looking for easy Cloake Boards plans

Discussion in 'Building plans, blueprints, and finished projects' started by adamant, May 21, 2012.

  1. adamant

    adamant Member

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    looking for detailed plans. anyone have a plan they can post?
    thanks!
     
  2. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    While you wait for someone to post detailed plans, I'll make a few comments. Some folks simply use a piece of plywood between two boxes, assuming that you have the queen in the lower and some eggs/young larvae in the upper. You need to provide an upper entrance, of course, for foragers to come and go and so the queen can go on a mating flight (if you will be using the upper box to let the queen emerge.)
    Of course, using that method by the book you'd be turning boxes and getting the foragers to re-orient to the new entrance, etc.

    I'm not trying to recruit you, but allow me to suggest something that doesn't require making equipment or re-orienting bees to new entrances or anything: Simply put a queen excluder between two boxes. Have the queen in one box and eggs/larvae in the other. It's that simple. It doesn't matter if you are grafting or just moving a frame of eggs or what. The advantage of this is that you don't have to close off boxes from each other and make them use a new entrance.....The foragers and nurse bees can travel freely up to the eggs, but the queen can't go into that box. Without that queen "footprint pheromone" the bees will think they are either queenless or that she is slowing down and losing potency...You can also put a box of full honey frames in between the queen and some eggs, or a box of empty frames. She isn't likely to cross the honey barrier and she isn't likely to cross the open space of a box of empty (no drawn comb) frames.
    The same principal applies whether you use empty space, solid honey or a QE, just separate her from her eggs but let the other bees have free access and they'll raise a new queen, probably several.......
     

  3. adamant

    adamant Member

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    thank you.. that seems little easer then making equipment!
     
  4. Marbees

    Marbees Member

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    :goodpost:
     
  5. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    of course whether dr buzz idea would work or not would be somewhat to highly associated with the number of cells you were trying to rear. I would guess for a small number of cells (one or two) you MIGHT get some results. beyond one or two I myself would not expect any significant returns using this process. experience of course is the primary driver in bee keeping so if you give that idea a try tell us how it goes.

    cloake boards are not that difficult to set up or use and really don't require too much added equipment. the classic description (and this somewhat applies to other queen rearing methods) requires you to set up a hive early in a particular orientation and then via feeding and adding brood build the hives population until the hives is very robust. typically in the cloake method a queen excluder and something to divide the two bodies are required. a beekeeper I know who uses this method quite a bit (if 10's of thousands of queen cells is really 'quite a bit') uses a double screen to divide the bodies. Reversing hive bodies and somewhat shifting entrance simply allows you to crowd one hive body relative to the other hive body. a double screen with a trigger entrance allow you to do this in a fairly simply way.
     
  6. tommyt

    tommyt New Member

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    Cloake Method of Queen Rearing

    The Cloake method of queen rearing involves a series of stages which divide a colony into a queenright lower colony and a queenless upper colony to improve acceptance of grafted larva, or to facilitate creation of queen cells naturally.
    Stage One

    Cloake Board insertion: The Cloake board is placed between two hive bodies when the queen is known to be in the lower hive body. Because a Cloake board either contains or is used with a queen excluder, the laying queen will be restricted to the lower hive body from this point forward. At this time the lower entrance to the hive is reversed so that it faces the opposite direction and then closed. Without the slide in floor in place, the Cloake Board functions as an upper entrance for workers, who re-orient to enter the hive using the upper entrance.
    Stage Two

    Slide in floor in place: By sliding the floor into the Cloake board, the single functioning colony is now divided into two parts - a queenright lower colony and a queenless upper colony. The lower entrance is re-opened, allowing bees in the queenright section to exit the hive. When those bees return, they will do so to the upper entrance, but not be able to enter the lower colony. This results in a higher population of bees in the upper colony. The upper colony is typically left alone for 24 hours for a settling period, in which the bees determine that they are queenless, and prepare to replace their missing queen.
    Stage Three

    Grafted cells Installed: The queenless upper colony is now prepared to raise queens, and by inserting queen rearing bars with grafted larvae, the beekeeper provides candidates for new queens. At this time any emergency queen cells will be removed by the beekeeper. Stage three continues for one to two days, long enough for the cells to be fully accepted and built up.
    Stage Four

    Rejoin colonies as a "Finisher": The slide in floor is removed from the Cloake board. The queen excluder continues to retain the laying queen in the lower colony while the combined colony incubates the grafted queens. The queen cells will be removed before they hatch and transferred to mating nucs.
    Following the removal of the ripe queen cells the cloake board can be removed to re-establish the single united colony.
    Alternate Method - No Grafting

