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Author Topic: Follow board or not?  (Read 655 times)

Offline bobll

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Follow board or not?
« on: May 27, 2019, 10:56:04 pm »
I have a long langstroth which will hold about 32 foundationless frames. I am a newbee since March, and this feral colony has done great. The hive has about 10-11 frames filled out nicely, about 4 empty frames, and the follow board. However, I read that I should get rid of the follow board and just fill the remainder of the box snugly with my wedge top foundationless frames. I doubt they will cross comb, and this might encourage them not to swarm. On the other hand, I wonder what this will do to the hive temperature with half the box empty. Advice?

Offline cao

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Re: Follow board or not?
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2019, 12:40:48 am »
I've got five long hives, 2 medium frame and three deep frame.  One of the deep frame is working one its third summer.  It has completely filled the 4 ft. length.  In fact I pulled about 8 frames for splits.  The new frames that I put in there will be drawn and filled in a week or so.  The other 4 were splits from last year.   They vary from about 8-20 frames.  They all have follower boards.  I would recommend using them.  I usually make sure they have 2 or 3 empty frames to work on.  If you use the follower board, it reduces the space the bees need to patrol.  If you have SHBs that is a necessity.  Good luck with your long hive.

Offline FloridaGardener

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Re: Follow board or not?
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2019, 01:47:57 am »
I find it works best to use a follower bar cut short an inch of the floor.  Even if a follower is tight to the floor and walls, busybody bees squeeze themselves over to the other side and can't get back.  So... 1" short lets curious bees get back, allows bees to use the follower and empty space for interior lounging (more perching space), helps control temperatures in a reduced space of brood nest. And they use the empty space as an SHB corral.

For me: the empty side of the "Breeze Board" (the short follower) provides a good spot to to squish SHB, without lots of bees in the way. I puff the smoker there when I pop the lid (bars) so smoke runs under brood. It's a place to stow a frame while working, and it seems to keep bees on that frame in the hive instead of the air.

Offline bobll

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Re: Follow board or not?
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2019, 10:05:23 am »
Cao. You are in Indiana. Does your followboard fit snug, or can bees pass underneath like Floridagardener's "breeze" followboard. It is an interesting idea, because making a snug board in my homemade hive has eluded my skill. Bees cannoot pass, but small roaches and whatnot can.
Floridagardener... your bees travel under your breeze board, police the empty side and return, but they don't try to build comb on the empty side?

Offline cao

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Re: Follow board or not?
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2019, 10:32:50 am »
Does your followboard fit snug, or can bees pass underneath like Floridagardener's "breeze" followboard. It is an interesting idea, because making a snug board in my homemade hive has eluded my skill. Bees cannoot pass, but small roaches and whatnot can.
Mine are pretty snug.  They are close enough that the bees seal it with propolis.

It's a place to stow a frame while working, and it seems to keep bees on that frame in the hive instead of the air.
That will work until your long hive gets full. :wink:
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Offline bobll

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Re: Follow board or not?
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2019, 10:51:03 am »
Thanks for the advice and the picture. It is nice to talk with someone else who has a long lang. Information is hard to find sometimes.

Offline FloridaGardener

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Re: Follow board or not?
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2019, 02:24:59 pm »
The bees have never put comb on the far side in 2.5 yrs...the ?Bouncer? bees patrol so no skinny roaches come in to the club. I think they see it as sort of another entrance to guard.

And Cao - Right-o about the functional space only til the box is too full.  But by then the 40? top bar is so swarmy it?s out of control.  I have to split it when they reach about 22 of the 33 bars.  I read somewhere that they stop being swarmy when the box is 48? or longer.  Kudos on keeping such a big clan together!

Offline bobll

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Re: Follow board or not?
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2019, 11:37:10 pm »
Now I am confused after reading other postings.
How many follow/partition boards do you guys use? Is the followboard used for limiting the size of the hive, or used as a queen excluder/barrier so only honey is stored on the other side of it? In that case, I suppose people use one board to partition the brood from the honey, and another to partition off unused space.
On the other hand, I have read that in a long langstroth, the queen will make what brood she wants and the bees will naturally store the honey after that.
And there is a difference of opinion (imagine that?) In the space allowed under the followboard. 1-2 inches.
Thoughts?

Offline cao

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Re: Follow board or not?
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2019, 12:48:19 am »
Now I am confused after reading other postings.
How many follow/partition boards do you guys use?
I only use one.  Its purpose is to limit the size of the hive to just a few more frames than they cover.  It is in the far right side of the long hive in my picture.

Is the followboard used for limiting the size of the hive, or used as a queen excluder/barrier so only honey is stored on the other side of it?

Some have used a followboard similar to what FloridaGardener uses as a queen excluder.  Something about the queen not liking to travel around the edges.  Don't quote me on the use as a queen excluder.

I have read that in a long langstroth, the queen will make what brood she wants and the bees will naturally store the honey after that.

Typically in my long hives, pollen is stored in the first few(2-3) frames, followed by brood(8-15 frames), then honey(in the hive pictured about 10+ frames).  Most of the frames have a honey band along the top.  You could restrict the queen but I don't see any advantage in it.

