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Re: Follower Boards

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  • Gary
    The answer to your question is, yes. You will have to insure that the brood nest is at one end of the hive and all the stores are on the other side so the
    Message 1 of 10 , Sep 17, 2007
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      The answer to your question is, yes. You will have to insure that the
      brood nest is at one end of the hive and all the stores are on the
      other side so the cluster does not start in the middle and move to one
      end run out of stores and starve with honey still in the hive.
      Assuming an end entrance is used this is done by ensuring the brood
      is at the front nearest the entrance and all the honey bars are behind
      that. Assuming you use a side entrance (in the middle of the hive) all
      the stores from one side should be removed and the first follower
      board installed next to the brood nest. Move the bars you took out as
      a group (in order) and put them on the other side (insure there is
      proper space betweenthe two groups) and put a follower board after
      that. The bees will form a winter cluster on the brood comb and slowly
      move towards the other end consuming stores as they go. If they start
      in the middle and move one direction as soon as they hit a wall they
      will stop and starve. Side or front this is why I prefer to put the
      entrance at one end, which also cuts out the need for a second
      follower or the worry about spacing. The less interference the better.
    • Gary
      The answer to your question is, yes. You will have to insure that the brood nest is at one end of the hive and all the stores are on the other side so the
      Message 2 of 10 , Sep 17, 2007
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        The answer to your question is, yes. You will have to insure that the
        brood nest is at one end of the hive and all the stores are on the
        other side so the cluster does not start in the middle and move to one
        end run out of stores and starve with honey still in the hive.
        Assuming an end entrance is used this is done by ensuring the brood
        is at the front nearest the entrance and all the honey bars are behind
        that. Assuming you use a side entrance (in the middle of the hive) all
        the stores from one side should be removed and the first follower
        board installed next to the brood nest. Move the bars you took out as
        a group (in order) and put them on the other side (insure there is
        proper space betweenthe two groups) and put a follower board after
        that. The bees will form a winter cluster on the brood comb and slowly
        move towards the other end consuming stores as they go. If they start
        in the middle and move one direction as soon as they hit a wall they
        will stop and starve. Side or front this is why I prefer to put the
        entrance at one end, which also cuts out the need for a second
        follower or the worry about spacing. The less interference the better.
      • David Croteau
        It seems to me that the follower board confines moisture to the brood nest, had a moisture problem last winter. So, this winter will leave the follower board
        Message 3 of 10 , Sep 29, 2007
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          It seems to me that the follower board confines moisture to the brood
          nest, had a moisture problem last winter. So, this winter will leave
          the follower board out & have drilled a half inch hole in rear just
          be low the top bars & screened it, should have a little cross
          ventilation .
          In a vertical hive there would be a problem with empty frames
          above, not so in a horizontal hive with the emptys behind the honey.
          They have to eat all the honey to get to the empty space and if they
          get that far. oh,oh.
          Dave


          --- In TopHive@yahoogroups.com, "Gary" <nicty95@...> wrote:
          >
          > The answer to your question is, yes. You will have to insure that
          the
          > brood nest is at one end of the hive and all the stores are on the
          > other side so the cluster does not start in the middle and move to
          one
          > end run out of stores and starve with honey still in the hive.
          > Assuming an end entrance is used this is done by ensuring the
          brood
          > is at the front nearest the entrance and all the honey bars are
          behind
          > that. Assuming you use a side entrance (in the middle of the hive)
          all
          > the stores from one side should be removed and the first follower
          > board installed next to the brood nest. Move the bars you took out
          as
          > a group (in order) and put them on the other side (insure there is
          > proper space betweenthe two groups) and put a follower board after
          > that. The bees will form a winter cluster on the brood comb and
          slowly
          > move towards the other end consuming stores as they go. If they
          start
          > in the middle and move one direction as soon as they hit a wall
          they
          > will stop and starve. Side or front this is why I prefer to put the
          > entrance at one end, which also cuts out the need for a second
          > follower or the worry about spacing. The less interference the
          better.
          >
        • Gary
          We were discussing this issue on www.biobees.com last week. This was my reply: When I am cold in bed at night I put on some extra blankets, If I find myself
          Message 4 of 10 , Sep 30, 2007
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            We were discussing this issue on www.biobees.com last week. This was
            my reply:


