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Entrance Block Question

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tkwinston4 

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Hi, I fitted my entrance block a couple of weeks ago and left the hive with a 2 inch opening. After going to a monthly meeting of my local association they said to reduce the size of the entrance to an inch or less. So I did this but the bees are queuing in huge numbers on the outside to get in. There are bees on top of bees in big clusters on the front of the hive. Is this right? Am I fussing over nothing? All advice greatly appreciated.
 

Finman 

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Try to look, what is best to your hives. They are so many.

If hive has 5-10 ventilators on entrances during fine day, its is good.

If there is no ventilators, it is too cold.

If bees are hanging out or ventilatos are over 10, it is too hot.
I adjust reducer once or twice in month.

Now yield flow is over and I reduce all entrances.
 

oliver90owner 

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tkwinston4,

Why did they tell you to do that?

Was it in response to a question from you?

Do you do everything, they say to do?

Why did you fit your entrance block two weeks ago?

Now then, after that lot, some more information from you perhaps: what floor type do you have? how strong is the colony? Is there a wasp problem? have you removed supers recently? how much less than an inch did you leave open? how high is the opening? is this occurring on both your hives? if not, what are the differences between the two colonies?

I suspect you have a very strong colony on a solid floor with an opening too small for easy ventilation and/or access and may have a few wasps around which are not gaining access to the hive at any time. I am probably totally wrong because I am guessing.

You are in southern England and it is August. They may well be collecting food at a rate limited by your actions. I would open the entrance, but by how much? - that would depend on the circumstances.......

Regards, RAB
 

tkwinston4 

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Why did they tell you to do that? someone mentioned it and they said to do that

Was it in response to a question from you? no someone else

Do you do everything, they say to do? yes when I am beginner. I expect them to know what they are talking about

Why did you fit your entrance block two weeks ago? because they mentioned it in their newsletter

I just have the one hive at the moment and its got a solid floor, they are a very strong colony that I obtained as a swarm in June. I have seen a few wasps around the hive and even sitting with the bees on the outside but no fighting so far. I have one super on there and I have not removed any frames of honey. They have filled all but two of the frames in the super but have only capped one frame so far.
They are still bringing back plenty of supplies to the hive and there is lots of brood.

I will gladly open the entrance, please tell me what size it should be and I will sort it out tonight when I get home.

Thanks for the help and advice. :)
 

GingerNut 

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I will gladly open the entrance, please tell me what size it should be and I will sort it out tonight when I get home.
I live just along the road from you and I have my entrance fully open as there are so many bees going in and out anything else would restrict the movement.

I don't have a major wasp problem, just the odd one, so no need to close it up for that.

Which Association have you joined?

Yours Roy
 

DrNick 

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Remove the hive block for now but keep an eye on the wasps, as soon as the wasps start to threaten the hive/bees put the hive block back on if there are more than two or three at a time, put another super on below the super that is almost full, they need more room.
 

Onge 

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Get an open mesh floor asap. Good for Varroa and ventilation.

I've had my reducers on all year round and got massive crop.

Just my opinion :)
 

Floss 

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My assoc said the same a couple of weeks ago - this was in response to some savage wasp attacks on colonies locally. I have recently just introduced the block into my large colony (the other has always had one) but I have not reduced it. They seem ok and able to repel the wasps ok.
 

Finman 

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Entrance block is not a huge problem.

In my country bees make just winter bees and too big ventilation makes the hive cold and bees stop brooding too soon.
I drop brood frames to the bottom box and reduce number of supers.
 

tkwinston4 

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Thanks for all the advice.

I am defo going to take the entrance block out until a bit later on in the season. I think I am confident enough that they will be able to repel any pushy wasps. And DrNick if you think I should put another super on under the nearly full one I will.

Roy I have joined the Chi Association. Like you I have a really busy colony.
I think I will play it by ear/eye in future. I have learnt my lesson!
I was also spooked by a friend who has seen bees and wasps fighting in front of her hive. They were put to death by boot!!

