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Thread: Queen excluder

  1. #1
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    Default Queen excluder

    New bee, Just need to no the dos and don't of the queen excluder. Should I use one or not? Thank you for infor.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Queen excluder

    I only use them when making splits in the spring. I don't leave them on all summer. A queen excluder is a honey excluder. The queen will most likely move up and lay eggs in some of the lower honey supers, but will usually move back down later in the summer. When I remove the last of the honey suppers at the end of the summer I find very little brood in them.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Queen excluder

    Last year a friend of mine didn't use excluders. In all the hives we robbed there was a large amount of brood. We are in the upstate of SC (Zone 7b) and we rob twice once after the spring nectar flow and once at the end of summer. I want to say we found the brood in the super at the end of summer (I may have that backwards, I just remember making fun of him).

    Ultimately you just have to see for yourself.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Queen excluder

    As a general rule don't use a queen excluder until afer you have enough comb drawn out to fill your brood boxes and at least 2 or 3 honey supers. If you do want to use them so that you don't have brood in your honey supers you can wait until about a month before you pull honey to add the excluder. Then any brood above it will emerge and the comb will get back filled with honey. As long as you get the queen below it that is.

    If you use a queen excluder during the honey flow it will be more work to keep your bees from swarming. But it will also make it so that you have fewer boxes to inspect for queen cells.

    it seems that a llot of hobby bee keepers don't use them anymore - but commercial honey producers mostly do i think. If you use an excluder it won't really make your bees produce less honey - not so you would notice anyway - but the will store more of it below the excluder. So you won't have to feed them as much.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Queen excluder

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    If you do want to use them so that you don't have brood in your honey supers you can wait until about a month before you pull honey to add the excluder. Then any brood above it will emerge and the comb will get back filled with honey. As long as you get the queen below it that is.
    I put a super (and queen excluder) on one of my hives last week, 4 days later there were no bees in the super (but plenty beneath). So, I took off the queen excluder and will follow your advice here. Thanks (sorry keswickb didn't mean to highjack your thread).

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Queen excluder

    When they need that space they will go up, but as long as they are not out of room below they will be very reluctant to go through an excluder - which is kind of alright, because they will get the brood boxes fully stocked with honey before they go up into the supers. It's actually a good thing about the old tried and true method of using deep brood and shallow honey supers with an excluder always between them - if there is any honey in the supers that is yours, all honey below the excluder stays with the hive. It made it an easy call for new bee keepers and also results in pretty white honey combs that don't have brood cocoons in them - for what that's worth.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Queen excluder

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon B View Post
    A queen excluder is a honey excluder.
    Note: The Guinness book of World Records shows that a queen excluder was used on the record producing hive.
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Queen excluder

    Quote Originally Posted by keswickb View Post
    New bee, Just need to no the dos and don't of the queen excluder. Should I use one or not? Thank you for infor.
    Completely your call. If you're going to keep a few hives and you're not concerned about the effort required to pull honey and where the bees decide to keep brood, then by all means save your money. They are certainly not required, but I find much efficiency with their use. If you do decide to use it, PLEASE learn the proper way to use it. The link below has some good points.

    http://www.beesource.com/point-of-vi...oney-excluder/

    I employ them differently than how David Laferney suggests. The biggest difference is that I don't wait to have 2 or 3 honey supers drawn out. To me that somewhat defeats the purpose of the excluder. My goal is to get and maintain super comb that is brood-free. This is true even on a new package installations. The description that follows assumes that you're starting out with zero drawn comb - only foundation. I let them build up the brood area until they have sufficient population to even consider making honey in your area. Once they have reached this state, add one honey super (NO excluder - VERY important!!). Check back in a week. If the bees are actively drawing comb and storing honey/pollen/brood, then shake the bees down, making sure your queen is below and place the excluder on top of the brood area. Next place some type of upper entrance above the excluder (see the article above for justification). I use a shim, but others like to drill their supers. If after a week the colony is not actively working the super, then give them more time without an excluder. One of the most common mistakes is to place a box of foundation above the excluder and don't check back for a few weeks. That is a perfect prescription to induce swarming. Once you have bees actively working through the excluder then you can feel free to add more boxes of foundation. The following year, now that you have drawn comb, simply install the excluder over the brood boxes, add an upper entrance and you're good to go.

    A big advantage of using excluders is that if you keep brood out of your honey supers then subsequent storage is MUCH easier (wax moths become much less of a problem). So, I prefer to not get my queen laying in my supers (ever), but sometimes it not possible.

    Sometimes the bees are reluctant to use the upper entrance. In these cases you can throttle down the main entrance to entice an alternate path. If they still completely ignore the upper entrance you can close off the bottom at night and in the morning they will be using the upper entrance. DO NOT keep the entrance below the excluder blocked for more than a day or two - drones need to fly.

    Hope this helps
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Queen excluder

    There is a discussion on this about every other day. Try a search and you can find many opinions on the subject. Some as recent as the last few days...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Queen excluder

    Thanks everybody for the information. I read all the post in the forum, Just needed to make up my mind. So I took them off for now and Ill see whats happens.Ill get a better feel for it next year. Thank you Steve

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Queen excluder

    Quote Originally Posted by AstroBee View Post
    I employ them differently than how David Laferney suggests. The biggest difference is that I don't wait to have 2 or 3 honey supers drawn out.
    Thanks for your input about this - Other than a tentative experiment or two this is only my second year seriously using excluders. I started out not using them, because so many people were so adamant about how bad they were - including people that I know and respect. What I learned was that processing honey - which is my goal - is pretty tedious when you don't use excluders at all. But by the time I decided to learn to use them I already had a good bit of drawn comb. So, I certainly bow to your experience.

