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Concise Guide to Using a Cloake Board for Queen Rearing
Beekeeping is an art that demands precision, patience, and the appropriate tools. The 10 Frame Cloak Board, a brainchild of Harry Cloake, has emerged as a transformative tool in this field. Especially beneficial for those embarking on queen rearing, this equipment is a significant game-changer.
The Innovative Design of the Cloake Board
- Unique Construction: The board is crafted with a wooden frame that includes an extra entrance and a grooved section for a metal tray.
- Model Variations: Depending on the specific model, a queen excluder is either attached at the bottom or provided as a separate component.
- Versatility: This design allows for different configurations, making the Cloake Board a versatile tool in any beekeeper's arsenal.
Streamlining the Queen Rearing Process
- Ideal for Small Apiaries: The board is exceptionally beneficial for beekeepers with fewer hives.
- Efficient Queen Rearing: It enables the cultivation of high-quality queens using only a single hive, combining the roles of donor, cell starter, and cell finisher into one efficient process.
Application: A Detailed Step-by-Step Guide
- Verify the strength and health of your donor colony.
- Choose the day before grafting to set up the Cloake board.
Setting Up the Cloake Board:
- Position the Cloake board between the brood boxes of the donor colony.
- Ensure the queen is in the lower box, which should contain brood and food stores.
- The upper box should have frames of brood and bees but no queen.
Creating a Queenless Environment:
- On the grafting day, insert the metal slider in the Cloake board to create a queenless upper box.
- This condition encourages the bees to initiate new queen rearing.
- Graft young larvae into queen cups and place them in the queenless upper box.
- Nurse bees will begin to raise these larvae as potential new queens.
Developing Queen Cells:
- Regularly check the development of grafted queen cells.
- Maintain the queenless state until the queen cells are sufficiently developed.
Reintroducing the Queen:
- Once the queen cells are capped, remove the slider to recombine the colony.
- The ongoing queen cell development in the upper box doesn't interfere with the lower colony.
Harvesting and Introduction:
- Harvest the mature queen cells for introduction into other colonies or mating nucs.
Monitoring and Management:
- Continually monitor the acceptance and mating success of the newly introduced queens.
- Ensure proper management for developing strong and healthy queens.
The Benefits of Using the Cloake Board
- Ease of Use: Its straightforward design is especially appealing to novice beekeepers.
- Efficient Queen Production: Promotes a high success rate in queen rearing, supported by field bees creating a favorable environment.
- Selective Breeding: Enables selection of colonies with preferred traits for queen rearing, such as gentleness and efficient honey collection.
Conclusion: An Essential Tool for Modern Beekeepers
The Cloake Board revolutionizes beekeeping by simplifying and making the queen rearing process more accessible and efficient. It's an essential tool for beekeepers, regardless of their experience level, contributing to sustainable and effective beekeeping practices.