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I am in Western Maine and I have 2 hives this year. They built up great (one from a nuc and 1 from a swarm from that hive) and I've added honey supers on both.....

Some people say DO NOT use queen excluders and even call them "Honey Excluders." Others say NEVER put Honey Supers on without an excluder...

Of my 2 hives that I honey supered at the same time, I used an excluder on 1 of them (the hive from a nuc) and not on the other one (the one from the nuc hives swarm). I did my first inspection the other day 2 weeks after putting the supers on. The one without the honey super has more bees "upstairs" in the honey super than the hive with the excluder.

Note: The hive from nuc's honey super was loaded with new wax foundation on woden frames. The Hive from the nuc's swarm's honey supers are on plastic frames/foundation coated with beeswax.

My Questions:

1) Is that just by chance that the one without the excluder has more bees in the honey super?

2) Do you use queen excluders? If so, Why??? If not, Why?

Thanks!
 

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Re: To Queen Exdclude or Not.....

The only time I use them is when I have supers of drawn comb to place over them. Since I am primarily running small cell, I don't want the queen laying in the 5.4 mm supers so I use them. When drawing foundation which I usually am, I don't use them.
 

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Re: To Queen Exdclude or Not.....

We use them to control the queens movement later in the season.

They are an intrigal tool for more intensive hive management.

If you have two hives and two brood boxes, Go without sort the brood during harvest.
 

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Re: To Queen Exdclude or Not.....

Bob,

Please see the search feature. The topic of QEs is probably one of the top asked questions and there an enormous amount of input on both sides of the issue. Please spend some time searching - you'll be amazed.
 

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Re: To Queen Exdclude or Not.....

>1) Is that just by chance that the one without the excluder has more bees in the honey super?

It is not a coincidence.

>2) Do you use queen excluders? If so, Why??? If not, Why?

Isaac Hopkins summed it up well:
http://www.bushfarms.com/beesulbn.htm#excluders
 

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Re: To Queen Exdclude or Not.....

Ian wrote:
They are an intrigal tool for more intensive hive management.

I can concur. It is another tool, which may take more knowledge and experience to use than others available to the beekeeper. Examine the old threads, you may find a pattern in whose uses them, and who does not.

Crazy Roland
 

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Re: To Queen Exdclude or Not.....

1) Is that just by chance that the one without the excluder has more bees in the honey super?

2) Do you use queen excluders? If so, Why??? If not, Why?

Thanks!
1. The bees don't seem to like excluders. I tend to think this is not just by chance.
2. I do not use excluders as a general rule. I have not had issues with the queen laying in honey supers. If the bees expand the broodnest too much, we use the extra brood to make splits. We do use excluders when the bees are rearing queens, and some other functions. I just don't use them for honey production.
 

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Re: To Queen Exdclude or Not.....

It is another tool,
When beekeepers say "honey excluders" they probably should not be using excluders. The entire purpose of excluders is to manage the movement of the queen, which in turn increases the amount of honey crop available to collect.

If she ain't moving into unwanted places, then why the bother?
 

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Re: To Queen Exdclude or Not.....

>Then perhaps you should enlighten us as to what explains the difference.

Have you ever watched workers go through an excluder? Have you ever put a box of foundation above an excluder? The bees are struggling just to get through it. I even put one in a horizontal hive once and the bees never worked anything on the other side of the excluder. They just got crowded and swarmed.
 

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Re: To Queen Exdclude or Not.....

I have been looking from time to time at the hive management system that Ian and some others use and I would make a small wager that they make far more honey per unit of equipment than someone would, running an unlimited brood nest. Some management systems would not deal well with brood in the honey supers at extraction time. With only a small number of hives it is possible to give individual treatment to colonies such as sorting frames, waiting for brood to emerge etc. I think it makes a big difference to in whether your primary focus is on selling bees or selling honey. I find myself putting excluders on at certain times and other times knowing I can reasonably expect the queen to stay down. I played with one hive this summer keeping the queen in the bottom box with excluder. I remember a few times putting a hive back together and seeing the excluder leaning against a hive. Dang, I hate when that happens!

