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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Bay Area, Ca
    Posts
    28

    Default Do I have to use a queen excluder?

    I started beekeping with 2 packages early April this year. I got two four # packages of italians and russian carniolan hybrids from Honey Bee Genetics in Vacaville, Ca. They have been doing well. The bees reside in 2 8 frame deep supers in the Martinez suburbs, surrounded by rual hills.

    Three weeks ago I split both hives, added fresh queens from same breeder and took them to my mentors yard. He says they are doing really well. I have been on the fence about harvesting honey this year. I have been taught to listen to the bees and do what they want. Since the winters are really mild here and I dont mind feeding during winter, lets give it a try!

    An inspection yeaterday showed quite a bit of burr comb in the Italian hive. I added a 3rd deep super with no excluder. My mentor told me NOT to use an excluder. His reasoning was
    1.) they damage the wings of the bees
    2.) the bees will not want to force thier way into the upper supers
    3.) the queen will not lay in the supers b/c the size of the Langsron hive is designed to keep the brood nest at the desired size.

    This contradicts most of everything I have read. I have two excluders on order from Brushy Mountain along with a couple of thier neato bee escape boards. My mentor said to keep them so we could do a 2 queen condo and make comb honey with the splits. That is the only time you should use an excluder according to him.

    Ok bee brains out there. Let me get some opinions. To exclude or not to exclude, that is the question.

    Thanks in advance,
    WW.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Boise, Idaho
    Posts
    55

    Default Re: Do I have to use a queen excluder?

    I tried an excluder above my 2 brood chamber when I added the first medium super. Some bees moved up but they would not draw out any comb. I removed the excluded and they have draw the super frames comb and filling it with honey. I did not end up with any eggs/larvae in the super, so far anyway.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,541

    Default Re: Do I have to use a queen excluder?

    Do a search, you will find a huge discussion on this issue, which has probably been going on since queen excluders were invented.

    Some people use them with good results, other people don't with good results, it all depends on your hives and conditions and how you manage them.

    I don't know of anyone around here that uses them, and my brother and I have had no trouble at all with brood above the two deeps we use for brood chambers. Occasionally there will be six or seven drone cells at the base of a honey super, but no more than that and they don't re-use them. I had zero brood above the second deep last year on strong hive.

    If you live in a very mild winter area such as North Florida and wish to restrict the brood nest to one box, you will have to use an excluder of the queen will lay up at least two deeps of brood with all the nice weather and more or less constant nectar flow.

    Follow your mentor's advice for now, once you get some experience, try them on a few hives and see what happens.

    Peter

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
    Posts
    2,058

    Default Re: Do I have to use a queen excluder?

    Some will say yes some will say no!
    You have 4 hives try 2 with excluders and see what you think.
    You might want to try for a couple years a couple different ways before you make up your mind.
    I 'm still in the process of changing my mind back and forth.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Salem, Oregon
    Posts
    984

    Default Re: Do I have to use a queen excluder?

    Some folks call queen excluders, "honey excluders".
    Take a look at the following picture in which queen excluders were not used; what took the place of honey? **

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v2...n/DSC00327.jpg

    When it is time to extract, is that what you want to find in your supers?
    How about this:

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v2...n/DSC00326.jpg
    Make no mistake about it; queens will lay up all of the brood in your supers that you allow.
    HEY! Add another super and she will lay in it too!!

    ** Answer: Good bees / small flow.

    There are exceptions in areas where the flow is so intense that they push her down with a honey ceiling and no excluders are needed.
    Otherwise, everyone that I know of that is serious about honey production uses excluders.
    When placing a super of foundation as the first super there is another exception:
    Place the super until a few frames are drawn out. There may even bee brood in those frames.
    Now you can shake the bees off and place an excluder.
    Next time you go to your state convention, ask some of the bigger outfits about the size of their honey crop. The ask them if they use excluders. Some will answer in the scale of many, many tons annually.
    Then on the excluder question, I'm sure most of them will first chuckle and say something like, " Are you crazy? OF COURSE we use excluders!!"
    I have exactly ONE hive more than you.
    That makes my opinion beyond question.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Bay Area, Ca
    Posts
    28

    Default Re: Do I have to use a queen excluder?

    Why would you want to shake all the bees off before adding an excluder? Couldnt you just take a look at each frame to see if the queen is on it??? I am getting great advice here and I really apreciate it guys. Sounds like my best bet is to let em draw it out, then throw in an excluder at the first sign of brood, if needed.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Chilhowee, MO
    Posts
    94

    Default Re: Do I have to use a queen excluder?

    probally to make sure drones are not up there.. as they cant fit through the excluder.. and to make sure the queen didn't make it there as well
    Smart man knows that the road is a one way street..
    Wise man looks both ways anyhow.......

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Porcupine Plain, Saskatchewan, Canada
    Posts
    294

    Default Re: Do I have to use a queen excluder?

    I haven't used one yet, but I do get brood in my supers and I'm seeing more than normal this year. This could be because it's drone comb and the queen doesn't have much in the brood chambers, but it is still somewhat annoying. I would say try them and see if you like them.


    Nathan
    Good enough is perfect - Joel Salatin

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Arlee MT USA
    Posts
    548

    Default Re: Do I have to use a queen excluder?

    Short story.

    Tried one. Bees would't draw above it. Removed it, had them drawing the next day. Zero brood in the honey.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    San Jose, Ca
    Posts
    372

    Default Re: Do I have to use a queen excluder?

    lol... has it been a week already... man how time flies. This question has come up every week for the last 4 months I've been here.
    Disclaimer: I know enough to know I don't know anything yet.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Russellville, AL
    Posts
    50

    Default Re: Do I have to use a queen excluder?

    i think it has a lot to do with your type of bees. i had 2 hives this year for honey. put an excluder on both. (minn. hyg. ital ) one really went to it. by the end of the flow this hive looked like the empire state building. well almost. the other started poorly and would not build above the excluder. so i removed it. they started building slowly and never did much the whole season. total there were 1 deep and 3 med on this hive. when i tore this hive apart after the main flow the queen had laid all the way to the top. actually she had more brood to the top than the bottom. there were a few frames in the lower deep empty. plenty of bees , strong hive but not much honey. this queen is now in bee heaven. When i tore the other hive apart the queen had been passing back and forth through the excluder. she laid up at least 4 levels and had a booming hive. still we got about 7 gal. from this hive. all being said i will try things a little different next year and see how things go. better excluder, top entrance, double deep brood chamber. also will do a couple without for a good compairison.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Shoshone County, Idaho
    Posts
    567

    Default Re: Do I have to use a queen excluder?

    Quote Originally Posted by HarryVanderpool View Post
    Some folks call queen excluders, "honey excluders".

    Make no mistake about it; queens will lay up all of the brood in your supers that you allow.
    HEY! Add another super and she will lay in it too!!
    I only use queen/honey excluders for 2 situations:

    1- Comb honey production

    2- Let queen lay in honey supers and the colony build up quick, why would you want to restrict them!
    All you have to do is place your capped honey super with some brood on the very top of hive and place a excluder underneath it after the fact the brood will hatch in a few days and the workers will then fill cells with honey.
    So in other words I am using excluder after the super is already full of honey with some brood in it, also I am adding additional empty supers under the excluder at the same time!

    And yes I did start out using honey excluders on my colonies, and never put on supers with undrawn foundation above an excluder.
    Hugus Creek Honey Farm: St. Maries, ID / Lewiston, ID
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