After making some Langstroth brood boxes with nine frames and two follower boards (in positions one and eleven) I began to think that it would be easier to make a ten-frame Langstroth into an eight-frame Langstroth by putting follower boards in positions one and ten. In this way you could use two standard Langstroth frames and fill them with Masonite to use as your followers. This method has several advantages:
- The follower boards would be easier to make. Instead of having to divide a frame lengthwise, you could use the whole thing.
- A full brood box would be lighter with just eight brood frames instead of ten. Using this system, the weight of a full ten-frame brood box with follower boards would be similar to that of a full eight-frame brood box without follower boards.
- You gain some of the benefits of an eight-frame brood box (chiefly lighter weight) without sacrificing compatibility between eight-frame and ten-frame equipment.
- You gain all the advantages of having follower boards (a place for bees to congregate, easy to remove frames, insulation in winter) while still having a conventional shape in your brood boxes. (In other words, your ten-frame slatted rack will work perfectly even though you have two follower boards.)
- Because eight-frame equipment has become very common, we know that a hive can thrive in that configuration.
The downside is that a large hive, let’s say one with three deeps, will contain only 24 instead of 30 frames of bees. However, this would be the same if you had three eight-frame deeps with no follower boards, so I suspect it’s not much of an issue.