I dont use them. When there is space in the brood chamber the queen has no incentive to lay helter skelter. Just add a bar if it seems almost full for new combs to be built. If a bar has brood and honey mixed, i just leave that bar for the bees. I seem to have plenty of just pure honey comb in the rear during good flows.
Plus my hives, like my bees, are from recycled materials. I dont have the tight hive tolerances that would allow for a queen excluder. She could always find a way around it in my hives if motivated enough. There are bee sized gaps around my follower boards. So in my case its not worth the effort trying even if i wanted.
My entrances are on one end. The brood area is right there at the entrance. So when i work from the back, I always hit honey and/or new comb well before the brood. That way i dont chill the brood if i have no reason to check that far in.
I have holes drilled in mine for entrances. But Michael Bush has me convinced to just use the extra space created by bars not fitting exactly as a gap entrance on one end of the hive.
Specializing in STS2 bees - South Texas Survivor Stock
I have tried them but did not see a benefit. Like Txbeek my entrances are at the end and the queen keeps the broodnest near the front of the hive. The only effect I saw from using the excluder was negative. The bees were less inclined to move across it and build new comb and as a result were more prone to beginning swarming preparations.
This year I will however use excluders in a variation of the Demaree method of swarm control while I am on vacation and away from the hives for a few weeks. That should be interesting.
Buy the book by Wyatt Mangum on TBH beekeeping: http://www.tbhsbywam.com One of the best beekeeping books I have and I own a lot of them. Lots of bee wisdom and experience in it. He does use a vertical queen excluder.
I will quote the ever practical beekeeper Isaac Hopkins:
“Queen Excluders... are very useful in queen rearing, and in uniting colonies; but for the purpose they are generally used, viz., for confining the queen to the lower hive through the honey season, I have no hesitation in condemning them. As I have gone into this question fully on a previous occasion, I will quote my remarks:—
“The most important point to observe during the honey season in working to secure a maximum crop of honey is to keep down swarming, and the main factors to this end, as I have previously stated, are ample ventilation of the hives, and adequate working-room for the bees. When either or both these conditions are absent, swarming is bound to take place. The free ventilation of a hive containing a strong colony is not so easily secured in the height of the honey season, even under the best conditions, that we can afford to take liberties with it; and when the ventilating—space between the lower and upper boxes is more than half cut off by a queen-excluder, the interior becomes almost unbearable on hot days. The results under such circumstances are that a very large force of bees that should be out working are employed fanning-, both inside and out, and often a considerable part of the colony will be hanging outside the hive in enforced idleness until it is ready to swarm.
"Another evil caused by queen-excluders, and tending to the same end—swarming—is that during a brisk honey-flow the bees will not readily travel through them to deposit their loads of surplus honey in the supers, but do store large quantities in the breeding-combs, and thus block the breeding-space. This is bad enough at any time, but the evil is accentuated when it occurs in the latter part of the season. A good queen gets the credit of laying from two to three thousand eggs per day: supposing she is blocked for a few days, and loses the opportunity of laying, say, from fifteen hundred to two thousand eggs each day, the colony would quickly dwindle down, especially as the average life of the bee in the honey season is only about six weeks.
"For my part I care not where the queen lays—the more bees the more honey. If she lays in some of the super combs it can be readily rectified now and again by putting the brood below, and side combs of honey from the lower box above; some of the emerging brood also may be placed at the side of the upper box to give plenty of room below. I have seen excluders on in the latter part of the season, the queens idle for want of room, and very little brood in the hives, just at a time when it is of very great importance that there should be plenty of young bees emerging.”--Isaac Hopkins, The Australasian Bee Manual
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