I am in my first year (2months) of beekeeping; the hive is doing well with two brood chambers and a very active queen. I am thinking of adding a third brood chamber in the hopes of splitting next spring and adding honey supers on top of that.
When should I use a queen excluder? I recently read a piece in one of the catalogs suggesting that a queen excluder is optional equipment, my plans don't include a large honey harvest. Do I need one? Also can these be made or do they have to be purchased.
Thanks for in advance for any help or suggestions.
Smac101, In this neck of the woods they call queen excluders "honey excluders". You do not need them, but, there is a good chance the queen will lay eggs in the bottom supers if the bees don't build a good honey barrier. Depending on what type of honey product you are trying for some use QE (comb) and some do not. It is your choice. Steve
after six years I decided to try a queen excluder on one of my hives in my home yard, much to the dismay of my mentor and bee school teacher. I picked the strongest hive and put the queen excluder under two medium, drawn honey supers. Much to my amazement it may as well have been a solid barrier! After three weeks, during a decent honey flow - my other hive at home was doing fine - I finally decided to get rid of the excluder and let the bees do their thing naturally.
I have on occasion had brood on the bottom edge of the first honey super but as long as I cut around it with the uncapping plane I never have a problem.
I keep my excluders around though, they come in very handy for draining cut comb honey.
David Wallace and Family
Twenty five years ago, I threw out my Queen excluders and went to a deep honey super instead. But, some queens chimney brood way up into the supers, and when you go to blow the bees out, you have to make sure the queen isn't up there, and then sort out the honey combs with brood in them.
I later converted to jumbo 11 1/4" deep brood chambers, and one must use QE's with those, or brood in the supers for sure. I leave the excluders on all year, and the bees go right throught them. I just started renovating new excluders.
The only thng that lasts forever is change.
Thanks everyone for your thoughts. I think I'll let the bees go natural this year and see how they do.
Take care all.