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When/ how to install a hive entrance reducer

Why if a large entrance is undesirable do they make them all with such a big opening?

When should I install one in a very rural area in NE Ohio?( Lots of mice around)

How is best way to install one?

Best one?( Where to buy)

You probably want an excluder for mice, not just an entrance reducer. Install it whenever you want. Personally, I suspect early in the season will probably be easiest for you when there are less bees coming and going. You can leave it on all year round if you want.

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Ok, any links for one that fit the flow classic(8 frame) hive?

Because not everybody agrees on the same size for an entrance. However, Thomas Seeley (famous bee researcher) has done an experiment which repeatedly showed that given a choice, bees prefer an entrance of 15 sq cm. That would be 1cm high and 15 cm wide, which on my Flow hive Classic, is equivalent to about half of the width of the fully open entrance. So that is what my bees have all year round.

I agree with @SnowflakeHoney, you can put one on any time you like. I would suggest that you just make one, as many of the commercial ones don’t fit properly. All you need is a stack of tongue depressors (or craft sticks, paint stirring sticks etc) and some PVA glue (like Titebond)

Go to the hive and see how many sticks you need to jam tightly into the entrance. Glue them together and clamp or weight them down until the glue has set - 2 to 24 hours. Sand lightly if needed after 48 hours to get them to fit in the entrance. Do not paint or seal them - the bees may chew them and chewing paint is not recommended. Make sure they wedge in tightly. Bees are amazing at pushing things out of the entrance unless it is too much hard work. :blush:

If you are good with wood, you could make one. Start with a 1x1" strip of trim. Shape it to slope so that it is 9mm deep at the back and 11mm deep at the front (for my hive, at least). If you make it the full width of the entrance, cut a section out of it that is at least 6mm deep and about 20cm wide. That is too small for mice to pass through, but large enough for drones to get out of the hive.

The commercial wood reducers do not fit the Flow hive, but you may be able to sand one down to fit. Jerry (@Gerald_Nickel) has one that nails to the front of the hive, but I haven’t found any like that at Mann Lake or Kelley Bees, so I don’t know where his came from.

Hopefully that gives you some choices. :blush:


You can buy these ant any bee equipment supplier and is fixed in place by 4 tacks in just a couple of minutes even to an active hive. In the position shown it will stop mice, gecko’s and slid out and refitted ‘upside down’ it locks in the bees and allows ventilation for relocating the hive. One of my buys that was a smart idea.


Ok thanks
It must fit the flow hive dimensions ok?(8frame)

They are available in two widths, to suit an 8 or a 10 frame brood box. The 4 tacks are not included with the kit, ok. Of course you can use screws rather than tacks but the packs worked fine for me.

Where did you purchase this excluder from Peter?

They are called a ‘mouse guard’ and I buy them on EBay. Very easy to fit and can be reverse fitted upside down to lock the bees in if you want to move the hive and still get ventilation. as well as being an entrance reducer that will stop varmints like mice getting into the hive. The guard comes with the securing slides but for some reason not with the small screw to fit them.
I leave mine fitted all of the year and you could do the same in the ‘Gong’ area.

Thanks peter, this sounds like a handy gadget to have on the hive. I’ve seen a few mice, and the occasional rat sneaking around the yard at night (all rented houses around me with over grown yards :confused:), so I will look into adding it to the hive. Cheers :honeybee:

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Up here on the Sunshine Coast of Qld I regard as almost essential on a hive to protect the hive from critters like blue tongue lizards, mice, cane toads and their relatives. They can’t get through to cause mayhem.

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Hi Peter, are blue tongues a problem with hives? I can’t see them getting inside a hive through the entrance, not the fat ones I have here at least.

You are right that they are too big to get into a hive but I have once seen one, snout down at an entrance an I suspect it was feeding on bees by diving its tongue inside the hive. I guess somehow it was getting a feed but maybe the skin is so tough it didn’t get stung. My thinking it was there for a reason and the mouse guard might be a barrier prevent it getting a feed. that was not on my hive and didn’t have a mouse guard on it, but there was a cane toad inside that had been stung to death with hundreds of bee stings.
Cane toads, ants, mice and SHB are my biggest problem here.

Peter I have another question for you about those mouse guards you buy from eBay.

They are a neat solution, but it looks like the brackets that keep them place have to be nailed to both the bottom board, and the brood box. If for some reason you want to take the brood box off, it might be a bit of an issue. Is that the case?

My plan is to make a slatted rack, and incorporate an entrance reducer in it, and put some aviary wire to keep mice out.

Having said that - are mice really an issue? Won’t the bees sting them if they intrude?

Another problem I’m having is ants. I heavily greased the top part of the hive stand legs, but the little demons must have found a bridge.


Hiya mate, I think mice are more of an issue when its cold and they are looking for somewhere warm. I have chooks and in turn rats and mice and have not had an issue.
I don’t use reducers.
For ants I use HT grease on the stand legs which works well for months before the need to reapply.

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Ant moat your hive Stefan. Put ice-cream container of sort under your legs and fill with either oil or water. Water evaporates quicker than oil, but is a source of water for the bees :sweat_smile:

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The brackets can be either fitted across the top of the guard towards the ends so they are only screwed or nailed to the brood box or fit to the ends vertically but with the bottom screw still into the brood box if you don’t want to glue and screw the brood box to the base board.
@Skeggley Field mice are a bit of an issue here and it seems they breed up their numbers in the warmer weather much like bees do.
I use grease on my hive legs as well as ant dust where I find the nests, they are a constant hassle at my apiary, more an irritant than anything as I guess they don’t eat much honey and do clean up the dead bees about the apiary. Worst is the cane toads that at night feed on the bees bearding when it is hot. It is hard to swing a 4 iron and hold a red light torch at the same time. :laughing::laughing:

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Yes Mr Skeggley, I also have chooks, and I assume rodents. Well last year I found a rat’s nest with a litter of 4, on the engine block of my car which we use every day. Can’t believe how they survive there. Maybe she just brought them there.

I guess, if the bees in winter dwindle in numbers, and the hive is not a strong, it may be an issue. No harm in trying to prevent them getting in.

I use heavy duty grease on the underside where the legs meet the top bit of the stand.

Where I live is very exposed and gets extremely windy. Sand and dust is blown around and the grease will quickly become covered, and a bridge is formed.

What I should have done is use an upside moat, and fill that with grease. It will be a bit more protected from dust and debris.

I tried the water moats on a worm farm I have, and I tell you, those ants are determined. Water dries very quickly and they get filled with leaves from overhead trees here.

My next step is to catch a few ants with sticky tape and send them the Agriculture Dept. They can identify the species and get back to me with the best method to control them. It will probably be some toxin which I’ll be reluctant to use.

As a last resort, I will be getting a pet aardvark.

I have heaps of motorbike frogs - do they eat bees too? Last week I found one next to the hive when they were bearding at night. If that’s the case, sorry to disappoint you guys, motorbike frogs have seniority on my property, and I won’t ever get rid of them.


As a last resort, I will be getting a pet aardvark.

Let me know how that goes. I’d contemplated an echidna but I decided it would be too shy around my dogs and stay curled up instead of doing what I wanted. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Not Eddie my pet aardvark. He’s a champ and not an ant in sight Alan.


I need to work on that suit as bees still sting him.