Beekeepers often call them “honey excluders” for a good reason: worker bees hate to go through them. The theory I hear most frequently is that the bees don’t want to build comb in places where the queen can’t go. But there are ways to entice your bees through the queen excluder.
- One way is to simply leave the excluder out of the hive until the bees have started to draw comb in two or three of the honey frames. Once they are “committed” to the project, you can usually add an excluder with good results.
- For a really stubborn batch of bees, you can put one frame of uncapped brood in the honey super. Pick a frame without drone brood, if possible. Make sure the queen is down below, put the excluder over the brood boxes, and put the honey super with one frame of brood above that. The workers will go through the excluder to attend to the brood. Any drones that hatch above the excluder will need to be released.
- New frames in the honey super can be sprayed with sugar syrup to entice bees through the excluder. I find it works best if you add a few drops of essential oil to the syrup. Anise oil or teatree oil work especially well.
Follow the link for more about using queen excluders.