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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am anxious about my queens moving up to the supers where some very nice comb honey is being drawn. I have read several threads about excluder or no excluder and really have no better stance on it now than when I began. However, I found this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfRzH7i5UqY) from the Fat Bee Man that discusses a few things I haven't read about yet. First, a 50% reduction in life of bees from damaged wings going back and forth through the excluder and second, a 15-18 inch range upward for the queen. If this makes since to more of you I may consider moving all of my comb honey to the second super and leave all the drawn frames in the first super. If the queens decide they need a little more room, maybe they will stop in the first super?? I will just add more supers above the second. I use two deep brood boxes on each of my hives and currently have no queen activity in my medium supers.
 

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Queen excluders are for the person who wants to make it easy to remove the honey suppers. Pull the honey suppers stand the supers on end use a blower to blow the bees out of the super stack them on truck. Done quick and easy, you don't have to worry about loosing the queen cause you know where she's at.

If she has been up in the honey supers and there is still brood, caped or lava, the bees will be more reluctant to leave the super and if they stay warm the brood will hatch out in the honey house. More chance of bees and larva getting in the honey.

Because the queen will hardly never be on the out side frames cause they are full of honey and pollen the queen excluder can be an 1 1/2 short of each side the bees being opportunists will take the easy way and go around but the excluder is there to keep her from going up the middle. Also if there is a good honey flow on or you have lots of bees in the hive to guard against robbing you can provide the bees with an entrance above the queen excluder.
There are wire queen excluder that are welded round wire and then also zinc that are a sheat of zinc coated metel that has elongated holes punched out to allow the bees to pass thru. they have sharp edges and cause more damage than the wire.
 

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Went back and watched the Fat Bee Man video again. If what he is saying is true that queen excluders reduce the life of a bee by 50%, then the maximum population of the hive would only reach 30,000 when using the queen excluder, as apposed to the normal queen laying ability that results in a hive population of 60,000 bees. I myself have not noticed any significant difference in hive population between colonies that have or have not had queen excluders on them.

Now that we're here discussing bee mortality one of the most damaging pieces of equipment is the pollen trap the mesh is tight on the bees in both directions and with two layers of wire mesh for the bees to maneuver throw, their are always lots of bee legs in the pollen tray. But we don't trap every day and pollen selling at a premium price, a few 5 legged bees isn't to high of a price to pay. They sacrificed there life for the greater good of the colony (beekeeper). The same as the bees that come out and sting you while your attacking there colony trying to steal their honey. We justify it as managed share cropping.
Ok no more happy stories.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks Apis..., I don't think I have welcomed you to the forum yet...so, welcome. I hadn't thought of the pollen trap. That is built to make contact with them.

As for the excluder, I have the plastic variety and have thought of turning them the wrong way to allow the extra room on the sides. Maybe that is a good compromise for my back and forth struggle in my mind about using them or not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I decided to exclude the excluder for now and placed all of my comb honey frames on the second super for extra insurance that she will not go that far. I had better stay out of there for a week now as I have been in their business three times this week. I do have to say this though, the difference in three days...wow!! They have already started capping the top 1/5 of most of the frames in the first super in just three days.
 

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Have seen some hives where the queen stayed to the two deeps and others that laid up into several of the supers. Maybe timing of supering or amount of top banding of honey on upper frames of brood box? Wonder whether Carni breeding or not could be an influence on individual experience. Pulled off some honey supers last weekend where excluders had been put under existing supers without finding the queen! Now we know where she was. not good.
We were short of equipment so needed to extract, but if a person could wait till a bit later I think that the queen would get pushed back down before she had much chance to lay up in the supers. So many factors involved it is no wonder its an age old discussion to use or not, excluders.
 

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As for the excluder, I have the plastic variety and have thought of turning them the wrong way to allow the extra room on the sides.
Same here. The reason I first tried the excluder crossways position was because the bees would not go through it to the honey super to build comb on the new foundation. I sprayed the foundation with sugar syrup, spread wax over it and still couldn't entice the bees thru it. The older beekeepers in our club told me "there wasn't no such thing as a queen excluder, it was a honey excluder." One of them suggested turning the excluder crossways just to ease my mind and see if the bees would start working the new foundation. I did and they did.

