Whenever we separate the brood box from the super in our hives we have to deal with the queen excluder. This is a wire mesh (in our case, it can also be plastic) that has gaps big enough for worker bees to crawl through, but not the queen (fattie that she is). This means the queen lays all the larvae in the brood box and the bees can make that wonderful honey in the super. Come harvest time, this little piece of equipment ensures that there’s no need for the beekeeper to worry about killing off brood when extracting the honey.
For whatever reason (because they’re bees?) the bees always build comb on the excluder. Over time this could prevent easy bee movement between boxes. It also has to restrict airflow (I hope that’s not their aim, but it could be). So each time we lift the super off the brood box, we have to scrape the wax off. TEDIOUS to say the least. And you have to be quick because the hive shouldn’t be left open while mere humans fiddle about.
Ian gave us a clever tip – use a hot air gun to melt the wax off the excluder. Wasn’t that a great idea! Now we just carry the excluder up to the house, douse it with hot air and it’s ready for the hive in less than 5 minutes. We save time and our bees have less disturbance; one of those perfect win-win situations.