    A cloake board can also be employed to create queen cells on existing frames without grafting. The steps are basically the same as above with the following modifications:

    • Stage 2: Before sliding the floor in place, inspect the top brood box and determine there is at least one frame with new unhatched eggs. Multiple frames with new eggs will often result in multiple frames with queen cells.
    • Stage 3: N/A.
    • Stage 4: After finishing, you can either cut out the queen cells and place them in mating nucs, or place an entire frame with finished queen cells in a mating nuc


    Bee keeper bee advised
    I have not done this
    It is my copy paste issue
    :thumbsup:
     
  7. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    It's not my idea, I know it as the Ben Harden method and it may be called other things. The first time I tried it I counted 12 queen cells that had been created. I simply moved all frames with open larvae above the QE and made sure she was in the box below the QE. No need to crowd nurse bees into the upper box, the open brood brought plenty of nurse bees up there. No need to "guess" and "imagine" what "might" happen. If you want a quick read on the method, it's here: http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/benhardenmethod.html
    I read about it, I did it, it worked. If you know of anyone who says it can't be done because they failed at it, I would suspect that the failure was the beekeeper's, not the method's. If you know of anyone who says it can't be done but has never actually even attempted it themselves, well.....
     
  8. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I suspect dr buzz success can be a relative kind of question? When I am rearing cells 60 or so go into a very small box and anything less that 50% of this (30 cells or less) is a failure. my neighbors down the road place more like 100 to 120 cells into a somewhat modified single deep body and anything less that a 2/3 take means someone needs to look at what is not being done or not being done properly.

    In your case were the 12 cells grafted or simply naturally drawn cells?

    someone on this forum (old memory chip is defective.. can't recall just who at this time) did something on nicking or notching places they wanted the natural queen cells to be built. this added feature might be useful if anyone was using the method you describe.
     
  9. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Dsnaproll was one. May have been others. He was quite successful at it.
     
  10. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    Oh, just naturally drawn cells, I've never grafted.

    You might be thinking of that Mel Disselkoen guy. He talks about using your hive tool to cut the bottom cell wall down to the mid rib....He also talks about how he puts a .22 (I think) bullet casing over whichever young larvae he wants to be developed into being a queen, like one out of every three larvae, and sprinkles wheat flour over the frame. The flour gums up the larvae and the nurse bees can't care for it and remove it. He removes the shell casing, of course, so that larvae can be fed. The purpose of all of that is to control how many larvae get fed all the extra RJ without forcing the bees to waste resources raising queens so close together that you have to kill one to get to another.

    But there is no reason that you can't graft and make up cell bars and raise 100 queens above your QE. I just happened to pull a frame up and surround it with insulated dummy boards to focus the bees onto that frame and keep things warm. I didn't pull all of the frames with larvae up, and I didn't use one of my strongest hives. I used a hive that was only a single deep because I didn't want to do queen rearing experiments with a honey producing hive at that time of the year, and also because it was easier to find the queen in a smaller colony and I'm lazy sometimes. I had read that it only takes 200 nurse bees to properly raise a good queen, so using a relatively weak hive didn't concern me. I have to believe that using more larvae on a more robust hive would have produced more that a dozen queen cells.
     
  11. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip..
    But there is no reason that you can't graft and make up cell bars and raise 100 queens above your QE.

    tecumseh:
    I might guess you have never really tried to do this? if experience is reason???? I would guess this number of cell using nothing but a queen excluder is highly likely to fail (for any number of sound reasons). finishing (after they have been started) this number of cell above an excluder is quite often at least a part of how commercial folks rear cells in large numbers. eliminating 'the finishers' is at least part of the advantage of the cloake board method.... that is the starter and the finisher are most often one and the same.
     
  12. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    No, I have never tried to raise 100 queens using the Ben Harden method. And you are right that commercial queen raising operations may not find the Ben Harden method useful. But then again, commercial queen raisers aren't on message boards asking for advice on raising queens. The OP asked about Cloake board designs, and I gave him pointers on a much simpler method than all of the steps required for the Cloake method.

    I tracked down Ben Harden himself and asked him a few things. You can, too, his e-mail address is: aharden@eircom.net and his phone number (if dialing from America) is 011-353-402-24878.........Mr. Harden is a well known Irish queen breeder and supplier and is a National Diploma in Beekeeping (NDB) qualified instructor. He's also extremely cool to talk to and he spent more time on the phone with me than I deserved, sharing a wealth of knowledge about raising queens.

