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Author Topic: Using hardware cloth as an entrance queen excluder  (Read 1140 times)
specialkayme
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« on: July 15, 2010, 03:26:39 PM »

I have an OH that I think want's to abscond (actually, one already did last weekend, so I put new bees in there, and they are gouging themselves on honey and balling, but not hurting, the queen). I closed the entrance of the OH today in hopes that if I give them a day or two of sitting there, they will stay.

However, I want a back up plan. After a few days of being caught up in there, they will need to make it out. I was hoping to be able to use #5 hardware cloth as a queen excluder on the entrance, to make sure that the queen doesn't leave. I have read that #5 can dislodge some pollen from the bees though. I don't want them to starve either.

Has anyone used hardware cloth as an entrance queen excluder? Did you use #5? Would it be safe for me to supply pollen substitute (global patty) for about a week with a #5 on the entrance anyway?
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« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2010, 03:46:10 PM »

How will the drones get out?   Without an exit they will clog up your #5 hardware cloth.
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specialkayme
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« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2010, 04:28:45 PM »

No drones in there at the moment. I made sure to only shake in nurse bees, two frames of brood (one capped, one eggs/young brood), and the queen.

Of course, there may be a FEW drones in there, but not enough to clog up the entrance just yet.

I know there will be drones in the future, but I was trying to do something for now, just to make sure they don't leave in the next week. After a week the queen will likely begin laying again and they aren't likely to leave. At that point I take off the excluder.
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specialkayme
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« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2010, 11:12:23 AM »

I saw the queen laying this morning. Do you think I should put on the excluder, or is it likely they won't abscond now and I don't need it?
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D Coates
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« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2010, 04:24:30 PM »

If she's laying I'd leave them alone.  The bigger questions is why do they keep apparently obsconding.  Until you answer that question you are only working with the symptom not the cause.  Take care of the cause and the symptom takes care of itself. 

I've got a 5-frame OB hive (only +/-6 weeks though) and had some challenges at the very beginning.  Bees have trouble walking straight up and down the interior of a 2" PVC pipe.  I lost a couple thousand bees in 1 week before I figured out a solution.  Hang a 1 inch strap all the way down the pipe for them the climb on.  It's been smooth sailing since but would have invariably ended badly had the cause not been dealt with.
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specialkayme
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« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2010, 05:20:25 PM »

If she's laying I'd leave them alone.  The bigger questions is why do they keep apparently obsconding.  Until you answer that question you are only working with the symptom not the cause.  Take care of the cause and the symptom takes care of itself. 

I've got a 5-frame OB hive (only +/-6 weeks though) and had some challenges at the very beginning.  Bees have trouble walking straight up and down the interior of a 2" PVC pipe.  I lost a couple thousand bees in 1 week before I figured out a solution.  Hang a 1 inch strap all the way down the pipe for them the climb on.  It's been smooth sailing since but would have invariably ended badly had the cause not been dealt with.

The why is a very good question, but is probably because of yours truly  Lips Sealed

I had one that abscond last year in my OH. I tried to never open it up, and just observe. It got too big and created swarm cells, getting ready to swarm. It was great to watch. However, since it was only 3 deep frames, when they swarmed they left too few bees behind to take care of the hive. Wax moth and SHB larvae quickly moved in, and the few bees that left didn't have a chance, so they left.

The one that abscond last week was again my fault. I opened the hive up to mark the queen to make it easier for others to see her, and I kinda ended up manhandling the queen (oops) but ended up marking her. When I sealed them up I couldn't find the queen. Fearing I crushed her, I opened them up two hours later to verify the existence of the queen. The marking, manhandling, and 2x opening stressed them out, and they flew away.

This time, when I installed them I figured I could just mark the queen when I install them, so I don't stress them out by doing it later. I picked up the queen to mark her, but accidentally only grabbed one wing. She started spinning around in my fingers. I freaked (thinking she was going to injure herself) and accidentally dropped her. She ran from me, and it took me a while to get her back home. That's enough stress to make anyone want to leave.

And yes, I learned my lesson, even if it takes me a while . . . . I'm not going to mark the queen in my OH anymore!

But, if they do get stressed, Id like to know how to make them stay.
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D Coates
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« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2010, 11:32:46 PM »

My queen is marked in my OB hive as well as in all of my hives.  I have had no problems with marked queens for the 3 years I've been doing it.  I'd think a marked queen in an OB hive is key so nonbeekeepers can find her easily. 
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specialkayme
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« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2010, 11:34:59 PM »

My queen is marked in my OB hive as well as in all of my hives.  I have had no problems with marked queens for the 3 years I've been doing it.  I'd think a marked queen in an OB hive is key so nonbeekeepers can find her easily. 

Agreed. I was more commenting on HOW I mark queens, not whether or not they are marked.

I need to work on my marking skills, so I don't manhandle her in the process.
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