But with experience and advice from others who have done this for years longer than I ever will, the only time I use one now is to place it between the bottom board and the bottom deep when I have placed a new swarm in the hive. The same beekeeper who gave me the above advice also said he had never lost a swarm when he used the queen "includer" in that way. So far, I'm two for two using that method.

Good luck.
 

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Dave I tried the sideways trick with the excluder and it didnt work, whats works best for me is the honey barrier, I have 2 nine as brood boxes also then a full honey box and thats what keeps the queen in the bottom boxes for me then mpre supers above for the girls to fill.
 

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first off I would suggest everyone read Apis comments very closely.

and a snip...
a 50% reduction in life of bees from damaged wings going back and forth through the excluder and second

tecumseh:
on occasions reported but never really verified as far as I can tell. I would suspect with the very old punched excluders this could have been a concern but I am not certain these are even available any more. anyone using the plastic excluders (which look a lot like the old zinc plated punched excluders) should consider spending a tad bit more and purchase a excluder that is a bit more precise and doesn't add to other problems in the process. a top entrance with a very much reduced lower entrance eliminates all the concerns as far as lots of bees passing thru an excluder.

I myself greatly dislike a queen laying up thru the center of a stack of boxes and often times the outer most frames from the bottom to the top of the stack are totally unused. a queen excluder totally eliminates this kind of problem and does (as I think Apis reported above) make taking off the honey crop not only easier but less stressful on the bees (I myself suspect simply because you are not disturbing the brood nest in the process).
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks guys for all the input. Tec, I had not thought of the problem with hurting the bees wings happening with older style excluders. Maybe that is what fatbeeman is talking about. Also, unfortunately, I have the plastic ones.

I will probably feel the same way you do when I see eggs in my honey supers...I hope she doesn't but I am going to try my luck. I do feel better about positioning the intended comb frames higher. I figure since it's my first year, I can't lose either way. I will be able to test the theories and if some of my honey frames are tainted, I will at least have some valuable drawn frames.

All of this has really challenged my thinking on having all mediums or all deeps so that if a queen does lay in my honey, I can just move them around anywhere I want.
 

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a snip..
I had not thought of the problem with hurting the bees wings happening with older style excluders. Maybe that is what fatbeeman is talking about.

tecumseh:
this problem (if there was one?) was often reported in the older books. anyway the punched zinc plates excluder looked exactly like a metal version of the current plastic style excluders... same flat sheet profile and the same punch design. I also suspect they both would share some of the same problems associated with the 'true dimension' of the punched holes (first and foremost a flat sheet doesn't always lay perfectly flat). as to the fraying of wings.... anyone who has punched much metal knows fairly well that the punching process leaves sharp edges on the back side of the piece being punched and thus I suspect the reason why some of these older style metal would fray the bees wings up to some lessor or greater degree (and at least enough for some beekeeper to notice).
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I agree Tec...Stick your finger in one of those punch out holes in an electrical box and rub your finger against the edge..it will filet ya...ha!

I thought of this thread tonight when looking a cross-section of a tree during a cut-out. The brood next/honey divider was clearly defined. However, the brood nest was longer than 15-8." Not much thought. I suspect volume is a variable in this equation. The hollow space in the tree was smaller than that of my hives...so, they made up for girth in height.
 

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a snip from Dave..
I thought of this thread tonight when looking a cross-section of a tree during a cut-out. The brood next/honey divider was clearly defined. However, the brood nest was longer than 15-8." Not much thought. I suspect volume is a variable in this equation. The hollow space in the tree was smaller than that of my hives...so, they made up for girth in height.

tecumseh:
Tom Seeley did a lot of work in regards to nest size and selection. it seems the typical volume of a nest in a tree is about the same as a langstroth hive.​
 

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the plastic 1s I bought from mann lakes have smooth edges at the holes and lay flat for the most part, I also have a few of the metal wire with the wood rap, I have not seen any bee wing damage at all but then again I only use the excluders till the 1st super is almost full and remove it before adding the 2nd honey box, I have yet to have the queen cross the honey barrier.
 

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when I get a hive to almost 2 full nine inch brood boxes I then put the excluder on and then another 9 inch box, but I take a outer frame from the top brood box with food in it and move it up to center of the honey super, after thats about full I remove the excluder and add another nine to the top, if I add anymore after that I lift the top box and add supers just above the 1st honey super, using the 3rd box as a honey barrier.
 
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