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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Plumas County, California, USA
    Posts
    34

    Default Queen excluder: Pros and cons, please

    This will be my first year keeping bees, I'm getting two nucs in April. I'm trying to think ahead to future issues and problems. I've read both pros and cons about using queen excluders between the hive body and the super. The chief problem seems to be hindering bees from entering the super and storing honey. I've heard that using a frame of drawn comb in a super will attract the bees, but of course I won't have any this first year. I'll be using plasticell foundation with a beeswax coating. How do you solve the problem getting the bees into the super or keeping the queen out?

    I've thought about adding 1 medium frame to the hive body to get some comb on it, but don't know if that would really work. Or adding extra beeswax to the super frames (there's this thread about adding wax in general: http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...Plastic-Frames) to attract them.

    Any ideas appreciated. Thanks a bunch.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Shreveport, Louisiana, USA
    Posts
    2,289

    Default Re: Queen excluder: Pros and cons, please

    Quote Originally Posted by cconnell View Post
    Any ideas appreciated. Thanks a bunch.
    What is your purpose for using a queen excluder? I've not had any problems with bees going through them. If you have a good reason to use it, figure out (or ask) where it needs to be to accomplish that purpose. I would not use it just to use it. If you want to know whether you should use one, how are you planning to extract honey, what is your hive configuration (what size boxes are you using and what kind of foundation), and what kind of queen are you getting, if you know?
    David
    "Performance speaks louder than math." Michael Palmer

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Manning, SC
    Posts
    4,552

    Default Re: Queen excluder: Pros and cons, please

    Rule of thumb,
    If you don't have drawn comb to place above the excluder and are not producing comb honey, don't use it.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Greenbrae, CA, USA
    Posts
    627

    Default Re: Queen excluder: Pros and cons, please

    It seems as though you did some research on this subject... If so you'll have found that there are many opinions about this subject and no real answer. Some use them all the time and love them, some never use, and some (like me) use sometimes. About the only consistent opinion per SNL is that it's a bad idea to use them unless you have drawn comb as they're less likely to cross the QE to access new foundation. I'd suggest that as a new keeper you keep things simple and don't use them, one less thing to worry about. When you have extra comb in future years you can have more flexibility.

    Worst thing that happens is you get some brood in your super. They'll either backfill it or later on you can push the queen down and put an excluder above her. The brood will hatch out and then they'll fill with honey.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Lexington, VA, USA
    Posts
    376

    Default Re: Queen excluder: Pros and cons, please

    Get a couple to have on hand. You will probably find them useful one day. I use them in making splits to help locate the queen. Also, use them in the spring nectar flow coupled with Imirie shims. At harvest time they are used again to make sure I have isolated the queen below. Often, to harvest I blow some of the bees out of the supers and I don't want to worry about the queen. After harvest and any last splits, I remove them. The fall flow is for the bees so QE's are not needed.
    I also use them in the winter to make candy/pollen sub platform on hives that need them.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    3,724

    Default Re: Queen excluder: Pros and cons, please

    I'll add this: the wood framed, metal ones are the best because they preserve bee-space in both boxes. The all-metal ones the next best. The plastic ones often up being cut down for various other projects/uses.

    I'd suggest getting a wood-framed metal one to have on hand, even if you don't intend (or can't w/o drawn comb) to use if for it's official purpose right away There are lots of other points when separating out the queen is desired and this is an effective way to do it.

    Yeah, I know they cost more, but it's just money.

    Enj,

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Plumas County, California, USA
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: Queen excluder: Pros and cons, please

    Thanks for the replies.

    For clarification, The purpose of the excluder in this case it to separate the honey supers from the deep hive boxes. I realize that with a first year operation I may not get honey; but we've also had a really wet winter and I expect a huge bloom when it finally happens.

    I'm using deep hives boxes with medium supers on top.

    From responses, looks like my best plan would be to give the bees free access to the supers and then keep track of the queen location or insert the excluder, if needed, after some comb has been drawn.

    I'm curious, though: has anybody ever tried placing a medium frame in a deep to get drawn comb, and then what happens? Is it effective or a bigger problem? I imagine the bees would try to build comb below the medium frame to the bottom of the deep hive space, which probably creates other difficulties. I could foresee various rigged up solutions but with varying outcomes.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Greenbrae, CA, USA
    Posts
    627

    Default Re: Queen excluder: Pros and cons, please

    Quote Originally Posted by cconnell View Post
    I imagine the bees would try to build comb below the medium frame to the bottom of the deep hive space, which probably creates other difficulties.
    Yep. Not worth the hassle.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Plumas County, California, USA
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: Queen excluder: Pros and cons, please

    Quote Originally Posted by bison View Post
    Yep. Not worth the hassle.
    Thanks. Kinda what I thought.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    JACKSON OHIO
    Posts
    535

    Default Re: Queen excluder: Pros and cons, please

    I have done a lot of cutouts and never found a excluder in a wall or tree. Let the bees be bees they know what there doing and have been for millions of years. I run 2 deeps and med supers if in the spring the queen is in the top box switch them and add supers they will fill the top with honey just like they do in walls and trees.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Plumas County, California, USA
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: Queen excluder: Pros and cons, please

    Wadehump, That sounds like reasonable advice. Thanks.

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