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Cleaning the queen excluder

The queen excluder is a very useful accessory to prevent the queen from going up to lay eggs in the supers. Only in the long run, the grid becomes clogged mainly with propolis. So here's how to clean it.

There are two kinds of queen excluders: Plastic and metal with a wooden frame.

Due to their different natures, the cleaning method is not the same.

The plastic one

With the plastic queen excluder, the easiest way is to place it in a large container with sodium hydroxide solution diluted in water. Wear gloves and goggles to protect yourself.

Leave to soak for two or three days.

Then pass the grid through a high pressure cleaner and you will find it like new without much effort.

There is another method with plastic queen excluder, it's to put them into a fridge then when propolis is hard (or frozen)  it's easy to break it by trying to fold gently the excluder then return it to normal.

The metal excluder with wooden edge

This grid is more delicate because of its wooden edge which is often quite fragile.

Place the grid between two wooden crates and place a newspaper underneath. Pass the grid with a torch or heat gun, not insisting too much on the wooden part. The propolis or the wax will melt and you will find a pretty grid ready to use.

Take the opportunity to check if the wooden frame is in order. A glue or a bit of wood paste will prolong its life.

We can also use the cleaning shovel to clean metal excluders.