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General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
 #5558  by Alfred
 24 Jan 2020, 14:01
Awhile back in the journal (NPs hackles rising already) the guy was banging on about beespace and said plastic and slotted-steel bad,wooden framed good ,as it provides beespace.
What do we think?
Apart from the glueing they delight in,surely at a push they can manage by doing an up and over through the holes?
My problem with the framed ones is the reduced ability to thoroughly clean and disinfect them.
I've a 500 sqmm gravel tray I can drop my metal ones in and 5 mins with a Brillo they look like new
The plastic get just just a couple of boiling water kettlesworths.
How about a 6mm shim square frame to put underneath the qx?
 #5560  by Chrisbarlow
 24 Jan 2020, 18:21
I agree that QEs with the bee space in are better. Thornes do a plastic one which has it included
 #5561  by MickBBKA
 24 Jan 2020, 19:27
Most folks hives are bee space either top or bottom. If you use a bee space excluder then you will have double bee space won't you. Then the little darlings will build comb through the excluder won't they. Then you will squash and kill bees braking it apart or putting it back unless you scrape it all off each time. I just use either metal or plastic flat excluders, with the wide DN5 top bars and bottom bee space. The excluder lies flat on the top bars and they very rarely build comb through them. it helps not to have bees that boil up through the hive though :D
 #5563  by NigelP
 24 Jan 2020, 19:54
In practise it doesn't seem to work like that Mick. I use wooden framed metal excluders and create top bee space with them. Yes there is bottom bee space on the super above, but bees don't seem to treat the combine as double. Probably see the excluder as a barrier. Usually just need to free edges and away we go. I find the flat lay on top of bars " get stuck down in so many places" that I only use them if nothing else left.
 #5564  by Alfred
 25 Jan 2020, 08:05
Suppose I could support a flat Qx on matchsticks :shock:
 #5565  by Patrick
 25 Jan 2020, 09:35
When I did my beginners course there were two tutors, both experienced. One used flat steel slotted and the other used framed wired. Both thought their choice better for quite logical reasons including cost, durability and ease of use.

I have used and occasionally still do use slotted steel and they work fine but I don’t like the peeling off, pinging bees and possibly distorting the slots part. But they are cheap. Not tried the plastic as others locally not very complimentary.

Wired work fine for me, they do get some comb between wires but I don’t get comb between boxes. Wired can get stuck round the frame to box edges and if you are only partly free it before levering it off, the frame can get strained and eventually fracture if given a twisting during removal . And they cost more.

There was was on old wired frame design that inexplicably had bee space on both sides. I have some and the bees don’t seem to mind. I also have a few narrow wood framed wired Thornes did for a bit. They were inadequate and the frame surrounds broke. They were discontinued.

So both work and maybe neither are perfect.
 #5566  by AdamD
 25 Jan 2020, 10:51
I have a bottom and top bee space wired excluder - and I would say that it tends to get comb built down from the super above - which would make sense as there would be a double bee-space there.

I have a few plasitc excluders and they are cheap and work OK although they are now a little concave (or convex depending on how you look at them). They are easy to cut down for nucs or to make small squares of excluder to go over entrances of mini-nucs, for example.

I have a slotted galvanized one too - this worked well with a Paynes National as you couldn't see it between the brood box and super. I guess the galvanized on is as close to the 'zinc' excluders of old which is why some might like them.

I do prefer the wooden framed wired excluders though and ought to 'treat myself' and replace the plastic ones one day. They are easier to put down again onto a busy colony and the bee space does mean that the queen could go up and over the top bars of a frame to get to the next frame, which she couldn't do with a flat excluder. Some of mine have had to be repaired at the corners - there's not always much wood in them, as Patrick says.

For a short while a few years ago there was a flexible plastic excluder available - it was quite floppy and easily distorted and quite possibly it could be distorted enough so a queen could get through - maybe that's why it was discontinued. I had one of these which I have since cut up for an 8 frame hive and the remainder was framed by offcuts of wood for a nuc. There's a bit of gaffa tape over one corner where the slot has gotten damaged.

Does anyone vasalene their excluders to make them easier to take off?
 #5567  by AndrewLD
 25 Jan 2020, 16:20
IMO some of the flat pressed excluders allow too little access through but the main problem is that they get stuck to the top of national frames and have to be peeled off.
So all the careful work easing off the super, the calm Zen-like movement that is designed to mask the beekeeper's intrusion is undone when the excluder suddenly pings up :shock: , the bees spot the sudden movement and we are then into a "hot LZ" situation, taking fire with bees pinging off the veil and rushing to sting the hands that are still holding the excluder - beekeeper transfixed with horror at what they just unleashed.... Sorry bit OTT (just reading Max Hasting's Vietnam) but sums up my limited experience of the pressed excluder - limited because I won't use them.
My framed stainless steel single beespace excluders work just fine and I clean them with a blow-lamp or wait until winter and wire brush any wax or propolis off.
Hot LZ - must remember that one; sums up some beekeepers' whole experience of hive inspections :lol: