Quantcast

Not using queen excluders

Beekeeping Forum

Help Support Beekeeping Forum:

Polyanwood 

Queen Bee
Joined
Nov 7, 2008
Messages
2,203
Reaction score
1
Location
London
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
45
As I have been cleaning my queen excluders ready for next year, it has made me think about why I use them. I know some people don't.

The main reason I use them is so that I am sure where to search for queen cells and to increase the odds of finding the queen if I need to. I also would prefer that my super frames were not made messy and unattractive with brood - but that is just being picky.

Now I am better at finding queens and more confident that I will not accidentally kill them, I think it is worth thinking about not using QEs. I think the main advantage would be that the queen would always have enough room to lay. This means that the bees could maximise their numbers is accordance with environmental conditions - moving up when they need to. It may also reduce the risk of swarming. Because of these it may increase the honey crop.

What do you think?? Worth a try?
 
Joined
Jul 8, 2010
Messages
2,985
Reaction score
2
Location
Exmoor
Hive Type
none
Number of Hives
None of my own
Wouldnt there be issues at harvest time with brood and presumably more pollen mixed in with the honey?

I do know of a bee inspector who doesnt use them, but not had the opportunity to ask him why.
 

sleepingbear 

New Bee
Joined
Apr 29, 2010
Messages
11
Reaction score
0
Location
uk
Hive Type
none
yeah - extraction would be tricky - you'd end up with all sorts in there unless you then strained eveything. also - you need to consider things like what you would do if there were queen cells on the super frames and you wanted to remove the frame they were on and wanted to use that frame and cell elsewhere in your apiary, say to make up a nuc - how would you do this? - not impossible but certainly made harder.

I suppose I can't help thinking, what's the point of NOT using an excluder? ok - you may welll argue you are reducing a potential natural urge for them to use that space for other purposes, not just honey storage, but that's why as beekeepers we should be ensuring that we have the right brood chamber for our particular bees.

Sometimes I don't understand the debates that go on about which brood box to use - I think you need to work that out with your bees - ours are very prolific and we use double brood boxes, some bees are not and a single brood may do just fine. all bees are different.
 

oliver90owner 

Queen Bee
Joined
Jul 15, 2009
Messages
15,631
Reaction score
35
Location
Lincolnshire
Hive Type
14x12
If your only harvest time is August, there is no problem with brood and honey mixed in a super, as the brood has peaked well before, when an excluder can be placed in position, so that the brood in the super has emerged before harvest. Pollen may appear to be a nuisance but will not be extracted, so no real problem there.

It needs a bit more thought if on OSR, but is not insurmountable working around your particular local situation.

I find some of my 14 x 12s need to go up for a while, but that, to me, is preferable to double brood all the year round (in some instances). Most contract to the brood which, if sorted at the right time, can lead to less honey 'lost' in the brood box.

As I have said elsewhere, I am not particularly bothered of the honey apparently 'lost' in the brood. Among other things, I rarely feed in the autumn and so have no worries of 'fed sugar' turning up in the honey crop.

I do remove stores frames from the brood on occasions (preferably not OSR) for feeding to other colonies (especially nucs) or returning later in the year. That makes plenty of space for brood downstairs and, iwith adequate space upstairs for honey, there are usually minimal risks of swarming and lots of honey.

For instance, I needed to feed 2 nucs (early September, I think). I actually stole two stores frames and a full frame of capped brood at the time from a strong colony on a brood with brood in the first super. The capped brood reinforced the adjacent colony, the stores went to the nucs, I was able to squeeze the colony (from where the frames were taken) onto a single brood box shortly afterwards, and got the super of honey quite shortly afterwards. A result from a little necessary effort. Again, this is more relevant for those with three or more colonies.

With just one colony there are zero options apart from removal, storage (in the freezer?) and later replacement if needed. Run at least two. It is easier!

Regards, RAB
 

Beezy 

House Bee
Joined
Mar 3, 2010
Messages
177
Reaction score
0
Location
London
Hive Type
national
Wouldn't it mean that you'd have to change the super frames every year, like the brood frames though, meaning it would end up being much more costly?
 

