local-honey-bee-suppliesRJ Honey Farm

Queen or Honey Excluder?

Like almost everything beekeeping there are multiple opinions about queen excluders.

Here are the two main beefs I've heard. They prevent the bees from putting up as much honey as they could. And they clog them with wax and burr comb.

As for the first objection, we've not seen any problem in our honey production.

As for the second, yes, that is true. That gets a big 'So?' from me.

The reason I like them is very simple. It excludes the queen from laying in the honey super. The honey super is for honey.

You've seen how the comb gets dark and black as brood gets cycled through. If you use a knife to cut the caps the comb is hard. I like nice soft new comb to cut. It is easier. My experience is that dark comb is just more difficult to process.

Here's the main reason. Your hive has one, two, three or four honey supers. The hive also has two deeps. Let's play 'Where's Waldo?' or 'Where's the Queen?' I like knowing for sure that she is in the brood boxes. Who wants to spend time looking for a queen amongst a hive that might have 50k bees? The hive did great this year. I don't want to chance killing the hive by making it accidentally queenless by poor beekeeping.

Now here's something important. You cannot use a queen excluder if you have bare foundation above it. The bees won't build or build the wax poorly above the excluder. You'll need to wait until the comb is fully built out. Yes, the queen may and probably will lay some brood in these supers before they get built out.

Here's 'one weird trick' if you have honey supers with ten built out frames. You can add nine frame spacers to the box. The bees will build these honey frames out a bit fatter. I think you get a little more honey from a nine frame box, too. But here's the biggest advantage, the fatter frames are so much easier to process. If you've processed frames from a ten frame box you'll know that it is often hard to cut the caps off requiring a lot of scraping. Nine frames really are easier to do.

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