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Author Topic: Questions and more questions  (Read 1121 times)
Wombat2
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Location: Sunshine Coast, Queensland


« on: October 15, 2013, 01:29:24 AM »

The girls have been in their new home for a week - they had 5 new full frames of foundation to play with but when I took the lid off today to add 2 new half frame supers they had built 2 "sails" of comb on top of the old frames in the centre - just clean new comb - nothing in them. Took me by surprise and being a beginner I just pushed them over and added the two new half supers. What were they up too? Needed more room?

Other question concerns QB Excluders - to use on not to use? I read on Michael Bush's site that he finds the bees wont go through them to new foundation. He says if you must use them to put a frame of brood above to encourage the workers to feed them. I went half way and put the excluder between the two halves and if they start working the bottom one I'll move the excluder down. Any comment?

Oh and 5 SHB in the bottom board trap - just remembered I had a trap in the top of the frames but now realised it was covered in bees between the 2 sails and overlooked it.
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David L
Oak
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Location: Bayswater, Victoria, Australia


« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2013, 04:00:13 AM »

Hi David,

As another beginner, I don't intend to use my queen excluder. I reason that it doesn't matter if I get a little broodcomb mixed in with the honeycomb as I am just a backyarder who isn't taking a super to a honey extractor. Still it is good to have to option of using one if I need to.

Regards
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prestonpaul
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« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2013, 04:42:21 AM »

The bees will build comb where they want to build comb. If they are building on top of the frames then they have either run out of room or chances are they want to build drone comb which is fairly likely at this time of year.

As for queen excluders, I didn't use them for the first couple of years, this year I am going to. Mainly because I want to keep brood in the bottom box and make sure the bees fill the second box with honey for winter. I don't want to be constantly pulling the hive apart and shuffling frames around to make sure the bees have enough to get through. My bees are in a location with a cold wet long winter so things may be different where you are  grin With new foundation, I would leave the excluder off untill the bees start to draw it out or bring up a frame of brood as you said. Make sure you don't bring the queen with it though, don't ask me hw I know Wink

As for shb, can't help you there as I am yet to get it.
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kanga
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« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2013, 04:46:30 AM »

In your current setup are you using a migratory lid?  If so are you using anything between the top of the frames and the top of the migratory lid?  If that is your setup then they will continue to build burr comb between the frame and the lid. When you open the hive remove the burr comb otherwise they will fill it, this time of the year, probably with honey and you will end up with a real mess.

Re excluders you will find that most commercial beekeepers in Queensland (I can't speak for the other states) use them and a lot of amateur beekeepers do so as well. The queen will go up and lay in the supers but I think you will find that in a good honey flow as the brood hatches the workers fill the cells with honey and thereby driving her back down to the brood box. It is an individual choice to use or not to use, there is for and against.

Keeping bees is a steep learning curve.

Kevin
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2013, 09:48:29 AM »

     "Queen Excluders... are very useful in queen rearing, and in uniting colonies; but for the purpose they are generally used, viz., for confining the queen to the lower hive through the honey season, I have no hesitation in condemning them. As I have gone into this question fully on a previous occasion, I will quote my remarks:—

    "The most important point to observe during the honey season in working to secure a maximum crop of honey is to keep down swarming, and the main factors to this end, as I have previously stated, are ample ventilation of the hives, and adequate working-room for the bees. When either or both these conditions are absent, swarming is bound to take place. The free ventilation of a hive containing a strong colony is not so easily secured in the height of the honey season, even under the best conditions, that we can afford to take liberties with it; and when the ventilating—space between the lower and upper boxes is more than half cut off by a queen-excluder, the interior becomes almost unbearable on hot days. The results under such circumstances are that a very large force of bees that should be out working are employed fanning-, both inside and out, and often a considerable part of the colony will be hanging outside the hive in enforced idleness until it is ready to swarm.

    "Another evil caused by queen-excluders, and tending to the same end—swarming—is that during a brisk honey-flow the bees will not readily travel through them to deposit their loads of surplus honey in the supers, but do store large quantities in the breeding-combs, and thus block the breeding-space. This is bad enough at any time, but the evil is accentuated when it occurs in the latter part of the season. A good queen gets the credit of laying from two to three thousand eggs per day: supposing she is blocked for a few days, and loses the opportunity of laying, say, from fifteen hundred to two thousand eggs each day, the colony would quickly dwindle down, especially as the average life of the bee in the honey season is only about six weeks.

    "For my part I care not where the queen lays—the more bees the more honey. If she lays in some of the super combs it can be readily rectified now and again by putting the brood below, and side combs of honey from the lower box above; some of the emerging brood also may be placed at the side of the upper box to give plenty of room below. I have seen excluders on in the latter part of the season, the queens idle for want of room, and very little brood in the hives, just at a time when it is of very great importance that there should be plenty of young bees emerging."—Isaac Hopkins, The Australasian Bee Manual

"Beginning beekeepers should not attempt to use queen excluders to prevent brood in supers. However they probably should have one excluder on hand to use as an aide in either finding the queen or restricting her access to frames that the beekeeper must want to move elsewhere" -The How-To-Do-It book of Beekeeping, Richard Taylor
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
Wombat2
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« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2013, 02:54:36 AM »

Thanks for the replies - taking it all on board. I can see I have a lot to learn.
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David L
amun-ra
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« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2013, 05:45:37 AM »

hey wombat I use some old lino flooring on top of the top frames just cut it about 30mm smaller than the inside of the box it stops them from building cobm on top of the frames
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Every day the sun shines and gravity sucks= free energy
ShaneJ
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« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2013, 12:00:00 AM »

I started off using queen excluders and then by recommendation of almost everyone on this forum I stopped using them.

As I started increasing the number of hives I have, I began removing queens that I felt weren't laying as well as they could be as well as removing the queens from hives that weren't producing as much as they could be. Gradually as I expanded I was also producing my own queens and, still following the same practice as above, I removed queens that I felt weren't up to scratch.

What I have now ended up with are hives that continually work their butts off. My hives now produce more honey than any of them ever did with "x queens" I purchased from breeders and the queens lay up and keep layed up every single frame.

The down side now is that I have to use excluders in all my hives because if I don't, as already mentioned my queens will lay up every single frame. People have suggested that when a flow is on, the workers will start back-filling the frames but this isn't the case for me. If I leave them long enough to back-fill I just get swarms.

The queen breeders I have spoken to call my queens "Broody" and say they are poor quality and I should replace them. This doesn't make sense to me!  The main traits I want from a queen are: Lays well; produces gentle bees; and produces hard workers - and I have all three.

So to my point, I don't think there is a straight answer whether to use an excluder or not. With my queens you have to use an excluder if you want to produce honey. With other peoples' queens you may not.

Shane
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Shane
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