Entrance reducer

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Hi, just wondering if someone can give me the details on entrance reducers.  What EXACTLY are they used for, when do you leave them on the larger setting and when do you change it to the small.  Do we need them on there all the time or can we take them off entirely for the summer?

Thanks in advance!

Beth Kirkley:
(Only one person's opinion, hopefully others will reply too.)

Hi Mia-
I don't use an entrance reducer, though at times I know I should be. An entrance reducer helps the hive by: 1) giving it a smaller space to have to guard, 2) keeps mice out during the winter. I'm not sure why the two different sizes. I'm thinking the larger for most of the year, and the smaller for winter.
What I did instead, since I made my own hives, bottom boards, and lids, is I made the bottom board reversable. One side makes the opening 3/4 inch, and if I flip it over it's 1/2 inch. So far I haven't had mice get in the hive, so maybe I've been lucky.


i'm only using the small hole in my wooden reducers for my two new hives till they are established enough to defend the larger hole... probably this week i will turn them around to the larger hole and by midsummer i'll remove it completely.  i'll put it back (using the larger entry) at the end of September.  i'm not using the smaller hole in the winter because i'm concerned that it might get blocked by dead bees.  i do need something for fall/winter though, because the mice will get in otherwise (with the reducers, they just make nests under the bottom board instead of living in the hive...which only freaks me out when i lift it in spring and they run at me.).
the established hives that i'm caring for while their real keeper recuperates all have metal strips with bee size holes in them all the way across the front of the hive.  they seem to do fine with that, too.  no mice problems.  just ants.

I started out with a 3/4 inch opening them about the first of Jully opened it to a couple of inches but was told a week latter to remove it completely. about the first of Oct I replaced it with the 3/4 one again with 1/4 inch hardware cloth to keep the mice out for winter. Now with the screened bottom boards they have a 4 inch opening till about the first of Oct then I have a part made wich the 1/4 mouse guard that has a 1 inch opening.
 :D Al

I use three different wood blocks cut from heavy 1x1 stock - not sure of the wood but bees are not pushing them out of their way. I have one that leaves an 8 inch entrance, then a 4 inch, then a 2 inch entrance and finally an entrance blocker.

I use them basically according to hive size (the ability for the hive to protect itself) and to completely block them inside the hive if the neighbors are spraying trees, etc.

But once the hive is fully up to bee count, with two supers going full swing - I remove all reducers and give them the full benefit of the landing board and ventilation.


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