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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Bristow, VA
    Posts
    6

    Default Cedar construction

    Hello,

    I am new to beekeeping and have been lurking here for a short time and found many great answers. I am currently building my first TB with Eastern Aromatic cedar. I have a couple of questions.

    1. Will the cedar smell deter or otherwise affect the health of the colony?

    2. I used wood glue (tightbond III) to glue up my panels for the sides/ends. Any issue with this?

    Also i have read varying opinions on using a follower in the hive to reduce/expand the hive. Is it recommended to use this and if so where do i place it for the initial start up, ie; how much space to begin with a 3# package. (the TB hive will be approx 42" long)

    This be be the only hive and I expect to have bees delivered (by Wolf Creek) in March.

    I am currently reading several books (Les Crowder/Heather Harrell-Top Bar Beekeeping and Wyatt Mangum's-Top Bar Beekeeping:Wisdom and Pleasure) and Dr Mangum does not use wood glue but only nails (stating that in the event he must take apart the hive later)

    Thank you all in advance and i am looking forward to organic honey......perhaps Spring 2014.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Oceanside, New York
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: Cedar construction

    1. Cedar is used as it does not deteriorate as quickly as other woods. And you should not use treated wood.
    2. Wood glue is fine as long as there is no glue remaining on the inside, try and make sure to sand away or be careful when applying.
    3. Follower boards are a must, and on both ends. I learned the hard way by not placing one on the brood end at the beginning. Makes it very difficult to maneuver the top bars without having a follower board.

    best of luck,
    larry

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Bristow, VA
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Cedar construction

    top bar divide.jpgThanks Larry.

    Perhaps i have the terminoligy incorrect with "follower boards". I intend on using a spacer board??? at each end to prevent the combs from being too close to the front/back. I am talking about a top bar with a board attached basically to divide the hive. Should i use one/two. here is a pic:

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Columbia, Maryland. U.S.A.
    Posts
    252

    Default Re: Cedar construction

    Thankx for your service ? Jury is out on both questions. I have cedar/non versions of all hives and the wood type and glue fumes are going to be the least of your problems. My followers have evolved into rigid insulation with window cut out and scrap pexi hot glued in. Your two main concerns are SHB and varroa. A SHB trap, sealed to hive, is mandatory in my estimation, @ least until you have a mature colony. Now what will you do about the varroa..... ?
    Wishing you the very best of luck.
    Cheers,
    Drew

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Oceanside, New York
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: Cedar construction

    Your terminology is correct. You should have one follower board on each end of the hive. The first one, at the beginning of your combs where the brood will be, right up against the end of the TBH, so when you remove the follower board you will have a space enabling you to maneuver the top bars out and inspect. the other follower board will be moved as your hive grows, but optimally you should not have a large empty cavity, and therefore you are confining the hive with the follower board. I hope I have made myself clear.

    larry

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    626

    Default Re: Cedar construction

    Quote Originally Posted by gmanmp View Post
    top bar divide.jpgThanks Larry.

    Perhaps i have the terminoligy incorrect with "follower boards". I intend on using a spacer board??? at each end to prevent the combs from being too close to the front/back. I am talking about a top bar with a board attached basically to divide the hive. Should i use one/two. here is a pic:
    I recommend using them. I have had problems with SHB hiding from the bees behind the solid follower boards so I am experimenting with one cut short on three sides by 3/8". I just started last year though so I don't know yet if it still does the job. They were fine with it to access their feeder. Sometimes you want to fully close it off though, so you still need one that fits to the sides. If the full size one doesn't fit well to the sides some bees can get around it and be trapped on the other side. (Not sure if they are after the beetles or what.)

    The recommendation I got was to start by using them to make a cavity for 8 bars when hiving the bees.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    rockford,mi
    Posts
    32

    Default Re: Cedar construction

    Was reading on warrestore.com about cedar. Do that. Cedar is THE material to use.

    Some observations from a first year beekeeper, and tbh maker. Ours in MI was a hit, until mid-Dec, when they flew out. No idea what happened. Plenty of honey, good hive going, did not find the queen. Mystery. MrBeeMan also had this happen. He'd checked his Dec 22 and fine, this week, gone. We're stumped. DO the cedar. Don't worry about glue. I did my TBH out of quickly cut lumber, and it was great. Anything I'd change? Not really, except, in MI, thicker walls, and put the hive in shade where it can get winter sun. Read that carefully. That means an edge of the woods near a south opening, out of the wind...we had such a great year watching and learning, but sadness when we lost them, and no idea why. Made a Lang out of 2x8 and 12 lumber. Heavy sucker. Will be making a Warre also soon, as I think resembling a tree is key. Vertical. Bees like that. Do they have issues 'finding' honey horizontally? No idea-it didn't matter because ours froze because there were only 30 left. 20 of them were face down in the comb. 10 stuck to the comb, and honey inches away. THey can't stay warm. But the problem was that they left. We did not use an excluder. No issue. But this one concern-as winter comes, with a big gap between the one side, (my entrance on one side low) and the honey stores, mostly beyond bar 8, bees have to go AROUND, or,below, to get to the honey. And that means traversing a big empty zone of cold. I like Warre and Lang-they just go up as a whole. Warre is smaller, and thus, I believe the thought is that the hive fills the void. Langs are quite wide...

    Don't worry about a little glue and all these tiny details. Bees live in trees remember? Rough, rough rough. We think too much. Just make a dry, clean, and ventilated (warre) hive and it seems it'll be just fine...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,705

    Default Re: Cedar construction

    Cedar will be fine and use the glue... bees could care less.

