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Author Topic: Question about follower boards?  (Read 1573 times)
ccwonka
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« on: May 11, 2010, 12:07:33 PM »

I recently read a post by MB that suggested a follower board is not necessary.  I just put a swarm into my first top bar hive, and am curious what folks opinions are on this?  I did not build a follower, mostly because the plans I followed did not include one, and I'm obviously a newbie to this.  I can predict some SHB problems with the "huge hollow log" I've given them right now . . . but I'd love to know what everyone else does and what their opinions are on closing up the space a bit . . . .
CC
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RyanB
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« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2010, 05:22:06 PM »

Having a follower board allows you to reduce the space. I've noticed that if you give a swarm too much room they may not stick around. Another reason to restrict the space is less space for the bees to heat so they can continue building comb easier if you havent gotten into good consistent temps yet outside.
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« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2010, 11:02:14 PM »

I believe I may have lost my overwintered hive due to pulling the follower board too early. I think it died out because it couldn't maintain heat in the much larger space I gave it right before winter hit us again (in March).
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bigbearomaha
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« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2010, 07:08:32 AM »

A follower board, in my opinion, is not a 'necessary' part of a tbh.  it can come in quite handy and much as any tool, depends on how it is used.

Some of my tbh's have follower boards, some don't.

Those that don't the bees set up shop where they will ( still usually closest to the entrance) if there is too much space on both sides,  I will move them bars as close to the entrance as I can, leaving them plenty of room to expand to the back

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Michael Bush
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« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2010, 08:21:24 AM »

I think they are useful and if I had time and I wasn't so lazy, I'd build one...
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Michael Bush
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ccwonka
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« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2010, 09:57:36 PM »

Oh please Michael - if you weren't so lazy I probably wouldn't have ever read about a TBH.  grin

Wishing I'd put a window in the side of mine now, I keep wanting to bug them!!!

BTW - to those of you who don't know Michael Bush you might just miss that that is a compliment . . . .
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Beekissed
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« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2010, 01:41:00 AM »

Do you need more than one follower board per hive?  If not, which end of the hive should you start out your bees, near the entrance or towards the back?

 The design I saw shows two follower boards that created a smaller space right in the middle of the hive which could be expanded evenly in both directions as needed.  Is this recommended?
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bigbearomaha
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« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2010, 05:57:45 AM »

Some use two fb's to act as removable ends.  some have taken a 4 ft tbh and divide it into several 'nuc' sized spaces by using multiple fb's and create entrance holes in those spaces as needed.

tbh's with follower boards can be very adaptable and flexible tools.

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DavesBees
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« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2010, 12:17:17 PM »

Here is my answer to follower questions.
Using Phil’s KTBH as he designed it you would have made 2 followers anyway.  They way I do mine is the same in each hive now, but I also have 6 KTBHs and 7 bait hives to use as nucs.  The extra hives mean I don’t need the splits or nucs features of Phil’s hive.  I now set about three empty bars and a follower to the right of the three holes in the center of the hive (standing in the back facing the front).  Then 10 or so bars to the left and if I have brood comb it will start as bar 4 from right to left and be continued to the left until I have no more comb, perhaps 3 or 4 combs.  The rest of the top bars to make a total of 12-14 continue to the left and then a follower.  The left and center holes are plugged.  This arrangement emulates my bait hive dimensions.   I would use this for a package or a swarm or even a split into the hive.  Once they start filling out the empty top bars you can drop in bars a few at a time.  If they are really getting with the program and I have enough good comb I’ll take the follower to the ends of the hive.  Note: I don’t have a problem with SHB so I can leave the follower as the first thing to pull if they build to the end of the hive.  In an area where SHB is a problem I would probably pull the follower so I don’t provide a hiding place for the SHBs.  The only difference is that the bees will attach the comb to the end of the hive and it will be a little messy to get out; but it will be honey and you can eat it.  If the bees filled the hive and you just take a few bars off the end there is no need to put the followers back in unless you want to.  If you pull say 4 bars of honey and don’t need to go back in before winter that would be a good time to drop in a follower or move it up if it is already in there.  Remember that anything you leave alone in the hive will be built to their specs and should do well to insulate them over the winter.  A bad idea would be to take honey from close to the entrance.  Now back to the original Phil idea.  You have the one hive and you want to be able to use all the features of the hive.  The follower goes in the solid space between holes 1 and 2 (numbered right to left looking at them from the rear).  Hole 1 is plugged, 2 is open, and 3 is plugged.  If you have nothing but starter strips and no comb then perhaps 5 bars like a nuc would be the starting place and then expand with the bees.  What you just did was cause the bees to build left and leave the space on the right for making a split.  This is where the turning the hive and using the holes in the rear come in.  By all means if the bees fill the hive to the left then pull or move the follower right to give them room to build right as well.  So, with all that said it is easy to make followers after the fact and they are a useful tool.  If you have bees functioning normally in a hive without them I would not put them in just to size the hive.  Lastly and ideally if your hive is filling quickly you won’t need them at all.  After pondering the use of followers in your particular situation the decision… to follow or not to follow is entirely up to you.
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GaryMinckler
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« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2010, 02:00:17 PM »

Observation windows in a TBH is very cool!


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