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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We are in full winter mode here in Wilson, Wyoming, and I have the entrance reducer set using the smallest 'door'. I have read that dead bees can clog the entrance when it's that small, and that it's better to use a larger opening. At the same time, we have severe winter for months and anything I can do to help maintain temperatures in the hive seems like good management.
Any thoughts or experience here? Thanks.
 

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While a small "door" seems intuitively obvious, you need to remember that ventilation is the most important feature for winter. You need to have a lower opening, and another at the top for the moisture to escape, "chimney-style."

You are right about the dead bees blocking the entrance. And ice and snow. An alarming amount of bee bodies can pile up on the bottom board. The man who taught me always positioned the reducer such that the longer opening faced up (takes a deeper pile to block it), and cocked the opposite end of the reducer outward so that the small opening was exposed, making a little vertical emergency escape. I also have the upper ventilation opening large enough for bees to exit. If the weather breaks, this allows them several options to get out and fly.
 

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Hobie said:
While a small "door" seems intuitively obvious, you need to remember that ventilation is the most important feature for winter. You need to have a lower opening, and another at the top for the moisture to escape, "chimney-style."
As Hobie said, you got to have an upper entrance for successful overwintering.
It could be a hole in the box, a shim above the box with entrance, which is better, or inner cover/vent box that I prefer where I have installed 2" foam insulation.
On the bottom I install a mouse guard (perforated metal strip) with 3/8" holes in it secured with push pins, and entrance reducer with small opening.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Very helpful comments here, I appreciate the feedback. I have a pretty good handle on ventilation, with shims giving some air venting on top, plus the top entrance/exit.
 

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you live in quite a beautiful place.

with a top entry even with the bottom blocked you still have some ventilation and the undertaker bees will drag the dead bodies all the way to the top to get them out of the box.
 

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I look at entrance reducers as having 2 functions 1 help a week hive defend itself from robbing and 2 keeping mice out of the hive in the winter. :thumbsup:
 

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How did bees ever survive in a tree with that tiny hole? They need to keep up with the latest fads and designs. The bottom board is about 16 by 20 inches that is a lot of dead bees piled up to clog some hole. If it is big enough for two bees to get out at the same time why couldn't they keep it clear unless the snow is already blocking the entrance. In that case what good is a lower entrance in Winter.
I have always had my hives up 18 inches or more so snow was never a problem. Virginia never had that much snow that long in Norfolk. Washington state had snow but that is another story.
 

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ABK I have often wondered about how bees ever survived in a tree myself, I mean with out human hands intervening and movable frames and all of the special gizmos that are sold in the bee catalogs.
 

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I've never seen a tree hive with a flat, hard ceiling that would allow condensation to gather and drip down the center of the combs.
 

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I put entrance reducers on every fall (the way i was taught) and i still think a mouse can get through a 3/8 high by 1 in. wide opening if it wanted to, but never have. :confused: Jack
 

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I try to keep the cats hunting around the hives for mice control, for some reason the bees do not pay them any attention. Back in the summer one of them would sit on top of a hive while I went through another one, just watching with interest.
 

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G3 writes:
ABK I have often wondered about how bees ever survived in a tree myself, I mean with out human hands intervening and movable frames and all of the special gizmos that are sold in the bee catalogs.

tecumseh:
but without a doubt for many millions of years the honeybee fared quite well without any assistance from humans.

bees in the trees is a good way to think about the natural dwelling space (home) of bees. typically the european honey bee will find a hollow tree with a cavity about the size of a langstroth hive with an entrance on the south side of the tree. normally the entrance will be about the size of a silver dollar and will be located at the bottom of the cavity. some small number of bees in the trees do have two entrance but these are fairly rare. the entrance will rarely ever get blocked by snow since typically they are 15 to 20 feet up in the air. guessing here> but wind and gravity likely assist the bees in keeping the entrance unblocked.
 

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Is an upper entrance necessary for ventilation in regions(like where I'm located)that don't get any snow and no extreme cold weather?
 

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I'm far enough south that I have never used upper entrances in winter, and far enough north that I have never used them for heat control in summer.

You don't need them in Fl. in winter, but may in summer.
 

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Ask a drone come fall. :mrgreen: . In my area i have a top entrance on year round,(but that's just me) but in your area, i would think in the hot summer would be my biggest concern. Jack
 

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crackerbee writes:
Is an upper entrance necessary for ventilation in regions(like where I'm located)that don't get any snow and no extreme cold weather?

tecumseh:
winter time no, summer time maybe. the honey bee is a quite efficient heating and ac specialist. even with one entrance in a tree the size of a silver dollar they are able to somewhat regulate both. the bearding of bees in the trees and in those little white boxes is a clue that sometimes they may need a bit of assistance relative to cooling the hive. I for one think this is a pretty good clue that from time to time a top entrance that promotes 'the chimney effect' just makes the bees task a bit easier.
 
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