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I'm going to make some queen excluders by cutting holes using a CNC in some 1x lumber for a special project.

What is the optimal size for the slots? I've heard 1/5 hardware cloth works, which is .2", should I just cut .2" round holes, or .2" slots of a certain width? These will have rounded corners unlike the square corners in hardware cloth, not sure if that matters since bees are round.
 

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I suspect that cutting slots almost the length of the excluder would be best. I think holes would make for too much work for the bees to get through. Cutting them the full length would weaken the wood because of the grain too?
Why are you making these? Bee may be "round" but they can flatten out easily and maybe that is why long shapes that are .2" wide work. Even #5 HW cloth has a diagonal which is a fair bit more area than the same cross section used for a circle diameter??
 

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The distance between the wires of a queen excluder is .162 inches. In some cases it is better to not try to invent the wheel, it is better to purchase factory made excluders.
 

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Queen excluders are normally wire, or sheet metal punched with holes. I think using 1x lumber will make it's thickness an issue. The holes may need to be a little larger than the wire or sheet metal excluders? Slots may be a much better way with that thickness of lumber? I dunno, just thought I'd speak out a thought as it flew through my empty head. :D
 

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A nice smooth metal excluder will be less hard on the bees wings than anything you can build (unless it's nice smooth round metal...). If I were doing a homemade one I would just use the #5 hardware cloth. A round hole of a fifth of an inch is not the same room as a square one...
 
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