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Thread: Queen excluders

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Default Queen excluders

    I pulled most of my queen excluders off my brood today. Seems the bees couldn't find there way through. They were filling the brood cells with honey and not leaving much room for the queen to lay. Will they move that honey up now?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Queen excluders

    Depends what's in the supers. Drawn comb possibly, undrawn wax maybe, plastic questionable.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Queen excluders

    If they don't move the honey up and the brood box(s)are choked with honey to the point that the queen has no space to lay, you may have to pull 3 or 4 honey frames and replace with new frames to expand the nest area. jim
    Stop and smell the flowers, 50,000 ladies can't be wrong
    Bsweetapiary@aol.com

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Queen excluders

    “The most important point to observe during the honey season in working- to secure a maximum crop of honey is to keep down swarming, and the main factors to this end, as I have previously stated, are ample ventilation of the hives, and adequate working-room for the bees. When either or both these conditions are absent, swarming is bound to take place. The free ventilation of a hive containing- a strong colony is not so easily secured in the height of the honey season, even under the best conditions, that we can afford to take liberties with it; and when the ventilating—space between the lower and upper boxes is more than half cut off by a queen-excluder, the interior becomes almost unbearable on hot days. The results under such circumstances are that a very large force of bees that should be out working are employed fanning-, both inside and out, and often a considerable part of the colony will be hanging outside the hive in enforced idleness until it is ready to swarm.
    Another evil caused by queen-excluders, and tending to the same end—swarming-—is that during- a brisk honey-flow the bees will not readily travel through them to deposit their loads of surplus honey in the supers, but do store large quantities in the breeding-combs, and thus block the breeding-space. This is bad enough at any time, but the evil is accentuated when it occurs in the latter part of the season. A good queen gets the credit of laying from two to three thousand eggs per day: supposing she is blocked for a few days, and loses the opportunity of laying, say, from fifteen hundred to two thousand eggs each day, the colony would quickly dwindle down, especially as the average life of the bee in the honey season is only about six weeks.
    For my part I care not where the queen lays—the more bees the more honey. If she lays in some of the super combs it can be readily rectified now and again by putting the brood below, and side combs of honey from the lower box above; some of the emerging brood also may be placed at the side of the upper box to give plenty of room below. I have seen excluders on in the latter part of the season, the queens idle for want of room, and very little brood in the hives, just at a time when it is of very great importance that there should be plenty of young bees emerging.” --Isaac Hopkins, Australasian Bee Manual

    "Beginning beekeepers should not attempt to use queen excluders to prevent brood in supers. However they probably should have one excluder on hand to use as an aide in either finding the queen or restricting her access to frames that the beekeeper must want to move elsewhere" -Richard Tyalor, The How-To-Do-It book of Beekeeping
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Queen excluders

    Queen Excluder or Honey Excluder?

    The article linked above explains the proper use of a queen excluder. Encourages the bees to deposit nectar in the honey supers and makes them work to access the brood nest. When using them like this they work like a dream.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Queen excluders

    Thank-you very much for that link JC!
    Last edited by squarepeg; 07-30-2011 at 07:28 AM. Reason: sp

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Queen excluders

    Wow, lots of great info. Thanks guys. I do have a few hives that still have the excluders on that are going fine. I can see the next issue I will have is goi g to be locating thequeen in all of thoseboxes. Any suggestions for that?

    Also my frames are on Plastic dipped in wax. (partially drawn out) Next year I will be using some straight wax as I want to do some cut comb honey.

  8. #8
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    Faulkner Manitoba, Canada
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    Default Re: Queen excluders

    some of us with packages are noticing this trend this year where they are packing in the brood box instead of moving through the excluder. Could be any reason..hives just not strong enough to make use of the honey box, to, the flow just not strong enough due to all of our moisture in the last years. I have also noticed that even though i pulled a frame or two above the box they back fill in only those frames and stay the rest stay below

    I have done a few things to locate the queen
    1. out right find her and move her to the newly open bottom box
    2. smoke to push the bees down
    3. Bee Go or Bee repell to move the bees down
    Both two and three require you to check the frames, however, not so many bees. Do one box at a time and do not stack the boxes on each other until the queen is found.
    Good luck

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Queen excluders

    Just thought I would post an update. After pulling off the queen excluders Friday afternoon. I returned this afternoon to check what was up. I wad quite happy to fine that bees had filled the bottom honey super and had already began on the top super. I pulled the rest of my excluders and added an extra box to the strong hives. Looks like I might get some honey after all.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Queen excluders

    I decided to try the upper entrance as described in the link provided by Mr. Clemens above.

    Instead of blocking the lower entrances, I screened them for ventilation.

    The drone escape is a 3/8 " hole drilled into the lower back of the bottom deep.

    My question is what will happen if the hive wants to swarm or the queen is superceded and the old queen can't find the drone escape?

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Queen excluders

    It seems to be quite a hindrance to swarming - I haven't had a single swarm since I started managing my hives this way.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Queen excluders

    Not a single swarm! That's amazing.

    I believe I witnessed an attempted swarm this morning. There were a lot more bees flying, and it was much earlier in the day than usual for orientation flights. The bees were also buzzing VERY loudly. After about thirty minutes everything was back to normal with lots of pollen and nectar coming in.

    Do your virgin queens have any trouble getting out for their mating flights?

    Do they find their way back into the brood chamber as opposed to ending up in the supers?

    Another thing I've noticed is that it is easier for the bees to defend against robbers when there is no landing board.

    I think I am going to really like this set up, especially it helps honey production.

    One other modification I am considering is getting rid of the solid bottom boards next spring and replacing them with screens.

    Thanks again JC!

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Queen excluders

    I keep a large contingent of nucs and mating nucs in their own nearby apiary. I inspect all of my hives quite frequently. If any full-size hive develops a queen problem it is a relatively simple matter to correct it by either introducing a queen from a nuc or combining a queenright nuc with the queenless hive. Or many other suitable scenario's - it is good to be a queen-raiser and to have lots of excellent replacement queens, close at hand.

    I also only use the queen excluders during our honey flow, not all year long. In this configuration, with queen excluder, the brood area tends to be nearly free of nectar deposits, having pollen in the periphery of the brood, but hardly any honey cap or nectar ring.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Queen excluders

    When I added upper entrances on my wood bound queen excluders I found that mated virgins return to the supers rather than the lower entrance.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Queen excluders

    JC - yes, I want to raise my own queens in nucs, and propagate the better genetics in my apiary. I plan to remove the excluders after the fall flow.

    odfrank - that's what I would have predicted. I keep a close watch on the supers, keeping only two mediums over a single deep. I pull honey when I get a total 18 capped frames collected from all of the hives, (currently have 8 hives, planning on increasing to 12), which fills my 18 frame extractor.

  16. #16
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    Nov 2003
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    Williston, NC, USA
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    Default Re: Queen excluders

    I'd like to make one comment regarding queen excluders. I've seen a lot of newbees that have those new plastic QE's that look to me more like propolis traps than QE's. If you watch you can see that even the worker bees have difficulty passing through the plastic ones and that can certainly cause a problem.

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