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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Carlton,WA,USA
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    129

    Default Cloake Method for Fall Re-Queening

    I have been using a modified version of the Cloake Method to raise queens for two years now. I am always amazed at how powerful it is. In spite of many mistakes I have made in timing, introduction of larvae, etc. it always produces cells. The main difference in my system is that I raise queens in the bottom box, whereas Cloake used the top box.

    One of my goals in raising queens is to re-queen in the fall, so that the hive will enter winter with a young queen.

    I have struggled with how to do this. The hive size is huge and so it is almost impossible to find the queen. Even if I find her, I find it distasteful to pinch a queen. And finally, any long search for each queen in a yard risks the start of robbing.

    So this is what I am thinking: I take my honey in late August, leaving maybe one medium super. What if I did a 24 hour Cloake split on all my hives at that time. But instead of removing the queen cells when they ripen, I leave them in the hive and leave the queen excluder in place. Would the virgin hatch, mate and supersede the old queen?

    I 'm thinking I would pull the excluder after the week of mating flight. Even if the new queen were not accepted 100% of the time, the old queen would still be there as backup.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Murray County, Georgia
    Posts
    213

    Default Re: Cloake Method for Fall Re-Queening

    The young queen would probably be able to slip through an excluder and you'd have a week or two w/o laying. You also run the risk of losing the queen during mating. Another possible problem would be the queens fighting through the excluder in which case you'd need a double excluder. Why not put a screen and an excluder between the two (to allow bees to have contact but not the queens), give the new queen an upper entrance, let her mate and return to the top. Once she is established and laying well you can remove the queen from the bottom and combine?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
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    2,644

    Default Re: Cloake Method for Fall Re-Queening

    I also requeen, but not that late. Right in July (doing it this week) Queens born after june 21 lay better. BUT I don't think you will get a good mated queen that late. I am thinking all the drones are pretty much gone by that time...?? just my thoughts. As for finding the queen and pinching, This week that queen and one frame of brood makes nucs. (with mites) the box they came from gets a cell and a lapse in brood in july to break the mite cycle.
    this wil be my 3rd year doing it this way.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Carlton,WA,USA
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    129

    Default Re: Cloake Method for Fall Re-Queening

    Quote Originally Posted by gmcharlie View Post
    I also requeen, but not that late. I am thinking all the drones are pretty much gone by that time....
    I'm thinking you are probably right about drones. Mating would be mid September.

    I run very strong hives, often doubling up singles. As a result, before I take honey off, manipulating the hives is out of the question.

    I'm not sure I understand your system. Could you explain it more clearly.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
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    3,699

    Default Re: Cloake Method for Fall Re-Queening

    Here's an option for you.
    Run your cloake board on your good hive and cut out cells to put in the top super of all your other hives. 90% of the time the virgin will emerge and will kill the old queens in the other hives for you. This will reduce the number of cloake boards needed and will be less time and disruption for all the other hives for you.

    If you do it this way, add the queen cells to the supers of the other hives on the day they are timed to emerge. The old queens don't have a chance as they are laying with full ovaries and slow to battle. The virgins are killing machines and will take out the older queens and become the new queen mother of the hives.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
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    2,644

    Default Re: Cloake Method for Fall Re-Queening

    Quote Originally Posted by MethowKraig View Post
    I'm thinking you are probably right about drones. Mating would be mid September.

    I run very strong hives, often doubling up singles. As a result, before I take honey off, manipulating the hives is out of the question.

    I'm not sure I understand your system. Could you explain it more clearly.


    well its based on Mel dissolken principles. A fall queen (after the summer solistice) lays like a spring queen. So this week I will take 1-2 frames from each hive, 1 will have the queen and brood, the other workers and food. Thats my split. in theory, that brood is full of mites. (reality says I don't always see a problem) and won't make it anyway. Those are set aside, and the hive gets a new queen cell. it will take aprox 10 days before shes laying. in that 10 days the mites in the hive will not have any new larva to lay on, so when the new larve is present, they overwhelm it 4-5 mites each larve. those Larve DIE, and so do the mites with them. within 2 weeks, I have a new laying fall queen. she normaly lays like crazy. if sh fails I can always go back and steal an old queen, and use just her (no mites) and let the nuc fend for itself or combine it with another mite loaded nuc.

