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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Jackson, Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    35

    Default ventilated inner cover questions

    I'm building a few new hives for this year and am working my way now to the top of the hive.

    First off, I overwintered 3 hives that I started from packages last spring. I live in Wisconsin where summer is considered 3 months of bad sledding weather. My hives all have SBB left wide open all winter long, 2 deeps, traditional inner cover and telescopic cover. So, by no means am I an expert on bee keeping.

    I'm considering making some of these ventilated inner covers that Honey Run Apiaries sells. Here is the link to their plan set:
    http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/plan...ason_inner.pdf
    They do look a little over-enginneered but who doesnt want to build the better mouse trap?

    My questions are:
    1) In the summer, take out the foam insulation and screen for bees to acess the dead space above the inner cover - won't the bees fill that area with comb? That'd be quite the mess! Also looks like a big space for SHB, ants and earwigs to live.

    2) In the fall/winter, adding the foam insualtion -doesnt this block all the holes that are drilled in the sides for cross ventilation plus the big hole in the middle?

    3) If I use the KISS principle and build the "standard" inner cover, why make that large opening in the middle of the inner cover? Why not make a few smaller holes at the front and back of the inner cover? I use a hive top feeder so I take my inner covers off when feeding sugar water. I'd guess that in winter, as the heat rises and condenses on the telescopic cover, it could drip back down into the center of the hive through that large hole. Then again, I had success with the way it is.

    This winter I did notice icecicles on the inside front of my hives when peeking in through the bottom entrance. So maybe things are working just fine and the condensation is running to the front and down the insides of the deeps.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Baker Oregon
    Posts
    2,373

    Default Re: ventilated inner cover questions

    Also new, but I ran some of these for the first time this winter. I loved them, when I expand to 6 hives this spring they are all getting one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bucksnort View Post
    My questions are:
    1) In the summer, take out the foam insulation and screen for bees to acess the dead space above the inner cover - won't the bees fill that area with comb? That'd be quite the mess! Also looks like a big space for SHB, ants and earwigs to live.
    Sorry not sure. This summer will tell. But I don't think that they will fill it with comb.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bucksnort View Post
    2) In the fall/winter, adding the foam insualtion -doesnt this block all the holes that are drilled in the sides for cross ventilation plus the big hole in the middle?
    Yes. However the moisture will vent out the top entrance.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bucksnort View Post
    3) I'd guess that in winter, as the heat rises and condenses on the telescopic cover, it could drip back down into the center of the hive through that large hole. Then again, I had success with the way it is.
    No. If you place the foam it is insulated and will not condense enough to drip back into the cluster. The moisture moves with the warm air out of the hive through the upper entrance.

    Good luck
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 9 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, North Carolina
    Posts
    2,724

    Default Re: ventilated inner cover questions

    I'm fairly new to these as well. Got my first as an experiment. If it works well this summer and next winter, I'll be building a few more. If not, I'll probably try again to make sure it wasn't human error.

    won't the bees fill that area with comb?
    It kinda becomes like your attic. It wicks heat up to the top, allowing the bees a better use of their internal temps, just like your attic works.

    I guess the easiest way to answer your question is to flip it around, why don't you fill up your attic with living space? You could fit a couch up there, but why would you? If you have enough space down below, there really isn't much of a reason to. However, if you live in a 100 square foot house with a 100 square foot attic, you might run out of space and "renovate" the attic into a second story. Same works for the bees.


    2) In the fall/winter, adding the foam insualtion -doesnt this block all the holes that are drilled in the sides for cross ventilation plus the big hole in the middle?
    Yeah, but that's the point. You want to make sure ALL the heat doesn't escape, but the moisture does. It generally accomplishes the goal.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Columbia county, New York, USA
    Posts
    1,535

    Default Re: ventilated inner cover questions

    Even with the foam mostly covering the screened side ventilation holes in the winter (like it's supposed to do, you wouldn't want freezing winter winds blowing freely through the top), they still have the little front entrance/ventilation hole, so ventilation is fine.
    I keep the oval 'inner cover central hole' screened so the bees can't even enter the inner cover air space. I don't use the center hole for feeding anyway. HoneyRun even provides a little piece of #8 screen to do this if you like.
    Last edited by Omie; 04-06-2011 at 12:43 PM.
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Jackson, Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: ventilated inner cover questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Bucksnort View Post
    won't the bees fill that area with comb? That'd be quite the mess!
    The reason that I thought this is from my limited experieince with my hive top feeders from Mann Lake where the bees built comb in the area that violated bee space:
    http://www.mannlakeltd.com/ProductDe...?idproduct=487

    Even though the bees has plenty of room in the hive, they liked to build comb up the center of that hive top feeder but that is a taller area that the vented inner cover would have and possibly more tempting for the industious bees with a supply of sugar water only a few inches away.

