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Author Topic: Queen Logic  (Read 710 times)
TheMasonicHive
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Location: Oxford, MI


« on: June 13, 2010, 09:08:32 AM »

Hello everyone,


I've got two hives, one of them has had its second deep for about 3 weeks now, and my second one I just put the second deep on last week.

So I'm at a crossroads where very soon I'll have to make a decision whether to use a queen excluder.  The guy at our local club calls them a "honey excluder" which I found comical.

I've asked a few people and I get some who use them religiously and the other group who say not to.  Logically to me it would make sense that I want to put NOTHING in the hive to impede their free movement.

However, I get this story about how the queen won't walk on capped honey and whatnot, so that will keep her in the lower deeps.

If that was true, it would seem to me that she would have never gotten in the second deep to begin with, so what instinct or logic is stopping her from going from my second deep into a super?

Any light shed on this would be helpful in my decision.  Thanks!
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Christopher Peace
Oakland County, MI

"It teaches us that, as we come into the world rational and intelligent beings, so we should ever be industrious ones; never sitting down contented while our fellow-creatures around us are in want, when it is in our power to relieve them without inconvenience to ourselves." - Freemasonry on the Beehive
BjornBee
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« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2010, 10:27:41 AM »

Queen excluder success....


1) Use a plastic excluder and turn 90 degrees from how one normally sets an excluder on the hive.

2) Use an entrance above the excluder.

Of course much depends on the use of foundation in the supers, flow, time of year, hive strength, etc.

The "bump" you need to get over is the first year drawing of the comb in the supers. If you do not mind some brood raise in the super boxes, it's no big deal. If you want to retain the wax in the supers free of cocoons (and less problems with wax moths and super storage) then that is a different story.

Most who claim to call it a "honey excluder" are probably those who tried it one way, gave up, and allowed the excluder to outwit them.

An excluder is simply a piece of beekeeping equipment that has both pro and cons, and can be made to work or not work, depending on the beekeepers knowledge.
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TheMasonicHive
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Location: Oxford, MI


« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2010, 10:37:21 AM »

Bjorn,

Thank you for your response.

I would like to keep the queen from being in the supers, and want that nice clean wax without cocoons, if at all possible, but if people tell me its not that big of a deal, then I will leave it at that.  I just want them to be able to move as freely as possible.

So basically you're saying to put the excluder in with a quarter turn, therefore leaving a small space on each side so the bees can move up, but limit the entry way options the queen has, thus REDUCING the likelihood of her migrating there?

As for the entrance part, you'll have to excuse me but I'm a new beek, so adding entrances is a totally foreign thing to me and I have no idea how to do it.  Could you expand on this idea?
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Christopher Peace
Oakland County, MI

"It teaches us that, as we come into the world rational and intelligent beings, so we should ever be industrious ones; never sitting down contented while our fellow-creatures around us are in want, when it is in our power to relieve them without inconvenience to ourselves." - Freemasonry on the Beehive
BjornBee
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« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2010, 11:23:24 AM »

I have my hives setup with an upper entrance (not to be confused with a top entrance which is bad for bees) in the upper brood box. The bees will be coming in and out of this upper entrance as well as the bottom "main" entrance. When I place my supers on, I also have a entrance hole in my supers. So when I place the excluder and supers on, I plug the entrance in the brood box, and the bees automatically move up to the hole in the super. All the bees know is that they are weighted down and want to enter a hole. So within seconds of adding the supers, I have bees entering in the supers, above the excluder.

These upper entrances also have the benefit of the bees not having to go completely through the brood chamber, cutting down congestion and perhaps lowering swarming to a small degree.

No doubt, the first year is the hardest to get supers drawn with an excluder. Many times, a new hive has worked the main flow building up the brood chamber boxes, and by the time a beekeeper places supers, the flow is on the down side. And if this is the case, the bees know the flow is slowing and they will backfill and use every available space in the brood chamber as compared to drawing a new box of foundation. This is typically what happens to many who have bad experiences with excluders. The bees work through the flow building up two brood boxes, and then the beekeeper late in the flow places supers with an excluder then complains the bees will not work the supers due to the excluder.

The second year coming out of winter, with the hives full to capacity, and needing to store nectar, will go draw that comb and everything is easier. But the first year, many things are against you. Timing, flow, etc. You may need to "bait" the supers or just allow the bees to COMPLTELY fill out the brood chamber boxes, and take some honey for yourself from the end frames.
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Please Support "National Honey Bee Day"
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lakeman
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« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2010, 05:46:22 PM »

I am only interested in comb honey, and do no extracting, and I have just as many bees working above my excluder, as below it, and always have.
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melliphile
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« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2010, 09:15:49 AM »

I never use an excluder unless I find evidence of a queen laying where I'd rather she didn't. Then I'll smoke the bees down and put on an excluder. I concur with Bjorn, it is a tool with pros and cons. Don't rule it out completely, but learn how to use it in the most beneficial way. Some of my earlier beekeeping influences warned against using one, but in my experience, there are times when it is apropos.
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"Never discourage anyone who continually makes progress, no matter how slow." -Plato
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