Question On Excluders

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Dbure, Aug 27, 2012.

  1. Dbure

    Dbure New Member

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    I would love to know what experiences, good and bad, others here have had using queen excluders. We had wood bound metal excluders on all of our hives and removed all but one of them when we discovered hive beetles living in the crevices and running around in behind the metal. The one we did not remove we found that the bees had propolised every nook and cranny. :shock: I wish all my hives had been that clever. :grin: Does anyone use the plastic ones or the plain metal ones? How are they made? And if you don't use excluders how do you process your honey frames and keep brood out of them?
     
  2. Americasbeekeeper

    Americasbeekeeper New Member

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    When I was commercial, I used metal bound excluders or the old punched zinc excluders. I do not use excluders the last ten years except in queen finisher hives. I do not have brood in honey supers. It is all about bee biology.
     

  3. Dbure

    Dbure New Member

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    Thanks Americasbeekeeper. I kind of wondered as I had read someone else saying they had found brood in their honey super. Do you ever pull any honey frames out of your brood boxes to extract? If the bees consume their stores through the winter I would imagine that it may not ever get old. Is that ever an issue?
     
  4. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    the plastic excluder are pretty much worthless unless and will quickly fall apart when exposed to any sunshine. I myself use metal edged queen excluders and these work quite well and are not quite as expensive nor are they quite so fragile as the wood edged models.
     
  5. indypartridge

    indypartridge New Member

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    Sometimes a queen wanders up and lays in my supers. No big deal. Usually it hatches out and she moves back down before I harvest. If there is any brood when I harvest, I simply leave those frames on the hive.
     
  6. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Some of my wood edge excluders have come apart, sometimes i put new wood on them and sometimes i use them without putting the wood edge back on. I also have the all metal and the metal stamped types, they will always have burr comb on the excluders that has to be cleaned off by scraping it off, but to do a good job i use a propane torch. That is something you can't do with plastic:lol:. Sometimes even with exclders on i will find drone brood on the bottoms of my comb honey frames. (usually on the middle frames) This has to be the work of a laying worker.:???: Jack
     
  7. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    i use wood bound, metal excluders. i'm with tecumseh on the plastic ones, these are junk. i don't have shb in my area.
    in the spring i may put them on to keep the queens out of the first super. a honey barrier keeps the queen from laying in a super. in some years with very strong colonies the super goes on without one, or if i need the bees to draw foundation in a super, i leave the excluder off. if i find the queen has wandered up into the super, usually in the center frames, i put the excluder on underneath the super, and make sure the queen is not trapped in there. whatever brood is present hatches out and the bees revert the cells for honey storage. i don't like queens in the supers. this to some degree messes up the frames, especially when the bees build drone comb.

    " Do you ever pull any honey frames out of your brood boxes to extract? If the bees consume their stores through the winter I would imagine that it may not ever get old. Is that ever an issue?"

    no, i don't. i use these frames to supplement or feed another hive. if a colony dies, the frames are stored and used to start another, or as i said to supplement/feed.
     
  8. Dbure

    Dbure New Member

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    You are fortunate Riverbee not to have SHB in your area. This is probably the most disappointment I have had in keeping bees. I love them and will not give up on having them, but I have to say I have learned some lessons the hard way. The wood bound excluders were great until the SHB found ways to get in the cracks all the way around. I could pull one off and not see anything then all of a sudden would see them pouring out around the edges in mass. We finally figured the easiest way to dispatch with all of them quickly was to fill a plastic garbage barrel with Dawn soap and water and just dunk the whole thing into it. That way none could escape back to the hive.

    Right now I only have one excluder on one hive and the rest are running without them. If we go back to using any it will most likely end up being the metal ones, but I'll have to see one to know how they are made first. If by chance the queen does lay in the supers I would think taking those frames and moving them to the outer edges would give them time to be converted back to being all honey by the workers.
     
