Adding a queen excluder

Discussion in 'Beekeeping' started by pekin84, May 9, 2005.

  1. pekin84

    pekin84 Member

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    Last year, my 12 yo daughter started a new colony of bees for a 4H project. This was our first experience with beekeeping.. We ended up with about 15 pints of honey - very enjoyable. However, we did not use a queen excluder and we had larvae all over the hive at extraction time.
    I know some people don't use them, but I bought one to add to the hive this spring, hoping to avoid that mess.
    Daughter and her friend ( also a beekeeper with a little more experience) went out to try to locate the queen and make sure she was in the bottom box before adding the excluder. The bottom box ( deep brood box) was empty of bees. The second box from the bottom ( shallow super) was full of bees. So they switched the two boxes and put the excluder on top of the shallow super, which I guess is now our brood chamber. They did not see the queen, but there was a lot of day old brood.

    So what now? Our hive is now stacked with shallow on the bottom, then excluder, then deep, then another shalllow. We have 1 more deep box as a spare.

    Any management tips?

    Polly
     
  2. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I suspect that if you are wintering over in one brood box, that you are located down south? Most of us Yankees must use 2 brood boxes to hold enough winter feed.

    That being said, yes, a lot of queens will move up when they lay, and switching boxes is the simplest way to take care of this.

    With only a shallow super to lay in, though, I wonder if the bees will want more room for their brood. I have always heard that if the broodnest gets full the bees will swarm, and after swarming they just do not produce as well for that year.

    As for needing a queen excluder, I have been told it is 50-50 that the queen will go up into the box of honey, so that is a 50-50 chance she will need an excluder.
     

  3. WayneH

    WayneH Active Member

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    I would put the excluder between the larger hive body (deep box) and the top honey super. Eventually, the queen will move up to the hive body because she will run out of room in the bottom honey super. When that happens, move the bottom honey super (brood and all) to above the queen excluder but below the other honey super. The workers will still take care of them even though they are above the excluder. Then, as the brood hatches out, the workers will clean up the comb and start to fill the super with honey.

    Also, make sure that they don't build a queen cell above the queen excluder. It's possible to have two hives in one tower!
     
  4. pekin84

    pekin84 Member

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    Actually Terri - we are not down south. We're in Northwest Ohio - and it gets rather cold here. We had 2 deep brood boxes for the winter, but when we opened up the hive, one was fairly empty - that's why dd switched it for the super, where all the bees were. They seemed to overwinter very well.

    feeling stupid,

    Polly
     
  5. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    Polly,

    Don't feel stupid. People make mistakes. If you only have one brood box you will have the queen moving up and laying in the honey super. We are in NE Ohio (and midlle eastern ohio if you consider the farm in Carroll County). If you don't leave the second brood box on the bees will never have a chance to fill it so you can use it next winter. When we started out we used queen excluders but found that with two brood boxes the queen will rarely move up into the honey supers, even without an excluder.

    If you want you can switch the brood boxes so the empty one is on the bottom.

    We have been running between 20-30 hives and have been doing it for going on 5 years now.

    Hope this helps,

    Mike
     
  6. pekin84

    pekin84 Member

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    Thanks Mike, but how do we know where the queen is? The super already is full of brood, the deep boxes were nearly empty. I looked for the "wheel" formation and a bigger longer bee, but didn't see anything that looked different.
    What I need is for a friendly beekeeper in my area to stop by and take a look and give a little advice.
     
  7. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

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    It's all a game! The bees do what they want when they want to. I have placed every book I have on beekeeping in my hives and they refuse to read or follow anything in them.
    What you are doing is trying to tame nature and it doesn't cooperate. I have queens that would lay in the honey super if I had 5 hive bodies on the hive. What you have done is good and when you think it's time reverse the hive and put the brood box back on the bottom. As far as finding the queen I take it she's not marked. i would seperate the boxes you think she might be in and then look at each frame. Hold the frame at an angle so you scan the whole frame looking for that 1 odd looking bee. The queen does not like light so she will try to run to the other side of the frame (sometimes). You can use your spare brood box and put 1/2 the frames in it and you will furthur isolate helping your search.
     
  8. Elizabeth

    Elizabeth Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You could also get another extra excluder and try this-
    Put the super with the brood on the bottom board. Put a deep brood box on top of the super. put one excluder above the bottom brood box (deep). put the second excluder above the second brood box (another deep). Come back in a few days (if you have that much time?) and check to see which brood box has fresh eggs. That is the box the queen is in. If she was previously in the super, she will probably have moved up in to the lower brood box looking for empty cells in which to lay eggs (you said the super is pretty full of brood already). Make sure that you do not use much smoke when you go back to check- if you do you may just chase her back down into the super.