queen excluder didn't work
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  1. #1
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    Apr 2009
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    Default queen excluder didn't work

    The good news is, the hive accepted the new queen and she quickly went to work... tons of brood, larvae and eggs in just a week! The bad news is, even though I put her in the bottom super with another large super above then a queen excluder with a medium super on top, she apparently started on top (where brood and larvae now are) and then went to the middle box which has tiny eggs.

    So what do I do to have a box of honey with no brood if the queen excluder doesn't work?

    This hive had a virgin (I assume) queen which I am almost positive I squashed when putting in the queen cage. When I saw her, I might have split the hive (again), but there were NO eggs, larvae or brood of any size. The new queen was marked, but when I saw her today, she wasn't. I'm assuming (though yes, I know what assuming does!) they just cleaned her off and she is the one I purchased since the laying activity has drastically changed this week. The hive has a much better temperment as well, since they are no longer in peril. Don't queen excluders normally work? She didn't look any smaller than any other queen to my somewhat inexperienced eyes anyway.

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  3. #2
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    May 2008
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    Snowmass, Colorado, USA
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    Default

    It doesn't sound like this is your marked queen and that you may not have gotten rid of the new queen. If they found each other and battled it out then she reigns supreme. Queen excluder's do work, but they must be placed correctly. We use them exclusively for splits. I would re-adjust it after shaking all the bees to the lower supers. The nurse bees will come back through the queen excluder and tend to the brood. Once they all hatch out then you should have a brood free super for them to store honey.
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid.” John Wayne

  4. #3
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    Apr 2009
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    Azle, TX, USA
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    Default

    That's a good idea! Thanks! You could be right about the queen's but, I do know that the queen they made and I was pretty sure I got rid of, had laid NO eggs. And as soon as I put the purchased queen in, production started pronto and in huge quantities. She wasn't marked very well to start with...I noticed that while she was in the cage. Or the attendants had already taken some off of her while grooming. I knew that happened but thought it took longer. I guess another possibility is there was another queen that had just hatched that I hadn't seen the other time. I had split the hive because they were trying to swarm...took the original queen, some brood and honey, etc. and started new hive and left a few queen cells, brood and honey. When no eggs appeared after 3 weeks I ordered new queen. Probably would have been sooner, but weather interferred. So when I took out the "virgin" queen and installed the queen cage, it had been close to 4 weeks with no laying. That's why I was pretty sure it came from the new queen.

    I didn't think there was but one way to put on a queen excluder - laid flat between the supers. Is there something else to it? Could I have one queen laying on one side of the excluder and another laying on the other? Darn, I think I ended up taking the exlcuder out. Might could have split with 2 queens. I didn't see a queen in the bottom 2 supers by the way, just small eggs in the middle one.
    Terri

  5. #4
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    May 2007
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    Alberta Canada
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    Default

    So what do I do to have a box of honey with no brood if the queen excluder doesn't work?
    Queen excluders work just fine, I always use an excluder under my honey supers and always get lots of honey.

  6. #5
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    Feb 2009
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    Knox County, Ohio
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    If it is a metal excluder, make sure none of the wires got bent. All it takes is something bumping the excluder and bending a wire, and the queen can get through.

    Why not run an unlimited broodnest and give the queen all the space she wants to lay in?

  7. #6
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    Apr 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by Countryboy View Post
    Why not run an unlimited broodnest and give the queen all the space she wants to lay in?
    I thought it was harder to get honey for extracting without an excluder? But I haven't yet extracted any, so I'm open to other suggestions! I got my hives after the honey had been taken last July.

    Terri

  8. #7
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    Mar 2008
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    Ennis, TX USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by terri lynn View Post
    I thought it was harder to get honey for extracting without an excluder? But I haven't yet extracted any, so I'm open to other suggestions! I got my hives after the honey had been taken last July.
    Terri
    Your gonna get a half and half on this. Meaning half run and half don't use excluders. I would do half and half. Run half with and half without. Next year you will run all with or without. I guess I am split down the middle on this.
    Chuck Norris has a grizzly bear carpet in his room. The bear isn't dead it is just afraid to move.

