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What is a Queen Excluder
A queen excluder is device used by beekeepers to prevent the Queen from laying eggs in the upper boxes or honey supers in a Bee Colony. It’s usually a wooden frame with a steel or plastic mesh. The size of the mesh prevents the Queen (because of her size) passing through it.
You will often find that a Queen Excluder also blocks drones (Male Bees) getting to the upper levels as well.
When do you use one?
In spring when the bees are expanding the brood box and you want to control where the queen lays her eggs. You must ensure that the Queen has lots of space to lay or you may find that the colony swarms.
How to use a Queen Excluder
Locate the Brood frames and the Queen in the lower sections and add the Queen Excluder above these frames. Be very sure that you don’t accidentally leave the Queen in the Honey supers.
A queen excluder is very easy to add when your add your first supers, simply add it below the first new honey super.
Should I remove before winter?
Yes, in the winter the cluster of bees will move around the hive together. If you leave the Excluder on the hive, you may find the Queen is left behind and will probably die due to exposure.
Always remove the Queen Excluder when you are setting up your hives for the winter months.
Other Things to do with a Queen Excluder
You can use a Queen Excluder to help you split a bee hive, see our blog article How to Split a Beehive
Some people place the Queen excluder above the hive entrance to ensure that the Queen can’t leave the hive; this can prevent a hive Swarming. This is used on the hive at the Auckland Town Hall to prevent them swarming in the busy CBD.
A queen excluder is a handy tool for controlling the bees, we only use them for splitting hives. But I can see the benefit for commercial beekeepers, who want to ensure that no brood is ever laid in the honey supers.
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