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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Riner, Va
    Posts
    53

    Default Queen Excluder Question?

    Hi All,

    I've done a good bit of reading about QE's and I'm curious as to why you should remover them after the nectar flow (before wintering).

    On my hives I overwintered I leftr a full Medium of capped honey on for winter stores. It looked great in February. I planned on harvesting since I use no chemicals and the honey hadn't granulated. Well, when I went middle of April the Queen in both hives had decided to lay in the supers. Well over 1/2 of each super on each hive was full of capped brood (mostly drone).

    Did I do something wrong? When is the correct time to add excluder's so this doesn't happen again?

    If this were to happen again, what to do with frames seeing they are Mediums and my brood boxes are deeps.

    Thanks,

    Chris
    Last edited by belt152; 05-03-2008 at 06:01 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,785

    Default

    >I've done a good bit of reading about QE's and I'm curious as to why you should remover them after the nectar flow (before wintering).

    If you had left the excluder on the bees STILL would have moved up to the top box. The problem would be that the queen would still have been below the excluder and she would die.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, N.C.
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    5,080

    Default

    And also, if they had a full super plus of honey left, they would not have had room to move up. They ate the honey in the super before she laid there. If you had robbed it, they would have starved. She only moves up when the supplies dwindle enough to make room.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Riner, Va
    Posts
    53

    Default

    Thanks Mike! I hadn't thought about them leaving the queen below.

    Iddee is right on them moving up and eating or moving the honey and then her laying in it. I run a double deep brood and use mediums for honey.

    I guess my question is what to do if/when it happen again. Medium honey frames laid 1/4 full of brood isn't good!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Orange California USA
    Posts
    14

    Default

    You can put the medium on the bottom and they will move up into the deeps as they emerge from the medium. Then you can put it back on top during the next honey flow and they will fill it with honey again.
    If you don't want brood in your honey supers, don't leave them on through the winter. Just make sure there are plenty of stores in the two deeps you use for brood chambers.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,785

    Default

    >I guess my question is what to do if/when it happen again. Medium honey frames laid 1/4 full of brood isn't good!

    I think any box laid full of brood is good. Especially medium boxes, since that's all I have now. But even so a frame of brood is a good thing.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Riner, Va
    Posts
    53

    Default

    Thanks for the input.

    I know I'm pretty new at this but every book I have read so far says you must leave honey stores for winter.

    I would say that my possible in California but not here in Virginia.

    I think my problem was I didn't get the excluder back on the hive early enough.
    Can anyone tell me when they replace the excluders on their hives. I was thinking or replacing them when I did my first yearly inspection?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    avery county n.c.
    Posts
    240

    Default

    I think you should remove the excluder for the winter because it will draw heat off or out of the cluster...
    Thanks for your time, Beehopper

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Riner, Va
    Posts
    53

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by beehoppers View Post
    I think you should remove the excluder for the winter because it will draw heat off or out of the cluster...
    This I understand. But is there a critical time to add it back? I'm sure your climate is similar to mine. When do you put yours back on?

    I'm thinking the first time it's warm enough to examine the hive. But maybe it should be earlier if the queen begins laying in late January.

    What is the general consensus?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,785

    Default

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

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, N.C.
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    Default

    Queen excluders are for comb honey and beekeepers who don't understand beekeeping.

    The best time to put them on is when you put the boxes in a shed for storage. Put the excluders right in with them.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Buda, Texas
    Posts
    922

    Default

    If you choose to use excluders, put them back on when the bees are drawing new white wax and storing extra nectar (from a nectar flow, not when you are feeding).
    Don't plan on extracting last year's honey this year; leave it for them to raise new bees to gather more honey this year or give it to another colony in need.
    "I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. " John 10:11

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Owen, WI, USA
    Posts
    2,560

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by iddee View Post
    Queen excluders are for comb honey and beekeepers who don't understand beekeeping.
    Now Iddee, your "stuck in my old ways, nobody that does it different knows what he is doing" side is showing.

