queen excluders

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by reidi_tim, Mar 24, 2012.

  1. reidi_tim

    reidi_tim New Member

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    I have been scanning past post for thoughts on queen excluders and have also heard them referred to as honey excluders. Pros/cons on using them.
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    First 2 years, bad idea. After that, proceed with caution.

    Excluders take experience to work. They can cause damage in new hands.
     

  3. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Good advise from iddee, i use them mostly on my comb honey supers with a top entrance. There are ways to make them come through the excluder to store honey. Frames of honey can act as a excluder also. Jack
     
  4. Marbees

    Marbees Member

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    I do not install QE untill third box (honey super) frames are completely drawn and nectar is being stored.
    If there is some brood or eggs in the super, no problem, after hatching cells are cleaned, and filled with nectar.
     
  5. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
     
  6. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    as I have suggested in prior thread go take a look at Jerry Hayes old article and if you have existing hives in the coming season give his approach a try. I suspect most beekeeper in most location would profit (in several ways) from employing queen excluders in one of the manners he suggest.

    like a good tool an excluder is a wonderful tool in a skilled hand but may cause permanent bodily injury when used by someone untrained in the proper use of the tool.

    I have employed them in several different manner... sometime confining the queen to one deep box and sometimes in a story and a half <pretty much determined by my take on a given queens laying capacity and employed in 'one of the manners' in which mr hayes suggest in his article.
     
  7. indypartridge

    indypartridge New Member

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    Using them for what purpose? I think this is what Iddee is getting at. They can be used for a number of different things, but most newbees think (or are taught) that they "belong" between the brood chamber and honey supers. That's only one possible use, and then, only after the comb has been drawn out, and the beekeeper is sure that there is plenty of available space for brood.

    My favorite use for them is when making nucs. I take a few frames of brood, including open brood and eggs, shake off the bees, then cover the "donating" broodnest with an excluder, put the frames I've taken in an empty box over the excluder, cover it up and wait for an hour or two. When I go back, I've got frames covered with nurse bees that I can put in my nuc boxes.
     
  8. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I seem to recall Mr Hayes old article was titled 'is a queen excluder a honey excluder'. a bit prior to mr hayes's article this topic was really the question of the day with half of all bee keepers believing in one position and half thinking just the opposite*. of course this discussion was confused (just as it might be today) since excluder were available in a number of styles and some folks would suggest there were drawback for all excluder if one feel short in some fashion.

    *all of my commercial mentors up to that time thought that a queen excluder limited their honey crop and at the time I was convinced that they were correct. reading mr hayes article and replicating one of his methods here pretty much convinced me of the opposite. <the lesson here folks is it is quite possible to teach a very old dog new tricks.
     
  9. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    Open brood on both sides of a QE results in queen cells being raised on whichever side the queen is not on, correct?
     
  10. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Dr. buzz- no, not correct. It just means the queen can't get to the other side of the excluder. All the other bees can go back and forth.

    Another possible excluder use- catch a swarm and put it in a hive- but often swarms will take off and disappear from the hive where you put them in the first few days. If you put an excluder between the brood box and the bottom board for the first few days, the swarm queen cannot leave, and the bees will stay there with her. (make sure they don't have an upper entrance) In a few days they will hopefully settle in and you can remove the excluder.
     
  11. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    Thanks for your thoughts, however..........since the queen isn't fed in preparation for the swarming, and a QE can't prevent a swarm since a slimmed down Q can fit through a QE, I doubt it can keep a swarm in anything in the first day or two, either.

    As far as a QE being used to rear queens in a queen right colony, I hope somebody else feels like chiming in. Michael Bush said that every time he has had open brood on both sides of a QE, he has ended up with a new queen being created on the queenless side of the QE. ("No guarantees, but every time I've put an excluder in between two brood boxes, both of which have an entrance, I've ended up with a laying queen in each."--Michael Bush)

    This is called the Harden method. You can read more about it HERE. And HERE. Or Google it. The main idea, whether grafting or not, is that lack of queen "footprint" pheromone above the queen excluder cause the bees to do a supersedure.
     
  12. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Drbuzz, you may well be correct about all that in many cases! I'm not sure exactly how skinny older queens get when they swarm.
     
  13. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip...
    since the queen isn't fed in preparation for the swarming, and a QE can't prevent a swarm since a slimmed down Q can fit through a QE, I doubt it can keep a swarm in anything in the first day or two, either.

    tecumseh:
    'most' queens cannot fit thru a queen excluder... that is why they call these a queen excluders. <you seem to be 'assuming' based on some 'authority' that they can???

    I myself suspect (don't know, am guessing here for certain) that 1) most folks don't closely inspect every excluder* to insure no damage has been done to an excluder and 2) reports of queens passing thru an excluder are highly exaggerated.

    have you ever watched a queen try to pass thru a queen excluder? or perhaps blown smoke on her to try to force her thru? the first thing you notice is it is the width of her head and thorax that prevents any normal sized queen from passing thru a queen excluder. any slimming down of queen prior to swarming takes place in the abdomen and not much of anywhere else on the queen's external structure.

    I would assume that some small number of fairly small sized european honeybee queens might pass thru an excluder (natural variation in size just suggest this is so) and that honeybees with significant african descent (these being somewhat smaller than their european cousins) might also be capable of passing thru a queen excluder.

    I have commercial contacts here who rears very large numbers of queens cells in queen right hive and yes they do use queen excluders and double screens in this process. this is about the only reason I can image why any beekeeper would want to have brood on both sides of an excluder.