Onge I plan on getting some open floors over the winter and putting them on in the Spring. I am not going to fanny around with that now. I am still getting used to having so many bees and working my way around a hive.

Thanks again peeps.
 

GingerNut 

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I was also spooked by a friend who has seen bees and wasps fighting in front of her hive. They were put to death by boot!!
Take a read of the long thread on wasps and put out traps.........this solved my problem with them.

You only need to worry if you end up with large numbers of wasps attacking in force (see other thread).

Onge I plan on getting some open floors over the winter and putting them on in the Spring. I am not going to fanny around with that now. I am still getting used to having so many bees and working my way around a hive.
I would suggest doing the floor asap...........with the weather as it is 'dan sarf' it will help with ventilation.

It is easier than you may think, and virtually no disruption to the bees as you don't need to remove any frames, just rebuild the hive without the floor while you change it.........I did mine soon after getting my bees.

Yours Roy
 

peteinwilts 

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although I am a newbee, I am learning to read the hives.

I have two hives, each at opposite corners of the same field. The 'top' bees are a weaker colony than the 'bottom' bees. I am feeding them to help strengthen them before Winter. I inserted a reducer a few weeks ago when wasps were starting to make an appearance.

The bottom bees are open. They are targeting the wild mint flowers, the early sunflowers (not wild! I planted a couple of hundred) and the second flush of clover. No sign of letting up and any wasp that hits the landing board gets beaten up by several bees immediately!

Although there are many years of wise experience on this forum and in clubs, I learnt very early that what suits one, may not suit all. Also, you will get different advice from one person to the next, and although two people may be right, it might be wrong for you...

My hives are in the same field, but am treating them very differently.
 

Rosti 

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I agree with Gingernut, do your floor now, in terms on varroa drop it will help you and hopefully optimise any autumn treatment carried out (which you should do). More to the point it divorces ventilation from access and entrance defence.

The only thing more variable than 'how long is a piece of string' is how big is the opening on a hive! - you don't say. If you have a solid floor with a full width entrance block then based on forage activity and wasp activity in Yorkshire you should reduce. A mesh floor lets you manage the entrance independent of ventilation (see Finman notes earlier). I would have thought that anything more than an 80mm x 15mm entrance was un-necessary at this time of year and tempting fate. If it helps I am on a partial reduction of 80mm x 8mm but have an 40mm x 8mm ready if the wasps start making unsolicited advances toward the ladies
 

peteinwilts 

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I agree with Gingernut, do your floor now, in terms on varroa drop it will help you and hopefully optimise any autumn treatment carried out (which you should do).
is a solid floor not more effective whilst using treatments? (sorry for hijacking thread!)
 

Hombre 

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is a solid floor not more effective whilst using treatments? (sorry for hijacking thread!)
An OMF needs to have a tray inserted "whilst using treatments" Apiguard relies on vapour release which is heavier than air and so the ventilation requires to be reduced. The closed OMF still has an advantage over the solid floor as the mites and other debris are more likely to fall through giving a cleaner general floor environment.

An open OMF will allow treatment vapour to fall through the floor exiting the hive and is unlikely to reach the required level of vapour density to do the job properly.
 

Geoff 

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After my experience this year i would put out wasp traps. I have quite a few wasps around the hives in the garden and they are not getting past the guard bees - i have permanent reduced entrances on those hives. I am catching a lot of wasps in traps.Anything that reduces the stress for the bees has got to be good.
At my out apiary there are few wasps but i have still set out traps and reduced the entrance on one hive that did not have an entrance block.
 

Rosti 

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is a solid floor not more effective whilst using treatments? (sorry for hijacking thread!)
Agreed Peteinwilts (nice hyjack by the way!) but as stated inserting a base board to the vent floor allows effective vapour build up if required. Surely that misses the point, any treatment is more effective if the target parasite population is lower. Active management of varroa to reduce build up must keep your colonies more healthy and varroa levels lower. By having one thing you are not limited from employing the other ....
 
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