I just noticed that the entrance to the hive has this comb/burr comb/ propolis that has dramatically reduced the hive entrance. I am in Kansas City, Missouri, USA where it is very hot and humid. High today of 97 degrees F. The bees have been bearding every afternoon. Why would they restrict airflow during this heat? The hive is otherwise doing very well. It is a new hive with a package of Carnolians added this Spring.
They have control over that propolis so I’d leave it the way they want it. They can probably more effectively control their ventilation (you can see them standing there fanning) with holes in particular locations instead of a single wide open entrance.
Like @JeffH recommends - dividing and reducing the full entrance into two smaller openings.
Wow, it’s great to see that. They are brilliant photos, which indicates that bees don’t want a bigger entrance during hot weather. A few years ago someone shared that 15 sq.cm. was the ideal entrance opening. That’s what I build into my new bottom boards, with 7.5 on each side, like @chau06 described.
A great way to eliminate that bearding (which I should verily next summer down under} is to add a slatted rack.
I quoted Tom Seeley’s research. He is a very well-respected and meticulous bee researcher. He set up a number of empty hives, and let a swarm chose their own volume of hive and entrance size. The result was a 15 sq cm entrance and I think a 40 liter hive volume (1 ten frame Langstroth deep). The details are in his book - Honey Bee Democracy.
What is a slatted rack?
Wow, this is incredible! I’ve never seen anything like it.
Interesting re the two entrances, makes total sense.
I assume that’s a solid baseboard @Brick? Ie. no ventilation other than the entrance?
It is a screened bottom board, but with a piece of plastic corrugated board under the screen
You can use the magnifying glass search tool at the upper right to find the answer to this, and see that Jeff has built dozens of them. I think they are great too, and use them on all of my hives. In the US, you don’t have to build them, unless you want to - Mann Lake bee supplies sells them. In Australia, I think they only have “salted rats”, if I understand @skeggley correctly…
Amazing photos. I have seen all kinds of entrance reducers and I decided to try using cut foam from an old cushion. It is so simple to insert and adjust. I take my cue from the bees - if I see a lot of bees ‘chewing’ on the foam insert then I increase the opening. My hive started weak (they were arrivals from another swarm) and they were not happy with two small entrances either side so I adjusted the foam to make the more central entrance. As the frames have filled out I move the entrance away from the occupied frames and the bees seem happy with that. Anyway, I thought I’d share