    I will make up 50 nuc this way this week, and another 50 in 2 weeks. so for fall I have my 100 strong hives, and 100 nucs. come oct, I evaluate and combine nucs and see what I got... normaly about 75% are just fine and winter well.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Carlton,WA,USA
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    129

    Default Re: Cloake Method for Fall Re-Queening

    Charlie, What age queen cell do you introduce? Ripe and ready to hatch?

    I'm also wondering if Ray's system of just introducing a ripe queen cell to the top super wouldn't accomplish the same thing. (If the virgin kills the old queen, the colony would still go through a week or more without larvae.) The only drawback I can see is no old queen in a nuc as a backup if the virgin fails.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
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    2,644

    Default Re: Cloake Method for Fall Re-Queening

    well letting queens fight it out is never good. that old queen will usually win if the virgin has not hardened. and many times both die.... not worth the risk for me.. The queen cells are day 14 cells. ready to hatch. there easiest to move then. The varro gestation cycle is right at 14 days, so thats the real period we want no fresh larve for them to reproduce on.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Carlton,WA,USA
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    129

    Default Re: Cloake Method for Fall Re-Queening

    Charlie: one last question. does the period without a laying queen affect honey production? won't the hive feel like it is queenless until she start laying.

  10. #10
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    May 2009
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    Flora,IL
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    Default Re: Cloake Method for Fall Re-Queening

    Actually it does, they produce MORE honey queenless. there is no brood to feed. But I do it in july when we are in a dearth anyway( spent all day yesterday doing it). but when I go to sunflowers in late aug, I stack queenless hives for honey production. Queens are kept in the deeps in another yard. Normaly take 40-50 queenless hives just for honey. Sunflowers are a rare treat here. in fact this year we have none.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    960

    Default Re: Cloake Method for Fall Re-Queening

    MethowKraig - you don't have to pinch a queen if you make up a queen bank. If there is nectar flow, you should see a laying pattern in 3 weeks. If it is poor, mama is ready to put back in action.

    To find a queen quickly, I put either a QE, a double screen board, or a sheet of burlap in between all hive bodies. For your purposes, the double screen is a good choice, but just so the queen is confined, any will work for one cycle. For more than one cycle, I would use the QE. I would really prefer to use the Cloake board ONLY when I want them queenless. An unauthorized queen cell could be an emergency effort made of a larva that is too old, resulting in an intergrade worker/queen - almost invariably a poor performer. It's just a lot of subsequent work and then you find a poor or failed laying pattern.

    As for queens fighting through a QE - don't let it go that long. Cut your queen cells one or two days after sealing. Put them into brood frames and make nucs, splits, or baby mating nucs with them.

    I build all my hives with 3 vertical slots (slot width is 9/32", depth is half the width of the frame shelf - about 3/16") in the inside surface of the short ends of the boxes, such that they can be divided into 2 x 5, 3 x 3, or 1 x 10 configuration. I slip the 1/4 inch plywood dividers (Jay Smith type - with excluder) into the center (2 x 5) slot and with dividers and QE's, the queens are VERY easy to find in a week, even easier in two weeks!

    I'm using a day-glow marking paint on my queens now. Boy! do they jump out at me! Even still, I think I spot the long abdomen as fast as the neon dot. I was late by a day on one cycle, and couldn't find the unmarked virgins until I looked down at the queen excluder and watched the next to the last queen fight starting. I salvaged those two, and no, they cannot slip through a QE. A small race raised in 4.9 mm cell size maybe, but Italians, Germans, Carniolans, Caucasians, not very likely. The losers died trying hard to get through. I made Queen Juice out of the dead ones for trap hive bait.

    I do make my own artificial queen cups out of wax - the forming sticks are 9/32" tapered up to 7/16" and sanded round off on the bottom - larger than most guys, but I want my queens big enough that they can't get through the QE. Good luck - the other "Charlie".
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 06-28-2012 at 06:46 PM. Reason: omission

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
    Posts
    960

    Default Re: Cloake Method for Fall Re-Queening

    Anybody have blueprints for the Laidlaw Instrumental Queen Bee Insemination holding device?

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