    Makes sense too on closing up the vent holes in winter and I forgot to notice the top entrance is not blocked so winter heat along with the moisture will vent out of it.

    Seems like the replies so far have been positive on this vented innner cover. Since it's still cold and rainy here, I have the time to build these and the scrap lumber too, I'll make some and give them a try. Hopefully I can give some feedback on them in the future then to the next guy.

    More comments are welcome.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Baker Oregon
    Posts
    2,373

    Default Re: ventilated inner cover questions

    One modification, I cut one end to take a standard entrance reducer, instead of a fixed 2 inch opening.
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 9 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, North Carolina
    Posts
    2,724

    Default Re: ventilated inner cover questions

    I havn't had any issues with a 2" opening, but I can understand the need for slightly larger. I don't think I'd go far enough to say that you should let a standard entrance reducer fit though. Seems somewhat excessive.

    To each their own though. Maybe it would work better in the long run.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Columbia county, New York, USA
    Posts
    1,535

    Default Re: ventilated inner cover questions

    I cut my openings just 1/2" wider than they already were. With a hacksaw and a chisel & hammer it was easy.
    During the worst part of winter I made a little paper towel plug and reduced the top entrance to about 1 1/4" wide. Once Spring arrived I removed the plug and tossed it. Low tech rules!
    I still have the foam insert in however, since we are still having highs of 40's and lows occasionally dipping in the 20's. I'll probably take it out in another week when temps hit daytime 60F often.
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Bedford, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    103

    Default Re: ventilated inner cover questions

    Dadant makes a nice screened top cover that just sits on top unter the telescoping cover and already has vent spaces built in.

    I got a handful a while back, and while I am somewhat new, yet old, at this, it's basic engineering seemed logical and it is highly functional.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Jackson, Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: ventilated inner cover questions

    I made 4 of these vented covers per plans from Honey Run Apiaries this weekend. Very labor intensive drilling 14 angled, 1" vent holes in each cover but it was raining/snowing here so I had nothing better to. I built them from the door jambs I saved from my house remodel 10 years ago.

    ***Plan correction*** The width dimension listed on the plan that I linked in the original post is 16 1/2" and it should be 16 1/4". I now have 4 ventilated inner covers that are a touch too wide but I'm sure the bees wont mind. I guess I will need to make 4 telescopic covers 1/4" larger now to fit these.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lyons, CO
    Posts
    3,033

    Default Re: ventilated inner cover questions

    I made a few of these and use them on EVERY colony that doesn't have a screened bottom board. They're also great for combining colonies if it's hot... it'll help keep the top colony cool until the newspaper is removed. I accidentally left one of these boxes on a open screened bottom board colony ALL this winter and it was the strongest in the yard come spring... truly it's difficult to overventilate. More typically in the winter I'll put shredded paper in the Tarheit box (as I call them, after Tim's BeeSource handle some years back). The paper absorbs moisture while reducing wind and providing some insulation, but allowing gradual air exchange. During the summer it's wide open. I'll find the occasional bee patrolling up there, but if you respect bee space top bars to the bottom surface of the Tarheit box, I've never yet had any comb building in the box itself (even if I do baggie or jar feeders up there).

    They're a great management tool and I love them. But as I switched to screened bottom boards, I use the Tarheit boxes only on old-style solid bottom board colonies and love them there (the bees seem to agree).
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Spencer, MA, USA
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: ventilated inner cover questions

    Check out my website at www.beesbatsandbeyond.com

    I got most of my ideas and plans from this website. I live in Massachusetts and have been using screened bottom boards and ventilated inner covers since 2008. Since then I have not had a problem with moisture retention, bees plugging up the screens with propolis or chilling the hive.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Columbia county, New York, USA
    Posts
    1,535

    Default Re: ventilated inner cover questions

    Gaucho, do you leave your screen bottom boards wide open all winter?
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    piedmont s.c.
    Posts
    244

    Default Re: ventilated inner cover questions

    I use a screen on the top just like a window screen on your house, but I dont use a open screen on the bottom.I run this year round and the bees are fine .The top cover has 1/4"space between the outer cover and screen. with the upper and lower screen the bees get to much wind through them here in s.c. ,so you northern beek cant use both in thr winter. good luck rock.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Springfield, MO. USA
    Posts
    284

    Default Re: ventilated inner cover questions

    I'm considering a screened inner cover for ventilation with window screen as well. Although I'm also considering changing to a top entrance, therefore not needing a screened inner cover. If I did make a screened inner cover, I would probally just use aluminum framing and plastic corners made for splining screen just like the screens in your windows. You'd still have to shim your top cover if you went with standard screening corners. Or, you can go to a window supply company to get the plastic corners that have the positive stop tabs built in and they would raise the top cover about 1/8" all the way around.

    Later, John

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