    *in commercial queen rearing you do use excluder for several purposes. inspecting excluders fairly closely does become a part of your routine. and yes some do go unused due to very small but noticable defects.
     
  14. Marbees

    Marbees Member

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    Dr. Buzz, when I install QE on my hives it's mid of June, in my location it means swarming season is over. Almost
    :wink:
    The reason I have QE on my hives is to speed up harvest time, I take super from the hive, blow bees to the grass, slide the bag on the super, and load it on the truck.
    I am one man operation, and can't afford brushing bees from individual frames. This way I can harvest 40-50 deeps in one day, make two trips to the honey house, unload it, and still have shower and few beers before falling asleep.
    As for Mr. Bush and his equipment, he reminds me on mechanics who know everything about cars, have good reputation and tons of customers, but still drive $200 Yugo.
     
  15. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    Right. They were meant to prevent a laying queen from entering supers, not prevent a slimmed down queen from flying away. Otherwise they'd be called swarm preventers, right?


    I have used a QE in my attempts to prevent a swarm. I used a plastic QE, very easy to see if those are damaged in any way. After that failed several times, I later found out that it is considered common knowledge that a slimmed Q can not be reliably prevented from passing through a QE.
    I did not do a peer reviewed double blind study that was published in any scientific periodical, I just had personal experience reinforced by years of study and I formed a personal belief from that process.
     
  16. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip..
    Otherwise they'd be called swarm preventers, right?

    tecumseh:
    they can be used in that fashion*, but no they are called queen excluders.


    another snip...
    I have used a QE in my attempts to prevent a swarm. I used a plastic QE, very easy to see if those are damaged in any way. After that failed several times, I later found out that it is considered common knowledge that a slimmed Q can not be reliably prevented from passing through a QE.
    I did not do a peer reviewed double blind study that was published in any scientific periodical, I just had personal experience reinforced by years of study and I formed a personal belief from that process.

    tecumseh:
    well first off the last sentence sounds confused and illogical composed.... not that pure logic is what we are considering here. it appears to me that you had a data set of one with an experiment that was poorly designed and found some other 'authority' to confirm the outcome of this poorly done experiment.

    humm so you used the cheapest excluder you could buy and formed an 'opinion' based on that and didn't appear to consider what might go wrong (first off plastic deforms quite easily) in the process? and you think you are capable of recognizing some minor damage or quality control issues of the very cheapest QE made? humm... ok....

    common knowledge by whom? perhaps you should reread my prior post with a bit more attention to detail. no double blind razz a ma taz there either... just common practice and what folks do. odd ain't it that this has worked for decades for queen rearing operation and honey producers who operate 1000 of hives but will not work for you?

    it just appears to me (don't really know and again guessing for certain) that what you mistakenly identify as common knowledge is just an opinion by someone with very limited experience who by their own admission can not keep bees alive nor produce a honey crop (while setting in the middle of a bee keeper's paradise). you essentially like their explanation of your own failure and you have bought into that line of thinking hook, line and sinker.

    *again I might suggest you read mr hayes article... for one think it might give you some idea of how a well designed experiment is designed.
     
  17. indypartridge

    indypartridge New Member

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    I have definitely heard (and repeated) the "common knowledge" of a slimmed down queen fitting through excluders, but I stopped repeating it some time ago and have come to agree with tecumseh for exactly the reasons he cites. It's all about the thorax, not the abdomen.

    According to several research papers, "high quality" queens have an average thorax width of 4.48mm, while "low quality" queens have an average thorax width of 4.24mm (see, for example, Table 1 in this paper by Tarpy and Caron: http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/entomology/apiculture/pdfs/Tarpy_et.al.2011b.pdf)

    Your basic plastic excluder has slots with a width of 4.35mm, while most wire excluders have a wire-to-wire gap of 4.3mm (http://website.lineone.net/~dave.cushman/excludertypes.html)

    Tarpy's lab has also examined & compared commerically available queens, and found that it's not unusual to get "small" queens with thorax widths less than 4.3mm (http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/entomology/apiculture/pdfs/Tarpy_et.al.2012.pdf). Hence, queens going through excluders probably has less to with "slimming down" than the fact that they were likely small queens to begin with.

    (Note: Dr. Juliana Rangel, a Post-Doc from Tarpy's lab was the speaker at the Indiana State Beekeepers spring meeting earlier this month and gave a nice overview of the research being done at NCSU, so this is all kind of fresh in my memory.)
     
  18. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    Come again?



    I'm sure I'm revealing my own ignorance again, but what does this mean? You think I have followed the advice of someone who has admitted to not being able to keep their bees alive? Are you confusing me with someone else? That might explain the hostility...


    I'm sure you are correct and I have many silly and incorrect ideas about how to raise bees. How stupid you have made me appear. You win. If I thought it was worth fussing about, I'd just go back to beesource and express a belief or opinion that wasn't shared by someone.
     
  19. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Dr. Buzz, if you knew the history, you would know Tec wasn't aiming at you, but rather at a fellow you mentioned. Don't think he was hostile toward you. He wasn't. He just doesn't put much faith in the writings of one particular well known beekeeper.
     
  20. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Dr Buzz, Tec doesn't have a mean bone in his body. He can't even stand squashing a bee, much less, insulting a fellow beek. Take Iddee's words seriously. We like, and want to continue the good feelings that permeate all our postings. :D