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Cloake Board for rearing queen honey bees

Harry Cloake of New Zealand is the originator of the method that this item was devised for. The document linked above left, is an Email conversation between Dave Cushman and Russ Cloake, who is one of Harry's sons.

I made my Cloake board from a framed Herzog type queen excluder. The table of parts below is for parts required in addition to an existing excluder.

If the slide is not fitted then the entrance aperture will take an entrance block 421 mm x 21 mm x 21 mm. The outer edge of the slide is built up to form a reduced entrance when it is in place.

3rd Angle

The Grain should run along the longest dimension of any part.

Cutting of parts (all dimensions in mm).

QtyLengthWidth ThicknessMaterialUsage
246022 18PineRim sides
1424 2222PineRear of rim
2416 118PineRunners


This item is utilised in

Method 2 increase.

Scale = 1 pixel per mm.

petroleum jelly should be used on the upper and lower surfaces of the rim and the grooves that the slide runs in.

linseed oil is used on the external and internal vertical surfaces.

There is a second component to this item... The slide is illustrated below left outlined in red, with the outer portion "ghosted" in grey/white.

The slide should have its outer edges treated with petroleum jelly and the major surfaces coated with linseed oil.

Cloake Board


QtyLengthWidth ThicknessMaterialUsage
1422430 9PlySlide panel
1422 2212PineEntrance reducer

Cloake Slide


When the slide is inserted the access of the bees in the bottom box is cut off, but the upper box bees can still come and go from the same entrance position that they are used to.

The slide should be shorter, by one bee space, than the space it slides into. For practical reasons dead bees and debris may be dislodged when the slide is inserted. The space allows this debris to be pushed along by the back edge of the slide, but as it is slightly shorter it does not cause any jamming. The slide must still overlap the excluder woodwork by at least one bee space so as to ensure total isolation when the slide is in the closed position. The slide locates its depth of penetration by the shoulders of the runners on the back edge of the entrance reducer.


The only disadvantage to this piece of equipment is that it spends 70% - 90% of it's life in storage.

Generous application of petroleum jelly will enable easy cleaning of the brace comb that will form when this item is used, continuously, for several weeks.

The entrance notch should be 100 mm - 125 mm wide by 8 mm or 9 mm deep.