My question is should I go ahead and use an excluder now? There is so much conflicting information about the use of an excluder and being this is my first "honey" year I didn't want to put up a barrier that would reduce the amount of the crop. I also tried an Imrie shim but the bees were not using it and it created a lot of burr comb so I removed it. a hole in the honey supers is not being used either. Should I shift the supers forward so the bees can enter directly into the bottom of the super? Would using an excluder "strip" just down the middle section of the supers help?
That's up to you. This is the very reason I don't run an unlimited brood nest anymore. I do put a shim in and create a gap between the excluder and supers so that the field workers can get in. My best advice is, where it is ok to go to an excluder now. Make sure the queen stays in the brood chamber.
Would using an excluder "strip" just down the middle section of the supers help?
I never tried this but if you do send me a PM and let me know how it works out. I heard also that using a plastic or paper plate is a good way to keep the queen down too, since she generally stays in the middle of the nest, but I am sure like anything, this isn't fool proof.