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I am putting a small colony into a long hive that fits 20 frames. There are about 4 to 5 frames bees & brood. If I add a 3 or 4 frames next to them, can I just leave the rest of the hive empty, as long as I keep an eye on their growth so they don't start moving into the area without frames.
I know I probably should be putting a follower board in next to them but the way I have made my long hive, it won't be bee tight anyway so I don't think theres any point.
 

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I am putting a small colony into a long hive that fits 20 frames. There are about 4 to 5 frames bees & brood. If I add a 3 or 4 frames next to them, can I just leave the rest of the hive empty, as long as I keep an eye on their growth so they don't start moving into the area without frames.
I know I probably should be putting a follower board in next to them but the way I have made my long hive, it won't be bee tight anyway so I don't think theres any point.
I am only going into my 3rd year, but I would put the follower board in even though it is not bee tight. Assuming you have 5 frames which all have a lot of bees, you might add a 6th frame. Other more experienced folks will likely give you better ideas.

Phil
 

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I would use a board as well, with too much space and not enough bees to defend, you could invite moths and beetles to take over.
 

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A follower board helps them to be able to heat and maintain the temperature of their Broodnest better than if they had the whole hive to heat. If you don't have the board they are more susceptible to chalk brood and getting chilled brood if the temperature drops.

It also demoralises them if they have too much space to expand into, so they build up slower. (Which may be related to not being able to maintain temperature properly.)
 

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I run two long hives that hold 22 frames each and I would suggest follower boards too, you will be moving it as you add frames and from my experience they filled the equivalent space of a 10 frame deep faster than if I had sat a 10 frame deep on another deep. As Matt suggested: “A follower board helps them to be able to heat and maintain the temperature of their Broodnest better than if they had the whole hive to heat”.
 
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