Entrance reducers have several purposes including controlling traffic, temperature and ventilation within a hive. Most commonly, entrance reducers are only used for new or low population colonies, weak colonies, or during times of low temperature. Store bought entrance reducers are nothing more than wooden cleats with two varying sized notches, one on each plane. Entrance reducers are designed so that when sandwiched between the bottom board and the lower hive body, a narrow entrance and exit port is created. By rotating the entrance reducer 90° vertically a different sized notch, and there by a different sized exit is used. Finally a hive can be completely opened by removing the entrance reducer altogether. Traditionally the size of the notch used is dependant on the traffic belonging to the hive. As more bees that are coming and going, the size of the entrance should be increased.
Selecting an Entrance Reducer
There does not exist mass variation between entrance reducers that are available for purchase. However, some keepers forgo the added (minimal) cost and simply use grass or rags to close a hive's entrance.
Most often, entrance reducers come packed with bottom boards and it is thereby often unnecessary to purchase one separately. Despite this common practice, be sure that an entrance reducer is part of the package deal before you end up with out one.
- Entrance reducers may need to be occasionally scraped of propolis but should otherwise not need any real maintenance.
- When not using an entrance reducer in a hive, store it well as to prevent warping or damage.
- Grass, leaves or clean rags can be used if necessary in place of an entrance reducer.
- Some beekeepers choose to varnish or preserve their entrance reducers much like their hive bodies.