Beehive entry reducers work to restrict access to the hive and may be needed for a variety of reasons. However, there is some debate as to whether entry reducers are beneficial or harmful to bee colonies. You might be wondering what an input reducer is, how to use it, or if you should use it in hive. I’ll answer those questions in this article and help you decide if this is right for you and your hive.
Beehive entry reducers are required when there is a risk of bees attacking the hive and colony from the outside, or when severe weather threatens the colony’s ability to maintain proper temperature regulation of the hive.
What Is A Beehive Entry Reducer?
Beehive entry reducers are thin strips placed at the entrance, usually made of wood, but can also be made of metal or plastic, with a notch, sometimes two, in which to cut something that restricts the entry of bees into and out of the hive to a more controlled area.
When used properly and placed safely at the entrance to a larger hive, it can reduce the number of attacks from stronger hives, the intrusion of rodents and other pests, and help bees regulate the temperature of the hive during cold winter months.
How To Use Beehive Entry Reducer?
To use it, simply place a thin piece of wood firmly at the entrance to the hive, and the bees will use the smaller opening to get in and out of the hive. It can be removed and reinstalled if necessary based on the weather, immediate danger of predatory bees or wasps, pests and rodent infestation.
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Why Do I Need A Beehive Entry Reducer?
Inlet reducers can be beneficial to swarms and hives for a number of reasons. Sometimes fragile hives are vulnerable to wasps or bees trying to snatch honey from the hive. Entrance reducers make the entry to the hive smaller, making it easier to defend against these threats.
Another reason to use an enema decompressor is to protect the hive from excessive cooling during the winter. For brooding to survive and thrive, the hive should be maintained at around 96°F. Bees maintain this temperature in a number of ways:
- They flap their wings to ventilate and cool the hive.
- When the hive gets too cold, the cluster generates more heat.
- Use “heated bees” that have a higher body temperature than other bee species.
The temperature of the hive can also help determine what type of bees they will develop into and what role they will play in the hive, making hive temperature even more important for the survival of productive colonies.
Professor Jürgen Tautz, head of the Honey Bee Group at the University of Würzburg, Germany, has extensively studied how honeybee colonies are involved in the thermoregulation of their hives, explaining that bees use empty brood cells to heat adjacent cells and raise the temperature to regulate by heat transfer brooding.
Given the complexity of temperature regulation, inlet pressure reducers can help provide additional support for colonies as they maintain optimal hive temperatures.
When Should A Beehive Entry Reducer Be Used?
While bees usually thrive when left alone, sometimes they need a little help from a beekeeper. Entering the reducer may take twice in these cases:
- Weak Colony: A colony becomes weak for a number of reasons, including insect infestation, wasp or hive predators, mites, or a queen bee who stops laying eggs or dies. It is important to diagnose the problem before trying different solutions. If you see the hive getting weaker and you’ve identified the cause of the infestation or attack, using an entry reducer gives the bees a chance to regroup and strengthen, while also protecting them from outsiders. A weak colony only becomes weaker when attacked. So giving her time and extra protection could eventually save the hive.
- Extreme cold: Bees are thermoregulatory experts and can control and maintain the temperature of their hive between 35 and 37°C, but this task becomes more difficult in extreme cold conditions. Inlet reducers provide additional protection for bees from wind, rain, snow and cold when they cannot regulate their temperature on their own.
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Some beekeepers leave the inlet reducer in place year-round, except during the summer when nectar can flow freely, citing the fact that in weaker hives, bee predators may appear to steal honey before they can collect nectar and make more yourself. Inlet reducers allow bees to focus on feeding and raising broods, cleaning hives and making honey rather than worrying about intruders.
Others recommend using it only in cold weather or when the hive is showing signs of weakness, such as death. B. Fewer or more dead bees than normal. Bees are very clean and can quickly remove the dead. If the number of dead bees in the hive increases, it may indicate that their numbers have decreased and that they may be vulnerable. At this point, adding an input reducer might be the right choice.
If you see a bee blockage at the entrance to the hive, the entrance reducer should be removed. A colony lives or dies on efficiency. If the colony’s performance decreases, it is in danger of failing.
Why Are Entry Reducers Controversial?
Bees are very self-sufficient. So if they introduce something beyond their control into the hive environment like
If used in winter, the inlet reducer can help protect the hive from wind, snow and rain and help keep the bees warm on cold days. Unfortunately, it also prevents you from getting cold as the weather warms up.
When the hive gets too hot in the winter and can’t cool, moisture can build up in the hive, leading to mold and beekeepers’ eventual destruction, dead bees.
For example, Boulder, Colorado-based Back Yard Hive stopped selling inlet reducers in 2017 after many beekeepers found that the interior of their hives had become over molded with moisture and mold, causing them to lose bees.
When the weather turns warm in early spring, or even in warm winters, the temperature of the hives will start to rise. When the hive is too hot for the bees, they take water and bring it back to the hive to cool.
With the inlet pressure reducer still in place, the temperature of the hive will drop, but the restricted opening at the inlet will not allow the bees to generate enough airflow to remove excess moisture. Humidity from excess water combined with rising heat creates humid air that has nowhere to go.
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These conditions are perfect for mold growth, and heat and humidity also force bees closer to the edges of the hive and away from the nest. If the bees leave the nest to escape mold and cannot raise and hatch new bees, the colony will not survive.
Using an inlet reducer in winter can help the colony maintain proper hive temperature regulation, but requires vigilance by the beekeeper to ensure it is removed when the weather warms.
While some recommend against using an entry reducer, others recommend using it year-round, except during nectar-rich months. It really comes down to the beekeeper’s personal choice. Things to consider when making this decision are how often you inspect your hives and how confident you are of understanding the needs of your colony.
Knowing the unique composition of your hive and colony is critical in deciding whether to use an input reducer. Colonies are very self-sufficient, but each colony is different and requires different strategies.
Other Alternatives For Reducing Hive Entry
Instead of using an entrance reducer, you can place a small tuft of grass or sticks at the entrance to the hive. Grass provides a barrier against cold, wind, snow and winter rain, but it is mobile and permeable, allowing bees to better control temperature.
If desired, bees can make propolis to add extra strength to grass and branches. Sometimes called propolis, propolis is a translucent mixture made by mixing beeswax with saliva and adding juices from other sources.
Bees use this propolis to seal the holes and gaps in their hives. Bees will often use propolis to restrict their access, but you can get started quickly if you provide grass and branches as a starting point.
By giving the bees control while giving them the resources they may need to stay strong, it helps the overall survival of the hive. The strategy can also support the hive and give it the opportunity to increase self-sufficiency.
Beehive Entry Reducer Reduces The Possibility Of Honey Robbery
If nectar supply is insufficient due to fall or winter seasons or drought conditions, stronger hives can sometimes deprive weaker hives to increase their own winter food supply or to make up for the lack of available nectar.