Plastic queen excluders... false economy- ditch them

Hi Jeff, I agree with all the above sentiments and I think what had to be said is already said. Sadly Flow indicated they are not interested, so further discussion is unfortunately a moot point.

Maybe the “take it or leave it” attitude from Flow was a bit unhelpful, and hot heads can only get hotter.

I can only recommend whoever is reading this to either ask for their Flow hive to be shipped without a plastic QE, or when it breaks replace with a stainless one.

What I want to suggest to Flow is this. Assuming that stainless steel excluders are easy to stock, they can make their shopping cart on their website configureable.

For example, they start with 8 frame or 10 frame, then choose timber, full or hybrid, then add whatever accessories they want, add a 2nd brood box, more frames… and either a plastic or stainless steel excluder. Similar to the Apple website. I do not think it is something out of this world and insurmountable.


I would have posted this on the other thread but it’s locked- just wanted to say the video that freebee posted with the Canadian beekeeper saying how the problem with plastic is that they stick to brood frames and lift them up- is exactly 100% my experience. And that is a bad thing- can be very bad and difficult to deal with if you are inexperienced. The trick- is to use the hive tool to pry the brood frames off- but that’s not easy if you are trying to hold up a full flow super by yourself… bees can and did die :frowning: To be honest if Flow decides not to offer them that’s their decision- I think they should- but it’s their call. My recommendation remains the same as back in October 2017: put them aside as temporary spares and grab a metal one.


Olly, I think the main problem is that Flow can’t see anything wrong with the plastic excluders & that the issues raised in this forum is mainly personal choice, plastic vs metal. For me & I think for @Peter48 also, it cuts deeper than that, for the reasons I previously labored on.

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Hi all,

Thank you for your suggestions.

Your feedback in relation to the queen excluders has been well heard by Cedar and the team here at Flow. We really appreciate how passionate you all are in educating others and finding the best solutions for problems that other beekeepers are experiencing.

There are always strongly held differences of opinion when it comes to beekeeping, and this is certainly a prime example of that.

Flow is incredibly responsive to customer feedback and we always appreciate hearing your suggestions. Along with our own experience of using the Flow Hives over some years, customer feedback played a crucial part in informing the improvements we decided to make when we released the Flow Hive 2.

Part of these improvements was to replace the original white queen excluder which was included with our Classic hives, with a new UV resistant black one. This is the model which is currently being included with our newly produced hives and the feedback we have been receiving on this change has been positive.

Given there are clearly some strong feelings on the issue of queen excluders, I asked for Cedar to clarify his preference for plastic excluders and he advised me that he could see many pros and cons for each type.

The two main reasons that he prefers to use plastic are that in the past he has encountered issues with ants nesting in the folded edges of metal excluders, and he has also found that plastic QE’s can be peeled up slowly and gently which suits his beekeeping methods. These are of course his preferences based on personal experience, however, he is in no way against metal excluders and can see many benefits in their use.

Based on your feedback he is really keen to add creating a new metal queen excluder design without the ant home on the edge to his list of future improvements. Please understand though, there it may be some time before this change is implemented.

In the meantime, there are a number of other sources you can obtain these from if you have your heart set on one.

We appreciate your passion for perfecting the design of the hives. We understand that it is probably not possible to create a hive that is perfect for everyone, but are humbled by how well our hives have been received on the whole and committed to making small improvements where we can.

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I thought exactly the same about the Flow 2 bottom plate- it seems to be laser cut and it wouldn’t bee too hard to slightly adjust the hole sizes to make a QX like that. If it was then sand blasted to soften all the edges it would be great. As the metal is thin I think a very thin wooden rim added to a laser cut QX would be pretty awesome and in keeping with the overall high quality of the new flow hives. . As to ants living in the excluder edges I just got some new metal QX’s and they are flatter with tight welds/folds and no possible ant space. So such metal QX’s already exist and can be had for $15.

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Hi @Jeff

I believe the bit about them being gentler on the bees was to do with being able to peel them back carefully and gently.

Thanks for the further suggestions, I’ll be sure to pass them on.

I agree Jeff. Maybe it was worth reviving the thread after all if they eventually change their mind.

I’m also confused with the new reasons given for plastic excluders and have to take them at face value. I live in ant-world here and have several species of ants. I do not spray or bait them. I use grease on the legs and ants will never get to the hive, or excluders for that matter. Even if they do I can’t see them nesting in it.

Regarding the peeling away of the plastic ones, I find it interesting and curious to know the reason behind it. I’m with Cedar when it comes to being gentle to the bees so I really want to know why.

