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Discussion Starter #1
Which do you use?

I have the plastic ones now but seems the bees are doing their best to fill in the spaces.

What is the best way to clean the plastic excluders?
 

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They fill the metal ones too. Put them in the freezer and then clean with hive tool or putty knife. I find that the plastic ones are easier to clean because you can bend them and the wax and propolis will come off easier after freezing. J
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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When my QEs get propolized, I set them out and the bees scavenge the propolis off of them, leaving them pretty clean.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Which is better for the working bees?
Plastic? or Metal?

I just have two of each and used the plastic excluders this year because I head it was easier on the worker bees longevity.

Hey JW you are a busy man.

My bees did well this year even with my help. Thanks, Jim
 

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I use metal but they should be taken out before the winter cold in our climate, as they will act as a cold metal shelf in a freezer during the winter. I leave them sit out until first cost and them scapulas them. I used them this year for single deeps but dont care for them with doubles.
 

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I know JimD asked for what is better, but why use them at all? If you don't use them you don't need to clean or worry about them.

I don't use any, don't see the sense for the bees having to squeeze through them, plastic or steel. Would you want to have to go through a 10" or 12" door 100 times a day?

My mentor now has 14,000 hives and not one QE. The problem is not the lack of a QE between supers and BB's (brood boxes) if you have brood in your supers, but that the queen needed room. Narrow spacing of the frames in BB's and wide spaces in the supers help. MHO.
 

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I find they are really handy for queen rearing and helping to locate sneaky queens but never use them to keep queens out of the supers. I prefer the metal ones.
 

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We like the metal ones when we have the choice. Over the years there have been issues with supply and ended up with a few thousand plastic ones. The plastic ones are OK, but the edges that are constantly exposed to sunlight breakdown and get brittle eventually.

I've got some metal ones that are 20+ years old.
Every couple of seasons depending on wax growth on the excluder we boil them in the off season to remove excess wax, and also leave a fine wax coating to keep rusting at a minimum. We have 2 large square pots with excluder racks that hold about 30 excluders each, takes about 5 minutes submerged to loosen all wax and attached debris. While one side is submerged we can unload, reload the other pot, with a continuous rotation we can clean a thousand excluders a day easy.

Aaron excluder cleaning.jpg
 

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I use wood bound metal or nothing at all. Gives a bees space on both sides and works well for 2 queen setups, as they cannot fight on the screens
GG
 

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Which do you use?
I have metal, but have tended another's hives with plastic. I prefer the metal, for stability, and have found no difference in bees going through them, metal or plastic. With both, ya want the excluder right above the brood chamber, which urges them bees to go through with the surplus and store topside. (But I digress.)

Cleaning is an issue, eventually. With my metal, I can kinda slam them down when cold or actually frozen and that'll knock off enough for my satisfaction. (Or dip 'em in a vat of boiling water. Large crab cooking pot?)

With plastic, frozen requires special care to not flex it much as it is about as brittle as the wax stuck to it. And it can't be dipped in a large crab pot of boiling water, like a metal one. So finding that middle ground where the plastic is not breakable brittle, yet the wax on it is. At this point, the plastic excluders can be flexed "enough" for the bulk of the wax popped off.
 

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I prefer metal because when I'm pulling supers they are easier to keep on brood chamber. I use them mainly on 2 queen colonies with the separate brood nests next to eachother, so it is easier to know that the qx stayed in place and a queen did not slip over to other side. Plastic ones stick to supers and bend when I pry them down so it takes longer to get them back on brood chambers where I want them. Btw not wood bound as I don't want bee space above brood that would allow queens to pass....
Happy beekeeping everybody!
 

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The plastic ones you need to keep out of the sun. They fall apart if they get too much sun. They also are harder to clean since you can't use a torch if you need it. I really like the wood bound metal ones the best as you can see the excluder easily so you make sure you get them all off in the fall.
 
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