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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Maricopa, AZ
    Posts
    62

    Default Metal tops to hive covers, hotter or cooler?

    Living in Arizona I was trying to determine a good way to keep the hives cooler in the summer months when the daytime temp can easily be 115 in the shade. In the sun it can be much worse. I started at the top by looking at the hive cover. I thought about covering my hive tops with metal but then I wasn't sure if that would make it worse or better? On the one hand it reflects the sun, on the other it's so hot to touch it would burn your hand.

    I was planning on screen bottoms, to assist with ventilation. Placing the hives so they are in shade for the hot afternoon hours and adding ventilation at the top via holes or a screen.

    Is there any concensus as to what would be best to cover hives with in the South Western US?

    Thanks for the bee colony mentality for group wisdom here! All ideas are considered and most seem to be tried.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    6,770

    Default Re: Metal tops to hive covers, hotter or cooler?

    They use metal in Honduras. That is a bit south of you and hotter.
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Whitehall Texas
    Posts
    79

    Default Re: Metal tops to hive covers, hotter or cooler?

    You could always place a sheet of styrofoam underneath the metal.. The metal would protect it and it would then insulate the top from both heat and cold.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Polk County, Ar. USA
    Posts
    300

    Default Re: Metal tops to hive covers, hotter or cooler?

    Styrofoam is a yes!

    For a good place to get thin aluminum to cover your hive cover, call your local newspaper. Most presses use aluminum sheets. You will have to clean a thin layer of grease off the back side, and excess ink off of the print side. (mainly to keep it off your hands) They use these sheets one time, stack them up and send them to scrap yard. What a waste!
    To clean them off, I found that the cheap carburator cleaner that Auto Zone sells for $1.99 per can will clean 10 sheets on both sides. Will clean off both grease and ink. Use that old cotton T-shirt in your rag bag. Paper towels don't work!!! Oh, My paper sells them to me for $1 each.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    151

    Default Re: Metal tops to hive covers, hotter or cooler?

    I use the polystyrene beemax telescoping covers that Betterbee makes for woodenhives (they are also make a version for their own beemax hives) it is basically high impact styrofoam. paints easily and holds up well... just dont put your hot smaoker on top of it... you'll add additional large ventilation holes! they work well both in summer and winter

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Williston, NC, USA
    Posts
    1,779

    Default Re: Metal tops to hive covers, hotter or cooler?

    I understand the BeeMax hives as well as tops are great ventilators. Cool in the summer, warm in the winter. This come from the local bee inspector in this area. I, however, have so many old fashioned wooden boxes, I don't see myself converting in the near future. The one thing I would do with metal tops is paint the metal white. It deflects even better than just having aluminum in the sun. Too, I think you should try slatted racks. We certainly don't get as hot here as where you are, but we can get into the hundreds in a really bad summer. I noticed that as soon as I put the slatted racks on, the girls stopped bearding and went back inside! Too, I raise up my outer cover a bit from the inner cover by placing screws in the corners of the inner cover, and now screwing them completely in, leaving about 1/4" sticking up. More ventilation and not a big space for robbers to get in.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Phelps Co. Missouri USA
    Posts
    856

    Default Re: Metal tops to hive covers, hotter or cooler?

    Here is the top vent that I use, with the metal expandable cover on top.

    You can set a quart jar on the screen and feed syrup, a extra super and your regular expandable cover.

    PCM


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Seneca, sc
    Posts
    830

    Default Re: Metal tops to hive covers, hotter or cooler?

    They make flashing the is white on one side either 20" or 24" wide.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Ludington, Michigan
    Posts
    607

    Default Re: Metal tops to hive covers, hotter or cooler?

    I use vent covers like these on all my colonies except I only make one hole about 2X4 in the middle. Also there is no need to screen these big holes. The bee's seldom go about this cover. Do screen the small outside ones to stop robbers and rodents with 1/8 wire. I use these boxes for winter insulation (something you wont have to worry about down there) and storage of robber screens and mouse guards
    Last edited by honeyman46408; 03-17-2011 at 08:17 PM. Reason: UNQ

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Townsend, TN
    Posts
    206

    Default Re: Metal tops to hive covers, hotter or cooler?

    I was told that the metal would make them hotter, so I did an experiment..... I put two white boxes on SBB with two identical top covers with upper entrances, the only difference was one top I put metal flashing on it and the other I left plain wood......I left them out in the sun right next to each other all day and then measured the temps with my infrared thermogun. the only difference in the two hives was the metal was hotter on the outside, the inside temps were identical both inside the box and the bottom of the top cover.

    so now i put metal on all of my tops so hopefully they will last longer.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Phelps Co. Missouri USA
    Posts
    856

    Default Re: Metal tops to hive covers, hotter or cooler?

    [QUOTE=danno;630889]I use vent covers like these on all my colonies except I only make one hole about 2X4 in the middle. Also there is no need to screen these big holes.

    As I said in the post.

    That screen is so nice to set a Qt. jar of syrup on, AND all the bees stay below it !
    Take the empty jar off refill it, still no bees.
    I'll keep the screen.

    PCM

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Maricopa, AZ
    Posts
    62

    Default Re: Metal tops to hive covers, hotter or cooler?

    HipBee, I like the test, thanks for sharing the results. If it makes little difference for the temps I'll leave mine painted for now and save the hassle and expense. I might still cover a couple with metal to see how they hold up in the temps too. I also like the idea of insulation and will have to look into how I can put one together to include that too.

    It's great that everyone can share their findings, it really helps! I like the top cover with a screen idea and will have to put something together. I'm going to have to find a hole saw that will cut a hole the right size for a bottle feeder so I'll use that on the vented cover too, seems like a good way to justify what will probably be an expensive bit.

    Thanks!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Washington Co, Oregon,USA
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Metal tops to hive covers, hotter or cooler?

    Hey SWB

    An adjustable hole cutter from discounter like Harbor Freight is not much $$.

    Mine will cut to 5" dia., but you must have a drill press with hold downs for safety.

    Elsewise, a starter hole, jig saw to just under size needed, and trim to size with trim router works.

    Good luck

    Jack

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