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I've been hearing mixed reviews about the use of Queen excluders. Many people don't like them because they think it blocks most bees. If I drilled a hole in the supers above the excluder, would that help? (Giving them an upper entrance) This is my first year and I would rather play it safe and use the excluder.
 

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Queen excluders don't block bees, they go through it just fine once they get used to it being there. They must have a reason to go above the excluder, like a super of empty drawn comb, or a super with at least a couple drawn combs and the rest foundation. A super of nothing but foundation is normally not enough of a reason for most colonies to cross an excluder, however some will do it better than others. Many times a hive with all brood frames drawn and being used, and a booming population of bees will go right through the excluder to draw a box of foundation, but sometimes they don't and try to swarm instead. An upper entrance probably won't help much with a box of foundation, drawn comb, yes.
 

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All that I have in the super is 9 frames of foundation...i might visit my bee supplier and see if I can get some empty comb frames from him.
 

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What are you using for the brood nest, and how is the population of bees in the hive? When you open the hive, are there lots of bees between every frame of the brood nest?
 

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To me it doesn't hurt if i get some brood in a super. I can't tell the difference in honey. Some say it makes it a little darker if its in brood comb bit i like the different color honey any way. That is a good idea to get some drawn comb if you can. I don't have a problem with excluder but they need to be started in the box above it before you add the excluder.

On a side note why do you have 9 frames. if they are only foundation They will probably mess it up. to go with 9 frames in a 10 frame box you need drawn comb.
 

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I've been hearing mixed reviews about the use of Queen excluders. Many people don't like them because they think it blocks most bees. If I drilled a hole in the supers above the excluder, would that help? (Giving them an upper entrance) This is my first year and I would rather play it safe and use the excluder.
Sigh... everything you may ever want to know about a QE or not a QE. It appears it is a mixed bag and milage may vary with use. But if there is a concensus, it is that plain foundation above and excluder is very rarely successful (at least not to beginn with)

http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?299088-queen-excluder-or-not

If you decide to use one, I would follow AstroBee's advice.
 

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More sighs.......EVERYTHING (yup EVERYTHING) you ever wanted to know about an excluder is posted on BS. Just do a search and three years from now you'll have read it all! :popcorn:
 

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The queens that I don't want to lose all have excluders on the entrances. The bees seem to bring in just as many stores as the other hives.
 

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In another recent discussion, there was a link to an apparently reputable study. As I recall, there were 3 configurations -
1: excluder,
2:excluder with upper entrance, and
3:no excluder.

#1 had significantly lower honey production, approx 1/3 the other 2, as I recall (perhaps someone can find the link?).
#2 was a bit less than #3

Translation, if you are going to use an excluder, provide an upper entrance.
With a new hive and foundation, you can simply insert the excluder after they begin drawing it out. You can also wait, and insert the excluder 3 weeks before you pull the honey. And/or combine with the other applicable techniques already discussed.

The least productive thing to do would be excluder/foundation/no upper entrance
 

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I don't use them, but they suit other people, and in some cases probably work better than an unlimited brood nest. I may try some and see if that makes a difference when I have enough hives to experiment with.

Queen excluders definitely have legitimate uses, but whether or not you use one to keep brood out of your honey supers is a personal choice, and may depend on how you manage your hives. They are neither good nor bad, they are a tool to use for specific purposes.

Improperly used they can cause problems, for example putting an excluder under a super of foundation. The bees are quite likely to consider the excluder the top of the hive and completely ignore the foundation. Drawn comb is different (for one thing, it smells different) and they will go right through.

Peter
 

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I am using QE's on some hives this year for the first time and am really liking the results so far. I'd avoided them due to so much criticism/controversy before. A local mentor showed me his method and it has worked great. I find I don't have to disturb the broodnest for honey-related reasons nearly as much as when I did not use them. I'm trying out a QE over three 8-frame mediums used for broodnest, plus top entrances over the QE. So far this has worked really well and I'll post here for other newer beeks to consider.

What seems to really matter is *not* putting the QE on till the hive is nicely booming, then pulling some frames from below that are part-filled with nectar (I use all mediums) to bait the new box I'm placing above the excluder and alternate those nectar-frames with foundation if I don't have drawn comb. I replace what I took from below with foundation. All of this only once the flow is going and the bees need more room too. I'm getting a LOT more comb drawn out this year this way, which I need and ironically, better honey production than I've had in the past, probably due to the easier management.

Since my apiary has expanded a lot last year and this spring, I'm short on drawn comb so it's been easy with the QE on to pull frames of capped honey, go extract them and pop them right back on for the bees to work again. All without disturbing anyone below the QE. This has been GREAT.

My mentor uses another trick I may try- with a flat excluder (no wood on edges) he turns it sideways so that it does not cover the bee space between the two outermost frames and the box sides. It seems to give them another easy path to stash honey and since the queen is less likely to be traveling on the outermost frames, still works in most cases to keep her in her realm.

Anyway, using the QEs has been totally different than I imagined it to be from reading about it. Especially after my mentor pointed out the most critical parts: not putting them on without a good flow, top entrances, and something to lure them to learn to cross it.
 
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