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Thread: Disaster!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    374

    Default Disaster!

    My father gave me a queen excluder for the first time. He installed it for me. 2 or 3 weeks later, he arrives to help me extract for the first time.

    The excluder has a deep and a shallow below it and a medium above it.

    The medium has brood. The shallow doesn't. The queen was on the wrong side of the excluder! And the medium was honey bound so there wasn't much brood.

    Now I've had a big drop in my population. A second medium was 1/3 covered with bees. But now it has probably just three hundred bees in it.

    Big time disaster. I've set back the population of my hive big-time.

    Newbies, learn from me, always known where your queen is when you put on the excluder. She just might be where you think she isn't.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio
    Posts
    546

    Default

    I've never used one. Not that I'm big-time or anything. It's been rare for me, but I've had queens move up into the "3rd" box, but never any higher. I just keep my eyes peeled when pulling frames for extraction. Since I'm "small-time" I can take the time to maticuously inspect all my frames when pulling for extraction, and prior to extraction... I'd pull the excluder, and let them bees get going, regardless of where the queen is now...

    "Brood, it isn't just for breakfast anymore"!
    Find A Beekeeper - Swarm List
    "There's nothing wrong with me, it's the rest of the world that has a problem"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Madison Heights VA
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    396

    Default

    Very small price to pay to learn such a great lesson. Thanks for sharing to other newbies.
    Curtis

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Crystal Falls, Mi.
    Posts
    181

    Default

    Yeah maybe what Budster said and even reverse the boxes if you can. I dont think its a total disaster and you will get honey, just maybe not right now... Giid Luck and keep us pisted.
    T.G.
    When I grow up, I want to be like John K.......

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,543

    Default

    If it was me in that situation, I'd take and put the deep on the bottom, the medium on top of that, then the queen excluder with the shallow on top. Your girls will move honey up into the shallow in order to free up room in the broodnest, which is now a deep and a medium.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
    Posts
    4,322

    Default

    Just put the queen excluder on the shelf and let the bees do what bees do. The only time I use one is when I'm making queens and need to know where the queen is.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Dallas, TX
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    374

    Default

    the reason the excluder was put on, IIRC, is because I kept getting brood where I intended to get honey.

    I had honey in the shallow super, and then it turned into bees before I was ready to extract. Now the same thing happened with the medium on top of the super.

    Eventually a man wants his harvest. My hive was going to be 10 feet tall before I got any honey out.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Rhea County, Tennessee
    Posts
    127

    Why?

    Why were you using an excluder?
    I only use them when raising more queens...
    ANy other time I have used excluders they end up being great drone traps that provide me with a mass of dying and rotting drones on top of the excluder...and limits the queen's brood expansion.
    So, what IF the queen DOES get up into your super and puts all that nasty brood up there?
    Celebrate! More bees make more honey.

    One has to, especially when first getting into bees, resist the urge to focus on honey production.
    One SHOULD focus on BEE production.
    Then, the bees make the honey.
    More bees make a better colony, and as a result, more honey.
    Focus on the bees, not the honey...

    RBAR


    Quote Originally Posted by arthur View Post
    My father gave me a queen excluder for the first time. He installed it for me. 2 or 3 weeks later, he arrives to help me extract for the first time.

    The excluder has a deep and a shallow below it and a medium above it.

    The medium has brood. The shallow doesn't. The queen was on the wrong side of the excluder! And the medium was honey bound so there wasn't much brood.

    Now I've had a big drop in my population. A second medium was 1/3 covered with bees. But now it has probably just three hundred bees in it.

    Big time disaster. I've set back the population of my hive big-time.

    Newbies, learn from me, always known where your queen is when you put on the excluder. She just might be where you think she isn't.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
    Posts
    4,322

    Default

    If nectar is coming in, the bees will store it and the queen will be pushed down. It's simple and it works.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Dallas, TX
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    374

    Default

    I'm in the second year of my hive. I want some honey.

    I don't think it's unreasonable.

    A deep + medium + shallow brood chambers should be sufficient.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Lincolnton Ga. USA.
    Posts
    1,725

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by arthur View Post
    I'm in the second year of my hive. I want some honey.

    I don't think it's unreasonable.