  9. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Like them or not, if you do use them, it's important not to leave them on during the winter. Once you've finished taking off your fall honey, the excluder should be put away till the spring when you put on your first honey super.
    Otherwise the bees tend to propolize them and build combs that can block off much of their area. If a hive has stores above an excluder, the queen might not be able to move up with the winter cluster as they consume their stores.
     
  10. bamabww

    bamabww Active Member

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    Mine are plastic and are 6 years old and still in very good shape. But i don't store them in the sunlight or leave them laying around in the sun either. So maybe my plastic ones are babied more than normal but they have held up well for me and are the only ones I've ever owned.

    When I use them they are not exposed to sunshine any longer than it takes me to put them in place. One thing I liked about the plastic one is you could put them in a freezer and leave them 3 or 4 days, take them out and flex them and almost all the debris built up will flake off. Or it does for me. Will they break easier than a metal one, yes I'm sure.

    But after saying all that, I don't use mine to exclude the queen from the honey super but to keep her in the hive after I have captured a swarm. I place the excluder between the bottom deep and the bottom board for a couple of weeks and then remove it after she has settled into her new home. A fellow beekeep of almost 60 years gave me that advice.
     
  11. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Wayne, if your hives are normal (and I'm pretty sure they are) that debris is propolis and is quite valuable. Collect it, (you might have to sort out some real debris) and look up some of the various uses you can make from it. In the "worst" scenario, you could find people or firms that are interested in buying it and sell it to them at the going rates.
     
  12. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    dbure, the metal excluders will work fine for you instead of the wood bound, yes i am fortunate to not have to deal with shb.

    "If by chance the queen does lay in the supers I would think taking those frames and moving them to the outer edges would give them time to be converted back to being all honey by the workers."

    dbure, don't move those frames to the outside, leave them right where they are, the bees need to cover the brood. place an excluder on it underneath, (making sure the queen is not in that box). the bees will take care of the brood, they will hatch out, and it will once again become honey storage. if you separate and move frames of brood to the outsides of the super, this brood willl most likely die, unless that's what you want, and again the bees will clean it up, but you will still have a queen laying up in a super if there is no honey barrier, or she is running out of room in your deeps.

    also, an apology from me to anyone i offended who uses plastic excluders. in my own experience, for the number of colonies i keep, for me, they do not stand up to wear and tear, or the weight of full supers and heat. i don't leave them laying in the sun. the other reason i like metal excluders is because i can throw it in the solar wax melter and harvest the wax the bees build on it.
    :grin:
     
  13. heinleinfan

    heinleinfan New Member

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    I've been fortunate to not have to deal with SHB. I have an all metal excluder. It's what was for sale with the "starter kit" my local supplier sells and I've not felt the need to replace it with any other kind, so I've not looked into others. It's even slightly bent, from when it was on my hive that got attacked by bears. It actually works out...I managed to bend it back enough that it can actually go on a hive, and it raises the super just a crack on one side, giving bees ventilation in the heat of summer I'd normally do by cracking the lid. Heh.


    I think I've decided that I'm going to just have to let the ladies tell me whether or not I need to use an excluder. I've had full hives never lay a single egg up in a super, without an excluder. I've had full hives fill up 6 frames in a super of nothing but drone before I put the excluder on. *shrug* So from now, I'm just going to not use one if I don't need one, and throw on one for a few weeks whenever I start getting too much brood in a super.


    One thing that seems consistent, though: putting on a fresh super, with no drawn comb and only foundations and an excluder is bad. The bees may feel the excluder is the "lid" of the hive, and never move up into the super at all and start drawing comb. Whenever I do use and excluder, I make sure the hive is actively working the super before adding it on, and make sure I get the queen below it.

    And, what riverbee said is very important. You don't want position frames of brood near the outer edges of the hive and alone, brood has to stay warm to live and that's why those brood frames are always in the center of a box and grouped up together.

    There's nothing wrong with honey and comb from a super that *had* brood in it. You just don't want to harvest a frame that *has* brood in it.
     
  14. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    Thanks for that tip---it's a method that never croseed my mind.