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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Solano, California, USA
    Posts
    1,506

    Default Are landing boards simply just a waste of wood? ( and paint? )

    The title says it all! Sorry for asking you to crank up the brain power on such a trivial subject. Something to keep it a little lite hearted as everyone pulls honey!



    1. How many times have you seen a swarm on a tree build a landing board to facilitate better ingress and egress?

    2. Are they really that necessary on the rectangular "trees" we keep them in or are they just a waste of space and resources?
    Last edited by Honey-4-All; 08-14-2014 at 10:56 AM. Reason: Bad grammar and spelling... as usual.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    1,186

    Default Re: Are landing boards simply just a waste of wood? ( and paint? )

    I don't use them, and have never seen a problem they either fly right in the entrance or land on the front wall and walk down.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Ventura, CA
    Posts
    137

    Default Re: Are landing boards simply just a waste of wood? ( and paint? )

    I must have horribly un-coordinated bees. I get most of my morning entertainment watching them attempt to land loaded with pollen and nectar only to over shoot or undershoot the landing bad and literally crash land, roll a few times, and flail themselves flipping back over. . . I swear, I laugh every time. . . And the drones... I've never seen a more clumsy flyer (aside from maybe a bumble bee).

    I think my bees need a 2 foot long runway with landing lights and a control tower.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
    Posts
    780

    Default Re: Are landing boards simply just a waste of wood? ( and paint? )

    Phil, my pallets have 1 inch for landing but I was thinkin if i get rid of that I will have less water in my pallets. The landing strip is what catches the rain. But of course, you won't know what rainwater in you hives looks like since you folks down south forgot what rain is...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,870

    Default Re: Are landing boards simply just a waste of wood? ( and paint? )

    I really don't think bees need them.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  6. #6

    Default Re: Are landing boards simply just a waste of wood? ( and paint? )

    In tests friends of mine made (commercial beekeepers), honey production was increased by 10 % using long landing boards reaching all down to the ground. Compared to no landing board at all. The boards they call moneymaker since.

    They reckon' it is due to bees early in the morning finding early hour nectar flows. If those bees in the morning fall down into the green and not finding into the hive they cannot wake up and alarm the hive. The better the early bees find their way back, the earlier the hive wakes up and gets up, foraging earlier than other hives without landing boards. Like buckwheat there are some plants that give nectar in the early morning only.

    The other reason for long landing boards is the return of the queen with a clipped wing. A queen with clipped wing drops out of the hive at the attempt of swarming. With a board reaching down to the ground she crawls back into the hive and continiues laying.

    A 10 % increase in honey production and the queen thing are enough reason for me to use long landing boards. Also you reduce drifting when those boards are painted in different colours and shapes. I simply lean those boards towards the entrance and stuff them under the lid when transporting.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Romania, Sibiu
    Posts
    323

    Default Re: Are landing boards simply just a waste of wood? ( and paint? )

    I make my bottom boards the same dimension as the boxes and even a bit narrower, then I just move the box 2,5 cm(the width of the wood) back and there you go: landing board.
    However next year I'll switch to top entrances; I didn't like the part with tearing the grass in front of the entrance.
    Dfa (Humid continental warm summer climate)

  8. #8

    Default Re: Are landing boards simply just a waste of wood? ( and paint? )

    You really want to go down the top entrances route? Are you keeping bees for honey or just for fun?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,870

    Default Re: Are landing boards simply just a waste of wood? ( and paint? )

    Quote Originally Posted by BernhardHeuvel View Post
    In tests friends of mine made (commercial beekeepers), honey production was increased by 10 % using long landing boards reaching all down to the ground. Compared to no landing board at all. The boards they call moneymaker since.

    They reckon' it is due to bees early in the morning finding early hour nectar flows. If those bees in the morning fall down into the green and not finding into the hive they cannot wake up and alarm the hive. The better the early bees find their way back, the earlier the hive wakes up and gets up, foraging earlier than other hives without landing boards. Like buckwheat there are some plants that give nectar in the early morning only.

    The other reason for long landing boards is the return of the queen with a clipped wing. A queen with clipped wing drops out of the hive at the attempt of swarming. With a board reaching down to the ground she crawls back into the hive and continiues laying.

    A 10 % increase in honey production and the queen thing are enough reason for me to use long landing boards. Also you reduce drifting when those boards are painted in different colours and shapes. I simply lean those boards towards the entrance and stuff them under the lid when transporting.
    Very interesting, thank you for posting this.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Romania, Sibiu
    Posts
    323

    Default Re: Are landing boards simply just a waste of wood? ( and paint? )

    Quote Originally Posted by BernhardHeuvel View Post
    You really want to go down the top entrances route? Are you keeping bees for honey or just for fun?
    Maybe I should mention that I keep my hives really low on the ground: I just place 2 pieces of fire wood underneath the hive. The bees are literally jumping from the grass into the entrance. I'm still at the beginning and have a far journey ahead of me... I often say something and do the oppossite .

    During the next year I'm still expanding so it's still plenty of time to make a decision. However I will still make classic bottom boards for my boxes so it's no one way journey in terms of gear.

