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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know what the queen excluders are for and I have tried them this year on some of my hives but the bees refused to use any of the frames above the excluder. I want to make the honey removal easier than hand picking through the frames looking for frames with little to no brood.

I even placed a hive top feeder above the excluder and the bees bypassed the super put all honey and sugar syrup in the brood boxes(I use 2 deep for brood). They didnt even draw out any of the foundation in the super.
 

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Not unusual. That's why the few excluders I have are not on any of my hives.


Baiting them up into the next box with some brood works, but only if you have the same size frames in the brood boxes as you have in the supers.

Some people leave out the excluder until the bees are working the supers and then put it back in.

Some people turn the excluder 90 degress so there is a large gap at either end and it acts as a queen discourager. The queen CAN get by but doesn't like to.
 

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Excluders work best on a strong hive ,drawn comb, with a good honeyflow.Its best to leave them off when getting foundation drawn, at least until most of it is drawn.You can then shake or drive the bees down(in case the queen is there) and put on the excluder.The bees will move right back up (minus the queen).
 

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I use queen excluders for cut comb honey they work great,if i put them on the hive i would have no comb honey to cut.this what i believe if your queen lays in your honey super above 2 deep what a great queen that lays that well and needs more room.Do not discurage her let her do here thing.Even if you get brood in the honey super the queen wull slow down in the fall the brood will emerge and the bees will fill empty spot with honey.So unless you are makeing comb honey what did you lose?
 

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so you now know why some old beekeepers call queen excluders honey excluders... I keep a few around, but I only utilize them for queen rearing purposes.
 

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No need to let a queen lay in the supers when there is plenty of room below.No queen needs more than 2 boxes and most less than that.
 

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I keep an excluder on each hive, year-round. When the colonies are building up or wintering the excluder is on top, just below the inner cover. Once the flow is about to begin I put the honey supers on top of it and the inner cover on top of those. I sure haven't noticed it slowing down the bees from using the supers. I may experiment next season to see if the bees do any different without one.
 

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os,

Mike is right. Not unusual for the bees to "bypass" the super of foundation. It can be hard for bees to draw out foundation with an excluder below. This behaviour however should not be a discouragement from using an excluder if you choose to use one. I had some hives that did the very same thing. I took off the excluder and let them "freely" come up. I waited about two or three days and checked again. When I noticed quite a few bees up in the super and they had started drawing it out, then I put the excluder back in. Of course make sure you don't trap the queen. Most of the time she will be downstairs but on one occasion I had one go up and be in the super. Worked like a charm for me.

And of course you was using all same size boxes you could also bait them by temporarily placing a frame of brood up there.


Good luck!
 

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Queen excluders are handy to have around when you need them for various and sundry management tasks but as a rule I don't use them to keep the queen out of the supers. If and when I do try for some cut comb I'll probably use one only as long as needed.

I do have one queen that moved right into the super and set up shop. Earlier this summer I pulled the super and went through the 2 deeps and found NO BROOD and concluded the hive was queenless. When I went through the hive the next day, frame by frame including the super I discovered the queen happily laying up a storm in the shallow. With the queen "upstairs" the bees also ignored the deeps pretty much- the second deep was largely undeveloped.

At the time I simply reversed the boxes- I put the shallow on the bottom and when the queen started laying in the deeps again I put the super back on top, on top of an exluder. The last of the brood is almost out of there now. This was an extreme case! On most of my hives (which came with 1 deep and 1 shallow) the queens have laid some eggs in the shallows but most of them are now hunkering down in the deeps where they belong.

I've picked up a lot of used equipment this year and MOST of it came with excluders- I've got about 2 dozen of them. I gather from this that the use of excluders was more prevalent in the past than it is today. Part of this is due to the fact that cut comb production was more popular in the past and excluders do lend themselves to this style of production. Also, from reading older texts it seems like queen excluders- and drone-traps for that matter- were all the rage whether there was a legitimate reason for using them or not.

George-
 

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Another soultion to not using an excluder but keeping the queen from laying int he supers is to use 7/11 foundation in the supers. The queen does not like to lay in this in between size. It is also a bit of a discourager rather than an excluder. If you don't leave enough drone comb below she will sometimes lay a few drones in the 7/11. 7/11 is 5.6mm. Drone foudnation is 6.6mm. "Normal" foundation is 5.4mm.
 

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This subject comes up often-whenever beekeeps are bored and have time to argue!I concluded long ago that its a local thing if excluders are counter productive or not.But dont forget that many commercial honey producers use them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I would like to thanks everyone for their input. This is my real first(full) year beekeeping. I have about a dozen hives and some had excluders and some did not. All hives are deeps throughout. The ones with the excluders were ignored and the one without excluders had about 20 percent brood in the 10 frames. Next year Im going to convert over to 9 frame deeps for my supers and forget the excluders(just deal with the brood). I guess it has been a good learning year for me...
 
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