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queen excluder, top entrance or not?


lexy
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hi, just wondering what everyone's thoughts are on excluders with a top entrance... I'm undecided

 

I can see the benefit of the workers going straight in the honey box. But i have noticed that the the front parts of the frames directly adjacent to the top entrance are frequently left empty (presumably due to robbing risk) whereas my excluders with no top entrance get packed out.

 

I wonder if there's a benefit to not having a top entrance because the bees consider the top box(es) safer because theres no way in for robbers?

 

enough musings from me?

 

thanks!

 

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30 minutes ago, lexy said:

hi, just wondering what everyone's thoughts are on excluders with a top entrance... I'm undecided

 

I can see the benefit of the workers going straight in the honey box. But i have noticed that the the front parts of the frames directly adjacent to the top entrance are frequently left empty (presumably due to robbing risk) whereas my excluders with no top entrance get packed out.

 

I wonder if there's a benefit to not having a top entrance because the bees consider the top box(es) safer because theres no way in for robbers?

 

enough musings from me?

 

thanks!

 

i have one on a hive at home (tho its bottom of the excluder rather than the top). it rarely get used. the one thing its actually good for is for having dual queen hives. when i had the sick hives it was very handy to join the hives together with that excluder.

 

one other issue with top entrances is queens coming back and going in the wrong entrance.

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16 hours ago, tristan said:

i have one on a hive at home (tho its bottom of the excluder rather than the top). it rarely get used. the one thing its actually good for is for having dual queen hives. when i had the sick hives it was very handy to join the hives together with that excluder.

 

one other issue with top entrances is queens coming back and going in the wrong entrance.

true, I've only joined hives like that a couple of times but its worked brilliantly... probably a technique I could use more often

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I've often wondered about the top entrance ,,,,, and concluded that they are not a bad idea as when we knock down doubles into singles, with brood in both boxes, the top entrance allows the drones to fly free .... otherwise they suffer a dangerous death stuck in the queen excluder.

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There is a lot of rubbish talked about entrances from people who have ideas that sound good but don't work out in practice. Hives don't need nearly as big an entrance as most people think and while they will use a top entrance so will  robbers.

Years ago we used to run a few big two queen hives and they could be 8  full depth boxes high and yet they still all went in the entrance at the bottom. Most of the time you will get away with a top entrance but I don't believe it is of any benefit.

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It is maybe lot different than your area ( climate, different bee lineages), but all beeks I know here use qe with entrance. It has some disadvantages as other people mentioned above, but I believe honey box is filling faster ( which is crucial to us, due to short intensive forages we have). Also mentioned above if drones are trapped above, that can make a lot of problems when they try to get out or die above. Some disadvantages as occurring odd queen above qe, well we turn into split or remove it and have some extra brood on the cost of honey. Also when changing queens, some - even me sometimes, place qcell one below, one above qe and greater chance one will be success ( in addition I turn the entrance of qe  on the back side. If both return I have spare queen. Also in queen rearing with queen right colony, this qe with entrance is necessity.

When the season ends ( no more honey to extract) we take out qe and rotate boxes as preparation for overwintering.

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On 27/11/2020 at 5:48 PM, Gino de Graaf said:

Top entrances allow bees to store more pollen above. Which may or may not be desirable...

And it's possible superceder or requeen virgins can go there also.  Which is certainly undesirable.

funny you mention it, I just looked in a honey super (above QE) and found a sealed queen cell on the topbar! QE is fine, no eggs/larvae in box so the queen is definately downstairs. Guess that's one way to protect a succession cell?

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@Tudor has pointed out in other threads that once you have solid box of honey across the top of the brood that the queen will not set up a second brood nest above it. With the OSB one size box approach any brood in the upper boxes would be pushed down until there was a solid box over the brood. So, regarding "Queen Excluder" in the OP some would say "not". The upper entrance could be a separate question.... However if you don't have a queen excluder I'm sure you'll get more honey and if you don't have a queen excluder the upper entrance isn't needed either. It is afterall there so you can avoid the queen excluder. 

The workers are said to be able to move an egg and create a queen cell above the QE or anywhere they want to secret it.

From a commercial point of view, I totally understand having a QE, because time is money and 8 frame Manleys are a pain with brood in them. But from a hobby point of view it is better to run without QE (and top entrance), use only hoffman frames and reduce honey boxes from 10 to 9 to 8 frames once they are full; from an 'easy beekeeping' perspective. To put it another way, the most effective queen excluder in the world is a solid box of honey over the brood. It is also an argument for over supering and not under supering; at least for that first box.