    I like simplicity and flexibility... I forgot to say that I'm using migratory covers: a shim under the cover and there's the entrance; I reduce the bottom entrance using hardware cloth (from M. Bush)
    Dfa (Humid continental warm summer climate)

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    28,282

    Default Re: Are landing boards simply just a waste of wood? ( and paint? )

    You paint your bottom boards? Who paints pallets? Why?

    One reason for the landing board on pallet bottom boards could be so pallets can't be pushed up together face to face and block entrances. I know some beekeepers who have long stringers so they meet up across the deck of the trailer bed.
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Default Re: Are landing boards simply just a waste of wood? ( and paint? )

    >Are landing boards simply just a waste of wood? ( and paint? )

    Without them the mice have trouble getting in. I call them "mouse ramps"...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #13

    Default Re: Are landing boards simply just a waste of wood? ( and paint? )

    You have strange names for a lot of things. You call a queen excluder a honey excluder. Yet I harvest more honey with than without it. As do many other serious beekeepers. And a moneymaker aka landing board you call a mice ramp. Really? What kind of mice do you have there? Where I live mice run right up any vertical wooden wall or stand or anything. They don't need a ramp. Are your mice driving around in wheelchairs?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    664

    Default Re: Are landing boards simply just a waste of wood? ( and paint? )

    I use Freeman bottom boards that have a fairly long slanted ramp. My bees enjoy sitting on the front porch and watching the butterflies go by.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,901

    Default Re: Are landing boards simply just a waste of wood? ( and paint? )

    My most productive hives this season (all around 200 lbs. or more) didn't have landing boards at all, I just use bottom boards with a 2 1/2" wide x 1/2" high entrance slot in the rim. They don't need landing boards if you ask me.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Columbus, OH
    Posts
    138

    Default Re: Are landing boards simply just a waste of wood? ( and paint? )

    Geez BernhardHeuvel, take a chill pill. I'm pretty sure no one was bashing your long landing board thoughts. Why must you bash anyone else's? To each their own, this should be a place to share thoughts and ideas, not a place to cut them down. People are just stating what has worked for them and their experience. I've used bottom entrance with landing board and I've used top entrance with a landing board and without. I have noticed any difference, but I never did any scientific study.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Lakeland, Florida
    Posts
    642

    Default Re: Are landing boards simply just a waste of wood? ( and paint? )

    Two of my hives have std landing boards and two dont.
    I dont think they NEED them. If made available tho, they will USE them.
    I dont notice any diffrence tween the hives that do and dont.
    3 hives/2 nucs

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    3,044

    Default Re: Are landing boards simply just a waste of wood? ( and paint? )

    I think it depends on location of the hive. I have a nuc at home, and the bees have to drop in as it's in the corner of the fence with trees etc... all around it over 7' tall and the flight path makes them have to basically come in vertically to land and I think the longer landing board they have helps with that. Otherwise, in an open area, I don't think they need them but it helps during heavy traffic and I assume fanning during the heat of the day somewhat.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Default Re: Are landing boards simply just a waste of wood? ( and paint? )

    There are many things a mouse will attempt when there are no bees to worry about where they would not if there were bees. Often just tipping the scale a bit is enough to discourage them. I noticed a long time ago that the hives on stands with ramps on them got more mice in them. Hives with 3/4" openings got more mice than hives with 3/8" openings. Around here a popular device is a piece of 3/8" plywood with 3/8" laths on each end and the center. It's about 4" wide and slides into a 3/4" opening making a 4" long 3/8" high path for the bees (and the mice) and everyone who uses them says it keeps the mice out. I'm quite sure a mouse can get through that, but their experience seems to show that while a mouse can, when there are bees in the hive, they will not. I've now gone to top entrances. I'm pretty sure the mice could get in them if they were determined enough but they never do if there are bees in the hive.

    My bees all fly right in the top entrance with no problems and no need to land outside the hive. Granted, I have smaller bees than most... I don't see any crash landings like you sometimes see with a landing board.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma dr. Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    1,124

    Default Re: Are landing boards simply just a waste of wood? ( and paint? )

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post

    My bees all fly right in the top entrance with no problems and no need to land outside the hive. Granted, I have smaller bees than most... I don't see any crash landings like you sometimes see with a landing board.
    You seem to have those little bees well trained!

    I have some landing boards and some not. As far as honey production + or - I think you would have to really control you tests well to determine the source of any advantage. I have forage strongly in one direction and colonies to that end of the row seem to have had better production.

    I did an experiment this summer that resulted in moving entrances around (Snelgrove Board) to do some sorting of bees. I tried the trick of having a moveable landing board about 6 inches square and I would say it eliminated some of the hovering and dodging around on landing. Bees also groom on the landing board.

    I used to build some fancy bottoms with slanted landing boards etc., but the novelty has worn off. I think after a while the hive function has to have a proven functionality to justify the effort. We have to be careful though that we do not spend more effort defending the choices we make than we save by doing it so. That said, I would bet a nickel that Bernards landing boards might show a bit higher honey production under controlled study conditions but I seem to have a bit more honey every year than my wife manages to give away.

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