I occassionally find myself wondering how to custom-make a queen excluder. I took one that I have and checked the gap between rods (can't remember my measurement). But the question is, can I just use a drill bit this diameter to perferate a sheet which the workers can get through or does the openings need to be oblong?
I guess I just need to know what the smallest opening workers need to get through that a queen can't, with a drilled hole being the simplest to make. Or is there an over the counter mesh that could serve the purpose?
[This message has been edited by wayacoyote (edited April 01, 2004).]
Here are a lot of types, many of which can be built by a hobbiest.
#5 hardware cloth will let bees through and exclude a queen, but it is very hard on the bees in the long run, forcing their way through the rough wire. It also dislodges any pollen, so make sure they can get TO the brood nest withouth going through it.
I recommend either NO queen excluder or the metal ones or the round smooth plastic ones. If you use none, the bees don't have to force through it at all. If you use the punched ones or the #5 hardware cloth, or drill one yourself, you'll find the wings on the bees wear out faster getting through it. The smooth ones (metal or the new rounded plastic ones) work fine without the excess wear on the bees.
I am only looking for something that I can use for temporary experiments or other needs when I would want to isolate a queen. Excluders can be rough on bees in the long run.
Metal excluders are not that expensive. It would save alot of headacke.