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Discussion Starter #1
Hi there. I just tried grafting for the first time using the Cloake Board method. I got a 50% take, which is OK for the first time I guess. Anyway, the hive is absolutely packed with bees--great for making queens. The queen is of course confined to the bottom box. On top of this box is the queen excluder and cloake frame, then a medium super and the other deep box with the queen cells.

I'm thinking that when the cells are ready this weekend to be placed in their mating nucs, that I have two alternatives: either re-use this large hive immediately for more grafts; or split immediately. Am I correct about this?

Today or tomorrow is my day to look at the top deep box for any rogue queen cells and remove them. Should I also check the bottom box at this time? Or is that too disruptive?

When I started setting up the starter-finisher about a week ago, there were no queen cells or even queen cups in the bottom box. Or perhaps I should had another medium super?

Thanks.
 

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5 ,8 ,10 frame, and long Lang
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IMO you want them to be "swarm ready" to better build the Q cells. IE lots of bees packed.
IF you have a queen in the bottom then yes I would tear it down, Carefully check the bottom for Q cells, maybe move up some brood into the queen starter box and move down some empty comb for the Queen to lay into to do 1 more batch.
If you find Q cells charged down there AND you like that Queen, then you may have enough Queen cells. :)

Worth the look to prevent a swarm. no use loosing the bees, you could use them to make up some of the NUCs

GG
 

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I dont know what preparations you used. It is common advice to close front lower entrance and switch it to the rear to force bees to box above excluder/ cloake board. If you did that the bottom box should not have been motivated to swarm. The cell starting above when you closed the slide was an emergency response. The crowding there is generally one of the swarm motivators but there usually must be more. If you remove the capped cells they will have no means of creating a queen.

You can pull the excluder and recombine upper and lower boxes or leave one capped cell in the upper box and remove it as a split or pinch the bottom queen and combine. You will have a hive with a new queen and not likely to swarm for a while at least.

The above are scenarios I have been thinking about myself as I want to make a few splits and requeen a few colonies.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Gray Goose-- I do indeed love this queen, and I'd be very happy if there were additional cells. I will check on that when I check the top box for rogue cells, which I guess I could also use for splits. Nice.

Crofter-- Actually I used your idea from another thread: I made a bottom board with an entrance at the back that I can open or seal, and blocked the main front entrance (no turning of the hive). The divider board is out and he only entrance available now is the one above the excluder, which goes to oth hives. My hope is that with the arrangement where the bees flew out the back and returned to the front and had to go up to the cell builder, that crowding pressure would have been taken off the bottom box and the queen and bees there.
 

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Not necessary to split

I graft weekly into a cloake type(kinda) system all season long.. you just have to pull a nuc out of it every now and again
 

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Discussion Starter #6
So, that was interesting. I just checked my grafts (today is day 5) and they all look good. Checked for rogue queen cells. Found three frames with cells. Destroyed them in one frame, made 2 nuc splits with the other two and spare frames of honey.

Took off the excluder and went into the lower box. Lots of eggs and brood of various stages. And three queen cells on one frame. This was what I feared. What a packed box!! All the uncapped brood was down there, so maybe that was why. I destroyed those and left the frame in the hive. Transferred a couple of frames with eggs and larave up to the top box for more grafting and to replace the missing frames; replaced the empty spots with drawn empty comb and one of foundation (which I'll probably replace later with empty comb).

I think if I decide to re-unite the two halves--without the queen excluder keeping the queen trapped below--I would definitely have to do some kind of thinning into a nuc or another box.

If those queen cells had emerged, what would happen? They wouldn't be able to leave the lower box. A showdown between the old and new queens?
 

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"And three queen cells on one frame."

next time consider keeping the swarm cells and dumping a grafted cell.

you have not yet stopped the swarming impulse with your maneuvers
 

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Your colony may have been committed to swarming when you put on the Cloake board. Diverting away the foragers otherwise normally should have prevented swarm preps.

Best laid plans of mice and men gang oft a gley!
 

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Not necessary to Split cell builder, as was said above.

I use my cell builders for multiple rounds of cells. Another round every 20 days. The colony is inspected every 10 days for queen performance and queen cells. On setup day the colony is inspected, any queen cells are removed, and a body of emerging brood is added above an excluder. 10 days later is grafting day. The queen-right colony is inspected for cells. The cell builder is setup...see my video for details...and checked for queen cells.

10 days later the cells are harvested. The deep that held the incubating cells is removed...it’s full of nectar and pollen, and packed with young bees. I move it to mating apiary and give it a cell. Becomes another colony. Then the queen-right colony is re-established and the colony is checked for queen performance and queen cells.

So every 20 days I get a cell bar frame of cells and a new colony, and can use the cell builder for another round. Also harvest 100-150 pounds of honey from the colony
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the comments. Yes, they may have committed to swarming already; or maybe it's a crowded hive. But I got a few more nucs out of those cells, anyway.

Michael, thanks for providing some additional explanation on checking for cells above and below. It's been a wile since I watched those videos.
 
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