    I'm glad that the only response to the OP is not that "queen excluders are honey excluders." And the resource link you gave quantifies that pretty nicely with actual research using fairly scientific method. Thanks.

    And to anyone who says that queen excluders are honey excluders...



    OK, the top 2 supers have just been added and are empty - but the bottom 3 are full, and the next 3 are in varying stages of being filled - about 1/2 way through our honey flow. If you look close you can see excluders above the 3 bottom boxes and 2 - 1 1/8 holes just above the excluders. And yes I know my hives are ugly and need paint.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Queen excluder

    This POV by Jerry Hayes really changed how I think about and use queen excluders.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
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  13. #13
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    Default Re: Queen excluder

    I didn't know that is where you got the idea from, but I made the entrances just above the excluder because of a comment that you made. Works good - even though I may not be doing it "right" - Obviously there is a bottom entrance on those hives too.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Queen excluder

    Ultimately it comes down to personal preference. There are pros and cons to using them. It has been my experience that when the nectar flow slows down some hives don't work the super above the excluder, especially when there is a lot of foundation in the super. When there is a good flow and the supers above the excluder have plenty of drawn comb then the bees work the supers just fine.

    One issue I have had, is when an excluder has been on for some time and the bees have build a lot of wax though it, it can be difficult removing it without bending the wires. Once the spacing in the wires has been compromised the queen can get through to the supers.

    Dealing with frames of brood in some of the honey supers at the end of the summers hasn't been a big hassle for me.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Queen excluder

    Yes, I learned about those Jerry Hayes, experiments with excluders, about the same time I discovered that hoards of wild toads were depopulating most of my colonies by eating them from their traditional bottom entrances. In the experiment the control hives were having similar issues with skunks. I decided to eliminate the bottom entrances, which were making it way too easy for the toads. It worked like a charm.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Queen excluder

    David, does the wind blow in your area??????

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Queen excluder

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    What I learned was that processing honey - which is my goal - is pretty tedious when you don't use excluders at all.
    Exactly. Then throw into the mix at the end of a hard day as your standing admiring the stack of supers in your honey house (in your case LARGE stack - nice job!) you glance down at this "large" bee walking across the floor. Turns out she was one of your best queens that made 6 supers of honey...but where does she belong?.... tack on a couple more hours to resolve that issue and it quickly becomes very obvious the value of this tool.

    Congrats on your production!!
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Queen excluder

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon B View Post
    One issue I have had, is when an excluder has been on for some time and the bees have build a lot of wax though it, it can be difficult removing it without bending the wires.
    I use a heat gun to remove wax from the excluder..........works like a charm!
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  19. #19
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    Default Re: Queen excluder

    Quote Originally Posted by DRAKOS View Post
    David, does the wind blow in your area??????
    It does, and it has kept me up at night a time or two. If I am expecting high winds I usually put a strap around them. I keep them strapped all winter long even though they aren't stacked up like that just for good measure.

    But really, once they get full of nectar it is heavy enough that it would take a really high wind to blow it over. You need to picture this scene when you are building your hive stands though. They need to be really strong, and no higher than they have to be.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Queen excluder

    We resisted using the excluders for our first two years, for a couple of reasons. First, reading here a lot, we got into the mode of calling them 'honey excluders'. Second, we didn't have much / any drawn comb to place above the exclude. This year, we decided to do it differently. Spring came early, and the bees were working hard before the maples bloomed. I put an excluder on 3 of the hives, and placed a super of drawn comb above it. One of the hives was a late start last year, and didn't have all of the deeps drawn out in the double deep stack. Above the drawn comb, I placed a super of brand new plastic frames. 3 weeks ago, I was checking the hives. One of them had the first super mostly capped, and the empty frames mostly built. I extracted honey from the capped super, very early, but we were anxious to try pure maple honey. I took off 15 pounds of honey, then placed another super of bare plastic frames on top of the stack.

    Wind the clock forward. This week I was checking the hives again. The two strong ones, have fully built both of the supers that went on with bare plastic frames, and, the first super was fully capped on one, mostly capped on the other. I extracted the two capped supers early this week, and put the wet frames back on just above the excluder again.

    Thanks to my 'honey excluders', my two strongest hives have given us 65 pounds of maple honey, completely free of any brood in the frames. Both hives are BURSTING with bees. Note above the comment on swarm control. On tuesday, one of them swarmed, and I caught the swarm. It didn't fit into a 5 frame box, I had to add a second story because we are all out of 10 frame gear, so the swarm is in 5 frame 2 story gear. When I was putting the wet super back on the hive yesterday, cant even tell that it swarmed, it's bursting with bees. The third hive with excluder, that started out with plenty of frames left to build out in the deeps, has fully built the deeps, filled the drawn comb above the excluder with nectar, built out the super of bare frames, and is just now starting to cap honey in the first super.

    Our final conclusion, if you have drawn supers to work with, the excluder will indeed become a 'brood excluder', and, it does allow us to harvest selectively for varietal honey. We have 65 pounds of maple honey in the bucket, and, expect a similar amount of holly honey over the next few weeks, our bees are located in a holly orchard that is just starting to bloom.

    If this year is indicative of the norm, we wont run hives for honey without a 'brood excluder' again.

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