    A deep + medium + shallow brood chambers should be sufficient.

    certain times of the year like spring build up you should expand the brood nest like having 2 deeps for brood or adding mediums, then in late summer or fall you can take then down in size again, spring build up- 2 deeps + mediums + shallows to have plenty of room for brood and stores, I have 6 hives this year that is 2 deeps and 5 mediums, the others are not as large
    Ted

  12. #12
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    Apr 2003
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    Greenville, TX, USA
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    Default

    the reason the excluder was put on, IIRC, is because I kept getting brood where I intended to get honey
    You're not hearing us.
    First, unless you are near blooming mesquites, the north Texas honey flow was over about the middle of May. In some urban areas you will get some nectar trickling in from landscapes, but not much.
    2nd, bees will pretty much always do what they want, not what you want. You need to learn to work with them.
    3rd, first year hives need to build up a good base of bees. You seldom make honey on a first year hive in Texas. Our flows are too short.
    4th, you don't need an excluder to make honey. When there is a flow, the bees will store nectar. Where they store nectar, the queen cannot lay. This typically means that a nectar/honey cap is formed above the brood nest and the queen stays below it. You defeated that with the excluder. When the bees are first drawing out a new super, the queen will often lay in it, but as those hatch, it is back filled with honey. I'm 30 miles east of you. I extracted over 40 gallons from the spring flow. I never put on an excluder. Most of my hives were 4 or 5 mediums and end up with a 2 medium brood nest.

  13. #13
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    Apr 2008
    Location
    Dallas, TX
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    Default

    This is a second year hive. I think most people expect honey in their second year.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Darrington, WA, USA
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    544

    Default

    I think a lot of people are afraid of getting a little brood in the honey supers.

    If you plan on replacing a couple brood frames every year AND you chose to use all the same size equipment, which I highly recommend, you could just put a frame or 2 with brood right back in the brood box. If you haven't been feeding sugar or meds in syrup you could grab an outside frame from the upper hive body and trade. Also i have seen people put the frame in the center of the brood nest and empty drawn comb in the center of the super above. The bees will move the honey in a couple days if the weather is good. I haven't tested any of this but it sounds good. Anyone tried it?

    JoeMcc
    "Slow Down and Taste the Vanilla" - My Grandma

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
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    Default

    This is a second year hive. I think most people expect honey in their second year.
    Depends on where you are and how strong your hives are starting the season. If you wait until the flow to build up the hives in Texas, you missed the train. We only get one fairly short flow most places. It you haven't built up your hives by feeding or by leaving a lot of fall honey, then they make bees with your flow. I overwintered strong hives this winter and made honey on the early flow. The 17 small hives I overwintered made nothing but bees, but they are now making mesquite honey on one of the few summer flows around here. I'll say it again, you don't need an excluder to make honey, If the bees aren't using up the nectar as fast as it comes in to make brood, then they will store it and push the queen down. To get ahead of the brood rearing and have enough bees for a surplus, you have to start early. For my first 3 years I made nothing but bees, the 4th year I got 9 pints. The last two years I have made good honey and lots of it.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    College Station, Texas
    Posts
    6,973

    Default

    reread ross's post #12 & #15.

    to this very well written post I would add... the activity you are engaged in is agriculture. some years you may make a crop and some years you will not. expectations will not make the crop any larger or any smaller.

    I set my hives out on other folks property who EXPECT to get a jar of honey from time to time. I inform them from the get go that if the bees make a crop I certain enjoy and fill obligated to share some of this sweetness with the land owners. if there is no suplus then naturally I (and the bees) have nothing to share.

  17. #17
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    Apr 2008
    Location
    Dallas, TX
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    See, I'm not willing to wait until the 4th year to get honey, nor should I have to.

    Using a queen excluder is not naturalistic, and maybe not even in the best interest of the hive long-term.

    But I am at peace with trying to get a gallon of honey.

    Also, my flow was not just a week or two. More like 2 months. Right now, I can't tell what's going on because my queen was basically not laying for 3 weeks. Surely it is much slower.

    but as you said before, I am not in the country. You are. So I may certain advantages at this time of the year.

  18. #18
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    Apr 2003
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    Greenville, TX, USA
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    See, I'm not willing to wait until the 4th year to get honey, nor should I have to.
    I'm quite sure if you explain that to the bees they will get to work and correct the situation ASAP.

  19. #19
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    Apr 2008
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    Dallas, TX
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    I didn't know my post would be so controversial.

    I didn't know there were honey excluder police.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
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    Not at all. It's just that we've tried to explain that the bees don't always do what you want, and there is a way to work with them. You can work with an excluder or without, but either way you won't get honey if you don't do the basics. If you do the basics, you can make honey either way. The risk to a new beekeeper is exactly what you experienced, or if you get the queen on the right side of the excluder, they either won't go through it and swarm, or they do go through and still swarm because the brood nest is full.

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