    Start with 8 - 10 bars then your follower board to start... too big of a space and they will leave, trust me.
    Move the board back and add bars (3-4) when they start to build on the last bar.

    A good year you should be able to pull 1-2 bars of honey that fall.

    The bees only used about 3/4 of the hive.
    I constructed two boards for the hive, one solid and one to accept a standard entrance feeder. I fed until they built up then installed the solid board.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Athens, OH
    Posts
    2,725

    Default Re: Cedar construction

    Aromatic Cedar (cedar chests)is a quite different product than Western Red Cedar(siding, building material). I would be hesitant to use it.
    Charlie Gassaway

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Murfreesboro, TN, USA
    Posts
    318

    Default Re: Cedar construction

    I'd like to follow up on llgoddj's comment on using two follower boards. We have a cedar TBH and it has worked fine for three years. We originally started all of our TBHs with a single follower board on the back. This works fine, but you have to start your inspection from the back (the honey end) every time. With a follower at each end, you can start your inspection from either end and you can get to the broodnest without having to move all the honey bars. I believe that's what he's saying, and I fully agree.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Oceanside, New York
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: Cedar construction

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveBee View Post
    I'd like to follow up on llgoddj's comment on using two follower boards. We have a cedar TBH and it has worked fine for three years. We originally started all of our TBHs with a single follower board on the back. This works fine, but you have to start your inspection from the back (the honey end) every time. With a follower at each end, you can start your inspection from either end and you can get to the broodnest without having to move all the honey bars. I believe that's what he's saying, and I fully agree.
    Exactly, and thanks for explaining a little more clearly my thoughts and reasoning behind the need and ease of working with two follower boards. Larry

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    rockford,mi
    Posts
    32

    Default Re: Cedar construction

    I read right by the 'aromatic' part...I was also thinking of the type you find at Lowes, etc...building grade.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,519

    Default Re: Cedar construction

    Someone also mentioned using a short follower board on the front (I can't remember who though). They should work fine as well, but you will need to make it thick enough to get a knife in to cut comb from the walls on the first comb. I'm going to try out some small followers that were scraps for use in some swarm traps this spring. Your follower boards don't need to be a seal to the back of the hive (like Colleen mentioned). I've seen some folks put a hole in their followers and put a boardman style feeder in the back. Wyatt uses front entrances. I can't remember if he uses a cleat to space the first comb back or what, and I've too lazy to grab the book right now to see!

    I use glue and nails, but if you use screws you wouldn't need glue. On the other hand it will be more expensive to build a hive with screws versus nails. I was taught to always use mechanical and chemical fasteners, and I don't trust a nail by itself. Wyatt doesn't use glue, but he is part time commercial. When you are running a couple hundred hives you need to find every way you can to save money. Not using glue makes it easier to repair as the ends will fail first. If I have a hive falling apart after 10 years I probably will just replace it since this is a hobby for me and I can always justify spending money and time on my hobbies!

    Wyatt's method works well for him. He uses wax starter strips in his bars and inspects from the front. Since he is using his hives commercially for pollination, inspecting from the front of the hive makes the most sense. Between surplus comb and the combination of the starter strips he probably rarely has comb issues. Inspecting from the front lets him get into the brood nest and check for problems and get out. He has been doing this for a long time so my guess is that he is very efficient at inspections. He probably doesn't have to worry about stores (he is pollinating after all) so this gets him in and out quickly and on to the next field.

    I like cedar, but I use the pine. Hopefully in a few years my hive are not full of holes when the knots all fall out! The bees don't care. They will build a hive in a outhouse made from plywood, I doubt the cedar smell would bother them much.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Canada BC Delta
    Posts
    447

    Default Re: Cedar construction

    Quote Originally Posted by llgoddj View Post
    Exactly, and thanks for explaining a little more clearly my thoughts and reasoning behind the need and ease of working with two follower boards. Larry
    With an end entrance.

    If you use a follower at the entrance end of the hive it's important to leave a proper bee space between the end wall and follower board. A removable cleat or spacer is needed. A bee space around the edge of the follower and side walls is also important in that it allows you to insert the follower back into the hive with out crushing bees against the side walls without the bee space around the follower's edge. Makes the closing up process very simple!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Bristow, VA
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Cedar construction

    Thanks for all the suggestions. I will add two followers. I am not adding a screen to the bottom but will use hinges on the base board to remove/inspect trash. Here is a pic. The entrance is adjustable and i intend to sand the landing edge for rain run-off. IMG_1515.jpg

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Murfreesboro, TN, USA
    Posts
    318

    Default Re: Cedar construction

    Also good points, Delta Bay.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    rockford,mi
    Posts
    32

    Default Re: Cedar construction

    Hate to say it but are we even sure bees will take aromatic cedar?

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Mercer County, Kentucky, USA
    Posts
    10

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    rockford,mi
    Posts
    32

    Default Re: Cedar construction

    I suspect this WILL be the best looking beehive on the planet.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,554

    Default Re: Cedar construction

    >1. Will the cedar smell deter or otherwise affect the health of the colony?

    Not in my experience.

    >2. I used wood glue (tightbond III) to glue up my panels for the sides/ends. Any issue with this?

    It will work fine.

    >Also i have read varying opinions on using a follower in the hive to reduce/expand the hive. Is it recommended to use this and if so where do i place it for the initial start up, ie; how much space to begin with a 3# package. (the TB hive will be approx 42" long)

    You need space that the cluster of bees will fill about 50% of the space they have. You will need to double that in a few weeks (possibly as short as two if the weather cooperates).
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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