Help…what are other Flow Hive owners doing about this? I want to be prepared for the cooler months. Why doesn’t Flow Hive have this to purchase? Suggestions…please be kind (Im a new beek)
We should always try to be kind to each other on this forum! Nobody has access to the whole truth, but we all have insights, so every point of view is valid if presented in a polite and friendly fashion…
OK, so it would help to know where in the world you are, because then we can give you measurements on a scale that means something to you. For example, I am a Brit transplanted to the US, so I work in metric and imperial. I have a slight preference for metric, as the UK went metric when I was about 5 years old and I came to the US in my early 30s - quite some time ago.
I am currently using a block of wood which is 9mm at the back edge (inside the hive) and 11mm at the front. The (front to back) depth doesn’t really matter, but let’s call it 15 to 20mm, as the hive walls are 3/4 to 7/8". See? I am bilingual! The entrance slot is about 6mm tall and it is 10cm wide. Pretty easy to make from a strip of (1 x 1 inch nominal = 3/4 to 7/8" ) trim wood from a local DIY store. I want to keep the smallest entrance width less than 9mm, because that will stop rodents from overwintering in my hive. When I can persuade my husband, I will try to post some photos of what we have in place.
Hi Jamie, I stacked and glued 3 of the starter strips together, trimmed the length down with a hacksaw, then cut a notch in it with a utility blade. Worked great.
Lots of other folks have cut their own out of wood as well.
You can see mine in place in this video I made back at the end of my first week with my Flow Hive.
Thank you for being so thoughtful and kind I live in San Diego, CA…but I live as far east in San Diego CA, in a town called Alpine. Our weather is hotter in the summers and cooler in the winters than the city of San Diego.
I just starting beekeeping in April as of this year. I studied, read, took classes, hive tours and joined the San Diego Keeping Society in the year leading up to getting my nucs and hives. I have Italian bees, both queens and all the girls are working so hard!! I have a lot of honey already…but I am not harvesting yet (as everyone has instructed me)…so I keep adding honey supers my boxes.
So currently on my FlowHive, I have a brood box (with some honey on each sides of the frames, then I put a large honey super with foundation-less frames with are 100% full of honey, lastly I put my super on that has my flow hive frames in it…I see lots of activity in it. They working it there, but I don’t see honey in the Flow Hive frames yet. But I feel that when the cooler weather comes (the days are in the 100’s right now), I should put a reducer on the entrance…?
Your video is wonderful…thank you for sharing this with me!! Here is a picture of my 2 hives…one is a regular langstroph and the other is a FlowHive. I am enjoying every moment of this new adventure:) I have an entrance reducer for my teal hive…but it made me think, that FlowHive doesn’t have one available.
Jamie, the only reason you’d need an entrance reducer in your region and climate is to aid your bees in preventing robbing.
The smaller the entrance, the better chance they have to stave off an attack.
That is what my mentor told me. I will figure out a way to make something I tried my others hive reducer to see if it would fit, but it didn’t.
I appreciate your help!
Me too - Point Loma for the last 19 years.
Right, way out along Interstate-8 on the way to Arizona, just south of the El Capitan Reservoir (and Alpine is south of the freeway), but up in the hills. No, I am not spying, just a local…
Where did you get your bees? BeeSafe Inc? They have great nuclei and Mark’s queens are superb. Who is your mentor, Hilary or Mark or somebody else?
Italian bees work hard but they eat a lot over winter - watch the honey stores to make sure they have enough.
Glad you are using “double deeps” for overwintering, from the sound of your hive, that is what you are doing. I think with your winters, your bees will need it, especially if they are Italians. Not sure what you mean by 100% full of honey - my new nuclei in Point Loma have a second deep which is about 10-20% nectar, but the comb is not fully drawn on every frame. The second deep is about 30-40% full of capped brood, and probably a lot of eggs which I have missed, but not every frame is fully drawn. Your nectar flow may have been quite different from mine, and I have cool foggy mornings at the moment, which stops foraging cold in its tracks. I want my bees to survive the winter, so I am not harvesting this year, and I am keeping the entrance about 4-5" wide and about 6/16" deep. The bees seem fine with this, and it keeps yellow jackets, wasps and rodents out of the hive.
