December 19, 2022

Bee hive entrance size

Welcome to our blog post on bee hive entrance size! The entrance of a hive is an important element that serves as the main access point for bees. This is where they go in and out, bringing in pollen and nectar from the outside world. The size and location of the entrance can have a big impact on the health and well-being of your bees. That’s why it’s important to choose the right size and place the entrance correctly. In this blog post, we will look at the different factors you should consider when choosing the size and placement of the entrance to your hive. Whether you are just starting in beekeeping or are a seasoned pro, we hope you find this information helpful and informative. Let us get started!

The optimal size for a bee hive entrance

The optimal size for a beehive entrance ranges between 1.5 inches² and 2.3 inches². The bees prefer wider openings rather than taller ones, meaning the shape of the entrance matters to the bees as the size. 

Beehive entrances vary depending on how they are built, and who builds them. Some have large entrances, while homemade hives have tiny ones. Bees prefer hive entrances that are smaller rather than larger. 

Modern hives tend to have a short wide entrance that runs the width of the bottom board. The entrance can be made smaller using an entrance reducer. Entrance reducers are barriers placed at a hive entrance that restrict the opening size (Honeybeesuite.com). The entrance guards help keep out rodents and insects by reducing the entrance size to the beehive. It also regulates the flow of traffic into the hive.

How to adjust the size of the entrance

Make a reducer to adjust the size of the entrance. It depends on the hive that you have. To make the reducer, measure the size of the entrance, and cut a piece of wood to fit the entrance. Entrance reducers consist of a few pieces of wood that you can slot into the beehive entrance to reduce its overall length. 

Cut a few pieces of wood which are 5 inches long, slot them into the hive entrance and leave an inch or two between the hive pieces, which will be the new reduced entrances. If you do not have entrance blockers, use steel wool, which you can push into the entrance. You can also cover the hive entrance with mesh, and secure it with tape or staples.

Blockers block access points to prevent non-target bees from entering and getting contaminated. It also shortens the likelihood of other bees accessing the same area.

Benefits of a larger entrance.

A larger hive entrance provides bees an easy way to get in and out of their hive. Bees do not have to fight for the entrance since it is bigger. It allows the colony to actively thermo-regulate conditions inside the beehive. 

The entrance gives enough airflow, into and out of the hive. The bees do not have to put more effort into flapping their wings for ventilation from an entrance, especially in summer. The beehive entrance is a mechanism to reduce moisture, and the airflow can help reduce the build-up of moisture within the hive. That way, the colony will not be affected during winter.

The entrance makes it easier for foraging bees to access the supers of the hive. The nectar does not need to enter the bottom of the beehive, travel through the brood nest, and pass through a queen excluder before making its way to the honey supers. The bigger entrance gives the bees enough space to defend against robbing, predators, and pests.

How to protect the hive from pests

Place the legs of the stand in a large coffee can filled with oil or water. That creates a moat around the stand legs and prevents the ants from climbing up the legs and into the hive. Use cinnamon to scare away ants. Sprinkle cinnamon on the ground around your beehives (Express.co.uk).

Best size for winter protection

Reduce hive entrances to minimise the amount of cold wind entering the hive. That prevents your bees from getting in and out. The space inside the beehive should be commensurate with the colony’s size. Reduce the hive volume with follower boards in a top-bar hive. The interior beehive’s size is less drafty and less likely to harbour intruders. Reduce hive entrances so that mice and other small creatures find a snug, warm, overwintering place. 

Best size for summer ventilation

The lower entrance should be open in summer for a strong and healthy hive. It allows more amounts of traffic but increases airflow as well. Weak colonies in areas prone to yellow jacket attacks should have entrances reduced to a size they can easily defend.

Upper entrances increase air circulation. They help in reducing congestion. Returning foragers will use an upper beehive entrance if it is available. Upper beehive entrances range in size from an inch high by ¾-inch wide (1 x 2 cm) to the equivalent of the main entrance. Create full-size top beehive entrances.

Best size for beekeeper convenience

The best beehive is about 22 inches by 16 inches. You need at least five feet of space in every direction around the hive for ease of use. If you plan to have multiple beehives, they should be at least three feet apart.

It has to be 10 inches tall. That is how small a managed beehive can be. Colonies grow and will require additional boxes during peak seasons. 

Entrance size for different bee species

What determines the entrance size for bees is a bee species. Identify bees by colour, shape, size, behaviour, and habitat. 

Entrance size for different beehive styles

The ideal entrance size for wild honeybees is between 10 and 15 square centimetres. Modern hives have a short wide entrance that runs the width of the bottom board. If the beehive entrance is bigger, it can be made smaller by an entrance reducer. 

Beehive boxes come in different depths. The three sizes of beehive boxes are shallow (depth of 5 ⅞ inches), medium (depth of 6 ⅝ inches), and deep (depth of 9 ⅝ inches).

Langstroth hive entrance size

It had a dimension of 7 ± 2 mm (9⁄32 ± 5⁄64 in or roughly 1⁄4–3⁄8 in).

Top bar hive entrance hole size

The entrance holes of the hive are 3 x 25mm beehive holes drilled at the bottom and centre of one sideboard. The beehive holes should be about 20 mm apart. To achieve this, position the centre of the holes 45mm apart.

The ideal entrance hole size is between 10 and 15 square centimetres. A worker bee can pass through a hole three-sixteenths of an inch high, but the pollen would be dislodged in passing through a round hole of that diameter.

David D. Hughes
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