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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    Default Cloake Board Wisdom

    In one way, the Cloake board is one of my favorite pieces of beekeeping equipment...the inventors name was "Cloake", and the device actually "cloaks".

    ....but I've never owned one or used one. I do, I think, understand how they are used and why....on more than one occasion, I've done the same thing but by separating the bodies and putting a board between.

    I have no criticism for using a cloak board....I write this because I was thinking about making some. But when I really think about it, does it really eliminate more than 3 minutes work, and a little bit of disturbing the bees over just using a board?

    Regardless, I might build some for my own use, but I'm thinking this would be really low on the list of things that someone needs to acquire before they start rearing queens. Am I missing something?

    deknow
    The perils of benefactors; The blessings of parasites; Blindness blindness and sight -Joni Mitchell 'Shadows and Light'

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Northern Virginia
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    767

    Default Re: Cloake Board Wisdom

    It's an especially good way for folks with only a few hives to engage in queen rearing. And it reduces the need to lift boxes as many times which for some small timer back yarders is another consideration. We have a petite sized woman in our area, hives in the suburbs/urban suburbs who has had a lot of luck using this method. I would have to review my notes to remember exactly the steps, but I believe the system allows many nurse bees to get in to the top where you would put grafts- timing the open brood upstairs before you slide in the tray to shut off the boxes, so that is another benefit- and again, an easy system for realtive newcomers to get the huge number of nurse bees needed.
    karla

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    Default Re: Cloake Board Wisdom

    I understand that it works just fine.

    I understand how to rotate capped brood below the excluder where the queen is kept, and open brood above the excluder so that the emerging bees migrate to the top box and the empty cells they leave behind are available for the queen to lay in.....but you have to lift boxes to do this once a week anyways.

    The only difference between using a cloak board and a plain solid board is that you have to lift the top box off to place the board in, and lift it again to take the board out. To maintain the hive properly (as above), you have to do this and shuffle frames once a week anyways. I suppose that one doesn't have to lift a full box to rearrange the frames (you can work frame by frame)...if lifting a full box (of whatever size you are using) is not possible, then I would see the Cloak board as very valuable

    I'm not knocking it...I might build some myself....but when I think about it, the savings of lifting one box (could be a 5 frame box...mine often are) twice three days apart doesn't compel me to recommend it to someone that wants to raise a few queens.

    deknow
    The perils of benefactors; The blessings of parasites; Blindness blindness and sight -Joni Mitchell 'Shadows and Light'

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
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    4,570

    Default Re: Cloake Board Wisdom

    Dean: We used to use a flat board, as you describe and, yeah, it does the job. We upgraded to a setup where the board can be easily slid in and out with one hand though, because lot of days we will do 20 builders and lifting each box off to remove the board quickly became the job that nobody really cared to do. You often found yourself alone in the yard and it can be a delicate balancing act for one person to pull a board and smoke them while dealing with a huge builder with the top half dripping with feisty queenless bees. The switchover to a wood framed excluder and custom cut "tins" that slide in the opening on the end saves us lots and lots of aggravation and needlessly disturbed bees. Everything seals up well and there is extra space for bees to hang on the bottom of the frames of the upper box and on the top bars of the lower box. We can reduce or completely close up the open end as needed with custom cut blocks but like to encourage the bees to use that middle entrance as much as possible so that bees that fly out of the top box don't return down below and leave the queenless builder half starving for bees.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  5. #5

    Default Re: Cloake Board Wisdom

    The advantage of the cloake board over a solid board is the period after you remove the slide - when the colony is separated only by the queen excluder. After the original three days (with the slide in) the colony is then rearing queencells in a queenright state - just like in nature.
    And re-uniting the colony by removing the cloake board is less disruptive because you aren't actually uniting a queenless unit with a queenright unit - you are just removing a queen barrier.

    I use the cloake board a lot in my queen rearing, and I find it very worthwhile.

