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Wire Queen Excluder not letting workers through


I Paul, I just came in from measuring a wire & plastic QX, only with a tape measure, I got 4mm on both. I was thinking about this topic yesterday & remembered how when the weather cools down, sometimes you’ll see a big reduction of bees in the top box because more bees are required to keep the brood warm. That’s another angle to look at it from.

I’ve had occasion to scorch QX’s & also fill gaps with plastibond. I just put them back without checking to see if the bees like them or not. There could be times when the bees don’t like them for a while, but I wasn’t aware of it because I didn’t look.


Yes, the cold is a good angle to consider. So, probably a number of factors at play. The wire would conduct the cold as well compared to the plastic.

Will report back any changes in the weekend.


Well done Paul, there are a couple of other factors to consider. #1 Is the population dwindling because of one of the brood diseases? or #2. Has the hive swarmed? or #3 Has the hive gone queenless for some reason?

These are all things I look for when I see a decrease in population above the QX.


Hey Jeff,

Negative to all of these. The queen is beautiful and very active. No diseases. Very little varroah (managed) and no swarming - in fact the two brood boxes are full to the brim - and I’ve taken out three full frames of bees and brood in the last few weeks to support another hive.

We are nearing autumn and I will be wintering down mid next month, so prob not much honey collection at the mo. Have removed one box and the other only half full (was a small swarm when caught, so only really hit it’s peak recently). This is most likely cause for lack of interest in going through the new QX. Tho they did seem a bit pissed off at not being able to get through it!


Yes, that all makes sense Paul. Good luck with everything. cheers


Ah…the bees will know. Maybe that’s why they are wasting no energy waxing the frames. They have enough in the brood box.


This is my queen excluder video CLICK HERE to view

I wanted to actually “see” if worker bees could get through the excluder. This video opened my eyes, that worker bees are impeded by the presence of a queen excluder. I was listening to Dr. Keith Delaplane, Chief Entomologist at the University of Georgia in the United States. He said that honey production is profoundly slowed down by the use of queen excluders. So, this was my observation and why I do not personally use Queen Excluders.

For years I have used double deep brood boxes at the bottom of each hive and haven’t had problems with queens laying in the upper supers. I have also added upper 3/4" vent holes in the top supers, this not only has allowed the bees to vent better, keeping things dry in summer as well as our snowy winters, but allows field workers direct access to the honey supers without having to tread through the maternity ward.



"Queen Excluders… are very useful in queen rearing, and in uniting colonies; but for the purpose they are generally used, viz., for confining the queen to the lower hive through the honey season, I have no hesitation in condemning them. As I have gone into this question fully on a previous occasion, I will quote my remarks:–
"The most important point to observe during the honey season in working to secure a maximum crop of honey is to keep down swarming, and the main factors to this end, as I have previously stated, are ample ventilation of the hives, and adequate working-room for the bees. When either or both these conditions are absent, swarming is bound to take place. The free ventilation of a hive containing a strong colony is not so easily secured in the height of the honey season, even under the best conditions, that we can afford to take liberties with it; and when the ventilating–space between the lower and upper boxes is more than half cut off by a queen-excluder, the interior becomes almost unbearable on hot days. The results under such circumstances are that a very large force of bees that should be out working are employed fanning-, both inside and out, and often a considerable part of the colony will be hanging outside the hive in enforced idleness until it is ready to swarm.
"Another evil caused by queen-excluders, and tending to the same end–swarming–is that during a brisk honey-flow the bees will not readily travel through them to deposit their loads of surplus honey in the supers, but do store large quantities in the breeding-combs, and thus block the breeding-space. This is bad enough at any time, but the evil is accentuated when it occurs in the latter part of the season. A good queen gets the credit of laying from two to three thousand eggs per day: supposing she is blocked for a few days, and loses the opportunity of laying, say, from fifteen hundred to two thousand eggs each day, the colony would quickly dwindle down, especially as the average life of the bee in the honey season is only about six weeks.
“For my part I care not where the queen lays–the more bees the more honey. If she lays in some of the super combs it can be readily rectified now and again by putting the brood below, and side combs of honey from the lower box above; some of the emerging brood also may be placed at the side of the upper box to give plenty of room below. I have seen excluders on in the latter part of the season, the queens idle for want of room, and very little brood in the hives, just at a time when it is of very great importance that there should be plenty of young bees emerging.”–Isaac Hopkins, The Australasian Bee Manual


So @Michael_Bush do you agree with mr Hopkins?


Yes, I agree with Isaac Hopkins.


Fascinating stuff and lots of food for thought.

How does this relate to using Flow frames, with potential of the Q laying in the flows?


I house my bees in big boxes so the thought that I might be constraining the queen has never occurred to me. On the odd occasion I see pollen in the first super, that’s all.
I’ve never seen them back fill the brood nest till later in the season and only a few days before they make queen cells…and that’s with honey already in the supers.
As for ventilation, my floors are all mesh and there is always one more super than is needed on the stack.
The only time I tried not using an excluder the queen went up in a narrow column through three supers


In my experience brood in the supers is generally caused by not enough drone comb in the brood nest. I have plenty of drone comb in the brood nest. I have not been using an excluder and I have not seen any brood in the Flow frames.


Interesting. Are you talking about the Flow or just generally?


In any hive with any kind of supers… the leading cause of brood in the supers is that the soft wax in the supers is easily changed to drone while the old dark comb in the brood nest is not. A lack of drone comb in the brood nest is the cause of brood in the supers. Any kind of supers…


Would this problem be alleviated by regression to small cell? Since the workers will be smaller they should fit through better correct?


Wow. That’s fascinating @Michael_Bush. How do you encourage the bees to make enough drone comb in the brood boxes as a general rule to stop the Q laying in the supers?

Really keen on exploring this concept to avoid QXs, but certainly don’t want brood in with my honey!!


Hey Dee,

Does the pollen come flying out when you spin the honey? Wonder how pollen will affect a flow frame??


Good question. As pollen doesn’t get capped, and is usually at the upper outer edges, it probably will just make it harder to open the frame. If it was lower down in the frame, it could make a mess if the honey ran over it and back into the hive… :cold_sweat:


You have to wash it out if you want a clean frame.
I store my supers wet and leave the pollen. Sometimes the bees clean the pollen up before they put honey in it next year. Sometimes they add more so there comes a time when the frame is unusable unless you do something about it.