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Thread: Migratory tops

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Cedar Grove, WI
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    45

    Default Migratory tops

    Does anyone use these exclusively? I am thinking about going that route to save some money. Pros vs Cons?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    brownwood, TX, USA
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    824

    Default Re: Migratory tops

    Quote Originally Posted by jdesq View Post
    Does anyone use these exclusively? I am thinking about going that route to save some money. Pros vs Cons?
    I think this is what Michael Bush uses on his top entry hives. I'm a new beekeeper of one year, but I like the thought of migratory covers for hive tops.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Tallahassee, Florida
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Migratory tops

    Pretty much every hive I have seen in North Florida uses migratory covers exclusively. The general consensus is that inner covers and telescoping tops provide more places for small hive beetles to hide and shouldn't be used.

    Pros
    1. Easy to drill a hole and install external feed jars that can be monitored from a distance by sight, but which are accessible only from the interior of the hive unlike boardman feeders.
    2. Less space for hive beetle to hide.
    3. Cheaper.

    Cons: Im sure there are some.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Spicewood, TX, USA
    Posts
    375

    Default Re: Migratory tops

    I started using them this year. All my new 8 frame hives will have them. On the hives that I installed 4 new packages this year, I cut 1-1/4" holes in the cover. I am using 2 gal paint buckets on top, for feeders. The two gal buckets are much heavier than the smaller sizes. The bees can come up through the hole and move around under the buckets lid, but they can't get out and other bees can't get in. You can see the syrup level through the bucket. Mann Lake sells 1-1/4" plastic push in plugs for $0.15 each. I can't take credit for this idea, since I read about it here on this forum.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Alabaster, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    209

    Default Re: Migratory tops

    I'm going to them exclusively for the reasons smoore & Risky Beesness listed. Primarily ease of feeding, less equipment, and cheaper cost. You can put a barrier between the tops of the frames and the cover to keep them from gluing the frames to the top. I just haven't worked out what I will be using for that yet.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,492

    Default Re: Migratory tops

    The down side is less resistance to water getting into the hives, less insulation value in the winter, and less protection from the heat in the summer. These may or may not be a problem for you.

    They will also not last as long unless you cover them with metal (aluminum flashing works well, as it does for telescoping covers).

    Cheaper, easier, allows solid palleting, don't last as long, less protection. Your choice.

    Peter

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,104

    Default Re: Migratory tops

    I make my own and they are even simpler than a typical one:
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beestopentrance.htm#make

    Yes, that's pretty much all I have except a few telescopics and inner covers left over from before I converted to these and then expanded with these.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    San Mateo, Ca, USA
    Posts
    408

    Default Re: Migratory tops

    Migratory covers are also easy to make yourself with spare lumber and plywood and without precise saws

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,016

    Default Re: Migratory tops

    Michaels' look like some of my bottom boardss, which I no longer use being palletized. My covers are simply a piece of plywood the size of the top of the box. Not propped up or spaced by shims.

    Many migratory covers I have seen on other beekeepers commercially run hives are made from shiplapped boards w/ a cleat front and back and shims on the long sides allowing extra space under the cover for pollen pattys. Sometimes they are more elaborate and are built using plywood or concrete form board material w/ a layer of foam insulation board sandwiched between plywood. Those covers seem to be tighter allowing less rain water into the hives and into the inside feeders.

    Any cover will do. I have seen many things used to cover hives. Fiberglass STOP Signs, etc.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
    Posts
    1,066

    Default Re: Migratory tops

    I made a handful of migratory feeding covers using Advantec flooring this spring. It doesn't need paint, won't absorb water, cuts wonderfully and is perfectly flat. Heavy enough to not need a stone unless you have a hurricane. Highly recommend this material for top covers.
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    6,912

    Default Re: Migratory tops

    Some of the disadvantages listed ignore the fact that feeder covers or inner covers are "legal" under migratory covers, covers can be made with a layer of insulation between wood, migratory covers can be constructed or covered with the same materials as telecscoping, and most bees propolize the cover sealing it down and from water intrusion. HDO and MDO go by many brand names. Either material is thick enough, stable enough, and weather resiistant enough to last a long time.
    In dealing with suppliers it would be best to get the names right - a migratory cover is solid, a feeder cover has a hole in the middle (sometimes 2 or 3smaller holes offset in queen castles)
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    brownwood, TX, USA
    Posts
    824

    Default Re: Migratory tops

    If one used a migratory hive top and shimmed it for a top entry, ala Michael Bush, could you still use a boardman feeder on the lower most hive? If so, the bottom entry could be closed except for the boardman feeder, and it would greatly reduce the risk of robbing. I don't like the thought of having fluids above the bees. Really, I don't like the thought of feeding, but it can become necessary.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Limestone Co, Alabama
    Posts
    1,674

    Default Re: Migratory tops

    I haven't tried it, but would a used corrugated piece of plastic (old political signs) glued, stapled or nailed on top of your MT create a good heat and moisture barrier?
    Scrapfe---Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.--Otto von Bismarck.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,104

    Default Re: Migratory tops

    >could you still use a boardman feeder on the lower most hive?

    That depends on how bee tight the boardman is. Most of the ones I've seen lately are open on the bottom and do not seal up well at all. The old ones that were a metal top and bottom were pretty well sealed.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Arlee MT USA
    Posts
    548

    Default Re: Migratory tops

    That depends on how bee tight the boardman is. Most of the ones I've seen lately are open on the bottom and do not seal up well at all. The old ones that were a metal top and bottom were pretty well sealed.
    Strange, I've never seen one that wasn't totally sealed from the outside. No wonder they have a bad rep for robbing if thats how some people make them. I've also wondered about using a top entrance and and board man feeder, its seems like the best of both worlds to me.

    But as to covers, I never saw a telescopic cover until I started looking at bees online. All the hives around me are migratory covers and have been so for many years. Didn't see screened bottom board either until I got online. At least the SBB seems to have a theory behind it, telescope covers just seem like a really expensive way to do a simple thing to me, and frankly, I think migratory covers look better.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,492

    Default Re: Migratory tops

    I'd never heard of a migratory cover until I started reading about bees, just the opposite. My grandpa's hives all had telescoping covers, and they are typical here.

    Peter

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Arlee MT USA
    Posts
    548

    Default Re: Migratory tops

    I'm always surprised by how region specific bee keeping is.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Issaquah,WA,USA
    Posts
    2,381

    Default Re: Migratory tops

    I can crank out a dozen migratory covers in a hour. So I go with them.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    San Jose, Ca
    Posts
    372

    Default Re: Migratory tops

    I saw them on all my mentors hives so I started making them also. I also make my own SBBs. I make the bottom have a 1" opening and have the top almost like Bush's except I also have a landing strip in the front. I don't really like the landing strip because when I put it back on I crush a few bees that are bearding over. I have a bottom entrance because I use a queen excluder and that is the only way that the drones can get out.
    Disclaimer: I know enough to know I don't know anything yet.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    191

    Default Re: Migratory tops

    I just made my first migratory tops using the brilliant Dan Coates nuc design. I simply doubled the width to make a couple deeps as well. With the outside cleats front and back under the migratory cover, and a slight 3/4" overhang on all 4 sides, will I still have to put a brick on top? I admit I hate all of the expense and weight of the telescoping tops, while still having to put a brick on top. They're just plain ugly.

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