DulwichGnome 

Field Bee
Joined
May 7, 2009
Messages
534
Reaction score
0
Location
SE London, UK
Hive Type
other
Number of Hives
8 & 5 nucs all Rose
My experience is this works best when you have all the same frame sizes. There are beeks who only work with Langstroth mediums who are able to swap out frames as and when needed.

Mike.
 

Finman 

Queen Bee
Joined
Nov 8, 2008
Messages
25,605
Reaction score
173
Location
Finland, Helsinki
Hive Type
langstroth
.
I have worked 45 years without excluder. Nothing is mixed.

In the middle of summer i use 3 lang broods. The lowest if for pollen and cold barrier.
Quen lays to next two broods. Above them are mediums.

But i suppose that system makes the hive slow to nurse. Many beekeepers take the exc. Into use in late yield season.
 

drstitson 

Queen Bee
Joined
Aug 4, 2010
Messages
7,657
Reaction score
0
Location
surrey, lincolnshire etc.
Hive Type
dadant
Number of Hives
14
i read somewhere that they don't use them in canada (or rather some don't) - citing that appropriately spaced super frames are unattractive to queens re laying.
not sure how much truth there is in that.
 

*ZhG*StGeorge 

New Bee
Joined
Aug 10, 2010
Messages
67
Reaction score
0
Location
Tenterden-Kent
Hive Type
other
Number of Hives
2
The Rowes method in one sized boxes advocates this. As all the frames and boxes are the same size you can mix and match the individual frames as required when it come to extraction.
 

oliver90owner 

Queen Bee
Joined
Jul 15, 2009
Messages
15,631
Reaction score
35
Location
Lincolnshire
Hive Type
14x12
drstitson,

appropriately spaced super frames are unattractive to queens re laying.

Good point there. Say, 9 frames per super in a National frames will either be too wide apart for brooding or, if drawn adequately for a couple of house bees to traverse, the depth of the cells would be too long for her to lay in, given alternative space below.

Regards, RAB
 

victor meldrew 

Queen Bee
Joined
Nov 10, 2008
Messages
6,417
Reaction score
52
Location
Wigan
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
6
drstitson,

appropriately spaced super frames are unattractive to queens re laying.

Good point there. Say, 9 frames per super in a National frames will either be too wide apart for brooding or, if drawn adequately for a couple of house bees to traverse, the depth of the cells would be too long for her to lay in, given alternative space below.

Regards, RAB
Wouldn't that require ex's on at least a couple of colonies to get super frames deep drawn?
Wouldn't the Queen merely stick the egg on cell wall ?
Worth exploring I suppose :)

John Wilkinson
 

oliver90owner 

Queen Bee
Joined
Jul 15, 2009
Messages
15,631
Reaction score
35
Location
Lincolnshire
Hive Type
14x12
Wouldn't that require ex's on at least a couple of colonies to get super frames deep drawn?

Not necessarily. If the frames are spaced out early(11>10>9 or even>8) at drawing time, they may become too deep, or stay too wide. May need some extra attention but may be possible. I have some deep drawn frames from last season anyway, but they do need to be drawn flat or she may lay in the shallower parts of uneven frames.


Wouldn't the Queen merely stick the egg on cell wall ?

Given the choice of space dowstairs and up, she is likely to go up, but if that space up has 'too deep' cells (and bees prefer a fairly small range of cell-height:cell-width ratio), she would preferentially stay down. Those cells above would not be appropriate for a worker larva unless lowered in height (as the larva grew, presumably), so not popular for the workers, who, after all, control the queen's egg laying.

Certainly worth looking at and investigating further.

Regardes, RAB
 

drstitson 

Queen Bee
Joined
Aug 4, 2010
Messages
7,657
Reaction score
0
Location
surrey, lincolnshire etc.
Hive Type
dadant
Number of Hives
14
deep comb

Is there much "real world" difference between honey yield from 10 "normal comb" super frames and 9 "deeply drawn comb" frames???