    He grafts and raises 20 queens at a time. I asked him if it was possible to do 100 and he said he never tried and that there was really no need to. The beauty of his way of doing things is that you can slap a QE between any two boxes as long as the queen is on one side and the larvae is on the other. You can raise the queens directly above the brood chamber or you can raise them on top of honey supers, he knows plenty of people that do it both ways. So you can easily raise queens on any (or all) of your colonies without interrupting honey production or going through all of the steps of the Cloake (or any other) method, without having to make a colony queenless and have a starter colony and a finisher colony, etc...

    I took the opportunity to describe something I will be doing later today and asked him if it would work, and said it certainly would. I'll document it and start a thread with the results when I'm through.
     
  13. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    I've been playing with some different queen rearing things just to make observations and learn something, and I wanted to come back to this and ask: Why? I never asked why you don't think the Harden method would result in more than one or two queen cells. Is it because you doubt that a QE alone can convince them that they are queenless?
     
  14. crackerbee

    crackerbee New Member

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  15. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    This is a great thread.... (not that I foresee myself needing 20 queens any time soon.)
     
  16. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Dr. Buzz, Tec is accustomed to raising hundreds of queens weekly. 1 or 2 to him may mean 10 or 20.
     
  17. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    I have no idea, that might very well be. Hopefully he'll re-visit the thread and explain it. He had said that there were "any number of sound reasons" why a QE alone wouldn't work, and I never asked him what they were. In any case, by the time I take apart my colony and go through every frame looking for the queen and pulling all of the eggs/larvae into the upper box, I figured it wasn't any extra work at that point to go ahead and put in a home made Cloake board, so I basically made one by screwing 3 strips of wood on 3 sides of a QE and put the second box on top of that. Then after letting all the nuse bees pass up through the QE like normal with the Harden method) I simply slid a board into the slot on the QE made by the strips, instant Cloake board. I think I have another day or two before I pull the slide out and check for Q-cells, but I'm curious if the slide on the QE creates more "queenlessness" than just the QE alone.

    But even if I only get roughly the same number of cells as I did with the Harden method (12 cells) that's more than the average beekeeper needs to raise at any one time, and I'd hesitate to call that something that doesn't work. Now, if I grafted 100 cups and only got 12 that took, sure, that's a problem, but if I'm just using frames of eggs/larvae and 12 cells gets raised and everything else on the frame just gets reared as regular brood, then I'd call that a good return on the time invested.
     
  18. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Yep.... One only needs to accomplish what his situation calls for.
     
  19. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip..
    I never asked why you don't think the Harden method would result in more than one or two queen cells. Is it because you doubt that a QE alone can convince them that they are queenless?

    tecumseh:
    the only way I can imagine this working at all is if the queen pheromone within this hive is extremely weak and thereby other attributes associated with rearing GOOD QUEENS is highly compromised. so the question for me is not just the number of cells that take but also the quality of the cells that eventually result in good quality LAYING queens.

    as you seem to understand whether you rear 1 queen cell or 100 queen cells you have to have some place (some ultimate purpose) for these cells to go. there are enough cell rearing methods that almost anyone wanting to raise cells can do so no matter if they chose to graft or not to graft. no matter what your choice of queen rearing method if you practice a method just a bit with some perseverance you will likely have some level of success.

    rearing good queens is really more about the whole ball of wax and not A small part of the process. I should point out here that you have ignored the entire question of timing in rearing the cells which I guess is not so much a problem if you only have 2 cells to deal with but if you have a hundred you do need to know exactly WHEN these cells are ready to go <no matter what a certain quantity of randomness will still exist in the process but you do want to limit as much of this as is possible.

    my preferred route (and I suspect this is an attribute that Iddee and I share somewhat) is I don't tend to invent (or reinvent) something complex when something very simple works exceptionally well.
     
  20. dr.buzz

    dr.buzz New Member

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    Yep, you and me both. But it's amazing what you can learn when you try stuff that "can't be done," even if it doesn't actually turn out to be practical at the moment.

    But I wondered how you would respond, since you didn't, to my conversation with Mr. Harden, who professionally raises queens using the method you doubt works very well. He seems to be quite well known across the pond for raising very many good quality LAYING queens. Unless you think he's a liar, one might expect you to concede that he may be aware of something you didn't previously know. I thought that was a good thing and something to be appreciated, so I don't mean to step on toes by sharing it here. I always value new information, and I assume others do, too.