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Murox 

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Weather, pests and diseases aside, the biggest stressor to bees or probably any "farmed"creature is human intervention and our prevailing practices.
 

drdrday 

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I disagree. At no point during the millions of years of evolution, has a bee colony had to deal with a QX. A QX stresses the colony, leading to more swarming and disease.
I never stated that a QX was natural. My point was that you are wrong in stating that using a National hive, REQUIRES a QX. It simply does not. I repeat again, no hive type that I am aware of REQUIRES a QX. As you so succinctly put it, at no point during the millions of years of evolution has a bee colony needed a QX. QXs have always been to the benefit of beekeepers rather than bees.
... but there is no logic to using two sizes of box if the queen has free rein to lay anywhere.
I'm surprised that you are unable to see any logic in using two sizes of box with or without a QX. The queen may have free rein to lay anywhere throughout a stack of boxes if there is no QX used, but one of the first things you should have learnt as a beekeeper is that colonies follow a typical pattern, with the brood nest below and stores above. In addition, once a honey arc is formed the queen is unlikely to cross it. Any intelligent beek therefore knows to expect the honey crop to be stored in the upper most boxes, and can choose to use shallows in this location, so that they are easier to lift/extract etc., and may opt to use deeps at the bottom of the stack where the brood nest is expected to be found.

Unlike you, I would never refute the logic of running either the same size boxes, or differing sizes, because I can see pros and cons in both cases. It's simply a matter of what equipment you have, and what you prefer to use.

Whilst there are hive types such as the Rose hive, designed specifically to allow one box size to be used throughout, and usually without a QX, many of us (I would suggest sensibly) start out with the more common National hive. I don't see why you would discourage a fellow beekeeper from experimenting and trying new ways of managing their bees by simply running without a QX. We're all hear to listen to other ideas and advice, and if Hemo finds after testing that he prefers to go without a QX he may eventually go on to consider homogenous box sizes.
 

gmonag 

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Did you actually read my posts?
I am not discouraging anyone from not using a QX or any other "experimental" method. On the contrary! I merely postulate that having taken the first step it logically follows to change the whole management strategy.
 
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pargyle 

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... but there is no logic to using two sizes of box if the queen has free rein to lay anywhere. You end up with a logistics problem when extracting and/or if you want to manipulate frames/boxes. The conventional hive needs a QX to work as intended. For the same reason, a brood+1/2 makes no sense either.
A hive consisting of one size of box can still use a QX if desired, but does not need one.
The only reason I see for two sizes of box is beekeeper convenience and the fact that in the wild bees will build combto the depth of the cavity. I use 14 x 12 brood boxes which are generally a big enough brood volume for most colonies ... I use stadndard national supers whihc, when full of honey, I can safely lift and transport without destroying my back or giving myself a hernia. To have a bigger box for honey storage would make my life too difficult.

Running wihout a QE does not present any serious problems .. the queen may ocassionally lay up in the first super but as the season progresses those cells are cleaned and repurposed for honey storage.

I can see with standard national boxes (which often require duplication when a fecund queen is present) that it may be necessary from a management viewpoint to include a QE at some point during the season but ... again, it's only for the beekeeper's convenience.

If you have never keeping bees without a QE - give it a go - it costs nothing and you may find, as I do, that it works for you.

When I first started beekeeping I decided to be foundationless - it caused quite a stir wherever I mentioned it .. and I've heard all the 'reasons' why this is a bad idea ... all these years on and I'm still running foundationless in both brood boxes and supers and I see more and more people using starter strips and allowing their bees to build what they want. I don't consider myself a pioneer in any way but some of the ideas that were considered well off the wall a few years ago are now becoming an acceptable practice for those who have an open mind and a desire to try something a little different.

We should never discourage or discount those who try different ways - unless there are very sound reasons why it will not work.
 

gmonag 

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If you have never keeping bees without a QE - give it a go - it costs nothing and you may find, as I do, that it works for you.

When I first started beekeeping I decided to be foundationless - it caused quite a stir wherever I mentioned it .. and I've heard all the 'reasons' why this is a bad idea ... all these years on and I'm still running foundationless in both brood boxes and supers and I see more and more people using starter strips and allowing their bees to build what they want. I don't consider myself a pioneer in any way but some of the ideas that were considered well off the wall a few years ago are now becoming an acceptable practice for those who have an open mind and a desire to try something a little different.