Just from first principles, assuming bee space is maintained, you have the potential for 2x beespace extra storage with 9 frames.

Of course, if Rooftops has his way, we'll all be tied to using QEs for natural swarm control anyway!!!!!
 

victor meldrew 

Queen Bee
Joined
Nov 10, 2008
Messages
6,417
Reaction score
52
Location
Wigan
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
6
I do use Queen excluders for my convenience of course !
1, lessening time required in finding Queen.
2 Keeping Queen out of rapid feeders (I remove weir cover and allow bees to clean out feeders)
3 To keep honey crop and brood/eggs segregated .
4 Again to prevent Queen from entering supers replaced after extraction for cleaning purposes. ( particularly so if brood box is stuffed with Winter stores)

All in all, my vote is for the use of Q/Xs.
Anyone wishing not to use them has my admiration :biggrinjester:

John Wilkinson
 

Hivemaker. 

Queen Bee
Joined
Nov 8, 2008
Messages
14,310
Reaction score
8
Location
Exmoor.
Hive Type
national
When on the odd occasion that a queen has managed to end up in the supers on eight spacing, with well drawn combs, they have simply trimmed the comb down to suit the queen laying, and drawn more wild comb in the gap.
Read some Italian article a while ago about wide frame spacing to reduce varroa and swarming .
 
Last edited:

oliver90owner 

Queen Bee
Joined
Jul 15, 2009
Messages
15,631
Reaction score
35
Location
Lincolnshire
Hive Type
14x12
For a shallow National with 11 frames, going to 9 might yield an extra kilo approx. Going to 8 would have an extra approx 1.5kg. 10 and 15% approx. so well worth the effort for some.

All depends on good flat combs but often with the bigger space small amounts of comb are built on the sides of the bars and remember there are only 8 or 9 frames and foundation in use - quite a saving in itself just on frames, if practised on several colonies with multiple supers.

Thatt's fewer frames to extract, too. Small amount of the volume of the midribs of 2 or 3 frames too. Bees save time on cappings. Every little bit adds up. I don't do it fanatically but I now only use one size spacers (the widest), but still have a lot of old ones laying around and I encourage/allow her to go up if she needs the extra space anyway. Better than the colony going into swarm mode.

I might be more into it next year as colony numbers have increased a little. Fewer super boxes and frames needed, extracted and stored over winter, is a bonus, as I see it.

I have in the past cut wide combs back to frame-width at the end of the season extraction (for squeezing more into fewer boxes for fumigation), especially if they get uneven.

If I had hundreds or thousands of frames to extract, I might just want everything a standard size and shape.

Your Dadants? Work it out!

Regards, RAB
 

rowbow 

House Bee
Joined
Apr 21, 2010
Messages
125
Reaction score
0
Location
Leicestershire
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
3
I prefer to use QE the wire type piece of mined as well as keeping drones out, my supers are all ten framed, I don't no but I have herd on the grape vine if you use drone foundation the honey yield is grater, as for swarming, take out some of the old frame's from the brood box, keep Q out of supers.
Regards
John
 

Onge 

Field Bee
Joined
May 24, 2009
Messages
839
Reaction score
0
Location
Cambridge
Hive Type
langstroth
Number of Hives
9 Medium Poly, mostly foundation-less. Some run as Warre TBH
I will not be using excluders next year.

I also run the same size frame throughout the hive (lang medium).

Thinking of adding boxes rose style in the middle. Probably try some added top, bottom & middle and see what happens.
 

VEG 

Queen Bee
Joined
Nov 10, 2008
Messages
6,830
Reaction score
0
Location
Maesteg South Wales
Hive Type
national
Number of Hives
15+-some
Cant remember where I read it but dont enviromental health say that brood combs (there will inevitably be some brood in some of the super combs if no QE) not suposed to be used for honey?
Not being picky but I am sure I have read it, though they probably wouldnt be able to tell anyway.
 

Latest posts

Top