Be happy with the method you are using or experiment with alternatives. It is alright to change your mind too.
 

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Re: To Queen Exdclude or Not.....

There is no question that putting a whole box of bare foundation on the other side of an excluder is not a good move. Plastic especially. Pull some frames of brood or drawn comb for bait to the other side and see how quickly they move through the excluder. Once they start moving through, it doesnt seem to slow them much. Even without an excluder it is advisable to bait them into a new box of bare foundation.
 

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Re: To Queen Exdclude or Not.....

> I even put one in a horizontal hive once and the bees never worked anything on the other side of the excluder. They just got crowded and swarmed.
I can't remember, does your long hive have more than one entrance? I want to try the QE on my TBH next spring. 3 evenly spaced entrances. I was going to try it about 1/2 way back and see if it changed the traffic pattern. Most of them use the first entrance now, but honey is being stored from the middle back and I'd like to get some of that pristine comb for show-n-tell pieces at the county fair.
 

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Re: To Queen Exdclude or Not.....

>I can't remember, does your long hive have more than one entrance?

Some of them have from time to time, but I try not to. The one with the excluder had only one entrance, if I remember right. It's been a while. It was a 22 frame deep.
 

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Re: To Queen Exdclude or Not.....

I find my bees deal just fine with an excluder on. One difference is my hives only have upper entrances. Sometimes I add an entrance shim mid-hive on a big hive. In this picture there is a queen excluder sitting on top of the entrance shim. This hive gave me several frames of beautiful comb honey.

http://www.hunt101.com/showphoto.php?photo=833408&ppuser=35828

I plan on getting more excluders soon.

Tom
 

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Re: To Queen Exdclude or Not.....

Have you ever watched workers go through an excluder?
LOTS of times. I'm truly amazed how effortlessly they move through it. They aren't initially as interested in crossing it, but once they've decided to it is nearly a fluid motion.

Have you ever put a box of foundation above an excluder?
Once as a rookie. Never since.

In response to the OP. Recap: You had one hive that swarmed. The swarm was given a box of foundation and no excluder. The original colony was given a box of foundation above excluder. Swarm has built more frames and you're wondering why, right?

Here's how I see your experience. Swarms almost always out perform parent colonies when it comes to building new wax. A large number of the swarm's population are of prime wax building age, hence their advantage. Swarms are wax building machines. Parent colonies don't have the same drive and workforce to build wax.

Regardless, as mentioned numerous times here, foundation is not used alone above a QE. If you have a box of drawn comb above the QE, you can add another box with foundation above that. Upper entrances are helpful when using QEs.

The bigger question is should you use a QE? Only you can answer that. To me its mostly about efficiency when pulling honey. If you're going to manage a few colonies then efficiency shouldn't be much of a consideration, so forget the QE. Just know that your comb will be used to rear brood and then will be more attractive to wax moths.

As I mentioned in my first response to this thread, please search beesource and you'll be amazed, possibly overwhelmed, by the amount of input.
 

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C'mon you guys. If we can get bees to work basswood section comb honey through an excluder without difficulty, you must certainly be able to get them to work just foundation.

Re-read Ian's post. It is not just the ease of extracting comb without brood, but of being able to remove more of the honey with an excluder. Aside from selling bees or queens, why else but for the honey, are you keeping bees?

Crazy Roland
 

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C'mon you guys. If we can get bees to work basswood section comb honey through an excluder without difficulty, you must certainly be able to get them to work just foundation.

Crazy Roland
Particularly if they were raised on small cell eh? ;)
We run about 1/3rd unexcluded doubles and 2/3rds excluded singles, all first year queens. Swarming is generally not much of a problem. We typically harvest more off the singles, unless there is a strong late flow but , of course, they require lots of feed. The doubles generally make a better wintering unit. Just as Roland pointed out, we are in this for the honey.
Here is a yard of excluded singles that didn't appear to have much trouble negotiating them.
http://s470.photobucket.com/user/jimlyon/media/Mobile Uploads/1405553867_zpsb65c2260.jpg.html
 
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