Ok... Queen Excluder or not ?

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Yote Shooter, Feb 19, 2012.

  1. Yote Shooter

    Yote Shooter New Member

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    Things are warm here early. Trying to get time line and plan together.
    8 Frame hive.
    My deep hive body has very good brood in it. I have a medium above that has had 6 frames of capped honey. I did a little rearranging last week to move the empty frames in a slot. Honey to the outside position. Found fresh brood on the center frame.

    Want to add the next medium as soon as I see the bare frames filling, to give them proper room.

    Now my questions are do I add the queen excluder before adding a supper and get straight to the honey production with bare foundation or is the school of thought to place the supper on top and let them grow and later lift and add the excluder. Have not heard much about the size of the colony being large enough with just the deep and medium for sustaining the population?

    The other question is, when do I know to put the excluder on?

    Thanks for all the info that is shared here.
    Looked at past post and did not find any info about the use or timing of the excluder.
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    This question always opens a can of worms. First, a queen excluder under just foundation will often be ignored. Letting them get adjusted to the super being there helps in getting them working. Then when the excluder is installed, they will immediately go through it.

    Now, my opinion, and just an opinion.

    Use the excluder this year and you will learn for yourself why it should be left in the garage or basement.
     

  3. Yote Shooter

    Yote Shooter New Member

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    Well I have heard of moving one or two frames above to promote movement between. But I have not heard of going the season without one.

    Your opinion, would be that she instinctively stays lower in the colony once things get going good?

    Or is the brood in the suppers so minimal that it is just strained out?
     
  4. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    They will store the honey above the brood. If the honey isn't capped deep enough to push the brood below the top super, there isn't enough for you to harvest it. They need it.

    They will NEVER store and cap honey below the brood.
     
  5. Yote Shooter

    Yote Shooter New Member

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    Ok, I am so new to this and I am trying to understand. The colony is allowed to grow at will with me providing the space. The colony MAY grown into the next medium (brood) and then begin to store? Or may begin to store then move into the stores if population and queen is very productive?

    I could ask questions all day...Sorry!
     
  6. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    The bees will see an excluder as a ceiling unless they know their home extends past it. They need to work the super to know their house has been extended before installing an excluder.

    The bees store everything from the top down. They store honey above and around the pollen and brood. When honey comes in, they move the broodnest down. When they eat up the stores, they move the brood up. The bottom of the brood nest will always be even with the bottom of the stores, with excess stores always above. Until they have enough stores to push the broodnest down out of the upper super, they don't have enough honey for you to harvest.

    IE: If there is brood in the super, leave it for them. You should only take what is excess.
     
  7. Yote Shooter

    Yote Shooter New Member

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    Very good explination.

    Thank you very much !!!
     
  8. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Yote:
    Another thing to consider. A queen will usually not cross an area of capped honey. This is often referred to as a "honey barrier". Once this has been established there is often no need to use an excluder. Notice I said usually, not never! You have to keep a close watch on the brood chamber and allow room for expansion if they need it by moving frames of honey up and replace with empty comb (or foundation a frame or two at a time). If the brood chamber gets congested they will make swarm preparations.
     
  9. Yote Shooter

    Yote Shooter New Member

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    Not going to be a problem keeping an eye on them. I am so curious. I have been told this is also a problem by disturbing them. Guess it is a balance.

    I understand now that they do move as needed.

    I got the pleasure of first check on 17 hives on Friday. Bro-in-law, lost 3 of these, all had honey. 2 had no bees at all. 1 had dead bees in a cluster that was away from the honey. One weak hive and one with pitiful laying, but alot of bees.

    These all had supers and most had excess honey. But I noticed all had a LOT of space. Mostly empty below the cluster and brood. Very lucky to see that many hives as a rookie.
    Got stung on the neck, no idea how she got in. Didn't like it one bit, as I very carefuly checked my full suit and veil with velcro. Got one out of the veil without getting stung by that one. Even got one inside my elbow length gloves.

    Thanks for the information.
     
  10. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    With regards to getting the bbes to cross the excluder, working foundation, I usually place a frame or two of sealed brood ( making sure your not bringing the queen ) the sealed brood will hatch in a week or so, and provide the workforce that will build the combs. and bees will naturally store honey in the now vacant cells, providing a upper entrance i.e. inner cover rim notch will allow the foragers to bypass the brood chambers entirely, avoiding a major swarming issue----congestion in the brood nest. Food for thought.
    Barry
     
  11. crazy8days

    crazy8days New Member

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    Just when I thought I needed it I'm finding out I don't. Most books I've read say to use a queen excluder. I'm soo confused.
     
