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Discussion Starter #1
I got this idea watching a video from UoG.
I did this to nine colonies of various strengths. Some were nucs I transferred into ten frame equipment.

The telescoping covers come off without any noise and the Duck Cloth peels back without effort or noise, just like the man said. 015 (800x600).jpg 016 (800x600).jpg No bees flew up to meet me.



014.jpg I even remembered to drill the hole in the front before adding bees, well after the first one, anyway. :eek:

Alex
 

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I really wouldn't have drilled a hole in the box, it's unnecessary. There are usually enough holes in the boxes after a few years to try to keep em sealed up.
 

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This is my third season using them, I won't go back. They have to come off in the winter for feeding shims but after 3 seasons they still work well even propolized. The propolis dries out during the winter and I don't flip them as U of G does but theirs stay on all year. The only time my inner covers go on these days is when I need a bee escape. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I got mine online at Canvass ETC.

Alex
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Grins.

Have you found that they need any extra ventilation, such as a hole in the box? I have since done a few more, but I drilled a hole in the supers instead of the brood boxes to see how that works. I'm wondering if I will need to drill a hole in the top brood box when the supers come off.

NorthMaine,
Here in Ar., we are very humid, so I think the hole is necessary. Maybe Grins will share some insight as the UoG video didn't address dbl brood boxes or supers. I may need to go back for another listen if I can get my internet or computer issues solved. It has been hit or miss for a while.

Alex
 

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Talk to any yachtie friends you may know. Disposal of old sails gives those folks a real headache, and yet an old sail - even if stretched, worn-out, damaged, paint-spattered, whatever - could still gather muster for apiary use.

I've still got a few genoa's from a 40-footer tucked away somewhere, which a guy gave me gratis - and even delivered them to me with a smile on his face - as he was facing a disposal fee otherwise.
LJ
 

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The reflectix bubble wrap material works well. That is what Ian Stettler uses under migratory tops. Cuts an openable flap in them when he wants to feed. The only problem I find is that they are prone to be taken away by the wind if you dont anchor them when you pull them off. Canvas would probably be better in this respect.
 

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Grins.

Have you found that they need any extra ventilation, such as a hole in the box? I have since done a few more, but I drilled a hole in the supers instead of the brood boxes to see how that works. I'm wondering if I will need to drill a hole in the top brood box when the supers come off.

NorthMaine,
Here in Ar., we are very humid, so I think the hole is necessary. Maybe Grins will share some insight as the UoG video didn't address dbl brood boxes or supers. I may need to go back for another listen if I can get my internet or computer issues solved. It has been hit or miss for a while.

Alex
My typical set up is a 3/8" entrance at the bottom, in winter I close it down to about 2 bees width. In the summer it is open 6 to 12 inches. i drill a hole just below the finger holds in the upper brood box, wide open in the summer, in the winter I close it to 1 bee width using cardboard so they can chew it more open or propolize it shut. Here in Montana that's all the ventilation they need. I do use quilt boxes over the feeding shims in the winter, they are very effective at removing moisture.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the input. I'm thinking the hole in the upper brood box is the ticket.

Alex
 

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Alex; I have not used an upper entrance in 40 years, and my winter losses are 10% or less. You may want to try just leaving the lower entrance open or using a screened bottom board for any ventilation needed by the colony. In my area, I have never seen any damage caused by moisture to a healthy colony.
 

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With no upper ventilation of any sort you depend 100% on the bottom not getting blocked by ice, dead bees, drifted snow, or a combination. Usually colony heat will keep an air passage open around the hive but the right conditions of drifting snow and alternating freezing rain can lock them in to suffocate.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
ARBeekeeper, I have always used popsicle sticks between the inner cover and the telescoping cover in the past and it has been adequate, but with the cloth inner cover I think I need the hole in the box as I don't use screened bottom boards. I see how that would negate the need for a hole in the side of the box though.

Crofter, I don't think I could sleep on a snowy night if I didn't have an alternate source of air.

Thanks for the replies,
Alex
 

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A hole in the box just above the handhold is a pia if you don't use gloves.Drill it just below the handhold if you must,what difference does 2 in make.

I use and have used various types of inner covers; wood,plastic,feed bags,reflectrix etc depending on the situattion
.My latest complaint is when I use reflectrix on side by side double nucs and inspect on sunny days,the reflected glare blinds me and when I wear sunglasses,I can't see eggs!
I do like flexible inner covers.Less disruptive and you can peel back a corner without any smoke.
But ,living in the cold NE,all my hives get wooden inner covers with notch down and 2 in of foam for winter.

I have to laugh at how beeks can argue and discuss hive configurations when all that matters is what works for you in your location.
 

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I have never seen any damage caused by moisture to a healthy colony.
^ i think this is key! healthy robust colony that has not been disturbed in the fall such that they can properly organize their winter nest. i started using reflectix last year with no upper entrance. no losses from those colonies and very strong coming out of winter. these hives were high enough to not have the entrance blocked by snow. this year i incorporated pallets and my singles on pallets have a 7/16" hole drilled in the handhold.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks, all. These are good points to consider. I have done eight hives in this manner and am going to refrain from doing any more until after next Spring's honey flow is over. If this doesn't suit me or the bees it won't be too much of an effort to go back.

I decided to try this as a way to keep the bees from becoming agitated at the beginning of inspections. Some of them can be a little defensive.

As with most of my projects I start, I end up with, "Well, while I'm at it, this might help and what about this and if I do this I might need to do that, and on and on". It was only with measured restraint that I made myself stop at eight. Age helps in that regard.

Thanks, again,
Alex
 

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Good post, Alex.

I enjoyed reading about your approach and the good feedback / thoughts others gave you.

I'll look forward to hearing what your conclusions are after overwintering.

Russ
 
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