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This is greatly debated in the beekeeping world! It largely comes down to preference.

Cons of using a queen excluder:

  • Bees tend to store a bit less honey in the supers when using a queen excluder and put more in the brood nest below the queen excluder. This is especially true for weaker hives and for those with a poor honey flow.
  • Bees are often slower to begin storing nectar in a super when a queen excluder is used.
  • Bees will not begin drawing out a new super of foundation through a queen excluder. You must let them start without the queen excluder, then place the queen excluder back on the hive.

Pros of using a queen excluder:

  • Queen excluders prohibit queens from laying in the honey super. It’s not a huge problem if they do, but during honey harvest, you have to deal with the brood. We'll learn more about that in the next issue.
  • Harvesting honey is a bit faster and easier, as brood and honey are clearly separated.

Two Hives Honey - Tara Chapman talks about using queen excluders.


Video Summary:

"Tara Chapman - Should I Use a Queen Excluder?"


In this informative discussion, Tara Chapman addresses a common question among beekeepers: whether to use a queen excluder. She provides insights based on her personal experience and the dynamics of beekeeping, especially for beginners.

Key Points

  • Personal Preference: Tara emphasizes that using a queen excluder is a personal choice, and beekeeping will be successful with or without one.
  • Recommendation for Beginners: New beekeepers are advised against using queen excluders to avoid additional complexity in an already challenging activity.
  • Simplicity in Early Stages: Learning the basics of beekeeping should be the priority before introducing more complicated tools like queen excluders.
  • Practical Use: Tara uses queen excluders only when catching swarms, using them as "queen includers" to keep the queen and bees in the box.
  • Honey Production: She highlights that not using excluders has not impeded her ability to support herself and her team through honey production.
  • Beehive Strength: Allowing the queen to lay extensively without limitations supports hive strength and honey production, aligning with her observation that larger colonies produce more honey.
  • Management of Drone Comb: In cases where drone comb appears in the supers, these can be managed by cutting out or allowing the drones to hatch and the bees to refill the comb with nectar.
  • Final Thoughts on Usage: Tara suggests that beginners might consider waiting a year or two before experimenting with queen excluders.


Tara Chapman advocates for a more natural and less restrictive approach to managing bee colonies, especially for beginners. By focusing on mastering basic beekeeping skills first, beekeepers can make more informed decisions about incorporating tools like queen excluders as they gain experience. This approach not only simplifies the learning process but also potentially enhances the overall productivity and health of the bee colonies.

should I use a queen excluder?
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