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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Layton, Utah
    Posts
    8

    Default Top Cover Design

    Trying to find a good inexpensive design for a top cover. When looking at pics of hives sitting in the almond fields, many look like they have nothing more than a plywood square for the top cover. Do the commercial beekeepers even mess around with a inner cover, or will the simple plywood top suffice? Please let me know if you have any good ideas.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Concrete, WA, USA
    Posts
    761

    Default Re: Top Cover Design

    yeah you are seeing right - most comm are are just plywood maybe with a cleat but its just one more part that gets broke or missing also the flat plywood tops dont hang up on pallets when loading etc

    as for the inner cover they serve a great perpose

    1. they hold a dead air space that helps keep hive cool in summer and warm in winter - a lot like your attic

    2. they have a hole that works great for feeding (pail style)

    3 they work with bee exits (if you have a day to wait) most want faster results

    4. they are great for a feeding board for dry sugar

    and last on my list but should be first is ....

    if you use Tele cover you MUST use it with a inner cover or you might not ever get the lit off !!!!!!! haha ive broke a lid before due to pitch that brought home

    the tele cover are great for wet areas - there is less chance of getting a stream of water inside

    down fall is that they dont work with 4 way pallets and take up space on the truck - you want a tight load and the teles leave 1 1/2" space between the bodies - (room to shift)

    one plus of the tele is that they dont warp like the flat plywood does

    well that should put a lit on my post reply!!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Belfield, North Dakota, USA
    Posts
    610

    Default Re: Top Cover Design

    It looks like you live in Utah. This means that you have 'winter'. You should consider an inner cover and a telescoping outer cover. I have had good luck overwintering with this inner cover design:

    http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/stor...ver-p-232.html

    This year, I have modified the design to fit side-by-side nucs that I will try to overwinter.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    VENTURA, California, USA
    Posts
    3,604

    Default Re: Top Cover Design

    Here is one more reason why we like to keep the covers simple:

    We can cut 12, yes 12, covers for a 10 framer out of one sheet of 4' X 8' plywood.

    Estimated cost / cover = say $ 24.00/sheet
    24.00/12 = $ 2.00/ cover
    The covers are easier to stack for transit compared to other designs.

    Ernie
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Shallowater, Texas, USA
    Posts
    355

    Default Re: Top Cover Design

    Ernie-

    Do you use any cleats on your plywood covers? What thickness of plywood do you use?
    "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink"...well that horse ain't got nothing on a bee.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,347

    Default Re: Top Cover Design

    My 8-frame covers look like this: Covers made from cheap fence boards
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    VENTURA, California, USA
    Posts
    3,604

    Default Re: Top Cover Design

    Quote Originally Posted by ACBEES View Post
    Ernie-

    Do you use any cleats on your plywood covers?

    Yes, you can put a 3/4" X 1 1/2" solid cleat on both ends of the top side.

    What thickness of plywood do you use?
    3/4". But, plywood is not exactly 3/4" as you probably know
    You can also use OSB if you want to cut the cost/cover.
    Ernie
    Last edited by BEES4U; 03-12-2010 at 07:22 AM. Reason: cut and paste
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    VENTURA, California, USA
    Posts
    3,604

    Default Re: Top Cover Design

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Clemens View Post
    My 8-frame covers look like this: Covers made from cheap fence boards
    Nice 3D images.
    Ernie
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    VENTURA, California, USA
    Posts
    3,604

    Default Re: Top Cover Design

    Quote Originally Posted by dbart View Post
    Trying to find a good inexpensive design for a top cover. When looking at pics of hives sitting in the almond fields, many look like they have nothing more than a plywood square for the top cover. Do the commercial beekeepers even mess around with a inner cover, or will the simple plywood top suffice? Please let me know if you have any good ideas.
    Used Pallet Co. located in Fresno does a lot of business selling 4 way pallets and covers to beekeepers that are in the valley for pollination. Nothing better than a haul back loaded with their made to order pallets and covers.
    They are also very cost effective.
    Ernie
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    VENTURA, California, USA
    Posts
    3,604

    Default Re: Top Cover Design

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Clemens View Post
    My 8-frame covers look like this: Covers made from cheap fence boards
    Shall we tell them that we can cut 14 of the 8 frame covers out of a sheet of plywood?
    Ernie
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Berkeley,California, USA
    Posts
    483

    Default Re: Top Cover Design

    Quote Originally Posted by BEES4U View Post
    Here is one more reason why we like to keep the covers simple:

    We can cut 12, yes 12, covers for a 10 framer out of one sheet of 4' X 8' plywood.

