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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    Pittsburgh, PA
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    Default 2 Q's: (1) Finding the Queen; and (2) Queen Excluder Use

    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

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Huntsville, Alabama
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    677

    Default Re: 2 Q's: (1) Finding the Queen; and (2) Queen Excluder Use

    i use queen excluders on all single deeps. A top entrance shim is an absolute MUST. They'll start using the top entrance pretty quick if there is a flow on. You will need to check for queen/swarm cells once a week. PM me if you have any questions. I'd rather not share thoughts/experiences here on this controversial subject and have to defend my years of practice to guys like Acebird.
    At some point, Acebird will chime in here about excluders being from the devil. Ignore him. He's got a ton of posts here but is too new to legally share his 6 months of experience.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Huntsville, Alabama
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    677

    Default Re: 2 Q's: (1) Finding the Queen; and (2) Queen Excluder Use

    Also...I have done similar to what you are considering with the Bee Quick and the excluder. It will work.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
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    Default Re: 2 Q's: (1) Finding the Queen; and (2) Queen Excluder Use

    Jim,

    I know how frustrating it can be to not find the queen when you want to, but the only thing I can tell you, which I am sure you know already, is to look for her first on the combs with fresh eggs and young larvae. Another thing which I try to do is use as little smoke as possible to keep her from running around. If you want you could even get an empty medium and put the frames in it as you take them out of the hive and inspect them for the queen, that way you help decrease the chance that she would run from an uninspected frame to an inspected frame if you know what I mean. If you are not in a real big hurry to find her, you can separate all the brood boxes with an excluder and come back 4 days later and the box with the eggs has the queen, which narrows it down a bit for you. John

  5. #5
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    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
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    Default Re: 2 Q's: (1) Finding the Queen; and (2) Queen Excluder Use

    Jim,

    Now for the other problem, sounds like your queen is laying a chimney up through the boxes, which is not uncommon with some queens. I also use all mediums for everything, but I don't have the problem with chimneying too much in mine. I also don't use excluders. Like I said, some queens are that way, but there are other things which could cause it such as having excessive honey filled frames leftover from winter. As they went through the winter working their way up and only covering the middle few frames in each box, so come spring those are the only combs that are empty so they lay those full but don't work sideways much. I had a similar problem with lots of leftover honey, so I removed those full combs and replaced them with empty brood combs that I had in storage. I think having 3 medium boxes for brood seems about the extent most queens will lay for me, some do venture into the 4th box, but usually just lay a little drone brood, and then fill the rest with honey, so the 4th box turns out to be my first honey super. John

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    Pittsburgh, PA
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    Default Re: 2 Q's: (1) Finding the Queen; and (2) Queen Excluder Use

    These are all great answers, and please keep them coming. A related q here... For all you who use all mediums, what does your "average" brood arrangement look like? I mean "x frames in box 1, x in box 2". Just rough idea. Thanks.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Tulsa, OK
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    Default Re: 2 Q's: (1) Finding the Queen; and (2) Queen Excluder Use

    Do you have any empty, drawn comb?

    If so, consolidate the brood in one or two boxes at the bottom of the hive and place a box of empty drawn comb above that. You could also alternate drawn comb and honey. Put the honey at the top of the hive.

    If you don't have drawn comb, I'd still try to consolidate the brood in a wider configuration in two lower boxes to let the queen know she can spread things out in the brood area. I've had that happen before, and, in my experience, it helps to intervene.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
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    Default Re: 2 Q's: (1) Finding the Queen; and (2) Queen Excluder Use

    Pick a nice day, sun, warmth, and a nice nectar flow. The queen will be more intent on laying eggs, and not playing hide and seek. Like th eRiverhawk, we so not feed the birds, and also use one deep for brood, with an excluder. It is easier finding the queen.

    Crazy Roland

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    Pittsburgh, PA
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    Default Re: 2 Q's: (1) Finding the Queen; and (2) Queen Excluder Use

    since I don't use deeps, would you say put the excluder above the second or third medium? Thanks.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Highland, Michigan
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    Default Re: 2 Q's: (1) Finding the Queen; and (2) Queen Excluder Use

    I was out today trying to locate the queen and had no luck. To many bees and to many drones. This hive has 2 deeps packed and 2 supers on with alot of capped brood. I wanted to do the mad splitter technique which requires finding the old queen and starting a nuc with her and letting the parent hive raise there own after you notch. I'm going to try using the fume board trick, but with so many drones already it still won't be easy to find her. Anyone have any additional advise I'm all ears. Thanks Don

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Highland, Michigan
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    Default Re: 2 Q's: (1) Finding the Queen; and (2) Queen Excluder Use

    Found the queen with the excluder and honey robber. Still was crazy with all the drones, found her when I was just about to give up and she looked kind of tired from the experience. Seemed like alot of drone kill from this method or my application of it. I did have about 5 frames of capped brood left unattended for about 30 min., hope I didn't chill the brood. Any thoughts?

  12. #12
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    Jul 2008
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    OKC, OK USA
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    Default Re: 2 Q's: (1) Finding the Queen; and (2) Queen Excluder Use

    Hard to say Jim, you are much farther north than me but around here folks usually give their queens 3 meds for brood. Finding the queen takes some time to get good at, just one of those things. Personally I don't use excluders but always have a couple around because they can be very useful tools

    Beeup, was it cold out when you did it?
    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Highland, Michigan
    Posts
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    Default Re: 2 Q's: (1) Finding the Queen; and (2) Queen Excluder Use

    56 degrees

  14. #14
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    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: 2 Q's: (1) Finding the Queen; and (2) Queen Excluder Use


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