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6 hours ago, ChrisM said:

 To put it another way, the most effective queen excluder in the world is a solid box of honey over the brood.

 

I used to believe that.  A few years back I was shy on excluders, had one colony with 2 brood boxes and 2 full honey boxes above so I stole the excluder from that one, then put a third honey box above the two full boxes.

 

A week later, top box was full of brood and the queen was up there.  Two mediums full of honey between the now two nests.  I bought more excluders.

 

I dont know if it's an old wives tale or not, but we were told some years ago, honey boxes that have no cocoons, ie have never had brood in them, wont get attacked by the wax moths in winter storage.  Since then we've used excluders, and have seen this to be the case here, honey boxes that have no cocoons and stored wet dont seem to have problems with wax moths in winter storage.  In our area, having boxes of drawn comb to place on colonies in April is the difference between chasing swarms in May or extracting 2 to 3 boxes of honey in June.

 

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My opinion is as a hobby You can do whatever You want, but in commercial beekeeping it would be pain in the ass working without QE. Sometimes I buy faulty qe ( eye test hardly see where, or all slightly wider wires of qe), and queen as rocket goes up in 3rd box. Bees even remove honey in central frames and queen lay at least palm size of brood and continue with laying in 2nd box..

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2 hours ago, Goran said:

My opinion is as a hobby You can do whatever You want,

And we probably do with both good or bad results!?

 

I am more and more choosing to remove QE and let the bees do what they want.

As a hobbyist, I am lucky that I will always have more honey than I know what to do with.

It is the bees I need to look after, because I have far less to play with. Initially, having a QE gave me less boxes to look for Queen, but later,as searching for Queen was not the first action I took when looking in the boxes,and also with more knowledge of how to find her,

I found the QE is just another piece of equipment to manipulate/clean, and easier without. I run mostly OSB so if the queen starts to runs out of room in lower boxes,it is a quick fix to put a frame of brood up in third box to entice her up.

I feel very lucky to be able to have bees, without the stress of chasing every dribble of honey that my season/foraging area will allow. I take my hat off to you guys.?

Of course the QE with top entrance,when joining colonies or running two Queens,makes life easy.

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5 hours ago, Goran said:

My opinion is as a hobby You can do whatever You want, but in commercial beekeeping it would be pain in the ass working without QE. Sometimes I buy faulty qe ( eye test hardly see where, or all slightly wider wires of qe), and queen as rocket goes up in 3rd box. Bees even remove honey in central frames and queen lay at least palm size of brood and continue with laying in 2nd box..

yes.

however for any beginner its handy to have queen excluder as it makes things easier and quicker.

 

long time ago i had a super tall hive (stand on the back of the ute to get to the top of it) and the queen got up and laid a single frame in every box all the way up. absolute right pain in the rear to sort all that out. 

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I watched the site for 15 min or so and didnt see a great deal of movement on the top entrances... mostly just guard bees using it as a sunbathing deck. 90% plus traffic was at the bottom.

 

in the end i concluded its best to block off access to the sun deck. I'm going with mostly single stack brood this season so it isnt a big walk, and perhaps the increased security upstairs coupled with limited brood space will encourage them to pack out the honey supers.

 

Probably worth noting that the manuka has kicked off early and I've only put excluders on a lot of the hives recently so perhaps they didnt have time to to get used to the top entrance.

 

and heres a pic of a happy bee exiting an opium poppy in my garden yesterday:-) 

 

 

PSX_20201129_132151.jpg

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8 hours ago, tristan said:

yes.

however for any beginner its handy to have queen excluder as it makes things easier and quicker.

 

long time ago i had a super tall hive (stand on the back of the ute to get to the top of it) and the queen got up and laid a single frame in every box all the way up. absolute right pain in the rear to sort all that out. 

Sounds like a very happy Queen.?

A true beginner will do well with a QE. I absolutely agree with that. 

I now finally feel that I am no longer a beginner. With only a maximum of 10 hives to look after,I have time as a hobbiest to potter. My 4 frame hand spinner for honey gives my arms a little work out and I can spin as much or as little as I like at just a walking distance from my hives. 

Life is good as a bee loving hobbyist. ?

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That are all same size boxes ( same size frames), lang deep. Above 1st box is framed qe with entrance. Maybe some boxes have cracks across and look as two smaller boxes. I hope that is answer to your question or I misunderstood ( my English..). 

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