What is Queen Excluder?
The queen excluder is a grid (usually metal) made so that worker bees can pass through it, but the queen, since it is larger than a regular bee, can not.
The queen excluder separates the brood boxes (boxes in which queen lays eggs) from honey supers (boxes where bees place their food - honey). This prevents the brood or queen from being destroyed during honey harvest.
Why beekeepers use a Queen Excluder?
If there is no queen excluder in the beehive, the queen can walk around the whole beehive, and honey frames will be mixed with brood frames, and on some frames there will be both brood and honey.
In order to avoid this, and to keep the brood and food required for the bees and the development of the brood separately from the frames used for harvesting honey, you need to use the queen excluder. In this way, the queen stays below the queen excluder and lays eggs there, while the frames above the queen excluder can be safely harvested without worrying about the brood.
How to set up the Queen Excluder?
Queen Excluder must be the same dimensions as the boxes. It must cover the entire surface between the boxes. You have to make sure that it fits nicely so that the queen can not in any way pass into the upper honey supers.
Beekeeping equipment you need:
Light beekeeping smoker.
Put on protective suit.
Use beekeeping smoker to calm the bees. Use hive tool to open the hive.
If you don't have honey supers on your hive:
You do not need a queen excluder if you do not have honey supers on your hive. But when you put honey supers on the hive you also need to put a queen excluder.
Steps to put the queen excluder:
1Open the beehive.
2Just put the queen excluder, but be sure it fits nicely. Make sure there are no gaps in between, otherwise the queen can pass into the upper honey boxes.
3Put honey supers on top of it.
4 Close the beehive.
If you already have honey supers on your hive but you haven't put queen excluder:
1Find the queen
In this case, first you have to find the queen. We will explain how to find the queen later in this tutorial. Here's the link if you want to skip to that point - Learn how to find the queen
Start searching from the bottom brood box.
2- If you find the queen in the brood box then:
Just put the queen excluder as we have already described above - steps 2to 4. Skip the remaining steps.
3- But if she is not there, then you have to move the frame with the queen into the brood box:
Take out one frame (without the brood on it) from the brood box (to free the space for the frame with the queen) and lean it in front of the hive.
4Keep looking for the queen in honey supers. When you find her, carefully place the frame with her in the center of the brood box. Be careful not to damage the queen.
5Then place the queen excluder as described above - steps 2to 4.
- Do not forget the frame you left in front of the hive. Put it in the hive in the place where it was the frame with the queen.
Where exactly to put a queen excluder?
Boxes from bottom to top:
1Two deep boxes for the queen, brood and food needed for its development. These are brood boxes.
In these two boxes will be mixed brood and food - honey and pollen. Since bees first fill the bottom boxes with food (because they are closer to the entrance), the food in these two boxes will be enough for bees and brood, so honey from the boxes above the queen excluder can be harvested.
3Boxes from which you will harvest honey. These are honey supers.
Boxes from bottom to top:
1One deep box for queen and brood. It's a brood box.
3One medium super for the food (honey and pollen) needed for bees and brood.
You should never harvest that medium super because the bees would otherwise be left without food. Honey from all the supers above this medium super can be harvested.
4Boxes from which you will harvest honey. These are honey supers.
What to do if it happens that the queen somehow passes the queen excluder?
- Find the queen and carefully shift the frame with her into the brood box.
- If she have laid eggs in honey supers, leave the frames with the brood where they are or change them with those from the brood box that have no
Problem - if the frames with brood are left where they are and there is a drone brood on them - drones that come out from them will not be able to pass the queen excluder and get out of the hive, so when they die they will stay on the queen excluder. If you see dead drones on the queen excluder, simply remove them from the hive.
- Set up the queen excluder so that the queen can not go back to the upper boxes.
- If this happens during the honey flow, try not to harvest frames with brood.