    Best to you and your bees,
    -Erin
    Erin Forbes, EAS Master Beekeeper
    overlandhoney.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    Default Re: Cloake Board Wisdom

    Quote Originally Posted by Maine_Beekeeper View Post
    And re-uniting the colony by removing the cloake board is less disruptive because you aren't actually uniting a queenless unit with a queenright unit - you are just removing a queen barrier.
    I'm not understanding something. Is a "queen barrier" a "queen excluder"?

    The Cloake board setup should always have a queen excluder in place.
    When the barrier is slid in, there are essentially two separate coloines...one queenright on the bottom, and one queenless and starting cells on the top. When the barrier is removed, it is one queenright colony with the queen kept away from the cells being finished.

    With a plain board, you would do the exact same thing (including the excluder). Absolutely it is less disruptive to insert or remove the barrier in the cloake board....I don't understand the phrase, " you aren't actually uniting a queenless unit with a queenright unit - you are just removing a queen barrier." In both cases, you are removing a barrier and leaving a queen excluder between the two boxes, uniting a queenless and quenright unit.

    deknow
    The perils of benefactors; The blessings of parasites; Blindness blindness and sight -Joni Mitchell 'Shadows and Light'

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    4,765

    Default Re: Cloake Board Wisdom

    good thread. i want to try this for the first time this year.

    is this how it works.....?

    prior to introducing the grafts into the top box, the brood frames are separated such that the capped brood is in the bottom and the open brood is in the top. (would it hurt to shake in some extra nurse bees in the top?)

    a queen excluder and are board are put in between the boxes, allowing for an entrance to the top box. (how long before you put the grafts into the top box?)

    after three days, the board is removed, and the excluder is left in place.

    once ripe, the queen cells are taken out, and the process is repeated if you want to raise more queens.

    is that about right?
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Cloake Board Wisdom

    >prior to introducing the grafts into the top box, the brood frames are separated such that the capped brood is in the bottom and the open brood is in the top. (would it hurt to shake in some extra nurse bees in the top?)

    I would shake ALL the bees into the top, or rearrange the entrances so all the bees are returning to the top. I want it LITERALLY overflowing with bees.

    >a queen excluder and are board are put in between the boxes, allowing for an entrance to the top box. (how long before you put the grafts into the top box?)

    I would put them in about two hours after setting it up or 24 hours at the most.

    >after three days, the board is removed, and the excluder is left in place.

    I'd wait four... but that's the idea, yes. I put the excluder down one box from the cloake board... so the cloake board is under the top box and the exlcuder is between the next box down and the one under that.

    >once ripe, the queen cells are taken out, and the process is repeated if you want to raise more queens.

    >is that about right?

    Yes.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: Cloake Board Wisdom

    awesome, many thanks for your reply michael.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Livingston County, NY
    Posts
    542

    Default Re: Cloake Board Wisdom

    Michael,

    Are you incubating ripe cells or into nucs? I think I have seen posts that you do use an incubator.

    care to show a link (about your incubator methods) as not to hijak this thread?
    Rmns 1:16/Prv.3:5,6/ Beegan BK May 09/ Zone 5b
    I have NOT failed. I have only found many many ways that do not work!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Cloake Board Wisdom

    >Are you incubating ripe cells or into nucs? I think I have seen posts that you do use an incubator.

    I have a very nice incubator:
    http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/stor...ame-p-248.html

    I used to try to finish them in my chicken egg incubator but it seems to have too wide of a temperature variance and it's hard to keep it humid enough. The above works well, has a narrow band of temp. But I find it harder to introduce a virgin than I'd like and I think the bees take better care of them. The bees would also clear the wax off the tip, which I think lets them breath better and the bees will feed them as soon as they emerge.

    >care to show a link (about your incubator methods) as not to hijak this thread?

    I don't have one. When I use one, I put a sponge in the bottom for humidity and usually I still put the cell in a mating nuc rather than let it emerge in the incubator. When I do use it it's more to free up a starter to start another batch of cells.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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