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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    watertown,wi.,USA
    Posts
    476

    Default Clear plexiglass inner cover. Pros and Cons??

    I have two new hives going right now and as a beginner, I need info./opinions form all you existing beekeepers. One of my hives has the standard wood inner cover with hole in the center. My other hive has a clear plexiglass inner cover with a hole in the center that I purchased from a fellow local beekeeper. The clear inner cover is really neat to have since I can view the bees while they are working and I don't disturb them. It has also discouraged black ants to roam around on top of the inner cover like on the hive with the wood inner cover. My guess is that the ants are seeing the bees and get scared off. I have a few questions/concerns for this clear inner cover.

    1. I hope that the plexiglass is strong enough to hold up a full 1 gallon plastic feeder bucket. The plexiglass might be around 3/16" thick. If the plexiglass, "bows" down toward the frames and reduces the bee space between it and the frames, do you think that bees will still be able to access the feeder? I understand this may be hard to answer without seeing the frames, cover, and feeder all in use in the hive.

    2. What do you think will happen in summer and winter if this plexiglass is used as my inner cover? I have a concern that it could get too warm/hot over the summer and affect the bees. On the other hand, might it be too cold in winter and affect the bees in a negative way over the winter months? Basically, please compare a plexiglass inner cover to that of a standard wooden inner cover.

    Also, I am very surprised that a clear inner cover is not available to purchase through any suppliers that I know of. I would think it would be a big hit with any hobby beekeeper. Maybe there is a reason why.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Otsego County, MI
    Posts
    62

    Default Re: Clear plexiglass inner cover. Pros and Cons??

    To prevent bowing, what about gluing a couple 3/8 inch dowel rods or similar to the bottom side of the plexiglass? They'd only have to be 3-4" long to fully rest on 2-3 frames for support. The bees will still be able to move around without having a big detour.

    I'd think that wood would be a better insulator than plexiglass, but if you put that foam styrofoam insulation over top of it in the winter, it probably wouldn't matter all that much. I think a plexiglass inner cover would be real neat to have. You could show off your bees to people who are curious, but not so much that they want frames pulled.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Madison, WI, USA
    Posts
    175

    Default Re: Clear plexiglass inner cover. Pros and Cons??

    Sounds like a good experiment to compare the two hives. Plexiglas will not absorb moisture so there may be more condensation on this IC than on the wood one. My hives tend to propylize everything so I am wondering what they will do with a clear cover (may not stay clear for long!). Sounds like a nice way to show others how a hive is put together and what the bees are doing without having to completely open up the hive.
    life is finite while knowledge is infinite. - Zhuang Zi

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Chickamauga, Walker County, Georgia
    Posts
    392

    Default Re: Clear plexiglass inner cover. Pros and Cons??

    Sometimes, "well, there's only one way to find out." Try it, and keep the rest of us informed.

    Opinions, as you well know, are like pocket watches: everybody has one, and none of them agree. But, all of us have experiences, good or bad or neither, and we can both relate them and relate to them. Soon you'll be able to tell us how the plexiglass worked out, and whether tossing a few dowel-rods underneath it for support turned out to be necessary or beneficial.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Laramie, Wyoming
    Posts
    53

    Default Re: Clear plexiglass inner cover. Pros and Cons??

    Dennis Murrel of BeeWrangler had some interesting hives set up with plexi covers as an experiment on moisture. You might check his blog. It's been a while since I read the threads involving his findings.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,200

    Default Re: Clear plexiglass inner cover. Pros and Cons??

    Condensation would be a con. Though I have seen them in use in Videos from Germany, so they must work alright.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Bristol,MA,USA
    Posts
    727

    Default Re: Clear plexiglass inner cover. Pros and Cons??

    White plastic inner covers have been on the market for decades. Similar to plexiglass except for its opaqueness. When they first were introduced, they would bow and then the maker introduce small knobs on ea. side of the center hole and small air vents on the sides. Used them for about 25 - 30 years, virtually indestructible - still using them. No more moisture problem than the wooden ones. Walter T. Kelley Co. has them. The ant problem is caused by excess moisture. Just raise your top cover and cock it on the front edge of the inner cover and the ants will magically disappear. You might also push your inner cover back to about an 1/4 in. opening at the top and use the cocked top cover to protect the opening from the rain. OMTCW

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Ashe, N.C. USA
    Posts
    64

    Default Re: Clear plexiglass inner cover. Pros and Cons??

    I bought them for my 3 hives this summer and they worked well, but when I use the top feeder the condensation is terrible....if I cock the outer cover to circulate more air the insects get in, so I laid black vinyl screen over the hole I am switching to the wooden inner cover for winter, I think they will be warmer....

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,299

    Default Re: Clear plexiglass inner cover. Pros and Cons??

    I made my own plexi inner covers and have been using them for years, no moisture problems spring, summer, and fall. During winter I use a 1/2" vent at the top of the hive and foam board above the plexi, I have seen slight moisture form around the edges but not enough to drip. I really enjoy frequently looking in on my bees without opening the hive although I do the normal inspections as well. Plexi is a bit expensive but if you have just a few hives it is worth the cost, by the way the only place I have ever seen the bees propylize is around the edges to seal the hive, and this can be easily scraped off.
    Bill...in Southeast Ohio

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,071

    Default Re: Clear Plexiglas inner cover. Pros and Cons??

    As long as there is enough circulation in the hive to reduce moisture levels and prevent condensation dripping onto the cluster, most any material will do for an inner cover. For a long winter though, that ventilation is even more important as the bees use their honey stores -remember honey is usually 18% moisture.

    Once, my son's fourth grade class trooped the block from school to my house to see the bee hive. I placed glass on the top of the second super, blocked the entrance, and the kids filed by for a long look see. Was a real hit with everyone.

    WRT the Plexiglas drooping, just put a shim between the top of the frames and the bottom of the Plexiglas to hold the weight.
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,898

    Default Re: Clear plexiglass inner cover. Pros and Cons??

    i have several and see no difference from wood or masonite. They stay flat better.
    Please note the olive drab paint which Barry and Charlie B don't know promotes production of bumper crops.


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,383

    Default Re: Clear plexiglass inner cover. Pros and Cons??

    I would think that the biggest con, would be how much more expensive plexiglass is than wood or luan plywood.

    odfrank,
    Looks more like a shade of gray, than olive drab.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Ashe, N.C. USA
    Posts
    64

    Default Re: Clear plexiglass inner cover. Pros and Cons??

    Thanks Bill,
    I did get some half inch insulation board to do just that, do you cut it to fit inside the outer cover top, or the exact same size as the inner cover? I do enjoy looking at the girls through the glass

    JJ

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Belpre,Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,299

    Default Re: Clear plexiglass inner cover. Pros and Cons??

    chickenia,
    I have done it both ways, if you cut it to be a snug fit inside the outer cover and you will be able to leave it in the cover year around, the insulation will reflect the suns heat during summer as well as insulate during winter thus helping to prevent condensation. If you cut it to the size of the plexiglas then it will end up being something else that you have to handle during inspections .
    Bill...in Southeast Ohio

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Ashe, N.C. USA
    Posts
    64

    Default Re: Clear plexiglass inner cover. Pros and Cons??

    Thanks so much Bill, I will do that today and fit it inside the outer cover

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