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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Galion OH
    Posts
    6

    Post

    Are queen excluders essential? I've read differing reports on this.
    We are newbies with one hive. Right now I have a deep with frames on the bottom, and an empty deep on top, which just made it easier for me to unpackage the bees, then covers on top. We put the bees in today.
    I'm thinking we will add the frames to the second deep when the first is half full, and then add the two shallow supers one by one on top. Then I'm thinking that we'll take the honey from the supers at the end of the summer. Does that sound right? Do we need to have extra supers on hand? Will they fill our two supers and do we remove and replace as that happens? Should we keep spare deeps on hand in case we have or find a swarm?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Post

    >Are queen excluders essential?

    They are handy to have around, but I don't put them in my hives routinely.

    >I've read differing reports on this.
    We are newbies with one hive. Right now I have a deep with frames on the bottom, and an empty deep on top, which just made it easier for me to unpackage the bees, then covers on top. We put the bees in today.

    Take the empty package out and the top deep off first thing tommorow.

    >I'm thinking we will add the frames to the second deep when the first is half full

    Bad idea. NEVER leave a box on that has ANY frames missing for more than a half a day, let alone a box that has ALL the frames missing. They will fill the top deep with their own combs NOT in your frames within a few days. Besides they don't need that much room yet.

    >and then add the two shallow supers one by one on top.

    After they have filled the two bottom boxes mostly (80% or so) yes.

    >Then I'm thinking that we'll take the honey from the supers at the end of the summer. Does that sound right?

    That's about right.

    >Do we need to have extra supers on hand?

    Always.

    >Will they fill our two supers and do we remove and replace as that happens?

    You have to keep putting empties on or they will have nowhere to store nectar and they will swarm.

    You may not need all of the boxes you have or you may need five more supers. The bees success is dependant on many things.

    >Should we keep spare deeps on hand in case we have or find a swarm?

    Always have extra boxes. I don't use deeps anymore. You can put a swarm in any boxes with frames and it will be better than nothing.

    Back to the original question about excluders.

    If you run all the same size boxes (I run all mediums, no deeps and no shallows) then you don't care if the queen lays in the supers because you can put those frames wherever you like. If you run deeps for the bottom and shallows for the supers then sooner or later the queen will lay in the supers. What do you do with those frames? You could use a spare super to put the honey in and some spare frames to fill in the box and leave the brood, but you can't move it down or put it anywhere else.

    Most people not using an excluder have some reason they either don't care if the queen lays up more boxes or they have some reason that the queen is less likely to.

    When I ran a configuration as you have, two deeps for brood and shallows for cut comb, I used 7/11 foundation from Walter Kelly. The queen usually doesn't lay in it. When she does, it's drones, but usually she doesn't because the size is such that she doesn't like it. It's too small for drone and too large for worker.

    I hardly ever use an excluder but they do serve several purposes. If you keep the queen in the bottom deep with one until you get better at finding her, it may be helpful for your learning experience. If you use one on top of the two deeps it will keep her out of the supers (probably). It's your choice. I don't like making the bees squeeze through them constantly.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,593

    Post

    You're probably thinking the bees will prefer your nice foundation (in the bottom box) to building their own combs hanging from the inner cover (in the top box). This is not true. Most all the time they prefer to build their own comb instead and will build it in any space you leave them that is large enough.

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