    We normally winter on 1 deep over 1 medium, 2 deeps are common in our area. What we do in the spring is put the first super on and let the queen lay in it, then when the next super is ready to go on, we push her back down to the story and a half, put the excluder on, then stack the supers on top. The brood in the box about the excluder will get the bees back through the excluder, a potential problem some have with excluders. We pull the excluder when the last honey supers are removed.

    Despite what some might say, many who know bees use excluders, especially those who don't like brood in their honey when they are trying to extract.
    Of course, if you are running only a few colonies it is easy to pull individual frames without brood to extract, and easy to consolidate brood but it is a putsy process at best. It is the Qs nature to go up the middle of the stack, but she can be anywhere. Whether you use excluders or not often comes down to being a time management decision.
    Sheri
    Last edited by JohnK and Sheri; 05-04-2008 at 01:18 PM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Syracuse, NY (upstate)
    Posts
    247

    Default Standarize your equipment

    Belt152,

    If you clicked on Michael Bush's links you would have seen one of the first concepts is use all the same size equipment (i.e. frames).

    If you used all mediums as I do, then you could work the frames with brood into the brood area and replace them with comb / foundation for honey production.

    See this month's American Bee Journal where there is a whole article on the benefits of standardizing equipment.

    -Eric

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, N.C.
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    Default

    Sheri, the only back paddling I will do is to exclude commercial operations like yourself. Hobbyists should not rob a super until it is capped fully and the next one down is well on the way. The bees cannot afford to give it up if there is not one plus capped super on the hive.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Owen, WI, USA
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    2,560

    Default

    Idee, thank you for making an exception for us.
    Your comment made me curious. I am wondering if all hobbyists leave that much honey for winter stores or if many of them strip the honey supers and feed back HFCS as commercial operators do.
    Sheri

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    New Albany, Ohio
    Posts
    350

    Default

    Without getting into the whole QE or no QE debate, I'm doing something similar to you, Sheri. I winter in story and a halves. About the time I add the first super, the queen is already laying in the top medium. I shake her down into the deep and put a QE between the deep and the medium. The brood in the medium draws the bees thru the excluder and gets them working any supers above. After the brood is hatched, the bees will back fill with honey that they get to keep for the winter.

    I'm trying to keep my super combs as white as possible so that I have less trouble with wax moths when I store my supers for the winter.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Owen, WI, USA
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    2,560

    Default

    Keeping brood out of the supers does have the positive side effect of discouraging wax moth, good point. We don't have to treat our supers for wax moth. Of course we get a little help in that department from Ol' Man Winter.
    Sheri

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    3,401

    Default

    > Queen excluders are for comb honey

    No, actual comb honey producers like Lloyd Spear and I have found that
    the queen is unlikely top lay in a "section" comb honey super like Ross
    Rounds, or the Hogg cassettes. In a simple "cut comb" configuration,
    the queen may be more likely to lay in the cut-comb super.

    > and beekeepers who don't understand beekeeping.

    That's just as wrong as the first statement. All those who want to
    claim that queen excluders are "honey excluders" suffer from a simple
    problem - they have weak and sickly colonies. They don't feed their
    bees to get brood rearing started well before the spring blooms, they
    don't test for diseases and pests, so they don't know if the have
    a problem, and even if they did test, they would refuse to use treatments
    on the grounds that they feel that using any sort of medication would
    be somehow "bad for the bees". Lord only knows how these people care
    for their pets and children!

    > Hobbyists should not rob a super until it is capped fully and the next
    > one down is well on the way. The bees cannot afford to give it up
    > if there is not one plus capped super on the hive.

    Hobbyists can do what we big boys do, which is to use a refractometer
    to check honey BEFORE the super is capped or completely capped.
    Why wait for the bees to completely cap any super?
    "Harvest Early, Harvest Often" is the way to get more production from
    your hives, as the bees react to empty drawn comb by working harder
    to fill it.

    If "one plus" super is some sort of suggestion of how much the bees need
    to live on over winter, it is very misleading, as different areas need different
    amounts of stores for average winters, and of course, winters vary.

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