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Queen Excluder

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    beekeeping forum -> Horizontal top bar hives
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bobdurivage
New Bee


Joined: 15 Jul 2017
Posts: 6
Location: Western North Carolina,usa

PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2018 12:57 am    Post subject: Queen Excluder Reply with quote

I want to put a queen excluder(homemade) in my tb hive. How far in from the entrance do I put it?
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1735
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2018 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi

Queen excluders come with risks, especially in the hands of an inexperienced beekeeper. They can cause several problems, some can even prove fatal for the hive if left on through winter for example or cause the bees to become aggressive if they are inserted in the wrong place or the queen becomes trapped on the wrong side. I personally see no purpose in using them in a top bar hive. If there are not full combs of capped honey with no brood on them at the back of the hive then I would suggest that there is probably not a surplus to harvest or you are trying to harvest at the wrong time of year... late summer will see the brood nest shrink back towards the entrances and those combs which currently have brood and honey will be back filled with honey and possibly available for harvest then.
If you are using centre entrances on your hive then I would recommend that you switch to end entrances so that honey is mostly stored at the back of the hive instead of both ends and that will encourage the storage of honey only combs at the back without the need for a queen excluder.

The whole idea of a Top Bar hive is it's simplicity and allowing the bees to exhibit more natural behaviour. It doesn't need to be complicated by extra equipment, but the beekeeper does need to learn, understand and perhaps manage the seasonal ebb and flow of a colony in order to harvest honey. If you are purely into beekeeping for the honey, a more conventional framed hive will probably suit your needs better, because harvesting honey from a TBH involves the destruction of comb (whereas framed hives it can be extracted and returned to the hive) it will not produce nearly as much honey as a conventional hive. Just something to consider.

Regards

Barbara
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BBC
Scout Bee


Joined: 11 Jul 2012
Posts: 407
Location: Bicker, Lincolnshire, UK

PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Bob - if you checkout the Bienenkiste hive design (a fixed-comb long hive with the combs running lengthways) for which there are plenty of web-pages and videos online if you 'do a Google' - you'll see that they use a simple plain vertical board as a fixed-position Queen Excluder, similar to a moveable 'follower board' as used within many horizontal Top Bar hives, but with the bottom couple of inches removed. A QX really doesn't need to be any more complex than that.

As to where to place such a QX ? Much depends on the size/length of your hive (and indirectly, it's strength), but using the Bienenkiste as a guide, I'd say if your entrance is at one end, then about a quarter of the hive length from the other end. If you're in a particularly nectar-rich area, then perhaps one-third. The beauty of such a moveable QX is that you can vary it's position according to seasonal conditions.
'best
Colin
BBC
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John R
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Joined: 16 May 2014
Posts: 17
Location: Powys, Wales

PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I fully agree with everything that Barbara has said above... no need to say any more about it..!
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BBC
Scout Bee


Joined: 11 Jul 2012
Posts: 407
Location: Bicker, Lincolnshire, UK

PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 7:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

John R wrote:
I fully agree with everything that Barbara has said above... no need to say any more about it..!


As your post came hard on the heels of my own, I assume you're making an indirect reference to what I've written ... ?

In contrast to Barbara's post, I chose to focus soley upon the question being asked, rather than voice my own personal value-judgements. That's not to negatively criticise Barbara's post, I'm merely pointing out the difference in content.

Because you happen to agree with Barbara's own views, you then consider that there is nothing more to be said regarding Queen Excluders ? Don't you think that claiming alternative techniques - such as those of the Bienenkiste Hive design - are unnecessary (or is it unwelcomed ?) is just a little arrogant - and that only one perspective can have validity ? Must we all therefore be singing from exactly the same Hymn Sheet ? This is beekeeping - not a religion - we don't all need to worship the same god.

Perhaps it's as a result of such intolerance that the traffic on this site has steadily reduced to a trickle - that is, when compared with several years ago.
Colin
BBC
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Bees build Brace Comb for a reason, not just to be bloody-minded.
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John R
House Bee


Joined: 16 May 2014
Posts: 17
Location: Powys, Wales

PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BBC,
You are reading an awful lot into my email, for what was a single line comment. I will leave you to your views and feel no need to comment further
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1735
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 5:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can see your point Colin and you are right that I failed to answer the question and the OP has not responded, which suggests that my response was not helpful to them and it does concern me that I may have discouraged them from the forum. However I can only answer queries from my own perspective and experience, which I believe pretty much reflects the ethos under which this website was created. I have no problem with other people expressing a different view and I hope that you do not feel I discourage that or that I am responsible for the current quiet spell here..... I kind of feel like I am doing a caretaker job to keep things ticking over but I don't have the imagination and flair to drive it forward like Phil does. I do believe it is supposed to be a more bee centric approach to beekeeping that we are promoting here (there are conventional forums for people who have different goals) and as I explained, if honey is the OPs primary goal then other hives will be more effective.
I started my beekeeping with conventional framed hives and I like them in many respects and still have my first hive, a 20 yr old National and original colony still in it, so they can't be half bad, but I see the benefits to the bees in managing it in a more bee centric way however I love the simplicity of the top bar hive and feel sad that people feel the need to corrupt that simplicity.

I hope that I am open to criticism and learning. I know from my own early experience that queen excluders used incorrectly can be catastrophic and I would rather try to prevent others making the mistakes I have, so that they can move forward with better success. I think it takes time to really understand the ebb and flow of the hive but people believe that there are quick fixes like queen excluders (or The Flow Hive even) that will make beekeeping more simple, however in reality they can come at a price, especially in inexperienced hands. Surely it is important to make people aware of that? I should however have provided a straightforward answer along with my critique and I appreciate your input on that. I was not aware that the biennenkiste has such QEs. That was interesting!

Cheers

Barbara
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1735
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 5:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John, I also appreciate your support for my take on this subject. It can be helpful to an OP to assess an overall view of things and if they only get two opposing responses (OK maybe not opposing as such in this case but hopefully presenting food for thought), it doesn't always help them come to a decision about the route to take. I would like to think that your comment might cause the OP to give more weight to my argument against the use of a queen excluder and consider it carefully so that at least they are in a position to make a more informed decision on the way forward for them but still have an answer from Colin that allows them to go ahead with their planned use, if that is their decision.

Regards

Barbara
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