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Relatively new colony, when should I open up the entrance?


When I installed a nuc two weeks ago, there was only 1.5 frames or so with active bees, no capped brood really, and poor stores of nectar. The first week didn’t yield much change, however the second week saw major changes with a VERY active queen, LOTS of capped brood and carpets of bees covering 3.5 of the 4 originally installed frames. They haven’t touched the empty frames that were added at the time I installed the nuc.

I have the entrance currently reduced to about 2". When should I open it up?


I keep my entrances at about 6" maximum, year round. The bees seem to come and go fine, and it reduces robbing and other pest access. I would open it up a bit once the first box is full and the hive is ready for another box.


My bees have no problem handling entrances that are 6" wide and about 10mm high all summer. Its a busy entrance but beetles and wasps don’t get past the guards without a fight. Often we are too busy trying to expand everything, including entrances, and put the guards under pressure.

At present mine are working off a 2" entrance as its winter here but these are two deep box hives that are really busy and the small entrance causes no problems. I would keep your entrance small till its really causing congestion then open it a bit at a time but keep the entrance busy.



G’day Michael, it sounds like your bees are off to a good start. I agree with @Dawn_SD & @Rmcpb. in relation to your entrance.


I run mine that size all the time now. I used to open them wide open whenever there was a lot of traffic, but after observing the ones that got left small and left large, I’ve decided to leave them all small all the time.


Same as Michael
All my entrances remain at around 2 inches all year


I did something yesterday that I have never done since we started keeping bees in California. I opened the Flow hive entrance wide. However, there was a reason. The hive weighs 92kg and is totally overflowing with bees, plus the 6 inch entrance was incredibly crowded with the landing board confluent with bees. I am going to remove some frames of brood next weekend to add to the nuclei we got this year, and then I will reset the entrance to 6 inches.

I trust much of Tom Seeley’s work, and his experiments show that bees prefer a 15 square centimeter entrance. The Flow hive entrance is about 1cm tall and 6 inches is 15cm, so if I leave it at 6 inches wide, the bees have the size of entrance that most colonies appear to prefer. :blush:


92 kg!
By the way, why are you the only one to have “regular” under your name?
Is that a reflection of Californian bathroom habits?


Yes. Here is the proof. :smile:

Errr, not really. :blush: More a reflection of somebody who constantly fiddles with their profile on the forum software. :wink:

As far as the bathroom goes, thanks to IBS-D, I have far more bathroom use than my fair share! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Wheres the picture?
All Ive got is a question mark


It is there on my screen of the web site. Perhaps a data loading error? If reloading the web site doesn’t work for you, if you PM me your e-mail, I will send you the screen shot :wink:


I like this idea of keeping the entrance reduced, and obviously some very experienced beekeepers on this forum are advocating it. Just wondering how the reduced size works with the bees circulation of air as per that film that Jeff H. often refers to?, (you know - the one showing the air in/ air out flow with the little air movement indicators). Also, Dawn, you must be close to robbing from your flow frames?



My hives have no problem dealing with the heat in summer with a 15sq cm entrance. They go up to four boxes in summer so are large hives. However, I run a spacer above the inner cover with a screened 1" hole to allow some air flow to allow the really hot air out. As this is baffled through the inner cover there is no chimney effect.

As for winter I turn my spacer over so the hole is above the hessian. This then acts like a Warree quilt and still allows very slow movement of air to prevent moisture buildup.



I never rob. I just “extract” a little. :blush:


Hi Dawn…grinning now as I originally typed “extract” and changed it to “robbing” but then thought it might sound a bit heavy handed :smiley: It sounds bad doesn’t it!

What do you think of the flow of air issue in relation to the film footage? Not an issue?