  9. #8
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    Mar 2008
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    Orting, Washington
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    when the first super is full of honey i have had good luck with removing the excluder and leaving the full super on, your queen should rarely go across the full super. You can have alot of different feed back on this. just do what works for you.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    terri lynn first writes:
    I do know that the queen they made and I was pretty sure I got rid of, had laid NO eggs.

    and then...
    Could I have one queen laying on one side of the excluder and another laying on the other? Darn, I think I ended up taking the exlcuder out. Might could have split with 2 queens. I didn't see a queen in the bottom 2 supers by the way, just small eggs in the middle one.

    tecumseh:
    it is not that unusual to have more than one virgin queen emerge and coexist in a hive for a short period of time.

    if you only saw small eggs in one box this suggest a new queen in that general vacinity.

    based on the clues presented I would suspect you may have two queens in the box (but maybe not). typically without a hive being truely queenless this makes introduction of a mated queen difficult.

    lastly the temperment of a hive should change dramatically when new larvae begins showing up in a hive.

  11. #10
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    Aug 2008
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    Claremont, NH, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by terri lynn View Post
    I thought it was harder to get honey for extracting without an excluder? But I haven't yet extracted any, so I'm open to other suggestions! I got my hives after the honey had been taken last July.

    Terri
    I don't use an excluder. But, I run three deeps for the main hive, so there is pretty much unlimited room for brood. A good queen will lay in all three deeps, but they don't get more than about halfway up the top deep. After that, it is all honey.

    Bill
    “If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive.” - Dale Carnegie

  12. #11

    Default

    Queen excluders normally work but as someone mentioned, if it is metal a wire can sometimes be only slightly bent and allow the queen to pass. In critical applications, such as on finisher hives, we run two excluders to make sure she stays down.
    It sounds to me there is a good chance that there was another queen when you introduced your boughten one. Maybe the excluder was the barrier allowing them to coexist.
    We run excluders to keep her out of the honey supers. Not only do we not want her in the honey supers because it will darken the comb, it is a time consideration. We do not want to wait for brood to hatch in order to pull supers for extracting; we need to start early July to get done.
    Sheri

  13. #12
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    Apr 2003
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    I never use a queen excluder and get honey just fine. When the nectar gets rolling, the bees will fill the cells that hatch with the nectar and the queen won't lay there. This has the effect of pushing the queen down. You end up with the top boxes honey and brood below by extracting time. I seldom get to extracting season in July with brood in more than the lower 3 mediums if there is any flow that year. I haven't seen any problems using dark comb for extracted honey either. Cut comb is different.

  14. #13
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    Apr 2009
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    Azle, TX, USA
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    lastly the temperment of a hive should change dramatically when new larvae begins showing up in a hive.[/QUOTE]

    Their temperment did dramatically change after I added the purchased queen and all the larvae appeared. Of course, I guess it could have been if there were 2 queens laying even more!

  15. #14
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    I appreciate all the great discussion here. It sure makes me feel better that if I screw up, there are alternatives! I'm eager now to go back in and look again - will take a good look at the excluder as well.
    Terri

  16. #15
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    Don't take frames to harvest that have brood in them. It really is just that simple...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  17. #16
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    Some hives seem to build up faster if they are allowed to build their brood nest vertically. I don't put an excluder on in the spring and let the bees decide how to build their nest. Just before a honey flow I will go into a vertical colony and move all fromes with brood and the queen under an excluder (about May in my area). I a colony has not shown a tendancy to build vertically I don't use an excluder. This of course assumes that you don't have hundreds of hives to take care of and are able to keep track of what the differant hives are doing.
    doug

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ross View Post
    I seldom get to extracting season in July with brood....I haven't seen any problems using dark comb for extracted honey either. ..
    Ross, I like the light beeswax. Our extracting crew takes the caps down fairly deep and it will darken the beeswax.
    Up here, with our honey flows, we WILL see brood in the supers until later, much later, and we don't have time to sort through and consolide. We made an increase last year and didn't have excluders for everything, it was a nuisance to sort that brood out in the yards. Sometimes "seldom" isn't good enough. I assume honey flows and brood nest expansion differs by area. To each their own; it works for us.
    Sheri

  19. #18
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    Our flows are shorter here. That may have something to do with it. The flows die about the time they are capping. It works out well. Capped out honey just doesn't leave a place for the queen to lay. On the other hand, if you don't pull it and harvest, they will eat it all. Dark wax? I don't worry about it, but you may need to.

  20. #19
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    Apr 2005
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    for myself dark wax equates to darker honey. no large problem for myself since I sell direct and some customers like their honey dark and some like it light... my task is to have a bit of both. however....having done a good deal of work for commercial concerns who sell their product by the barrel the price received is directly impacted by the color of the honey. even a discount of a few pennies for the darker honey when multiplied by tons of honey can yield a serious $ number to a commercial concerns bottom line.

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