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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,

I know a similar question has been asked elsewhere on here, but wanted to get someone’s opinion on something. My friend and I split the cost of our first hive this year, and our bees seemingly, to my newbee newbie eyes, did well. Being new and having a relatively hands off approach, we did a lot of things wrong, or at least not optimally. One of them was leave the queen excluder on right up to now, January 1st. Yeah, we’re idiots. But the question is, should we open it up and remove the queen excluder immediately on the first warm day? It’s supposed to get to 8 degrees Celsius here tomorrow, or 46.4 F, and we’re considering doing it, and I was wondering if anyone with more experience had a say on it. Is it non-ideal, but the best course of action at this point? And how will the bees react? I must admit, starting out I thought that the gals would pretty much take care of themselves, but after the first season I realize that we’re kinda-sorta keeping some lovely, wondrous, hard working creatures semi-captive in there, and I’ve developed an unanticipated emotional connection to their well-being, and I want to learn more about proper management, and do right by them. Any word is much appreciated.
 

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Hey all,

I know a similar question has been asked elsewhere on here, but wanted to get someone’s opinion on something. My friend and I split the cost of our first hive this year, and our bees seemingly, to my newbee newbie eyes, did well. Being new and having a relatively hands off approach, we did a lot of things wrong, or at least not optimally. One of them was leave the queen excluder on right up to now, January 1st. Yeah, we’re idiots. But the question is, should we open it up and remove the queen excluder immediately on the first warm day? It’s supposed to get to 8 degrees Celsius here tomorrow, or 46.4 F, and we’re considering doing it, and I was wondering if anyone with more experience had a say on it. Is it non-ideal, but the best course of action at this point? And how will the bees react? I must admit, starting out I thought that the gals would pretty much take care of themselves, but after the first season I realize that we’re kinda-sorta keeping some lovely, wondrous, hard working creatures semi-captive in there, and I’ve developed an unanticipated emotional connection to their well-being, and I want to learn more about proper management, and do right by them. Any word is much appreciated.
Take it off now, be very quick & seal boxes with painter's tape to replace broken propolis seal. If you don't, the queen could starve & be left below the excluder, especially if the cluster is moving up to access honey.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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For the two minutes it is going to take to remove the QE, do it. Do not pull frames or anything, just lift the supers off, remove the QE and put it back together. The queen must be able to follow the cluster as it moves up to the feed stores. Be careful that the queen it not on the QE or at the top of the box. The more bees that are above the QE, the more likely she is near the top.
 
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You can store the excluder on top of your inner cover if it has lots of bees on it or for just somewhere to store it. It will be ready to use again come super time. Just make sure there's no queen on it.
 

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I've opened a hives breifly on cold days. It's probably not good for them but it's the only way I could learn what they were doing on a cold day in the middle of winter. Go quick. I would definitely remove the excluder.
 

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Yes bring someone strong, they can hold up the boxes just enough to get the excluder out.
Don't dilly dally and start looking around. If bees are on the excluder brush them off in the hive but be careful for the Queen. I am betting she is on the screen
 

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Think of the QE as a heat sink. the girls are shivering up as much heat as they can but the QE is absorbing cold outside , transferring it inside and the girls have to work that much harder, consuming that much more of their stores, just to offset that heat loss. I think that QE's should be removed as part of late fall winterization.
 

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FWIW, in my newbie year I left the QE on all year pretty much. She lived, they lived. I wouldn't do it again but all is not necessarily lost. They had lots of food too, though. I'm sure I overfed them the first winter out of worry...
 

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FWIW, in my newbie year I left the QE on all year pretty much. She lived, they lived. I wouldn't do it again but all is not necessarily lost. They had lots of food too, though. I'm sure I overfed them the first winter out of worry...
over feed is better to recover from than under feed :)
I have a couple out every year, 1 shallow partially filled over it, have only lost 1 that way, just sometimes the time is not there to do the removal.

GG
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
how did it go?

were the bees still below it or 1/2 and 1/2/

GG
I think it went okay. They definitely weren't still all below it, but not half and half either. Maybe 3/4 below and 1/4 above? 2/3rds and 1/3rd? They were quite active for hours afterwards, hauling dead bees out to the entrance and just generally looking kind of confused. I saw one they hauled out was all white and looked to my eye like a fairly developed pupa, and I was wondering how typical/atypical that would be for them to be removing?
 

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I think it went okay. They definitely weren't still all below it, but not half and half either. Maybe 3/4 below and 1/4 above? 2/3rds and 1/3rd? They were quite active for hours afterwards, hauling dead bees out to the entrance and just generally looking kind of confused. I saw one they hauled out was all white and looked to my eye like a fairly developed pupa, and I was wondering how typical/atypical that would be for them to be removing?
If they were going thru by now likely better to remove it.
Must have had some brood at the White Papa stage that was damaged.
depending on where you are, some hives will be brooding already.

well lesson learned.

GG
 

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Hey all, ... should we open it up and remove the queen excluder immediately
At mid 40's temps, yes absolutely. Get that excluder out of there!
And for the simple reason that the cluster moves up into the crown area that gets munched away. "If"/when they are moving above the excluder, and she can't, they will literally leave her behind to die. You really do not want that result!
 
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