  12. Americasbeekeeper

    Americasbeekeeper New Member

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    So many options like queen excluders really tell the management style.
    Do you know and use bee biology?
    Do you have time to inspect and manage the hive?
    Are you familiar and confident the bees will do what you expect?
    Besides time management, are you successful with space management? Have you had brood, honey, or swarms unexpectedly?
    Do you practice behavior modification like checekerboarding, swapping frames to get the bees to do what they did not want to do naturally?
    It is not right or wrong, it is management style.
     
  13. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I have gone from never using an excluder (as a device in rearing a honey crop.. in rearing queens excluder are essential for some processes involved) to using an excluder (for a very limited and defined period of time) on all my hives. If there is one event which represent 'an old dog learning a new trick' then queen excluders certainly applies to me.

    as Perry suggest a honey barrier (more often called a honey cap here in the US) is a fairly effect queen excluder. if you have one of these the you have a fairly effective queen excluder... the down side here is if the honey cap forms too early then you are also likely setting the hive up for swarming.

    with an excluder really the critical parameter is the location and number of entrances. this is pretty nicely describe in jerry hayes in "is a queen excluder a honey excluder' (1985 or so ABJ article).

    I myself like to place any box with just foundation on the hive and get some activity there before I place on the excluder. with comb this is no so essential. if there is a trick to properly using an excluder it is to choke down the bottom entrance (I just keep on my winter time entrance reducer) and with the use of building shim (wood wedges) establish a number of entrances above the excluder. the real idea here is to get the field bees adjusted to using this top entrance and to have such a limited bottom entrance to not to wish to use this 'traditional' entrance. as much as anything else this limits physical crowding in the brood nest area and limits nectar storage in the brood nest.

    If properly arranged from the get go almost all the nectar will be above the excluder. this then gives you a fairly good idea of how much 'surplus' honey you can remove.

    by the warm weather in say June the excluders and bottom entrance reducer are remove.
     
  14. Marbees

    Marbees Member

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    As Americasbeekeeper said, it is not right or wrong, it is management style

    If you have only few hives in your backyard, no need for excluder. Those frames with brood from honey supers on strong colonies can be used on weaker hives or nucs.
    It's different when pulling honey by yourself in yards with 10+ colonies. That's when you love queen excluders. :yahoo: You just grab supers, blow bees from between frames, cover them and slide on your truck. :D
     
  15. crazy8days

    crazy8days New Member

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    Sooo much to learn that are not in the books! :shock:
     
  16. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Marbees, aren't you just as likely to get a lot of uncapped nectar that way as you would be to get brood without excluders?
     
  17. crazy8days

    crazy8days New Member

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    Ok, I'm lost. I have two hives. I only want to take the extra honey they produce. I want to leave enough honey for them to get through the winter. All my boxes are deeps. Each hive have 4 deeps. 2 broods? 2honey deeps? For 2 hives excluder or not.
     
  18. Slowmodem

    Slowmodem New Member

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    Very well put!
     
  19. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Are you going to have enough of a honey flow for them to store enough for winter plus a full deep for you?

    I would think about monitoring their intake and only harvest by the frame rather than by the box. That way you will have no problem with brood in your honey frames. Then you can put an excluder on one and not the other. See which way works best for you. The first thing I said in post # 2, ""This question always opens a can of worms.""

    Now you see why I said it.

    SO, I'll repeat. Place an excluder on one when it is ready, leave the other without. Harvest fully capped frames and leave frames with open nectar or brood. The second year you will have a better idea which way works best for you in your area.
     
  20. Yote Shooter

    Yote Shooter New Member

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    My intention was not to open that can, as being a rookie I was unaware of such. Looking at the title, I should have put it as Now or Later ! Had no idea that some did not use them. Just thought they were made and it was to be used.

    I will try without and see how they progress. I have 3 mediums on hand so that I can add if things go great and they fill up. After all best case, is that they fill fast and I get to harvest and replace so they fill at least one for themselves.

    Now still cool at night.....too soon to add the extra space that needs to be heated?
    Will get to check the frames wed-thur to see if they have begun to pull comb. If they have then the plan is to add another medium, if not too soon.

    Thanks for all the points of management. TC