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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    NSW,Australia
    Posts
    71

    Post

    I was just wondering what people like to use out there as a top cover / hive lid

    Telesopic cover or the Migratory type.??

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,617

    Post

    I've used all kinds of things from formica covered sink cut out (out of the dumpster at a building site) to the ventilated tops from www.beeworks.com. I often build my own covers of various kinds. Here's what I think of each:

    Typical Migratory cover:
    These are usually not a very tight fit on the top and are prone to blow off until the bees stick them down. If you haven't worked them lately they stay on, but if you worked them and shortly after a wind storm comes in they will blow off. Of course the solution is bricks or concrete blocks or rocks, but these are heavy to lift off. They are cheap. They are not ventilated. On a large hive in the heat of summer they get too hot inside. In the winter there is too much condensation because of the lack of ventilation. I like them pretty well on a hive that is only one or two boxes high and just getting started. They are handy for a swarm because you don't have to mess with the inner cover, but they can slide off. Depending on the shipping to you, Western Bee seems to have the best prices on these.

    Telescopic cover with inner cover:
    I don't like the inner covers with the top entrances. I don't like them, mostly because I can't reliably open and close them. If you push the telescopic back it will block it, but this is too easy to forget. I have lost a lot of bees to drowning when I put the inner cover on top of a hive top feeder thinking, that it was as good a place to leave it as any, and then had thousands of bees go in the top and drown in the feeder, not to mention the robbing that followed. It's nice to be able to open a top entrance if and when you want one, but I don't like one that is just there. A few inner covers are still available without the notch. I also don't like inner covers with masonite. They warp when they get wet. So a plywood inner cover without a notch and a telescopic on top, I like ok. It's still not enough ventilation and the telescopics, for reasons known only to the manufacturers, are always way too big and blow off too easily. Also, since they are on top of the inner cover the bees don't glue them down. A plus for opening the hive. A minus in a wind storm. Again a concrete block will stop this, but who wants to lift a concrete block seven feet in the air on a booming hive? I'm not certain but I only seem to be able to find the plywood inner covers without the top entrances at Walter T. Kelly.

    Simple board:
    Variations of this are the sink cut out scrap plywood, 3/4" plywood, a flat cover made of cedar shingles and a piece of roll roofing. Still no ventilation and Still blow off easily. If you can pick up the scraps at a job site, the price is wonderful.

    Modified Migratory cover:
    My version of a migratory cover, is cut from 3/4" exterior plywood that is 21 3/8" long and 16 1/4" wide. I take two 16 1/4" 1x2's and screw them under the lip of the plywood at both ends snug with the box. This means you have to push down hard to get the lid to go on, but it also means it does not slide around or blow off. It is still not ventilated. I like these for capturing swarms and starting hives, but not much for a booming productive hive.

    Ventilated top:
    I take an inner cover and cut a couple of more holes in it. I have a hole saw drill bit the same size as a regular mason jar lid (or a boardman feeder) and if often put two holes this size in the inner cover and then cover all the holes with #7 or #8 hardware cloth on the bottom side. This provides ventilation and if I want to use a jar for a feeder or waterer I can put them in the holes. On top of this I put a "vent box". This is either an old super (shallow or medium) with holes in the sides covered with hardware cloth, or just a box made from 1 x 6 or 1 x 8 with the same kind of holes. On top of this you can nail on a plywood lid or you can use old covers, migratory or telescopic. Now the hot moist air goes up through the screened holes in the inner cover and out the holes in the side of the vent box. This requires a block or bricks to keep it on, because it will blow off in a wind. If you want a Cadillac of this, you can buy a kit from www.beeworks. It has two vent boxes that allow you to adjust the ventilation between winter and summer and has an inner cover with a closable top entrance. I have quite a few of the kits and like them alot.

    Tight telescopic cover:
    If you make your own telescopic cover with 3/4" exterior plywood and make it snug around the edges, it will not blow off as easily. The 3/4" ply is heavy and the tight fit keeps it from blowing off. These are also nice for hiving swarms becuase they won't slide around and they don't easily blow off.

    I don't think I've found the perfect cover yet. I have been tempted to build one that has the inner cover, vent box and cover all together in one peice, but then you couldn't feed with it. But it also would get glued down good and not blow off so eaisily.

    The perfect cover would be light, but still won't blow off, provide ventilation, provide a place to feed, be easy to take on and off and be cheap to buy. I haven't seen it yet.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    NE Calif.
    Posts
    2,268

    Post

    I have never used anything but migratory covers.But there are all kinds of things wrong with them.They warp and twist.They allow wind driven rain in.They are too hot in summer(I pull the top super back about 3/4 inch in hot weather to help the bees ventilate).The plus side is they are cheap to make.They allow tight stacking of hives for moving which means you must use them if you do much moving.You can bore a hole in the top and feed right through the cover.And if they warp in the right way they improve ventilation!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,617

    Post

    When mine warp it just makes a large top entrance (and ventilation).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    United Kingdom
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: The best beehive Cover

    Quote Originally Posted by chiefman View Post
    I was just wondering what people like to use out there as a top cover / hive lid

    Telesopic cover or the Migratory type.??
    I have just discovered the versotile cover. It's a small, ethical company and the product is brilliant. Their website is versotile beehive cover - they ship the cover all; over the globe. Hope others find it useful, it's been featured in several British beekeeping magazines.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Coopersville, Michigan
    Posts
    260

    Default Re: The best beehive Cover

    I built an innercover, vent box combo for just the reasons Michael pointed out. It is unfortunately not cehap though and needs a bit of redesign yet. I made 12 or 14 of them at the time, but had a bit of feature creap on them and you still need a lid for them.
    http://s1113.beta.photobucket.com/us...45948729523475

    The link shows one before it was wax dipped and had the holes drilled in the inner cover portion.
    Cons
    I made the inner cover reversible so that I could place pollen patties under it more easily. The bees (as I feared) just propolized it down in place.

    could have been an inch or two taller for different sized jars

    I left too much bee space under the inner cover, occasionally I had burr comb issues.

    Still need a lid, and they take a while to build

    Pros
    Vented well, cut down bearding etc.
    adjustable entrance was nice, and with triangle wedges they didn't get stuck down too bad, though it was a little annoying that they didn't come off with the cover most of the time
    easy to feed in


    Changes
    If I make more I probably won't make them reversible, since they aren't anyway after long use.

    Better bee space

    We'll see what happens, I'm too busy building a horizontal hive with a hinged top to mess with my vented covers right now. Currently I wouldn't reccomend them without modification.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Hartford, CT
    Posts
    587

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
    Posts
    4,205

    Default Re: The best beehive Cover

    I use the crappiest 1/2" flat plywood exactly the size of the box. It leaks, it has gaps, the bees love it. The worse it gets, the better the bees seem to do.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,098

    Default Re: The best beehive Cover

    I have both. Like them for their own specific need.

    If ventillation is an issue use an inner cover then a migratory cover. Same principle as a telescopic cover with an inner cover right?

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