What are people's thoughts on queen excluders. I've heard good and bad. My own experience so far is limited, but I did put an excluder on my hive 2 weeks ago when i added a super. In that time the bees did nothing in the super and very few bees moved above the excluder. I decided upon a hive inspection this week, to remove the excluder. I will check in a few more days to see if they have started working the super. I'll definitely hold on to the excluder, because there are other reasons to use it, i just dont think i'll use it to keep the queen out of the honey area..
It really depends on your personal preference. A lot of beekeepers consider them "honey excluders". I have used them for 12 years, and have averaged 180 lbs. of honey in a season using them, so I don't think that is necessarily true. Some hives are very reluctant to go through the excluder and will stuff the brood chamber full of honey before they start to move through it, but I have also seen hives without an excluder that were also very reluctant to move up into the supers. The main thing I like about them is that when it's time to pull honey, I don't have to worry about brood being in the supers and sorting through the frames and leaving some of them for the brood to hatch out. Too time consuming for me. It is also more difficult to pull honey at the end of the year with brood in the supers (the bees are very reluctant to leave brood), and capped brood will hatch out if kept warm (e.g. hot room), so you can wind up with a lot of bees in the honey house from that. Do they produce more honey without an excluder? Possibly, (although I'm not thoroughly convinced) but the pros of using them outweigh the cons for me.
I use queen excluders only after the bees start to work the frames. My main reason to use them is to confine my queen in the brood chambers. I raise queens so I use them for other reasons. I prefer that the queen raise at least one or two cycles of brood in the frames. This gives the wax some strength when extraction the honey. I have found out over the years the workers don't like going thru the excluders to frames with just foundation.
I use them on occasion when I think the situation warrants it. I sometimes use them as an includer to keep a queen in the hive when I hive a swarm and I know I have the queen, or to keep the queen in the hive when hiving a package or when I'm regressing and I'm stealing capped brood and moving it above the excluder so the queen won't lay in the large cell while I'm waiting for them to emerge.
But I don't use excluders on a typical hive. However, I run all mediums and no chemicals, so I don't care if she lays in a "super" because it's the same size frame and I can just move it down to the brood chamber or just let her expand at will.
If I'm worried about her laying in the supers, I put 7/11 foundation (Walter T. Kelly) in and it tends to discourage her. It's a size she doesn't like to lay in (5.9mm) too big for worker and too small for drone.
There is an article here that suggest that a queen excluder can increase honey production if you put your entrance above the excluder.
Has anyone tried this? I am thinking of making a frame for the excluder similar to an inner-cover but with the excluder instead of luan in it, and an entrance slot cut into an end of it. Then I'd put the excluder, entrance side up, between the brood boxes and the supers.
What do you think?
>What do you think?
I gave up on excluders 29 or so years ago. Try it and let us know how it works out.
OK Michael, you're on. I'm building a couple of them right now. But, given my inexperience and small sample size, it may be awhile before I can get back to you with any meaningful results.