Absolutely you should, and even now, if you don’t have a really strong hive, Tom Seeley (famous bee researcher, doing a lot of his own field research) has shown that wild honey bees prefer an entrance of about 15 sq cm which is basically half of the Flow hive entrance.
You could just place a piece of 1/2" hardware cloth cut to fit over the entrance and be fine. Mice are your biggest winter concern, after mites of course.
I haven’t gotten around to disposing of 4 of my screened bottom boards and replacing with solids but they survive the winter in NJ. I don’t even have the plastic insert in the tray down below.
Couldn’t you just get one like the reducer you have already & cut down, maybe?
I am in the UK. In this months edition of the BBKA News, there is an article about reducing the entrance to standard hives. The author took a small piece of transparent flashing end for pvc roofs (cost £7.00) and fitted it to the front of their hive with drawing pins. Bees easily found their way in from either end but wasps couldn’t work it out. They kept flying into the plastic. The odd one following a bee in was easily dealt with by the hive. I am going to try this and it may be a solution if you have wasps. The author is from the Grantham beekeepers association. Clever thinking.
I bought the complete FLOW hive setup. It would have been better to include a reducer that fit, since standard reducers are even close. I don’t have the tools to rip one down to size. I found a piece of wood trim, I’m improvising, but the fits not good.
I improvised one out of two paint stir sticks, snapped off at one end & shoved in tight. Wasn’t pretty but it worked fine. I’ll get around to making a ‘real’ one before I need it again.
There’s also a problem with the standard issue mouse guard - I had this on for the first couple weeks because it was still really cold here & I was worrying about everything as a really green newbee. Anyway I had to tack it on with nails to make it stay, because of the slope of the landing board, and the holes were partly blocked by how narrow the entrance is on the flow brood box. Of course you don’t really need a landing board…
Hi all …
Here’s a couple pix’s I made for my flow. Made them out of hard woods to make stringer part of the 1" n 4" bridge.
I made mine to these dimensions
Dimension B is determined by the width of your hive box
I did this but I nailed 3 nails part way in and bent them as a kind of “Handle” for removing them - normal reducers can get stuck sometimes - also some without notches to keep the girls in if hubby wants to mow the lawn in the morning - I “lock” them in after dark when the girls are home and let them out as soon as the lawn is done - saves on arguments “I don’t want to get stung if I mow near them”
I’m guess the 1" n 2" wide are two separate entrance reducers, correct as width “a” is 1 1/4". How did you allow bevel front to rear for the Flows sloped entrance … That was my hardest issue not the rest. Looks like a good plan … Do you have pix’s of one installed ., here’s mine:
It was one I copied off the net sometime ago, no bevel just set the saw at 9mm 3/8in depth & cut, sliding fence guide each cut until desirable width is achieved do the same for the other cut.
I don’t have bevelled entrance boards & at this stage my entrance reducers are somewhere on the farm, because our winter has been good this year (Perth West Aus) I haven’t had to use them.
Dum spiro, spero
Thankz for the return note. Like your ease of making … I’ve found like you … This just ain’t rocket science but beekeeping ! . I just get em close n looking okay then move on to something more important.
Except for my flow-hive that is wide open the other four hive have 4" entrances. I like to start at 1" in the Spring … Not sure why other than habit. Later summer I might switch back to 1" if I see robbing but if not 4" or wide open seem great. I have screened bottom boards (SBB) I leave in place year around. I pull n clean once in awhile or may do a quick random 24 hour mite count but usually do the sugar-roll test. When I was a youthful beekeeper we were without the mites like you folks. Mites sure changed that Easy ! To a pain ! That’s life !
Well, still only in semi-retirement at 70 plus but slowing down some. The hives are heavy but still manageable. But know even my strength will fade so trying the Flow-Hive now n analyzing going to all lighter boxes by slowly changing to either all eight frames n/or mediums. Deeps seem to be better for our cool/damp long winters here near Puget Sound n Seattle area.
Take care my friend,
I just folded up some cardboard and shoved it in the entrance. Does just fine