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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a Master Beekeeper! Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.


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Sunday, March 21, 2010

What is a Follower Board?

My top bar hive includes two follower boards. My understanding of the follower board is that it is used to demarcate the beginning and end of the hive. (Note that my top bar hive doesn't have a bottom yet.)

Here is the first follower board that will be located at the end of the hive.



In the picture below you can see a number of top bars with the follower board showing at the end of the hive.


When I first install a swarm in this hive, the bees won't need to occupy more than about eight to ten bars. If I left the entire 48 inches open, they would have too much space to defend and would have lots of room to make a mess with burr comb. Instead I'll use the other follower board to end the hive, as you can see in the picture below.



Over time, I'll continue to move this outer follower board as I add top bars to the hive. Conceivably the hive could fully occupy the length of the hive I am providing for them.

I lack three things to make this hive operational now. I need to put on the hive bottom (Monday morning's task since I don't go to work until noon tomorrow); I need to cut the plastic you can see curving behind the hive to make the top of the hive; I need to catch a swarm.
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5 comments:

  1. How neat...I always wondered how the bees knew where to be at in the hive

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  2. This will be my third season with a top bar hive A La Phil Chandler.

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  3. I am so excited about this top-bar hive. When I am able to keep bees I might go this route. I like how natural it seems in comparison to the other hive option. I am excited to see the finished product! I hope you get a swarm!

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  4. I'm building a top-bar hive, but

    from you pictures, ... I'm not clear where your bee entrance is located.

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  5. I do have a hole drilled in the side, visible on the right in the last picture. However, you don't have to have an entrance for a top bar hive - just push the first follower board away from the side of the box about 1/4 - 1/2 inch and the bees will enter and leave that way, according to Michael Bush's website.

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