90. They arent taking the sugar syrup either so I'm thinking of taking the hive top feeders off and putting the inner covers on. What do you guy think? I'm in Texas near the coast and summer is here.
 

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Two reasons to widen an entrance. Ventilation and traffic. If there isn't a traffic jam and the bees aren't really working at venitlation I don't widen it. If there is a traffic jam or the bees are clustered all around the entrance fanning, I do widen it.
 

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Thanks Michael. I went ahead and widened the entrance on my stonger hive. The books dont mention a lot of things, like how you change the reducer. I had a feeling I needed to put on gloves for this operation and I'm glad I did. They werent too happy about it. I also removed the feeders and put the inner covers on both hives. They arent doing anything in the upper deeps I put on but I'm hoping that now that the bee population is going way up that they start soon.
 

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I would think that in Texas you would never need an entrance reducer, and that in fact using it at all would be a detriment to your hive, unless they wer being robbed, it is a nuc, or something similar. I am in California and never reduce an entrance except for the above mentioned reasons.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Frank, I was using it because what I've read said it was easier for a new hive to defend itself until the bee numbers were enough to handle the wider entrance.Low temps here havent been a problem for several weeks. If my other hive looks good this weekend I will widen it also. I'm afraid to take it out until I have more bees. If this is not right let me know and I'll sure remove both of them this weekend. Its getting hot here during the day and I dont want that to cause a problem. There a are quite a few bees just hanging out at the entrance but they don't seem to be fanning or doing anything. Not sure if that is normal or not. I mean 20 or 30 something like that.
 

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Helping bee defend themselves is rarely a concern except in fall when there is a problem with robbing.
 

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There a are quite a few bees just hanging out at the entrance but they don't seem to be fanning or doing anything. Not sure if that is normal or not. I mean 20 or 30 something like that.

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I would think that it would be pretty hard to fan a closed opening.

You have two new hives, they are established, and it's getting hot. Remove the reducer and start thinking about a way to ventilate the top of the hive too. My only concern would be if I had any other extablished hives or there are some nearby. I think you are good to go.

BTW, I wouldn't add the second deep until the first is nearly drawn out.
Bill
 

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I agree with Bill on adding anything with bare foundation. The bees may just chew it up or the heat may buckle the foundation. If they aren't that far along I'd wait until they are pretty full in the box they are in.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Guys I really appreciate the help. I have quite a few bees hanging around the front of both hives. One has a four inch hole and the other has the small hole. I'm wondering if it is new bees that are going out for the first time. they all seem to be looking at the entrance and bees are coming and going like crazy and having to navigate around them. I put the upper box on one hive 2 weeks ago and the other last week. I waited till they were working on the last two frames. I will take the reducers out this weekend and I reckon push the top covers forward to open the upper entrance. I'm thinking they may need even more than this later on when it gets in the 90s. Is there a way to get them to move to the top box and start drawing comb there?
 

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How do I determine when it is time to push the top covers forward to open the upper entrance? Is it after the second brood box is put on or after the Honey super is added?
 

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hello Galveston co. Over the last couple of months I did a job on tiki island on and off Do you have a lot of tallow tree in your location and are they blooming yet? james
 

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I don't usually bother. They will get to the next box when they are ready, but if you want to speed the process you can take a frame they are filling with honey and swap it with one in the next box up. This will bait them into the next box to finish the work they are already started on.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
James we have jillions of tallow trees but the pollen heads are still green. When they turn yellow the trees will be full of bees.
 

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We could use some rain over here . The bees seem to be nervous today and are building up in the fronts of the hives as it gets warmer. Their numbers seem to be growing daily. I hope they reach peak strength before the tallow bust out. most of the hives have undrawn ritecell in the top supper and I hope they draw it all out this year My second year back with bees I really believe more than ever that drawn foundation is the most valuable asset we have. good luck with yours
 

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Thanks to everyone for the guidance on when to open the entrance. New in KY asked about when to provide some top ventilation. I have the same question, with an additional complication. My inner cover does not have an upper entrance in it. When I decide to provide some hive-top ventilation should I just use something to prop up the outer cover a tad? If so, should I provide enough bee space to create an "upper entrance", or ust enough to provide ventilation?

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Bill Stoffel
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What bees will do depends on what is happening. If the top super is drawn comb and you prop up the inner cover, or add a imire shim (3/4" shim with a 3/8" high entrance in it.) then they will probably just use it as an entrance and not burr it all up with comb. If the top super is foundation and the bees are busy drawing it, they will just keep drawing and burr it all up and it will be a bit of a mess.

Personally, I cut a couple of extra holes in the inner cover (about the size of the normal one in the middle, but they could be round if it's easier to do with a hole saw on a drill. Often I cut them with a hole saw the size of a quart jar lid so I can feed through them.) and cover the holes with hardware cloth. Either make a vent box from 1 x 6" or use a shallow or medium box and drill holes around the sides and cover these on the inside with hardware cloth. Now put the ventilated inner cover on with the ventilated box on top of that and a lid on top of that. If you want to save on lids, just cut a piece of plywood to fit the top of the vent box.

I have the most luck with this. Also, if you're making your own bottom boards, put the hive with the opening the long ways.

Here's a ventilated inner cover: http://www.beesource.com/eob/althive/bush/bush6.htm

Here's the ventilated top box: http://www.beesource.com/eob/althive/bush/bush3.htm
 
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