Re: Cloak Board
I currently use Cloake boards and they work OK for me. I start with double deep and brood in both boxes. Take a third box and staple Cloake board to it with hive staples, makes it easier to move around when manipulating. Take a bottom board and pull back end off. You will center bottom box so bees can enter from either end. Cut a 3/4 strip like a entrance reducer but with no cut outs, it will be used to plug one side or other of bottom.
Move hive to one side and put new bottom down. Set top box on new bottom, leave bottom box on old bottom.
Find queen, mark and put in cage. You will be moving frames around so its easier to find her if she's marked.
Using box on new bottom and box on cloake board, move capped honey to outside of boxes then open honey and then pollen as you work to middle.
Open brood to top box and capped brood and empty frames to bottom box. If all frames are drawn out put frame of foundation in top box. It will help keep down burr comb on cell frame. Only use 9 frames in top box as you will need room for cell bar frame.
Once you have everything situated return queen to bottom box and place box with cloake board on next.
Bottom entrance and Cloake entrance should point in direction of original entrance. Use strip to plug back lower entrance.
Give hive a cpl days to settle down.
2 days before graft swap bottom entrance to back of hive, bees will exit back of bottom box and return to front entrance of top box.
1 day before graft insert metal slide in Cloake board. Top is now queenless starter. Divide 9 frames in middle and insert cell frames with cups into space.
Day of graft. Pull cell frame from cell starter and brush off bees. Have cell frame and all grafting tools in warm moist room. Pull frame from queen mother and carry to grafting room, if hot and dry cover with wet towell.
As you graft a bar lay with cups up and cover with wet towell. When finished put bars in frame and keep upside down as you carry to cell starter hive. Remove top and bees should be clustered in empty space. Ease cell frame into slot. Put on top.
Day after graft pull metal divider and return bottom entrance to front.
Third day check for takes.
Some books say to remove open brood from top box day before graft for best fed queens. I dont start over 45 cups and they seem to do OK leaving open brood in top box.
"Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." - Mark Twain