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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Lexington, KY
    Posts
    15

    Post

    I put my package in the TBH last night. Went pretty good I think. Based on lots of reading here (thanks everyone!), I directly released my queen into the box since they had traveled 5 days together in the package. Now the Idea part.. I figured, just for some insurance, I would tape a queen excluder over the entrance to be sure they went into cluster together, thinking that they would stay if they did. The plan was to take off the excluder today. Well, there is about 1/3 of the package clustered on the outside right over the entrance. I am worried that the few drones I saw can't get out, and they may not be able to get the few dead bees out through the entrance. The entrance is 1/2" X 3" right now, and under the excluder. I am also Worried to bother them too much too soon.
    Should I pry the excluder off and disrupt the 'cluster'? :confused:

    Any opinions would be welcome! Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Berkey, OH, USA
    Posts
    1,487

    Post

    Chris

    Personally I have never used a queen excluder at an entrance. Nor have I direct released a queen before. But obviously the purpose of the queen excluder is to keep them from leaving with the queen.

    So the question is why are they clustering on the outside. You have identified one reason, the entrance may be too restricted. THe other reason is that they want to abscond but are not doing so because of the excluder.

    I think you are correct to be worried about disturbing them. What I am unclear about is your statement that the entrance is "under" the excluder.

    Another reason they might be on the outside of the hive is that it might be hot and they are just hanging out. But that doesn't sound right to me this time of year, and given the facts you present.

    So here is what I would do. If you think the outside cluster is solely because of the restricted entrance then pry it off. But if you think the bees on the outside of the hive are thhere because they want to abscond, then leave it on.

    Good luck and let us know what happens! THe size of your entrance is maybe a little smaller than what I have, so I am thinking and hoping that it is just too small for them to get in and out of. If you remember that the beespace is 3/8 of an inch, and you restrict it by the excluder, it is a pretty small space. But why and how did they all get out there?

    I guess I am leaning towards removal of the excluder.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,492

    Post

    >Well, there is about 1/3 of the package clustered on the outside right over the entrance.

    I would consider this a bad sign. I'd put some lemongrass oil (or spray a little Lemon Pledge) in the back of the hive to draw them in.


    >I am worried that the few drones I saw can't get out

    They can't.

    >, and they may not be able to get the few dead bees out through the entrance.

    Probably not, but that's not an issue yet.

    >The entrance is 1/2" X 3" right now, and under the excluder. I am also Worried to bother them too much too soon.

    Rightfully.

    >Should I pry the excluder off and disrupt the 'cluster'?

    The cluster would lead me to believe they are trying to abscond and the queen excluder is what is stopping them. I would leave it on until you get them to stay inside. I'd pull a few bars off the back and spray some lemon pledge in or put a few drops of lemongrass essential oil in.

    >Personally I have never used a queen excluder at an entrance.

    Me meither, but it seems like a fair idea.

    > Nor have I direct released a queen before.

    I didn't used to but the last few years it's the only method I've used.

    >So the question is why are they clustering on the outside.

    Exactly.

    > You have identified one reason, the entrance may be too restricted.

    A traffic jam should look different than a cluster.

    > THe other reason is that they want to abscond but are not doing so because of the excluder.

    That would be my guess.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Lexington, KY
    Posts
    15

    Post

    Thanks guys! I had a break in our weather here and almost made it. I peeked inside, thinking maybe they needed more room. Inside they were hanging on the bars, but there was a big cluster still on the bottom. There didn't seem to be too much room so I added 2 more bars before the divider I made. They now have 7. Also, I am about 50% sure I saw the queen OUTSIDE the excluder. I am 100% sure she was inside last night. (queen is marked) I removed the excluder and many bees promptly marched up under the cover. I will give the rain a chance to quit again and see what happens. I will keep you posted. Thanks again!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,492

    Post

    >but there was a big cluster still on the bottom.

    That's odd. Usually they don't cluster ON the bottom.

    >I am about 50% sure I saw the queen OUTSIDE the excluder.

    maybe she squeezed through but couldn't figure out how to get back. That would explain the cluster outside.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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