Re: Follower Boards
- We were discussing this issue on www.biobees.com last week. This was
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:
- --- In TopHive@yahoogroups.com, "David Croteau" <davidlcroteau@...> wrote:
>I would lay money that the bees will propolize your top vent in short
> 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 .
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
> In a vertical hive there would be a problem with empty framesThere should never be empty space above a wintering colony in a framed
> 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.
or top bar hive, only honey stores.
- 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.