We should never discourage or discount those who try different ways - unless there are very sound reasons why it will not work.
Phillip.
I have never used a QE.
I have always used foundationless frames
I never feed sugar
I use the Rose Hive Method to manage my hives
I am that beek trying different ways
 

pargyle 

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Phillip.
I have never used a QE.
I have always used foundationless frames
I never feed sugar
I use the Rose Hive Method to manage my hives
I am that beek trying different ways
I know, much the same as me ... there was no criticism of what you do implied ... My post was more a confirmation of things that work - I also don't treat for varroa and there may be a connection with allowing bees to exist with minimal intervention that allows my bees to manage the varroa within their environment (Tin hat on .... )
 

Malmcd 

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In the absence of a conventional QE an old trick was to cover the brood box with a square of plastic and cut the corners off. The queen rarely seems to go into supers other than up the middle of the hive. Workers don’t mind a detour!
 

Swarm 

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Weather, pests and diseases aside, the biggest stressor to bees or probably any "farmed"creature is human intervention and our prevailing practices.
Forget weather, pests and diseases, I'd put human intervention top every time.
 

gmonag 

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Almost as much as I love yours and a compete lack of any evidence to support such nonsense.
Would you leave a QE in over winter? No. Why not? Because it potentially may/will stop the cluster reaching the stores and result in isolation starvation. I call that pretty stressful for the bees. So the QE causes stress and death in winter - poppycock/nonsense?

I have often heard a QE called a Honey Excluder. The bees may be reluctant to go through to deposit stores. The result is a honey-bound brood nest and swarming. So the QE can cause stress and swarming - nonsense/poppycock?

QEs can and do become partially blocked by Drones and burr comb. This will affect the airflow around the hive, which may result in heat stress in warm weather. So a QE can cause stress - poppycock/nonsense?

A QE is designed to constrain the colony from building the nest they naturally want, especially if they are prolific. Many are of the opinion that the National deeps are not big enough. So the brood box becomes packed with brood, with no room for the stores they want to place around the periphery. This will stress the colony, like many other factors do. When an colony is stressed it becomes more susceptible to express disease, which might not otherwise be a problem. So a QE can increase the likelyhood of disease - poppycock/nonsense?

Of course these stresses can be managed by the beekeeper, but why cause them in the first place?
 

bingevader 

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... but there is no logic to using two sizes of box if the queen has free rein to lay anywhere. You end up with a logistics problem when extracting and/or if you want to manipulate frames/boxes. The conventional hive needs a QX to work as intended. For the same reason, a brood+1/2 makes no sense either.
A hive consisting of one size of box can still use a QX if desired, but does not need one.
The queen may have free rein, but in our limited experience, by the time we extract in the autumn, the brood chamber is at the bottom of the hive and the honey at the top. No logistical problem. Supers are lighter. We try to keep manipulations down to a minimum. ;)
Maybe the conventional hive -QX works for us because we don't run it as intended! :D
 

Erichalfbee 

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For those of you who don't run QX. I wonder what happens on a year like last year here in Ceredigion where I keep my bees. The weather was pants apart from in the spring, but the dandelion flow had been astounding and most hives had two supers on and I presume the nest would have expanded upwards. The bees had little stores at the end of the summer so supers full of honey wouldn't have been a reality. The brood would have all been up top in the supers when it was time to feed them.
 

Ian123 

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Would you leave a QE in over winter? No. Why not? Because it potentially may/will stop the cluster reaching the stores and result in isolation starvation. I call that pretty stressful for the bees. So the QE causes stress and death in winter - poppycock/nonsense?

I have often heard a QE called a Honey Excluder. The bees may be reluctant to go through to deposit stores. The result is a honey-bound brood nest and swarming. So the QE can cause stress and swarming - nonsense/poppycock?

QEs can and do become partially blocked by Drones and burr comb. This will affect the airflow around the hive, which may result in heat stress in warm weather. So a QE can cause stress - poppycock/nonsense?

A QE is designed to constrain the colony from building the nest they naturally want, especially if they are prolific. Many are of the opinion that the National deeps are not big enough. So the brood box becomes packed with brood, with no room for the stores they want to place around the periphery. This will stress the colony, like many other factors do. When an colony is stressed it becomes more susceptible to express disease, which might not otherwise be a problem. So a QE can increase the likelyhood of disease - poppycock/nonsense?