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Follow board or not?
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2019, 08:33:15 am »
Bobil,
You use the follower board to minimize the space the bees are guarding and to help keep the bees building the comb on the top boards and not building across them.
Jim Altmiller

Offline bobll

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Re: Follow board or not?
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2019, 06:25:30 pm »
Thanks cao and sawdstmakr. That is what I thought. There are so many opinions and different, contradictory advice on the web, and even in this forum. I believe I am going to cut my ill fitting followboard an inch shy of the bottom. I hope that won't hurt me in our mid-georgia winters. It does get down to to the 20s F around here sometimes.

Offline FloridaGardener

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Re: Follow board or not?
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2019, 09:00:29 pm »
Heat rises, so I made a winter quilt box for the TBHs and closed the SBB with a plank.  We get some 25 degree nights here in NW Fla and they were snug.

Yes, that's a window on the side that I later decided was serving no purpose, and closed it up.

Offline bobll

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Re: Follow board or not?
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2019, 11:12:03 pm »
Florida. That is a deep TB hive? How long are your combs? Mine are deep langstroth frames. And where is your entrance? The holes with the hardware cloth? Great picture, by the way. At what point can new people begin to post pictures?

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Follow board or not?
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2019, 11:22:10 pm »
Look just below the bottom of the text box and see if you have a Attachments and other options.
If you do you need to reduce the pictures to under 200k bites.
I use Resize It.
Let me know if you have it.
Jim Altmiller

Offline FloridaGardener

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Re: Follow board or not?
« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2019, 12:17:19 am »
Entrance is on the left end with a 2" landing board.  Comb length is about the same as a deep Lang frame.

Vent holes with hardware cloth keep out critters.  There are cedar chips (sold for gerbils or whatnot) in the quilt.  It doubled as smoker fuel. (Handy!) A bit of painter's dropcloth lined the bottom, stapled in.  Even in humid Fla, it was never moldy.

Pics can also be "exported" in Picasa or a photo editor, to reduce their size.

Offline bobll

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Re: Follow board or not?
« Reply #15 on: May 30, 2019, 10:41:42 am »
Here is a photo of my top entrance, on the short end of my long langstroth. The entrance is open through the full sun and hot lunch hour. Then when it is shady, and the evening comes, they beard up/clog up the entrance, even after dark.

Offline bobll

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Re: Follow board or not?
« Reply #16 on: June 03, 2019, 02:56:45 pm »
Since I took off the large covering board, the hive now has only simple migratory tops, 4 of them laid end to end. The first has two shims creating a top entrance. 1. They are not bearding much at all anymore. 2. I worry that rain water will seep into the cracks between the migratory tops and drip onto the combs. I am pretty sure Michael Bush said they wold propolize the cracks shut, but it seems vulnerable. Ideas?

Offline FloridaGardener

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Re: Follow board or not?
« Reply #17 on: June 04, 2019, 12:38:59 am »
It takes awhile for a colony to build up propolis thick on a new hive. 

A shed roof over the hive can funnel away rain, and help with broiling sun.  Depending on whether you're in the cooler northern hills of Georgia - or not, I'd consider adding midday shade. 

This winter, I had to move my apiary into an area in full sun.  Last week (end of May), I set a honey frame on a work table for a few minutes and it literally liquefied.  Meaning although the air temp was 93 degrees at 11am, heat collection on the work table brought the temp above 114 degrees. It was a lump of gooey sludge drooling through my fingers.  I scraped it onto a piece of waxed paper and left it in the empty space for a few days, for the girls to clean up as best they could. 

I checked back at 4pm and they were fanning so loud it sounded like the engine of a sports car.  The next morning I put up overlapping $22 shade sails angled so as to filter sun between 11 am and 4pm.  Been quiet since and much nicer for me too, when I'm there.

$22 UV filtering shade sails:
https://www.target.com/p/ready-to-hang-shade-sail-11-10-southern-sunset-coolaroo/-/A-52512554?ref=tgt_adv_XS000000&AFID=google_pla_df&fndsrc=tgtao&CPNG=PLA_Patio%2BGarden%2BShopping&adgroup=SC_Patio%2BGarden&LID=700000001170770pgs&network=g&device=c&location=9011694&ds_rl=1246978&ds_rl=1247068&ds_rl=1246978&gclid=Cj0KCQjwitPnBRCQARIsAA5n84kzIL3BpEGHj3jlZAmyY-6mTk_6yxevfoFFZTBrAFQp7KyyBUg5kLgaAr5IEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

Offline cao

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Re: Follow board or not?
« Reply #18 on: June 04, 2019, 10:12:42 am »
> Ideas?

They will propolize the cracks, but every time you inspect it you break the seal.  A cheap tarp or small piece of plastic drop cloth would keep the rain out until they seal it back up.

Offline bobll

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Re: Follow board or not?
« Reply #19 on: June 08, 2019, 08:43:45 am »
Walmart was selling heavy vinyl in their fabric area. $2.67 covered the hive with a little droop hanging off the sides. Maybe I will paint it white.thanks.