A queen excluder can be a very useful tool in beekeeping. It can help the beekeeper to keep a queen bee out of their honey supers.The queen excluders can exclude the queen honey bee because of her larger thorax. However, some beekeepers are hesitant to use queen excluders or not, each beekeeper has to make that decision for themselves.
What is queen excluder?
A queen excluder is a selective barrier inside the beehive, it is placed between the brood chamber and the honey super that prevents the queen from entering the honey super and laying eggs. The function of a queen excluder is to prevent queens and drones from passing through, but it allows the workers to pass through.
What are queen excluders made from?
A queen excluder is usually a screen constructed from a series of parallel wires or a flat sheet of metal or plastic with slots in. As mentioned in Wikipedia, Petro Prokopovych (1775 – 1850) is the first person who invented queen excluder. After hundreds of years, the forms of queen excluders have changed since Petro used the first one. Nowadays, modern queen excluders are available in different materials. And, Queen excluders are made of metal or plastic.
Should I use metal or plastic queen excluders?
Before choosing which type of queen excluders are better, every beekeeper should know about the advantages and disadvantages of both plastic & metal.
Metal queen excluders have the following pros:
- Metal queen excluders are the industry standard and have been in use for a long time,
- Quality made wire queen excluders can last for years,
- The edges of metal queen excluders are smooth, and they are less likely to damage bees when they pass through them.
Metal queen excluders have the following cons:
- Metal queen excluder is heavy,
- Metal queen excluders are usually expensive compared to plastic excluders,
- Metal excluders can conduct heat and cold into the hive,
- Metal queen excluders may rust over time.
Plastic queen excluders have the following pros:
- Plastic queen excluders are relatively cheap.
- Plastic queen excluders are light,
- Plastic queen excluders do not have a rust problem,
- Plastic queen excluders don’t conduct heat or cold into the hive.
Plastic excluders have the following cons:
- Plastic excluders can be damaged by hive tools,
- Plastic excluders may deform or wrap,
- Plastic excluders have a shorter lifespan than metal queen excluders.
If you are still not sure which one may suit you, you could ask us for advice. Kevin Trading provides different types of queen excluders including plastic, galvanized or stainless steel queen excluders with 10 frames and 8 frames to choose from. Please check our product Queen Excluder.
Why should beekeepers use queen excluders?
The main purpose of the queen excluder is to prevent the queen bee from entering honey supers. The queen honey bee will often move up into the honey supers and lay eggs if they are allowed free range. When bees rear brood in the honey supers, there is less space for honey to be stored. This is why beekeepers usually use queen excluders.
Advantages of queen excluder:
Using a queen excluder has some benefits, including:
- It is easier for beekeeper to find the queen,
- Queen excluder helps prevent brood in honey supers-more room for honey,
- Queen excluder helps control the population of honey bees,
- Queen excluder can help to faster harvest time,
With the help of queen excluders, the colony has more room to store honey in the honey supers. Other than that, harvest time is much easier when the beekeeper doesn’t have to worry about frames of baby bees.
Disadvantages of queen excluder:
Though a queen excluder can keep the queen out of the honey supers, it may cause some problems for worker bees and drones. Firstly, bees might build comb on the excluder. And, queen excluder blocks part of the access to and from the honey super for drones and worker bees. Besides, the larger drones can become stuck when they try to pass through the excluder.
After all, whether to use a queen excluder or not depends on your own decisions. From a personal recommendation, we suggest using queen excluders. If you choose not to use queen excluder, you may need to keep an eye on where the queen is laying eggs. Please check our product Queen Excluder.