            When I am cold in bed at night I put on some extra blankets, If I
            find myself sweating I throw a couple off until I have a happy
            medium. When using a follower board or two in this case, picture them
            as the blankets. We absoulty do not want to disgard them, but if you
            have them right up aginst the cluster the space they are heating may
            be too small. You can remove some blankets for the bees by simply
            backing them each off by a bar or two, ventilation vs. circulation.
            The idea of no condensation being the best or some being good is not
            the point. As with all things in beekeeping it is how you manage it
            that counts. As there is no real data on the subject with respect to
            TBH hives it will be up to pioneers like us to conduct the
            experiments and compile the data. I loose many hives every season but
            I want to know what is the best way to manage hives in my area. In
            the long run I hope to have chemicle free hives that over winter with
            normal losses so I can sit back and for once and enjoy the craft!

            This was an excellent point made by Phil:

            If we take the hollow tree as our starting point, we can assume that,
            in most cases, the thickness of the remaining trunk will be
            considerably greater than the tickness of the average hive. I think
            we can also assume that the bees will arrange the ventilation to suit
            themselves: propolizing over the holes in excess of their needs.

            Because of the greater thickness and adequate ventilation,
            condensation is unlikely to be an issue in such a space.

            However, the average beehive is relatively thin-walled, and if kept
            in a damp environment (e.g. Devon) during the winter, there almost
            certainly will potentially be condensation problems.

            I opened some of the Buckfast hives in the spring of 2005 to find
            many losses - especially in apiaries in valleys near to water, where
            the air is often damp. I noticed that hives with black mould on the
            outside were the ones most likely to have died off. When these were
            opened, there was always a lot of black mould on the combs and the
            inside of the hive walls, indicating considerable condensation. The
            beekeeper in charge had not followed Brother Adam's habit of
            inserting matchstick-thick shims under the roofs the previous autumn.

            Poor ventilation is also a known aggravating factor for nosema apis.


            Check out the whole topic here:

            http://www.biobees.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=107

            _________________
            Gary
            www.hirschbachapiary.com
            gary@...
          • Phil Chandler
            ... I would lay money that the bees will propolize your top vent in short order. If you use a mesh floor and the walls are reasonably thick and you have some
            Message 5 of 10 , Nov 26, 2007
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              --- In TopHive@yahoogroups.com, "David Croteau" <davidlcroteau@...> wrote:
              >
              > It seems to me that the follower board confines moisture to the brood
              > nest, had a moisture problem last winter. So, this winter will leave
              > the follower board out & have drilled a half inch hole in rear just
              > be low the top bars & screened it, should have a little cross
              > ventilation .

              I would lay money that the bees will propolize your top vent in short
              order. If you use a mesh floor and the walls are reasonably thick and
              you have some insulation under the roof, condensation should not be a
              problem.

              > In a vertical hive there would be a problem with empty frames
              > above, not so in a horizontal hive with the emptys behind the honey.
              > They have to eat all the honey to get to the empty space and if they
              > get that far. oh,oh.
              > Dave

              There should never be empty space above a wintering colony in a framed
              or top bar hive, only honey stores.

              Phil Chandler
              www.biobees.com
            • Gary
              IMO Phil is right most bees will quickly close up any large vent holes. We can only speculate that they let too much heat escape too fast. One thing is for
              Message 6 of 10 , Nov 26, 2007
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                IMO Phil is right most bees will quickly close up any large vent
                holes. We can only speculate that they let too much heat escape too
                fast. One thing is for sure there needs to be away for the heat to
                escape. Recently Phil and I were in contact with some Abbe' Warre'
                hive operators and they have a very interesting way of dealing with
                the ventilation problem. They call it a verticle TBH in reality it is
                a framless Lang they just use the top bar of the frame. over the bars
                is placed a piece of cloth and the whole hive it closed with a 10 cm
                high top that has another piece of cloth on the bottom and is filled
                with saw dust and covered. the heat and moisture rise and is slowly
                absorbed through the cloth by the sawdust. This IS the closest thing I
                think anyone has gotten to recreating the natural top of a rotting
                tree cavity. There is a ton more info on the subject at
                www.biobees.com forum. Phil has devoted a whole forum to just this
                topic and it is full of links. I can see this type of lid incorporated
                into TBH hives very easily.
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