Of course these stresses can be managed by the beekeeper, but why cause them in the first place?
First off you appear to be confusing providing random musings with the provision of evidence, you’ve had plenty of opportunity for a google yet can’t find any to support your statements?. Qx are a very common piece of equipment and in all the beekeeping world none have noticed this Qx link to disease and stress. No research group no large scale beekeepers no university’s not even the bbka😉 Ironically your arguing with a person who probably only uses them on half my hives if that and have never noticed any stress or disease link. Unfortunately I’ll call out nonsense/poppycock if I see it. To your points
1.You answered that yourself in the first line. None would use a Qx over winter so the rest is irrelevant. Although I’ve never met any yet that have blamed a loss on leaving a Qx on over Winter. Rather suspect that’s an achievement as beeks look for winter loss reasons!
2. Qx cause stress because colonies won’t go though and get honey bound. I’ve had colonies store significant crops above excluders. No issues they thrive. Probably the biggest commercial beek in the country uses Qx’s, colonies not thriving don’t make a surplus! Bees storing pollen/honey around the brood is natural and is a cause for the natural swarming impulse, I thought you would have approved of that. Given the fact you say you’ve only heard there called honey excluders do you actually have any experience of using them?
3. Yes excluders can become blocked or partially blocked with drones only if your silly enough to separate some drone brood above and their desperation to get out, or perhaps a queen that sneaks through and lays above. They don’t commit mass suicide trying to get into the supers with the front door open. Yes I have done it. Yes excluders do get brace comb I’ve never seen reported or experienced this cause loss to heat stress, I’m sure this would have been reported in countries that experience far higher temps than us. In our hot summer a couple of years ago did we experience a loss of thousands of hives....?
4.I agree a single Nat brood is not big enough for my large hives. But that’s also dependant on bees and area. I’ll sometimes stretch to 3 because during the main flow the bottom box is rammed with pollen, so I’ll often add a third in between supers for laying/nectar space. You again say Qxs cause them to pack around the nest, this is the bees natural behaviour! What evidence do you have for stress?

Given what you’ve said above I’ll make an argument for Queen Excluders. They restrict the queen to a far more natural size cavity ie a single box for instance. A size more likely found in nature. Not forcing her to lay in an un natural size hive. Stressing her and forcing bees to expand beyond the normal/natural colonies size. They encourage the bees to perform the normal instinct of packing honey pollen around the brood nest and thus triggering the natural swarming instinct subdued in an un fettered hive and reducing stress and diseases.
The above is of course BS but is based on as much evidence as your statements. But then again may be true because some bloke wrote it on the internet😂
 

gmonag 

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Well done! I think we have some evidence of personal growth here. You actually managed to argue the subject without making (too many) personal jibes.
 

Ian123 

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You actually managed to argue the subject without making (too many) personal jibes.
Why thanks......You could of course take note and provide some evidence for your claims. As to jibes I’d thought I’d lay off as you appear to be of a delicate nature. Please before you get carried away I’m not in a position to take on any natural beekeeping converts, as most of my hives survive I’ve not killed enough! I’ve not written a book and I’ve not designed a new natural box to keep them in. So am out the running😉Ian
 
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pargyle 

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For those of you who don't run QX. I wonder what happens on a year like last year here in Ceredigion where I keep my bees. The weather was pants apart from in the spring, but the dandelion flow had been astounding and most hives had two supers on and I presume the nest would have expanded upwards. The bees had little stores at the end of the summer so supers full of honey wouldn't have been a reality. The brood would have all been up top in the supers when it was time to feed them.
To be honest ... even on a poor year I've not had that problem... I suspect that the natural break between brood box and super presents a slight barrier ... I've never found brood in the super when it became time to remove the super... I've had half filled supers and brood up to the top of the brood box frames but if there ever was brood in the super it has retracted in to the brood box with an arc of honey above. If they had filled the first super and putting a second one was necessary I tend to move the first one up and put the new one above the brood box. But the honest answer is I don't know... I suppose in a year where there was very little late season forage it could conceivably happen... bees do what they do ... but whether they would use the super as brood space... when they would need the space of the brood box as well ? Who knows ? Let's hope for a season where the honey crop is so good they fill supers faster with honey than brood and its not a possibility !
 

bingevader 

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For those of you who don't run QX. I wonder what happens on a year like last year here in Ceredigion where I keep my bees. The weather was pants apart from in the spring, but the dandelion flow had been astounding and most hives had two supers on and I presume the nest would have expanded upwards. The bees had little stores at the end of the summer so supers full of honey wouldn't have been a reality. The brood would have all been up top in the supers when it was time to feed them.
I can only speak for our bees. We don't take any spring or summer honey. Usually the children remove and extract the honey once we are back in school in September. By then we've a good idea of what's available. There was plenty for the bees for the winter, so no need to feed, but none for us.
 
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