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Plastic queen excluders... false economy- ditch them


#1

so we started out with all Flow hives that came with the plastic queen exluders. Two years in and I am ready to ditch them all. I purchased 10 steel ones at a discount and will remove every plastic one. The plastic excluders are a false economy- they cost roughly half what a metal one does (often a little more than that) but you won’t save in the long run.

After just two years our plastic excluders were becoming brittle at the edges where they catch some sunlight- and tended to get small cracks when you use the hive tool. I don’t see them lasting that many years…

Also they were warping a bit and do not sit completely flat. This is actually a bigger issue- as when they don’t sit flat and you put them back on the brood box bees can crawl up under the warped QX edges and be crushed when the a box is put down. with a metal one you can slide it into position pushing the bees out of the way- and then put down the box without any worry that there are bees under a section of the edge.

the next reason is cleaning: the plastic ones have many small holes- and you need to poke the wax out of them individually. It can actually take ages. Not something you want to do do mid-inspection. The metal ones have larger slots and you can run a hive tool through them much faster. Also they seem to collect less wax.

Lastly it seems like the metal ones are nicer to the bees- more rounded edges- and more surface area to move through.

so it’s a no brainer. Stainless steel from now on.

perhaps flow could consider upgrading to all metal excludes in the future? I imagine they would only add 4$ or so of material costs (when purchased at scale)- but certainly make the entire kit more ‘deluxe’. I guess they would add a little weight to the shipping package though…


#2

Mine are all wood-framed metal - the type with round bars. So basically I agree with your musings. :wink:


#3

Hi Jack, I agree with everything you say. I use all metal (wire) QXs. After a while, the queen can find gaps & finish up in the honey super. When that happens, I find the gap & close that section off with epoxy filler. This happens as the bees wear the galvanizing off the wires.


#4

Same here. Going into my 3rd summer with my Flowhive and I just had to buy a metal QX for all of the reasons you outlined.


#5

Thanks Jack, we’re going to give the Stainless steel QX a try next year too.


#6

that’s one downside to the metal ones I hadn’t thought of… and would be quite annoying. Supposedly the ones I have purchased are stainless steel- not galvanized. Hopefully they last well.


#7

Even if not stainless, unless you get a lot of moisture in the hive they will be fine. They tend to get coated in wax after a while anyway.


#8

Hi Jack, it’s not really a problem. When I find brood above the QX, I don’t muck around, I just take the QX out, fit another one, if I have one, then fix the faulty one. I always find the gap that the queen found. I have a little gap finder tool that I made. It never fails. I bought 6 new ones from Guilfoyles once. Out of the 6, 4 were faulty before I even used them. I phoned them to inform them. They wouldn’t hear of it & got quite indignant. They told me to send them back for a refund. I did mark the gaps with a marking pen. One wire was all wavy. The queen would have got through, no problems at all. I sent them back, got my refund & didn’t hear another word. Arrogant mob, they charge more than anyone else also. At the time I was fed up with the other bloke that I used.

PS, I took the liberty to edit the title for you, cheers


#9

Hi Jeff,
I’m wondering what problems you tend to encounter if you don’t use queen excluders at all -in your experience?


#10

Hi Dan, I have had quite a few colonies without QXs over the years at different times. The main reason for that was that I built colonies up before adding the QX. Then I was too busy doing other things to find the time to add them. The thing is you never know where the queen is likely to be, because she doesn’t spend all of her time laying eggs. From the time you open the lid, you’re on the lookout for the queen. When it’s time to take the honey, there’ll always be frames that are fully capped with just a small area of worker brood in it. It’s ok if it’s drone comb, I cut that out before harvest, but not worker comb.

That just about sums it up. I haven’t had any honey producing hives without QXs for a few years now.


#11

Thanks Jeff…appreciate that.


#12

I tend to agree with you, i use the galvanized ones on the normal flow hive, but for the horizontal hive i use the plastic ones and put them into a normal frame, works well


#13

Where did you find the metal ones. I ended up throwing one plastic queen excluder away it was totally covered in wax I don’t even know how the bees fit through it and it was Briddle with cracks in it. First Season beekeeper.


#14

Could you update your profile with your location, please? Where to get one is going to depend what country you are based in… :blush:

Having put on my Sherlock Holmes hat, I think you are probably in the US. If so, this is my favorite excluder so far:

The do get some burr comb on them, but not enough to block the hive. I generally only clean it off at the end of the season, to save damaging the bars.


#15

Everybody knows that:
But did you know you can save 15% on car insurance by switching to Geico? lol