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Author Topic: The Clemens Queenless Hive  (Read 159 times)

Online little john

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The Clemens Queenless Hive
« on: August 17, 2016, 05:49:21 PM »

I mentioned using a Clemens Queenless Hive on another thread recently, and it occurred to me that some people may not be familiar with this very clever idea - the brainchild of one Joseph Clemens who used to post on here ... many years ago.

The Clemens hive has become one of the most useful bits of kit I have.  For the Hobbyist or Sideliner it provides an instant queenless colony for the raising of queen cells, using any conventional method of selecting larva, or even from a frame of BIAS (Brood In All Stages) should you only want a few cells without the need to graft, cell punch, or find the queen to pop her in a Cupkit laying cage, and so on ...

I can't improve on the descriptions given here:
http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?261875-Beginner-Queen-Rearing-using-the-Joseph-Clemens-Starter-Finisher
and here:
http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?245982-Larger-queen-cells-do-they-produce-larger-queens


And so I'll just post a couple of pics of my Clemens box - which is on the right:



A few weeks ago a virgin emerged earlier that expected, and rather than attempt to find her, I just moved everything into the box on the left, and started afresh - as it doesn't take long to set one up. I also took the opportunity to insert another eke, so that I can fit one of my extra-extra-deep 14x14 frames from my National-Dadant experiment, as that colony is proving to be superb and I'd like to raise a couple of daughters from that queen as insurance.


This is how my box is set-up - nothing exceptional, except really good ventilation is required, in view of the density of bees which develop after a few cycles of use.  In a hot country, additional vents in the box sides might even be necessary:




What I really like about this system is that once it's set-up, it can just sit there in the background, always ready whether you've used it or not.  The only thing that's absolutely essential is that you swap brood combs over every week or ten days or so, in order that laying workers don't develop.

A great system - well done, Joseph.

LJ

Offline Rurification

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Re: The Clemens Queenless Hive
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2016, 03:48:38 PM »
two questions: 

1.  what do you make your crown boards out of and do they not warp because they're always in use?

2. by 'swap brood combs over every week' you mean you take out a frame of brood and whatever bees are on it and put in a fresh one, right?  This is new to me as a way of discouraging laying workers.  The old one goes in a queenright colony and so there's no need for those bees on the moved frames to develop a laying worker, right?   The new frame smells fresh and has new eggs and larvae so the rest of the bees in the  queenless colony feel nothing is amiss and don't develop a laying worker, right? 

Am I understanding it right?
Robin Edmundson
www.rurification.com

Online little john

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Re: The Clemens Queenless Hive
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2016, 05:58:51 PM »
Hi Robin.

At the moment I'm still using a stack of cheap and nasty 8mm plywood for Crown Boards.  This stuff was employed to separate layers of tins of paint etc stacked on pallets - so was always intended to be 'one-use only' and disposable.  You're right about plywood warping - it's real pain - which is why I'm gradually moving over to using Foamex (a 'dead-flat' man-made material) instead.

But used as it is on the Clemens and similar boxes, this plywood hasn't warped.  Two reasons - one is the weight of the box (feeder shell) and roof holding it down - that's about 4-5 lbs. The second reason is that the girls have well-and-truly glued the Crown Board in place with propolis, so even when I lift the box weight off, it stays well stuck down.  All I do is crack the board off to work with the bees, and replace it afterwards without cleaning-off the propolis.


Ok - swapping brood combs over.  I shake-off (*) the bees on both the combs being swapped, to prevent any fighting.  The old brood comb goes back (usually) to the hive it came from, and a new comb - containing at least a good proportion of open brood (larvae) - is donated to the Clemens hive.  It's the pheromones being given off from the open brood which prevents the development of laying workers.

Now because open brood is being given to a queenless hive, there's always the risk of unwanted queen cells being started.  So I find the best time to donate the new brood frame is a couple of days after they've started drawing the q/cells that you want them to draw. Then, as queen cells have already been started, they're unlikely to start any more - and by the time you remove the drawn q/cells, larvae in that new brood frame will have passed their sell-by date. It's still a good idea to check for rogue q/cells every 4 days or so, but using this timing I haven't yet seen any ... however, there's always a first time !

'best
LJ

(*)  To save bees ending-up on the floor, I've taken to using a 5-frame nuc box (no top or bottom, just the box) when shaking-off bees.  Place the nuc box on the hive, and then shake the bees off the comb and into that empty box.

If you want to shake off bees into a working nuc box, then first pull the frame and place it onto a frame holder.  Put the empty nuc box over the working nuc box and then shake the bees off as before.


Offline Rurification

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Re: The Clemens Queenless Hive
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2016, 09:18:29 AM »
Got it.  Thank you!
Robin Edmundson
www.rurification.com

 

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