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…
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.
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
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.
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.
I absolutely agree HW, I regret not taking a photo, a flow owner near me recently go slimed out, possibly because of two cracks that opened up, one on each side that would have allowed the queen to lay in the flow frames. A few days after the owner harvested, the bees were ready to abscond on account of the early stages of the slime-out. There was lots of brood in the flow frames that got squashed during harvest, giving beetles a place to lay eggs & start the slime process.
I’m still using galvanized wire QXs I purchased 30 years ago.
Hi Jeff, queen excluders were being discussed in another thread, but unfortunately the thread got locked and discussion stifled. When I once mentioned the brand Apimaye and how they can be used with Flow frames, my posts got deleted quickly and accused of spamming and being off brand. So I do not know why being on brand, the thread still got locked.
There was some misinformation there that needed to be challenged, like how it was determined that plastic ones are better and safer for bees. It was also claimed or implied that they are lasting many years.
My experience is the exact opposite and will mislead any new beekeeper reading the thread. Others seem to agree. Frankly I am disappointed with Flow’s new found hubris.
I also want to point out that it is misleading to boast on your website about being a sustainable company, when they ship plastic excluders destined to the landfill after a short life.
Hi Zzz, my only gripe with the plastic QX is based on my experiences last year with those two clients of mine. Obviously @Peter48 had a similar experience on the weekend with one of his clients/acquaintances. It’s in areas where hive beetles are active is my concern.
Every new flow owner should be made aware of the shortcomings of the plastic QE’s. Finding brood in flow frames before or especially after harvesting honey is not nice, to say the least. One would think it would be in Flow’s best interest to try to avoid that from happening.
I followed the Flow journey since day one. I would never have imagined in my wildest dreams that they were going to supply plastic QEs with the hives. Especially now after me posting my story & photos of what happens after the queen finds a gap in them after they crack before opening up.