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I am experimenting with queen excluders (with top entrances) on some hives. In your experience will they draw comb above the excluder or must I get it drawn before putting it above excluder? Am short on drawn comb yet frustrated by my queens laying all over even where there's room below...

I know a lot of folks hate QE's...would love to hear from folks who use them below honey supers in their current yards.

Thanks in advance!
 

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Mix a frame of drawn comb in with the foundation above the excluder will sometimes work. Or shake the bees off a frame or two of brood to make sure you don't get the queen and put them in with the foundation, that will draw nurse bees through the excluder and the brood that hatches will think there supposed to come and go through the excluder. A top entrance will also help. JMHO
 

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I am experimenting with queen excluders (with top entrances) on some hives. In your experience will they draw comb above the excluder or must I get it drawn before putting it above excluder? Am short on drawn comb yet frustrated by my queens laying all over even where there's room below...

I know a lot of folks hate QE's...would love to hear from folks who use them below honey supers in their current yards.

Thanks in advance!

I have not had a problem. Perhaps being in Australia, some may consider the super is underneath , cheers
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I read the old thread, Clyderoad and that was helpful too. I have never seen a topic more "it will work fine and it helps/it doesn't work at all and sux." Wow. I guess this is why I need to experiment in my own yard and see what works with NC mountain bees. ;-) My bees didn't get the Michael Bush memo about not wanting brood all over the place! Still hoping they'll catch on! (re: http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?265119-Queen-excluders )

One of my new mentors is using an unframed QE, turned sideways so there is open space against two side walls, on his hives with the idea the queen is rarely traveling on the outside spaces. Since I'm using 8 frames, would have to cut a plastic excluder down to accomplish this, but may try it. I am more interested in making inspections easier than keeping brood in any particular place. When the hive is FULL with brood and honey all over the place in a tall hive and getting swarmy... it makes for a LOT of work...which is why I'm looking for advice per my previous question:
http://www.beesource.com/forums/sho...estions-for-more-efficient-inspection-process

In that old QE thread, it was helpful to read the queen wants to make drone cells and all-worker foundation may frustrate that. I want to try some open frames in between brood combs and see if they draw mostly drone.

Have had the challenge of enough drawn comb as my bees have been so prolific last year and this spring the yard has expanded a bit too much -- from 4 to 8 hives.

Thanks to you all. It means so much to be able to ask questions here and get different views and ideas.

blueridgebee
4th year beek; 8 hives
 

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If you really want to use an excluder, the secret is to get them going through it. Once you get them working on the other side of the excluder, yes, they will draw comb there. But if you give them no drawn comb above the excluder to start with, they often won't cross the excluder. Open brood on the other side of the excluder is a good way to get them going through the excluder.
 

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I run queen excludes on all my hives. When adding supers I put a couple frames of drawn comb in the new super. If all I have is foundation I will put the super on the hive without the queen excluded. Once they start drawing the foundation I will put the queen excluded on. I haven't had problems with my bees not drawing comb above the excluder. Another trick is to spraying the new foundation down with sugar water to draw the bees attention to new foundation.
 

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It seems most of the problems with excluders come from hives that have too much room for the bees below the excluder. Learn how to make more populace hives, and run a single deep brood chamber.

Crazy Roland
 

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I've been criticized locally for running single 10 frame deep brood boxes but I have had no problem using one. Knock on wood.....but it seems as long as I keep room in the supers and keep adding them they haven't felt the need to swarm like many think. They might not be as populated as running two deeps but I've had some putting up 4 medium supers for me to take in a season. Find what works for you is what I tell everyone. Beekeeping like everything is full of opinions.
 

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It seems most of the problems with excluders come from hives that have too much room for the bees below the excluder.
Crazy Roland
Exactly, which means if theyre working above an excluder your brood nest is probably backfilled. Not a good thing for early spring. Something else you could try after swarming season is over move the queen down a couple months before extraction and add excluder
 

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dFortune, guess again. No backfilling here. The queen always has empty frames in front of her.
:thumbsup: That's it. The speed the queen is laying eggs is more or less fixed. If you provide too many brood combs the queen needs longer to move on her "laying path" from one end to the other. Longer distance, same laying speed. This results in free cells by emerging brood that do not immediately receives eggs after they are freed. Free cells = bees putting pollen and nectar into it. When the queen comes back to that cells from her journey through the hive, she founds no or little free cells to lay eggs into. You end up with pollen and nectar and brood clogged combs.

The masterhood of beekeeping is to phase/synchronize the distance and speed of the laying pattern of the queen. By adjusting the size of the broodnest to the performance of a queen.

You end up with a well-tuned broodnest. The queen returns exactly to the first cell she layed eggs into at the time the brood emerges. Since the brood emerges at the speed the queen is laying eggs, the queen has the chance to fill all emtpy cells with eggs. And not being outpaced by the workers.

It is quite simple. After wintering, very very early, remove all combs out of the broodnest that are not covered by the cluster. This way you adjust the broodnest to the performance of the queen, because the overwintered cluster pretty much shows the capacity of that queen. (If all else is ruled out, like varroa, starvation and so.) Do not add more combs to the broodnest until well into the season. I know it is hard to resist seeing all those bees crowding. Instead add supers! Have more supers on than bees are in that hive. Bees will fill those supers and even build lots of comb in no time this way.

That is pretty much it. The other approach would be providing lots and lots of brood boxes, so somewhere in the brood boxes is a free cell for the queen to lay an egg into. But I found this a waste of ressources and additionally when the broodnest is more compact and tight, the warmer it is. You also end up with more honey in the supers instead in the brood combs. A nice side effect is, that you can make some honey even with smaller colonies.

And you have less swarming. Which is because you have much less combs to go through breaking cells. I keep bees successfully on 8-10 deep brood combs. Much less work, less ressources, maximized honey per box ratio.

And this way you have no problems at all bees going through the excluder and drawing lots and lots of combs. Just do not add more combs to the broodnest. The broodnest doesn't need so many cells for the brood. In fact during the first month of spring only one fixed number of brood cells is needed. No need to increase the number of brood combs. That only triggers nectar and pollen storage in the brood boxes.
 
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