Hi All, I wanted to get your opinion on using a Hive lid with a vent/top entrance. I have been considering it b/c I had a big beard recently on a hot day, that all went back inside once I propped the lid up, and they also used the heck out of the top entrance, reducing traffic below.
What your opinion/experience?
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i've propped up my lids before,just stick a few thick shims between the inner and outer cover.
I keep my lids proped up all year. If you don't, you will have no escape for moisture. That kills bees.
The ideal is a DE Conversion kit from www.beeworks.com
I have bought several and also build my own simpler versions. The kit lets you adjust the ventilation for winter and summer, has a top entrance, turns the hive 90 degress so you can work from the back and so there is a bigger entrance in the front for ventilation. Also the brood runs more out to the ends of the frames it is on because the ends aren't at the front.
You can just put a couple of more holes in an inner cover and cover all the holes with hardware cloth and then take an old medium or shallow super and drill some holes around the side and put hardware cloth on them and put a telescopic cover or a migratory cover on top. This makes a fairly nice vent box. I will cut a piece of plywood and put on the box to make it into a lid so I don't need the cover.
Here are some pictures of my version of it: http://www.beesource.com/eob/althive/bush/bush6.htm
Here's the top vent box: http://www.beesource.com/eob/althive/bush/bush3.htm
Of course the simplest is what you just did, prop it open with a stick. My worry is the wax moths coming in a cold night when the bees cluster down.
I have a question for those who just prop up the top cover. Last year I tried this and found that when the top was open, very large cockroaches would take up residence inside the hive. Found them mostly on top of the inner cover. Is this a problem? Also, seems like having an open entrance might provide more of an opportunity for pest (moths, beetles, etc) to get in. Any comments?
I leave a miller feeder on all year. The entire top is covered with hardware cloth. The bee access is in the center, the width of the feeder. Then I block up the outer cover an inch, with the tilt toward the front. (Hives are already tilted that way).
This allows the moisture collected on the lid to drip away from the bees. With this in mind I covered the inside of the outer cover with a sheet of aluminum. That one hive had a lot of moisture on that plate, doing exactly what I thought it would. I have to add that feature to the rest of them. In the winter I fill the feeder with ceader shavings.
Just a note on how much ventilation a hive can need. In lat April I picked up 10 4-frame nucs from some distance away. I was tired when I got home and left them in the car overnight. (It was 40F or so that night). When I went out in the AM the windows on my SUV were all fogged up!
The man I bought the nucs from winters his bees (In Albany,NY) on open screened bottom boards.
I personally use a ventalated top that takes the place of the inner cover, provides an upper entrance, and I place a sheet of insulation in it during the winter. (It also has a removable cutout in the insulation to allow feeding during winter/early spring.)
So far (2 years) it's worked very well, and the bees have wintered better than without. No losses with the insulated top in two winters. (20% loss of hives without the tops this past winter.)