Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Tips for entrance reducers & hive wraps
In fall if it gets really cold and I added an entrance reducer during the day time I'd come back the next day to find an awful lot of dead bees on the front porch.
What killed them was the cold weather and the sudden change to their entrance which they'd discovered when they returned to the hive after foraging.
They'd wander around outside going back and forth and many would not figure it out. Because of the cold they'd lose their body heat too quickly and then they couldn't move at all.
They'd just sit there and die a few inches away from the entrance.
But if it was warmer, the bees don't cool down so quickly and it gives them the extra time they need to figure out the new entrance.
After that first experience I wait for a warmer day to put the reducer on, even if it's too early. You can put it on at night too.
If you stuff a bit of grass in there, it'll slow the bees down exiting which is believed to help them orient the front door before flying off to forage.
[photo - wrap on and reducer in place but the wrap isn't snugged down until later in the season].
I found the same problem when installing the hive warps. So now I put the wraps on a bit earlier in the fall but I don't snug them down over the entrance. Every visit I pull it down a little more each time.
The bees get used to the minimal adjustments much more easily. The bottom line is a lot less dead bees who can't find their way in.