I have two questions – one about finding the queen, and another related to the use of a queen excluder. For reference, I use all mediums – two of my hives are “second year” – the other three new packages.

Finding the Queen

Can’t do it. In general, doesn’t bother me because as long as I see eggs/brood (both capped and uncapped) – I know she’s in there. But today I needed to find her and couldn’t. My specific question was feedback on a strategy I’d heard once on a podcast. Place a queen excluder under the brood boxes (first two) (Put a box or two from the upper honey supers under for this trick) and use Fisher Bee Quick and a fume board to push the bees down through the excluder – the queen will be the only one left dancing. Sounded interesting – anyone ever try something like this? Any thoughts?

Queen Excluder

My second year hives – again, all mediums – now have a fourth box on them being drawn out. The first three are almost completely drawn – but I still have a couple frames (one or two in the first three boxes) – untouched. My brood frames are also kind of spread out across the three boxes – 2 in first box, 2 or 3 in second, 1 or 2 in third. The rest of the frames honey/pollen – or again – a blank in each box. Just seems to me to be inefficient (but I’m not a bee). I expected – and I think hear – that the normal would be 6 or 7 drawn brood frames in the first, maybe balance of 2-4 in the second box, 3rd all honey. I also suspect that having more of the frames in the first two boxes used for honey and pollen may be putting pressure on the brood chamber and causing my bees to think “swarm!” Reversing really wouldn’t do anything in this situation – I need to open the brood chamber and make more room for the queen – but the question is -

Would using a queen excluder help the hive manage it’s more limited space more efficiently? Encourage use of first two boxes for brood? Does the unlimited brood nest have them care less where the brood is as long as its center and accessible? If I decided to use an excluder, would I place it above the second medium? Is that too small of a brood chamber? (I use 10 frame boxes). I’m asking because my packages are just getting started and I could go that route with them if I wanted. let them draw out the first two boxes then put an excluder on. It just seems to me that my hives – both of the second year hives – are laid out kind of … eclectically.

Thanks - Jim