I’ve seen some topics on this forum about experiences not using a queen excluder, but most seem to be a year old. I was just looking for updates. I’m wondering about people’s experiences not using a queen excluder with the flow frames, particularly people who are using foundationless frames in the brood box.
What are you trying to determine exactly?
The thing to remember is that the queen will lay in the Flow frames if you don’t have an excluder installed, and this will require disassembly of the Flow frames to clean up.
The queen MAY lay in the Flow frames if you don’t have an excluder installed,
There are some that don’t use a qx and don’t have a problem but as you say iIF she does lay in them, which has indeed happened, it’d be a hassle so why take a chance? Are qx’s that bad?
I finally put my flow frames on a hive Friday, I put a queen excluder under them and also a top entrance above them.
Will look today and see if there has been any interest but bees were obviously in them as soon as they went on as I had bees exiting the top entrance 5 min after placing them on.
In the FAQ it says:
We recommend the use of a queen excluder as this ensures no drone or worker-bee eggs and larvae end up in the Flow Frames.
Having said this, most of our experimental Flow Hives did not use an excluder and we never found worker brood in them and very rarely found drone brood. We have designed Flow comb to have deep cells of a size that suits neither worker or drone brood.
Another factor that we believe helps ensure brood stays in the brood box is giving the bees flexibility in making the brood comb by providing them with open frames rather than foundation to build on. They will then build drone or worker size brood cells as they see fit, leaving the Flow Frames for the honey storage.
I’m just wondering what has happened when people choose not to use one as that would be my preference.
Fairly long discussion in this thread including views (and experiences) from both sides:
Thanks! I’ve had a look at these threads, but I don’t think any of these people were using foundationless frames, allowing the bees to build the brood they desire in the brood box.
So you’re trying to ascertain if allowing the bees to ‘build the brood they desire’ in the brood box prevents the queen from laying in the Flow super?
I went foundationless and did not use an excluder last year. I never had brood in the flow frames. That being said, I also used 2 brood boxes below the Flow super, and even though I had no issues, that does not mean someone else won’t either…
I have 6 Flow hives running at the moment five of which don’t have excluders and one with.
The only problem I have noticed is the hive with the excluder is slow and the others are very strong and producing more honey.
I use foundation in all my frames and have no issues with the queen laying in the Flow frames so far. However I when first setup I left the excluders on until the Flow frames started to fill then removed them. Since then I have not used them at all.
Hope this helps.
The problem I discovered was the bees find it difficult to fit through the excluders supplied from Flow which slowed progress.
You will likely find that as the colony consumes the honey at the top of the brood frames in winter they will move up.
Have you had your hives through a winter yet?
Some have had some cool weather however we don’t really get a winter as such, we are lucky.
@BrucenKelcy thank you for the reply. Yes I feel like the excluder slows them down. I’m in coastal NSW, so the mild winter here means the bees fly often and don’t really cluster. I think next spring I will look at adding a brood box and then removing the excluder. It’s good to hear no excluder is working well for you.
@RBK yes, I am really looking for if prone have gotten drone brood in the flow frames when running foundationless frames, as the examples were people got drones in the flow frames were all from people running worker size foundation.
Where I am the bees don’t really cluster over winter because it’s quite temperate.
At last one of my queen’s has moved up into one of the flow frames.
Bees still draw ‘worker size foundation’ out to fit drone brood if they want to. I don’t think foundation or foundationless will make any difference to your theory.
I have two flow hives and one colony loves them, the other doesn’t. Both have QE’s, but I find that one colony is just resistant to moving though the QE. I have requeened it and hope that the new bees won’t mind passing through! Though I have to wait till next season to see if the experiment will work…
I have two deeps for brood boxes, 9 frames each of foundationless.
My bees have recently moved up into the flow frames but I have had no incursions of brood there. This is something I will be watching of course.
A very versatile piece of equipment: Honey harvesting or drone trapping lol