The super above the qx can’t be “peeled” so I don’t know why peeling away the qx is better than prying it. I never killed any bees taking off the excluder. I have an open mind on this and I just want to know.

This also has to be weighed against all the other disadvantages mentioned above.

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I’m not sure a qx made of thin metal sheet is a good idea. It needs to be robust for cleaning and no sharp edges.

They used to make QEs out of thin metal years ago & I found them to be ok. The metal of the bottom plate in the flow2 is thicker than the ones I used to know & to my mind would be ideal as a QE. They would not need a wooden surround as far as I can see. I’m sure the bottom plate is purpose built to suit the flow2, therefore I can’t see why the same material can’t be used to make purpose built QEs.

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Your a mind reader Jeff, yes, it shouldn’t bother me when I go to help a new bee keeper that has a Flow Hive they bought maybe a year ago thinking it a quality product to have to explain that the QX is junk and has failed to do what it is claimed to do already. Far too soon by anyone’s standard.
As you know I have been twice down to the Gold Coast in 5 weeks to help new bee keepers that have issues. Most, but not all were Flow Hives. Talking to the people over the phone I took 5 metal QX’s with me and sold all of them because the plastic QX’s had failed. Those that haven’t yet failed I warn the hive owner that it will happen.
The story that somehow the plastic QX in use at Byron Bay don’t fail isn’t even funny, it is just denial at any cost. All the rest of Australia has them fail but not if they are at Byron Bay !!! :smiley: The claim that a plastic QX is ‘gentler’ to bees after Flow’s testing ‘falls over’, if it was fact then they would be promoting the quality of a Flow Hive by publishing the evidence.
Is it ‘personal choice’ that experienced bee keepers prefer a metal QX? To some extent that is true but it is based on actual personal experience to buy a metal QX knowing that it will outlast the wooden hive and not become an issue at the worst time.
Sorry guys, but I have to call a spade a spade and not a shovel, The plastic QX is junk regardless of how you come by it.

It was a black QX Jeff, so the lasting quality is still nothing to brag about regardless of the color.
Ants nesting in the QX as to why Cedar prefers plastic, yes, I have seen ants anywhere in a hive but with what I find on a QX is negligible and a small price to pay for having a QX that I can rely on.
Peeling back a plastic QX being kinder to the bees than lifting off a metal QX, oh, come on Cedar. Don’t be another Henry Ford who supplied cars in whatever color you wanted providing it was only black you wanted. Such a simple thing as giving the choice of QX or even the option of buying with no QX and knocking a few $ off the price, is that a ‘bridge too far’?

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That is never going to happen Freebee, us beekeepers are a grumpy lot :slight_smile:… but you can help by giving options of what to include, and exclude from a hive kit.

The fact that Cedar is at least now considering a new design is positive, so I will look forward to that. Designing a custom one, is actually very smart. That way you can incorporate the positives of both types, while eliminating the negatives.

One negative I sometimes hear about the metal ones is the heat loss through the edge. That can be eliminated by putting a wooden frame around the metal grid. Having a laser cut sheet of metal of the right thickness can make it rigid and strong enough to withstand cleaning on site with a wire brush or hive tool, and eliminate any crevices were uninvited critters can hide or nest.


Black? ah well, that settles that.

Getting back to normal matters, it looks like no rain tomorrow so I’m robbing whatever is available from 1/2 my hives. I’ll get an early night. cheers

G/night mate, we could do with a few fine days and I have boxes of honey to take off if it warm enough and not raining. A quick change in temp from Summer into Autumn.

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Hi freebee, it’s not fair you get all the flak, ask him to get out of his shed and stop tinkering with Flow Hive 3 for a while, and join the discussion.

I welcome your change of heart.


Good morning Pete, a heavy shower passed through at about 8.30 last night. I jokingly told Wilma that’ll be the last one, going by the forecast & funnily enough, it was. I’m up bright & early but it’s still half dark. I’m enjoying the cooler temps also. I think I’ll wear a tee shirt under my bee suit this morning. I’m guessing there shouldn’t be any unripe honey in the frames after all this recent rain.

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It is constant rain here since day break so the apiary day is a no-go for me unless it clears up fast. The drop in temps this past week is great, I love the Autumn, when you have to wear a bee suit. The mesh suits look like they should be cool to wear but not in practice.

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Hey Jeff, (and Pete)… you wanted to revive this thread to talk about the weather? You’re confusing everyone !!!