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Cloake Board and Nicot – Part 2

Today was the day to move the ‘started’ cells to the ‘finishing hive’. Since I am using a Cloake Board, the ‘Finishing Hive’ is the same hive as the ‘Starter’. I just remove the divider between the upper and lower deeps, leaving the queen cells in the upper chamber (protected from the queen by the queen excluder.)

Well, the first thing that I found was queen cells on my frames in the upper chamber. These were capped, which meant that they started them when I installed the Cloake Board. Since I found no queen cells in the lower chamber, I firmly believe these cells were emergency cells – the bees thought they had lost their queen. I am not sure if this is because of the distance created by the Cloake Board (it was an inch or so) or if the queen excluder was the problem. The bottom line is that they started these well before I put the divider in place (they were already capped.)

In the end, I created 1 Nuc and banked three other frames with cells on them in a Nuc that I setup back home. I plan to deal with them tomorrow – tonight we may have a frost, so I decided not to create Nucs with them today (I didn’t get home til 6:30 or so and it was already in the 50’s.)

But, the real excitment from this venture was that every single queen cell was started on my rearing frame! I really don’t know how many that is, but it is probably around 20. Assuming this continues to play out successfully, I believe I could have tripled that number, since I took a very small number of started larva from the Nicot system! At any rate, I should probably be knocking on wood…the fat lady hasn’t sung yet!

It is also important to note that I’ll have to go back into that box again on Wednesday, just to double-check for queen cells once again. If I missed just ONE, it will mean that little wench will come out and kill all of my started queens! Argh!

I will probably build my own Cloake Board going forward, to alleviate the problem with the upper bees thinking that they are queenless before I am ready for them to.

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