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  1. #1
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    Feb 2012
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    West Bath, Maine, United States
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    Default Cloakeing without the board

    Sometime last year Michael Bush commented in a thread about ending up with two queens when separating brood with an excluder. I have tried a Cloake board a couple of times with so-so results, worked but not really well. Playing around I added an excluder after splitting the brood into an upper an lower box, queen on top as it turned out. After 10 days there were no Qcs in the lower body. I was feeding on the top cover with the upper cover offset. Bees were flying from the bottom entrance, under the upper cover and back in the upper hive body. I shook off three frames and put them in the lower hive body. Added abare frame medium to reduce contact between clusters. Got a lot of QCs on each frame. They looked a lot more like superceder cells than emegency cells. Big fat and well formed. I think the continued limited contact with the old queen made a much better QC than a regular split. Kept the hive relatively stable during the rearing compared to a split. Less hassle than the Cloake board and much more forgiving on the schedule.

    I am out of season, equipment and bees so I will not see much of how they perform. Next year I will try some variations. Anybody have some more info to guide me?
    Last edited by Saltybee; 07-31-2013 at 01:22 PM. Reason: Missed step; thinking about painting I should be doing instead.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Sacramento,California,USA
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    Default Re: Cloakeing without the board

    Sounds like you did real good there Saltybee. Most people that I hear from do it with the queen in the bottom box, to make it easier to check for cells and cut them out or use frames of cells to make up nucs or splits with. I've read a book by G.M.Doolittle where he did similar to you, putting the queen on top to get well built out supersedure cells.

    Here is what I myself have done with good success... I take a good 2 story hive and split the boxes with a queen excluder, keeping the eggs and younger larva below and the queen above. I also make sure there is a few frames of stores in both halves. The next day, I move off the top box with the queen to the side on it's own stand. This makes the bottom box with the eggs and youngest larva in place be queenless, and it gets the majority of the field force as well. It also has a great majority of the nurse bees as it has most of the eggs and young larva. So now, the next day again, I move the queen box back on top of the original bottom box, back onto the original stand. After being split for 24 hours, the bottom box has started queen cells, so this now gives me a queen right cell builder. They build out a few very nice supersedure cells this way. I did not put an unused frames box inbetween the two major boxes like you did, but with it being split for a day to get cells started, it seemed to work well. I bet you got more queen cells started your way than I did my way.

    Thanks for posting, it gives me thought on how to improve the way I did this myself.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Cloakeing without the board

    It may be dumb luck and not reliable. The MB post played in my head when I got no takes the first time and decided to stretch the distance. The queen was in the top only because I never looked for her.
    I had been robbing that hive so hard it would not have filled a single deep, I was actually using shallows as that was all that was drawn out and available.
    I will think about your method all winter.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Ojai, California
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    Default Re: Cloakeing without the board

    I have one queen who is 4 years old, and am hoping she will be a good substitute queen to cause bees to make lots of supercedure cells next year. I intend to introduce her into several cell builders next year, if she makes it. (I'll still make most of my batches using other methods.)

    I did leave her colony stacked 5 boxes tall with queen excluders between each box one year, and got a fresh queen in each box by leaving in the QE's too long. I suspect they were all supercedure queens.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Cloakeing without the board

    I have not done it specifically with the purpose of doing queen rearing, but everytime I've split a brood nest with an excluder they have raised a queen in the queenless side. That's only one queen, I was never trying for more. But I would say if you had a box of honey an excluder, and then a box of brood separating them the queen will be even further away and that should work pretty well. If you do the "cloake" method you would have something solid for a few days and THEN open the excluder up.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesdoolittle.htm#CHAPTER13

    Be sure to click on the link to the appendix.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesdoolittle.htm#APPENDIX
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Cloakeing without the board

    Thank you Michael for your thoughtful response.

    It is interesting that Doolittle was focused on mating with minimal disruption to the hive. There is clearly a quality difference between superceder cells and emergency queen rearing cells. It is easy to see in the results ( at least my in results), I believe the differences within the actual rearing process would be very hard to detect in the hive.

    I am already waiting for next spring.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    angola,ny
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    74

    Default Re: Cloakeing without the board

    Do you then remove the excluder and give the Queen full access to both boxes?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Cloakeing without the board

    Connie1,
    I did not remove the excluder until I replaced it with a bottom board and split the upper and lower sections. With a top and lower entrance the hive functioned quite normally with the excluder in place. RayMarler avoids the excluder and uses a temporary separation to start the superceder cells. I do not know where the line between superceder and emergency response is, just that there seems to be one.
    Leaving the hive relatively intact with a balanced age spread may well account for the improved cell quality I saw. A one time success does not prove a system, but I will try it again.
    I have not done queenright cell rearing, it does work and some favor it. I intend to leave an excluder in until after removing cells.
    4 yrs, Peak 14, back to zip, T lite; godfather to brother's 3.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Sacramento,California,USA
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    Default Re: Cloakeing without the board

    I see I was not fully descriptive of what I did, concerning the excluder. No excluder was needed when the boxes were separated. But, when I put the boxes back into one stack, I did put the excluder in place, and kept it in place until I cut out the cells to make up nucs with. After all cells were gone and distributed, then I remove the queen excluder.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ojai, California
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    908

    Default Re: Cloakeing without the board

    Just quickly...Swarming impulse queen cells mostly occur in the spring and early summer when crowding occurs with a nectar flow. Often several cells are started and finished under swarming impulse. These cells tend to occur on the bottom of the combs. Swarm impulse queens are generally of excellent quality.

    Emergency response queen cells occur in a queenless situation, as we make temporarily with a Cloake Board or in a queenless starter colony. Any larvae young and healthy to be a good queen candidate could be started under emergency response, so they may occur anywhere on the comb. The bees tend to start a lot of these all the same age, but finish only one or a very few. This is why we pull the Cloake board out after 24 hours...the change over to supercedure impulse mode and take good care of most of the QC's. Emergency response queens often are of less-than-ideal quality, but not always...done properly, they can perform as well as any others.

    Supercedure impulse queen cells occur when queen substances become a little too weak or scarce for the hive's taste, such as when the queen is aging (running low on sperm in her spermatheca) or has been poorly mated. These tend to be a few QC's of varying ages in the middle of the combs, but the bees take very good care of each one. Supercedure impulse queens tend to be of excellent quality.

    The Cloake board makes a very convenient and minimally interfering way of changing QC production modes from "queenless" (emergency impulse) to start a lot of cells in the first 24 hours to queenright (supercedure impulse) to take good care of those cells started. It fools the bees into making lots of good queens. Two important aspects of most methods are selection of the right age female larvae for queen rearing and getting the bees to feed LOTS of royal jelly to the QC's. Minimal interference with he Cloake Board helps prevent interruption of feeding of royal jelly to the queen cells. The Cloake Board is also very useful in queen banking.

    Sorry to state the obvious for those that know it, but learning this really helped my queen rearing decision-making. Hope it helps.

    Connie1 - Most of us try to keep the queen away from the queen cells we are raising, as she may destroy them, so we leave the excluder in until Day 11 or 12 (from egg-lay ...that would be day 8 or 9 from grafting) when we cut the QC's separate and plant them into the nucs.

    If you have to travel rough country to the nucs, you could separate them on day 2 after grafting, allowing the tiny larva to be cushioned by the royal jelly, and distributing the load of raising the queens over many more bees.
    Last edited by kilocharlie; 08-10-2013 at 02:29 AM.

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