DIY precision Queen Excluder

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Little John 

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In my opinion there's something very wrong in the world of Queen Excluders - bees come in different sizes, and yet the Q/X is a 'one size fits all' piece of kit. Or at least, that's what each manufacturer provides.

Having said that - there's also considerable variation between manufacturers.
This is a list from Dave Cushman's site (in mm.):

Code:
zinc        4.38
plastic     4.34 - 4.36
Herzog wire 4.22
welded wire 4.3
wood & wire 4.14
EU standard 4.3
And our friends over at Wiki have the spacing listed as 4.1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_excluder

Now some of my virgin queens are very small, and keep getting through the zinc excluders I already have, so as I needed a couple of small excluders to make a Morris Board with, I decided to make some 'tighter' QX's yesterday using a method I developed last year - only this time I took a picture in case anyone else wants to play around with this.

A dial vernier (or micrometer etc) is useful for establishing the thicknesses of spacing material - which can be coins (which are precise, and already listed), or pieces of CD plastic - anything which has been standardised. For fine-tuning, pieces of plastic sheeting, sellotape etc can be used. With thin material, it's almost essential to measure multiple sheets (say, 10) to determine the exact thickness of each individual sheet.

Having made a list of spacer thicknesses, construction is fairly straightforward. For the 100mm span required for the Morris Board, I used 1.6mm 316 s/s TIG wire (the stuff I have is actually 1.59) which comes in 1 metre lengths - 1 kg for around £15 - that's something like 67 metres of wire (if memory serves).

Ok - so here's the method I've settled on using:




What may not be obvious is that the working surface is a gentle (5%-ish) inclined plane, which allows the coins used for spacing to gently rest against the previous wire.

In the pic, 2 x 2p coins (the new copper-coated steel coins) gives a spacing of 4.06 mm in theory. In practice, they provide a spacing of 4.08 mm (-0/ + 0.02 mm). So this results in a much tighter QX than anything on the market - but also one made of smooth wire which is gentle on the bees.

I subjected one of these QX's to a 'bee-test' this morning for an hour, and the bees were wriggling through ok - but it is a slight effort for them - so I'll make another pair at 4.15 mm and then compare them.

BTW - this is for Queen-rearing purposes, not for Queen-exclusion to honey-supers, for which I'm sure I'd use an off-the-shelf product if I used QX's for this purpose - which I don't. :)

LJ

 

drstitson 

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is it not easier to glue a suitable thickness object to the thorax of your queen(s) so she/they can't get through commercial QE grids? double up as a marker.
 

Little John 

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It's certainly an interesting idea - and one I would never have thought of ...

... but which has reminded me of an invention currently being marketed by a German firm: they supply tiny disks of a magnetic material (permalloy, I guess) which have numbers and/or colours on their upper surfaces which are attached to the queen's thorax.

To then find your queen, you simply wave a 'fishing rod' with a magnet on the end, over the combs - and the queen is quickly found: as in "Beam me up, Scotty". Pretty bl##dy undignified if you ask me, but sounds effective.

LJ
 

Nige.Coll 

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It's certainly an interesting idea - and one I would never have thought of ...

... but which has reminded me of an invention currently being marketed by a German firm: they supply tiny disks of a magnetic material (permalloy, I guess) which have numbers and/or colours on their upper surfaces which are attached to the queen's thorax.

To then find your queen, you simply wave a 'fishing rod' with a magnet on the end, over the combs - and the queen is quickly found: as in "Beam me up, Scotty". Pretty bl##dy undignified if you ask me, but sounds effective.

LJ
hmmm pull her legs off trying to get her off the magnet hehe

if you making the gap 4.15mm why not use the wood and wire at 4.14mm?
 

Little John 

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hmmm pull her legs off trying to get her off the magnet hehe
Indeed - I had the same thought ...

if you making the gap 4.15mm why not use the wood and wire at 4.14mm?
'Cause the Dave Cushman stuff is historical - I don't know who makes them these days (if at all - as plastic rules :) ), or how to go about sourcing one ... and why I'm faffing about trying to find out where to get one from - I could have made several myself !

The only serious downside to making DIY QX's is the searching for spacers, and setting-up - that does take time - but once the kit is in place I can knock out a small QX in about 20 mins - using 5 min epoxy.

Oh yes - I found the link to that German magnetic fishing rod gizmo:
http://apinaut.de/apinautsystem/starterset/index.html

Best to use Google 'translate', unless you're multi-lingual. :)

LJ
 

Nige.Coll 

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yellow plastic one i got with the hive varies from 4.3 to 4.51 mm depends which hole you measure accurate stuff this plastic.
 

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