View Full Version : Use of the Queen Excluders?

07-02-2013, 09:49 PM
Dear Beekeepers,

Do you have any opinions on what one can do other than using a queen excluder? My girls did not seem to work on the other side of the excluder. One of my best hives had plenty of room on in the supers and swarmed anyway and did not do much work in the supers. The few hives where I have them using natural comb and small cell seemed to cross the excluder just fine.

I started turning the excluder sideways and that seemed to help, but then I was still worried I would end up getting the queen laying in the supers. I hear some folks not running an excluder... but how would you keep mamma out of the supers?

I am using the cheap plastic ones from Brushy Mt. and some from Mann lake... would the metal ones be better?

Rader Sidetrack
07-02-2013, 09:58 PM
> I hear some folks not running an excluder... but how would you keep mamma out of the supers?

In effect, you just allow them to expand the brood nest as they see fit. More here:

07-02-2013, 10:06 PM
If you run all the same sized boxes, which it sounds like maybe you don't, but if you do, you can just manage the frames or boxes so that the youngest eggs and larva are always moved to the bottom of the stack. That helps keep the broodnest low in the stack and they'll store the honey up in the upper boxes.

07-03-2013, 12:06 AM
I don't use excluders, never have. Occasionally a queen will stray into the upper boxes, but I mean occasionally, I've only had it happen twice. Otherwise, I've never had any probs running with no excluders.

AR Beekeeper
07-03-2013, 04:56 AM
If you use double box brood chambers the best way to use an excluder is to split the brood boxes. When it is time to place the surplus honey supers on at the beginning of the nectar flow find the queen and put her in the bottom box, put the excluder on top of the bottom box. Above the excluder put the top brood box and the surplus honey super. Slide the honey super back about 1/4 inch to create an upper entrance that the drones and the foragers will soon start to use.

The bees will fill the cells of the brood box as the capped brood emerges and this gives the colony it's winter stores, your honey is in the surplus supers on the top. There will be no brood in the supers when it is time to extract and you can put new foundations on for cut comb honey and not have to worry about the queen laying in them.

You need to check the top brood chamber above the excluder 7 day after you place the excluder on. Often when you deny the queen access to a box above an excluder the bees will make an emergency queen cell on the larvae in it. Shake the bees from the frames when you check so that you don't miss a small cell or you will have a queen both above and below the excluder.

When you split the brood chambers the bees will not hesitate to pass through the excluder to get to the brood area above, any hesitation of the field bees is slight and once they stat using the upper entrance, the field bees continue to use it. The drones will excape the brood area as they hatch by using the upper entrance and they will not be trapped above to die.

I prefer the metal excluders, the wood bound ones have the best bee space above them, but the metal bound ones stand harder use and have less space for the SHB to hide in. Thin wood strips can be added to the metal rim to get bee space or create an entrance just above the excluder by using construction adhesive to attach the strips.

Michael Bush
07-03-2013, 07:30 AM
I quit using excluders 38 years ago and have never thought to use them again. First, the queen isn't looking to lay scattered brood all over the place. The two reasons the queen lays in the supers is because there is not enough drone comb in the brood nest (and old dark comb is too hard to tear down and rebuild while soft white comb in the supers is easy to rebuild), or she ran out of room.

I have all the same size boxes, so my answer is my bees never lay in a super. If the queen lays in it, it's not a super, it's a brood box...

"For my part I care not where the queen lays—the more bees the more honey. If she lays in some of the super combs it can be readily rectified now and again by putting the brood below, and side combs of honey from the lower box above; some of the emerging brood also may be placed at the side of the upper box to give plenty of room below."--Isaac Hopkins, The Australasian Bee Manual

D Coates
07-03-2013, 07:46 AM
I used them my first 2 years and I don't use them any more except when raising queens in queenright hives. On rare occasions I'll have a frame or 2 of brood in my supers. Skip those while harvesting and put them back on a hive ASAP when the harvest is done. Otherwise don't worry about it. I do a few supers of comb honey as well. I make sure to put them at the top of the hive above at least 2 supers that are already +80% capped. Knock on wood, never had a queen get into them.

I've helped a newbee this year and he had a package swarm. All new gear, double deep and a super on top. I was very confused I went over there to inspect with him. He had a QE on there and the flow was on. Instead of going through the excluder they backfilled the broodnest. The other hive was about to swarm as well. We stole a couple really good looking capped Q cells along with some brood and stores to make a nuc and lessen the swarm inpulse. We did find the queen but still left behind a capped Q cell in case she still swarmed.

I can't help but think QE are more trouble than they are worth.

07-04-2013, 08:16 PM
Thank you guys for the help. I have a couple of hives I placed the QE sideways and that worked well.. I can go to all deeps on some and med on others. I will have to just give it some thought.

So you guys have any opinions on if the plastic or metal ones are better than the other?

Thanks again...

Michael Bush
07-08-2013, 08:49 AM
>So you guys have any opinions on if the plastic or metal ones are better than the other?

The plastic does not hold up in the sun at all. They are not "long lived" and are harder to clean up. I like the metal ones better. I like the wood bound metal ones better than the unbound ones. I like not using them better than using them except in some cases in queen rearing where they are handy... :)