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Ive noticed that a lot of BEEKS swear by them and others say to throw them in the trash

whats the reality about these things?

Do they SLOW honey production down?
are they really necassary?
what happens if I dont use one?

thanks
 

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Positives - queen cannot lay eggs on the other side
Negatives - queen will not usually cross the honey barrier given adequate cells to lay in the brood chamber, bees full of nectar do not like to squeeze through to fill undrawn foundation into comb, bees would chose easier location than squeezing through with a load anytime, a small scale test had these results http://www.beesource.com/point-of-view/jerry-hayes/queen-excluder-or-honey-excluder/
an entrance over the excluder nullifies the question entirely the bees will take the easiest path
 

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http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfaqs.htm#excluders

The use of queen excluders has been controversial among beekeepers since the early days of their existence. I quit using them very early in my beekeeping. The bees did not want to go through them and they did not want to work the supers on the other side of them. They seemed very unnatural and constraining to me. I think they are handy to have around for things like queen rearing or a desperate attempt to find a queen, but I don't commonly use them.

The reasoning for using them:

The queen will be easier to find if I can narrow down the area I have to look. But I find the area I have to look is pretty narrow. I seldom find her other than where the highest concentration of bees is and that usually narrows it to a few frames. But this is a good reason if you need to find the queen often. In queen rearing this can be once a week or so and a queen excluder can save you some time.

Preventing brood in the supers. The only reasons I've seen a queen lay in the supers are, that she ran out of room in the brood nest, therefore she would have swarmed if she couldn't, or she wanted room to lay drones and there is no drone comb in the brood nest. If you don't want brood in the supers, give them some drone comb in the brood nest and you will have made great strides in this regard. Also, if you use all the same size box, you'll have no problem IF she lays in the "supers" putting those frames back down in the brood nest, and if you use no chemicals, you can steal a frame of honey from there to fill out your super.

If you want to use them

If you want to use an excluder, remember you have to get the bees going through it. Using all the same sized boxes, again, will help in this regard as you can put a couple of frames of open brood above the excluder (being careful not to get the queen of course) and get them going through the excluder. When they are working the super you can put them back down in the brood nest. Another option (especially if you don't have the same sized boxes) is to leave out the excluder until they are working the first super and then put it in (again making sure the queen is below it and the drones have a way out the top somewhere).

"Beginning beekeepers should not attempt to use queen excluders to prevent brood in supers. However they probably should have one excluder on hand to use as an aide in either finding the queen or restrincting her access to frames that the beekeeper must want to move elsewhere" -The How-To-Do-It book of Beekeeping, Richard Taylor
 

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Excluders are one of the most useful beekeeping tools there are but like many other tools you must learn how to use it.

Foolish to throw them away.
 

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One thing is certain - An excluder that adequately performs it's intended function will limit brood volume in the build up. Why would you want to limit brood volume when more bees are created by the increased brood and population is the key to increased honey production??

Yes, you might have some limited brood or pollen in honey supers at harvest time. Which would you rather have: two supers of all honey, or 5 supers that are 10% (in two of them) brood/pollen? The brood can be lowered at harvest and the pollen put back on for clean up by consumption. If honey production is important, it's no contest, IMO.

Walt
 

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Anyone read that article of the small scale test that AmericasBeekeeper posted?

I found it interesting about the top entrance results.

But i had a question about the top entrance with the excluder. It was briefly mentioned that the bees will be less prone to go down to the deeps and instead go to the supers, and that could be a problem if no honey goes down to the deeps. Can anyone clarify on this...

after reading it, i was intrigued by the top entrance hives.

Pablo
 

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Yes, since there is less honey in the brood super, wonder why it is called that, the queen lays more brood in the super. There are also more cells open for pollen which is more important to brood production and queen health than honey. With more brood emerging there are more bees to forage in a few weeks bringing in more honey. Sure they eat more honey. It takes honey to make honey. The biggest drawback is when the beekeeper takes all their stores. With the disorganized hive there is almost enough that they can scrape through the winter with a smaller cluster as the queen cuts back due to constrained resources. My Dad got into beekeeping a few years after me. He did not catch the part about leaving a super of honey for the winter. I do not use a honey excluder in the three teaching hives except for one cycle between classes to show the benefit and consequences. I have not been top bar hivekeeping long enough to consider an excluder in that hive. They did not have excluders when top bar and long hives were used hundreds of years ago.
 
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