By Paul Kelly
Tired of entrance reducers falling out or fussing with nails to fasten them to your hives? Try making reducers with a bevelled top surface so they wedge into your hive entrances. I make ours from clear, straight, ¾” x 3 ½” x 6 to 10 ‘pine. The first step is cutting strips that are slightly wider than the height of the entrance openings. Then, after setting the table saw blade at 10 degrees, cut a bevel on what will be the top edge of the reducer. The strips are then cut to a length that will fit into the entrance opening of the bottom boards. Making them a bit short accommodates variations in the length of the entrance; bevelling the top edge accommodates for some variation in the height of the entrance.
If you decide to make this type of reducer, test a prototype on several colonies to achieve a good snug fit for your equipment. The last step is to use a dado blade and cut the entrance notch on the edge opposite the bevel. If you don’t have a dado blade you can make multiple cuts with a normal blade. I cut the notch ¼” high by 1 ¼” wide. This provides an entrance small enough to exclude mice and large enough for the undertaker bees to toss out their fallen comrades.
I recently read an article with some startling statistics about table saw safety. In the United States 36,000 people injure themselves every year using a table saw. I know more than a dozen people who have injured their hands this way. Most of them are beekeepers. Your table saw manual describes how and when to use the fence, mitre gauge, blade guard, splitter or riving knife, push stick and feather board.
Hands are pretty handy!
Originally Published in the Ontario Bee Journal