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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
      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 2 of 10 , Sep 29, 2007
        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 3 of 10 , Sep 30, 2007
          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 4 of 10 , Nov 26, 2007
            --- 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 5 of 10 , Nov 26, 2007
              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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