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A number of years ago I had 150 hives, never used a queen excluder, and don't remember any queens laying above the second brood super. We use to call them 'honey excluders' in my circle of beekeeping friends so what has been your experience with this piece of equipment?
 

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Mearly another tool in the beekeepers tool kit. Some know how to use it, some do not. The beekeepers who know how to use it never go without
Hey Ian,
Can you elaborate on "how to use it". My first few years in beekeeping I never tried them. Then I tried them for a couple of years and now the last few years have decided they weren't for me. Your statement of "Some know how to use it, some do not" makes me ask.......What is the "proper" way?

Thanks,
Mike
 

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Just take a little time and use the "search" feature on beesource. There are tons of posts on this topic, both pro and con. They seem to be very divided on the topic, but for me, anyone who calls them Honey Excluders is simply badly informed.
 

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The best way to use an excluder in my nectar flow conditions is when the first surplus honey supers go on, split the brood chamber with the excluder. Have the queen and the capped brood in the deep above the excluder and the queen and open brood below. The bees work both sides of the excluder because of the brood, as the capped brood emerges the cells are filled with the winter food stores, and then the surplus supers are filled.

If your flow is heavy and fast an excluder may not be needed, the bees fill the surplus supers with nectar before the queen uses them for brood. If the flow is weak, and stops and starts, the queen will fill the supers with brood before there is enough nectar coming in to fill them.
 

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Just take a little time and use the "search" feature on beesource. There are tons of posts on this topic, both pro and con. They seem to be very divided on the topic, but for me, anyone who calls them Honey Excluders is simply badly informed.
I've read and researched plenty over the years and searched these forums plenty. Lack of information isn't the problem and I get that there are tons of opinions and pros and cons. When a statement is made in a thread and someone questions that specific statement, its poor form to tell them to use the "search" feature.
Ian made a statement and therefore I was asking him to offer an expanation of his idea of the "proper" way. My experience with excluders was not negative, I just didn't see enough benefit to continue using them which isn't to say I wouldn't give them another try.

Thanks,
Mike
 

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There are many situations and conditions that make a queen excluder a viable option or not. Many beekeeper who early on in their beekeeping endeavors who have tried to go without an exclude and had their honey supers filled with brood are extremely dissatisfied with the results. Especially if they are running only a few hives. The time it takes them to clear the brood, seems to them as a waste of production time. Understanding behavior of the hive is helpful in the decision to exclude or not, things like knowing when to place a super on and how to identify the flow play a roll. Those who have hit it right either by education or luck come to the conclusion an excluder is unnecessary. When dealing with a large number of hives often times an excluder is bothersome, combine that with the fact that most volume beekeepers have a better understanding of their hives and regional conditions the need for excluders becomes unnecessary to them. I have many different configurations I use for different circumstances, some include excluders, and some do not. Weather one choses to use Queen excluders or not depends on several factors, Past experience with excluder, beekeeping experience, opinion of those they respect in the field, and goals. Both long and short term. It is all a mater of preference and experiences.
 

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Mike, the intention of using a queen excluder is to manage the queens movements. When you manage her movements during certain times of the year, the beekeeper can create the conditions to maximize honey collection. The excluder also leads into some very interesting options on building two or three queen units.

I agree with Astrobee, anyone who simply states "excluders are honey excluders" don't understand why we use them.
 

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Hmm, I was hoping you had some "magic" to share.
I understand the purpose of the excluder and like I said I didn't have a negative experience with them. There just (for me) wasn't enough benefit to keep me using them for excuding the queen from the supers. Which is why I was wondering if you were doing something different than me. Our flow is pretty fast and heavy. They fill the supers pretty quick and I just don't seem to have a problem keeping the queen out of the supers. That being said, I do use queen excluders for other purposes and find them to be a good beekeeping tool.

Thanks,
Mike
 

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I generally don't use them for their intended purpose (keep queens out of the honey supers). I use them for keeping the queen in the hive (new swarm) or I've used them for combining laying worker hive with queen right hive. However if I have the rare queen (like I did last year) who wants to chimney up the middle of 6 medium hive bodies and not stay down in the bottom 3 like she's supposed to I will grab her majesty put her butt back down in the bottom box and put an excluder in the middle of the stack. What brood do you normally get in the honey supers? Generally I thought it was Drone? hmmm wonder if there's a reason for that?
 

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I haven't seen nay need to use the QE for keeping the queen down in the desired boxes. I purchased one for use in queen rearing manipulations. Paerhpas I'll find otehr uses for it as well as time goes by and i gain more experience.
 

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First question I would ask you, why is it that you used the excluder?
Used, as in past tense?
I "used" them to keep the queen from laying in the supers. At the time I gave them a try I was running about 30 hives. I did have the occasional queen get into the first super which is why at the time I decided to give them a try. I had a beekeeping friend who had hundreds of excluders he didn't use and I asked to borrow a few to "check them out". I think he gave me 20 which I put on my hives when I placed the supers. I do admit that they worked as intended and the queens stayed where she belonged. I had roughly 10 hives or so that didn't get excluders. I didn't have any issues with those queens laying in the supers either. I'll also say I did not see a difference in honey production between using or not using them.

So I was in a situation of purchasing a piece of equipment that I just wasn't personally seeing a benefit. I now run about 100 hives and rarely do I see an issue with a queen moving up into the supers. Don't get me wrong.......it does happen sometimes. Just not enough for me to justify the purchase of additional equipment.

I hope you aren't thinking that I am bashing anything you are doing, or saying any of it is wrong. Different beeks have different methods and I am truly interested in hearing how you are using them to see if I'm missing something. I'm always trying to improve my processes and therefore sincerily pay attention to others.

Thanks,
Mike
 

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I hope you aren't thinking that I am bashing anything you are doing, or saying any of it is wrong.
Mike
na, nothing like that.

Say Mike, here is how I see it.
If a beekeeper is using two boxes for brood, thats plenty of room for your queen to lay in. Once that hive starts storing honey, and that beekeeper allows a rim over top of the brood nest, adding the first super, to allow the boxe to fill before adding more, then no excluder is needed. In fact that amount of times the queen will cross that super of honey is about the same as a queen sneeking through an excluder.
Now if another beekeeper doesnt manage their hives as closely, usually because of time, and box them up before the flow really heads on, that queen has nothing to keep her down, and she will shoot right to the top!

For me, I use singles, and mid way through spring expansion Ill shake her down from the second into the single, and keep her down there with an excluder. This type of management can not be done anyother way other than using excluders. And when used this way can yeild an extra box or two of honey per season.

So when I say "using the excluder improperly" I'm referring to beekeepers who just use it without any thought on what they are doing and how it is to be used.

I believe in working the hives where as what ever Im doing in the hives means something. If beekeepers are just doing things because, because, then what do they really expect?


When you put your excluders on your hives was it because the conditions favored upward movement of the queen?
 

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I only use queen excluders when making splits. I have noticed that on drought years when nectar flows are low the queen excluders can act as a honey excluder. On a good honey flow it may not matter as much. The queen sometimes lays eggs in the third box, but it hasn't been a problem for me.
 
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