A DIY beehive entrance reducer creates a much smaller entrance for bees to go in and out of in the winter months. Without one, the hive entrance is wide open to intruders. The use of entrance reducers and mouse guards can help to keep your hives from being robbed by other bee colonies and to keep mice out in the cold weather.
What Type of Hive Entrance Reducer Should You Use?
The most common types of beehive entrance reducers are made of wood and metal. Let’s discuss the differences really quickly.
Wooden Hive Entrance Reducers
Typical entrance reducers are made of a long piece of wood with a small hole. The wood blocks the majority of the entrance and the hole is just large enough for the bees to get through without allowing robber bees to enter in large numbers.
It is important to note that this type of entrance reducer will NOT work to keep mice out. Mice like to enter the hives when it is cold because they can make a warm and cozy nest right on the bottom board within the brood chamber.
They can chew straight through a wooden hive entrance reducer. The wooden entrance reducers also don’t allow for ventilation through the hive.
Metal Hive Entrance Reducers
Metal hive entrance reducers are ideal for winter because mice can’t chew through the metal and molding inside the hive is less likely with the ventilated metal.
Using metal works to create a robber screen, a mouse guard, and an entrance block all in one!
How to Make a Metal DIY Beehive Entrance Reducer and Mouse Guard
You can make your own entrance reducers with hardware cloth or metal roof flashing in 10-15 minutes with materials that you probably already have laying around the homestead.
- Hardware Cloth (wire mesh) or Roof Flashing
- Push Pins or Staple Gun
- Wire Cutters
- Tape Measure
Choose your metal.
You can use hardware cloth or roof flashing. Any width mesh hardware cloth will work with this entrance reducer so use what you have lying around.
If you don’t have any metal like this around the homestead, your local hardware stores will have it available for you.
Cut a piece of hardware cloth or flashing the length of the entrance of the hive. If you have any especially sharp sides, fold them over a bit.
Snip two cuts to form a fold up entrance hole just large enough for a honeybee to fit through- ⅜” tall and 1-2 inches wide. Do this on each end to create two small openings.
Open the entrances by folding them out and up. You don’t want to fold them to the inside because that could trap bees.
Place the piece of metal across the entrance of the hive. Use push pins or a staple gun to secure it to the hive. Make sure the opening flaps are folded up and you are good to go!
When to Remove the Beehive Entrance Reducer
You can remove the hive entrance reducer and mouse guard leaving a larger entrance from early spring into the summer months.
During this time of year, the warm days allow for a nectar flow which a larger number of bees need to get in and out of the hive.
There is also much less concern for robber bees and mice intruding on the colony so you can leave a larger hive entrance.
Tips for Using a Metal Hive Entrance Reducer in Winter
- Be sure to check on the hive periodically. Make sure that the entrance opening flaps are still open and that they aren’t keeping the bees from moving as needed.
- When it starts to get really cold, windy, and snowy, you can add a piece of wood to the entrance leaving the entrance holes uncovered. This will help keep drafts and snow out.
- Check for mice in your hive body BEFORE installing the beehive entrance reducer.
- You can also purchase metal hive entrance reducers and mouse guards from your favorite beekeeping supplier.
More Beekeeping Posts:
- How to Catch a Wild Bee Swarm: 12 Important Things to Know
- Overwintering Honeybees: 5 Things You Need to Know
- How to Make Sugar Cakes For Honeybees
- How to Extract Honey With a Hand-Crank Extractor