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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
    45,827

    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
    2,299

    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
    45,827

    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
    608

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
    Posts
    4,361

    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
    2,519

    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?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    83

    Default Re: The best beehive Cover

    I use a screened inner cover. It provides ventilation and when there is a feeder on the hive, I pour the sugar water right through the screen. It does a rough filtering job as well as keeping the bees from going into the feeder.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,254

    Default Re: The best beehive Cover

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    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.
    There is a couple of things you can do with a tele cover because of your wind conditions. First you can install flaps of roofing material on the windward side of the cover so when the wind blows it closes off the air that gets underneath the cover and cause the air to go over. Then you can take a used inner cover and flip it over so it sticks to the outer cover. If you do that you will want to drill a hole in the corner of the cover so a nail will just fit in the hole. Cut the nail off and make the head flush with the inside of the cover. One or two hits should work. It only needs to stick up an 1/8 to 1/4 above the top surface. This will give you something to tap with the hive tool to break the inner cover loose. I like my outer covers oversize. I don't have a problem remembering to push the cover forward for the notch in the inner cover. I work the hive from the back.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
    Posts
    828

    Default Re: The best beehive Cover

    I use the Honey Run Apiaries "All Season Inner Cover," plus a standard telescoping outer cover.

    http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/shop...-inner-cover-8

    The HR All Season Inner Cover provides good ventilation in the Summer and good insulation in the Winter. Plus, it has an upper entrance, which gives good moisture control in the Winter and another point of access for the bees in the Summer when the population is big.

    My only complaint is that the quality of construction is not all that great.
    --shinbone
    (3rd year, 14 hives, Zone 5b, 5400 ft, 15.8" annual rainfall)

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
    Posts
    4,361

    Default Re: The best beehive Cover

    In 20 years using flat plywood migratory tops, I haven't had a single one blow off unless the hive itself turned over. I don't weight mine down at all. I prop the corner for ventilation. We have a number of 60+ mph thunderstorms in any spring/summer. In winter we get 50+ mph blue northers. I don't think blowing off is an issue for flat tops. Tops with edging become airfoils. Airfoils create lift.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,827

    Default Re: The best beehive Cover

    That's been my experience as well. Since I've gone to covers the size of the box with nothing hanging over the edges I don't have trouble with them blowing off. I usually keep a brick on them, but if I forget they usually stay on anyway. I was putting concrete blocks on the telescopic covers to keep them on...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Clarendon County, SC, USA
    Posts
    147

    Default Re: The best beehive Cover

    Most of my covers are migratories some 3/4 plywood, some 3/4 cypress or pine board with a hole cut in the top for a mason jar feeder. But I never pass up one of those cheap corrugated plastic political signs, I don't like them for covers in cold weather due to condensation but during split and swarm season they make great covers and bottoms when you're running short on equipment. I have a couple hives with old stop or yield signs on top too. Waste not want not.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Strafford County, NH
    Posts
    680

    Default Re: The best beehive Cover

    This is a timely thread! I have a new queen coming today and I had to scramble to get a makeshift hive together because I'm out of tops and bottoms at the moment. (I have a laying worker hive I can get them from but haven't shaken it yet.) I got 2 cut pieces of plywood from Home Depot to use as a top and a bottom and I'm using an Imirie shim at top and bottom for ventilation while the colony is just getting started. The plywood is cut larger than the box, I'll be sure to put bricks on top.

  17. #17

    Default Re: The best beehive Cover

    I use a ventilated top on all my hives like Michael Bush references and it works great. It acts as a feeder, ventilator and observation deck just in case I want to take a quick glance at the ladies without disturbing them.
    Started beekeeping in 2013 and having a blast with my 10 small cell hives!!

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Strafford County, NH
    Posts
    680

    Default Re: The best beehive Cover

    DOH. I hate when queens are supposed to arrive via USPS and then they don't. So now I have till tomorrow to set up the plywood cover on this new hive.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Bozeman Montana
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: The best beehive Cover

    Not to beat a dead horse but would a top built more like a homes roof work more betterer? Ie; soffit and ridge vents or gable end vent or both. All the extra room still available for feeders and what not and would be heavy enough to deal with wind and it would take you a long time and a bunch of money to builds lol just thinking out loud

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Bloomington, IN
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: The best beehive Cover

    I'm new so I may not know any better, but I'm surprised nobody mentioned the plastic cover. I got my hive as a kit from Kelly and it came with a white plastic cover. This is a dense plastic that is pretty heavy (no winds were able to blow it off this year yet) and it also has a few notches underneath for some ventilation (the inner cover I got didn't have a notch). I heard it had an insulation value, but I don't know for sure. Working fine so far and even had an advantage when I noticed that the inner cover over the top feeder would trap a lot of condensation (causing mold to start on the wood) - I just left off the inner cover and the condensation just rolled off the plastic cover (no more mold). Am i missing something bad about these?

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