    Ernie
    Ernie (and others),

    one thing has always puzzled about the simple plywood cover and the migratory cover - don't they violate beespace?

    The top of my frame bars is 3/16" below the top edge of my supers, and the inner cover that came with my telescoping cover has a lip that adds another 3/16" of space before the lower surface of the cover over the frames (resulting in 3/8" space total), but the migratory cover that I have is flat with no lip (as the oher migratory covers I have seen and the simple plywood cover I believe you are describing.

    I have not used my migratory cover except for short-term manipulations because it seems like it leaves only 3/16" of space and will result in a grreat deal of burr comb between the top of the frame bars and the bottom of the cover if I leave it on for any period of time - what am I missing here?

    thanks,

    -fafrd

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Palm Bay, FL, USA
    Posts
    2,297

    Default Re: Top Cover Design

    Could be that the bees don't build burr comb if they can't get to the space to build it!! I use the plywood tops and have had zero problem with burr comb on the lids.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Concrete, WA, USA
    Posts
    761

    Default Re: Top Cover Design

    i really dont think that they need the space above the frames
    if you think of wild bees in a box - they start the comb from the top and head down - leaving no space to crawl above -

    just something to think about -

    but the inner cover gives you a little more space for patties and such

    some of my mig. tops i have put a 3/16ths " shim rim - on the edge this gives them the room

    ive not seen any real difference in them -

    but they do put a little burr on the inner cover - but not worth writing home about

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,347

    Default Re: Top Cover Design

    I build all my supers with the frames flush/even with the top edge of the supers, my covers have built-in 3/8" rims for bee space above the frames, they may not have this configuration in a natural hive, but it sure makes it easier to feed.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Lexington, KY, USA
    Posts
    504

    Default Re: Top Cover Design

    Good morning guys, as a hobbyist I like the telescoping covers and especially the design by Honeyrunapiaries. I have modified them some as the sides are around five inches high. The insulation is covered with 14" plywood on both sides and the bottom plywood is 3/8" up from the bottom edge to allow for a slotted upper entrance on a narrow end about 3/8" x 3". I also rotate the boxes for winter and summer use, although I put cleats over most of the ventilation holes for winter. For winter use there is just one 3/4" hole on one end and sloped to give them an upper entrance during the winter. The telescoping covers have 1x2 frames all around and then are covered with a galvanized telecoping cover over the wood. Here one can us plywood or whatever. One of the things that I like to do on the bottom of the telescoping covers is to run a Kerf on the table saw before assembly to give it a drip edge. I have been thinking that if I will have to make several the next time, I will cut them from wider boards with the Miter Lock and then rip them to size. This should be quick and simple to assemble and last forever. Oh well, thats just me, I'll do things the hardest way I can think of and that keeps me away from the "Stupid Box". Take care and have fun

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,113

    Default Re: Top Cover Design

    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Layton, Utah
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Top Cover Design

    Thanks to all who have responded. Another thing I've noticed in the pollination pictures is hives with plywood covers with a feeder on top. That means, of course, that there is a hole in the top of the cover. So do the commercial ops carry two covers per hive; one with a feeder hole and one without, or do they just block the hole when done feeding?

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lyons, CO
    Posts
    3,030

    Default Re: Top Cover Design

    Quote Originally Posted by dbart View Post
    ... or do they just block the hole when done feeding?
    Block it. I've seen an ingenious method posted of using an electrical junction box cover that pivots on a corner screw.
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Ferndale, Washington
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: Top Cover Design

    I use plywood.
    We get a lot of rain up in the great north West, so they will need a good coat of paint.


    Jim

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Phoenixville, PA
    Posts
    579

    Angry Re: Top Cover Design

    As a small scale beek, covers tic me off.

    My tin topped masonry board with pine sides telescoping tops have worked well but easily cost 18 bucks.

    I have an all cypress tung & groove no tin telescoping top that I sealed with caulk. Six bucks less. It swelled lifted and pushed out the end.

    I have an 8 buck cypress tung & groove migratory top. Let the middle panel float thinking it would swell sealed. No, leaked and molded on the bottom side. Now I have a piece of 4 mil plastic stapled on the bottom.

    I like the look of natural wood and am too lazy to paint and plywood needs it. Maybe I should try brown paint.

    Each part of a hive IMHO is priced right considering the retail cost of material and the time it takes to make a standard hive, but when you add it up, for a guy who wants a little fun while getting one of nature's best ready made foods, the local farm market looks attractive.

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