Learn about the pros and cons of using a queen excluder in your beehive.
When it comes to beekeeping it’s important to know about all the different pieces of beekeeping equipment. From frame lifters to smokers, every piece plays a role in successful beekeeping. A queen excluder is no exception. Beekeepers have varying opinions on queen excluders–if they’re necessary or if they’re good for the bees and the hive. With the help of Blain’s Farm & Fleet, you can explore the pros and cons of using a queen excluder in your beehive.
What is a queen excluder?
A queen excluder does just that–excludes the queen from parts of the hive. The excluder keeps the queen at the bottom of the brood chamber, or the bottom of the hive. The mesh screen divider is made so worker bees can go in and out of the honey super and brood box, while the larger queen can’t get through.
With an excluder in place, it’s easier to find the queen in the beehive. Honey production can also benefit from using an excluder. While you may think the queen bee should have access to the entire hive, keeping her out of the honey super can help the quality of you hive’s honey. If a queen gets access to the honey super, she can lay larvae in it. Worker bees will store honey in that same frame. As a result, you’ll have pupae in your honey come harvest time.
While an excluder can keep the queen out of the honey supers, problems can arise for worker bees and drones. Bees might build comb on the excluder. This blocks part of the access to and from the honey super for drones and worker bees. As larger drones try to pass through the excluder, they can become stuck. When access to the honey super is compromised, honey production decreases.
Ultimately, using an excluder comes down to personal preference as a beekeeper. If you choose not to use one, you should keep an eye on where the queen is laying eggs. You can rotate boxes in the hive to keep the queen out of the honey super. On the other hand, a queen excluder is an easy solution to keep your honey empty of larvae.
Backyard beekeeping is a great way to harvest honey, beeswax and help the declining bee population. That’s why you’ll find all the beekeeping supplies you need to get started at Blain’s Farm & Fleet. From protective clothing to beehives, you’ll be ready to create your own apiary. For more tips on caring for your bees and beekeeping equipment, visit our Beekeeping blog.