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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was considering a canvas tarp piece for an inner cover.

I also consider making some screened inner covers because it gets very hot here in summer. Is there a general rule on room to be left at the top for an inner cover.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Bill, inner covers can be made from a lot of things. Plastic sheeting, reflectix, old seed bags, etc. Kamon is near you and uses reflectix which sits directly on the topbars of the frames. A screened inner cover should not be necessary in TN.
 

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I've never quite understood the "cloth" inner covers. Proof I need to do more research.

I've always steered toward wooden inner covers with a 1/4" gap that allows me to fit pollen patties, etc., without having to "smoosh" things down. Maybe someone with experience on both can point out the pros and cons of each style. I'd imagine a cloth inner cover with a migratory top would save on some costs?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I checked Kamon lives in the hills in East Tennessee. Here it hits 100 degrees sometimes I worry they might over heat. What’s the max temp inside a hive?
 

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In summer I use a canvas cloth. When I’m feeding I either put on a shim and the cloth or use one of the wooden inner covers I do have I late winter to provide an upper entrance/exit. Shrug. It’s basically cheaper than buying wooden inner covers.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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The bees are VERY good at maintaining a temperature of right at 93 degrees F in the broodnest. Temps in other areas of the hive my get into the low 100's. We regularly get 100 degree+ days here in Richmond during the summer. The bees appreciate the screened bottom board without the insert during these months as evidenced by very little bearding. I have never used a screened inner cover, but if you had a solid bottom board, it might be a good choice in lieu of a upper entrance.
 

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I had wooden (standard) inner covers and replaced the center 1/8th ply with plexiglass on about half of my colonies. It's nice to be able to pull the outer cover and be able see what's going on in the top of the hive without disturbing the bees. I drilled a couple of 1" holes in the plexiglass and covered them with screen for vents, but the bees quickly propolized them shut. Going into my second year with them and no trouble whatsoever. I'll plan to covert a few more. (y)
 

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I had wooden (standard) inner covers and replaced the center 1/8th ply with plexiglass on about half of my colonies. It's nice to be able to pull the outer cover and be able see what's going on in the top of the hive without disturbing the bees. I drilled a couple of 1" holes in the plexiglass and covered them with screen for vents, but the bees quickly propolized them shut. Going into my second year with them and no trouble whatsoever. I'll plan to covert a few more. (y)
I was recently gifted some old 8 frame boxes with observation windows on either side. I've sanded, sanded and sanded some more followed up with sealant and trim to make some beautiful hives.

Only thing missing was this idea!

Do you take existing covers and swap the wood for plexi or build your own plexi covers from scratch?
 

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The purpose of inner covers is to keep the real cover especially telescoping ones from being glued to the tops of the frames! A secondary application allows room for a pollen pattie in some styles. Feed bags, reflectix or just plain anything that serves all serve the purpose. My major concern is to seal the gap left everytime the cover is pulled so my bees do not get chilled. Far too many people have the idea that bees need ventilation that they cannot easily control! Bees choose a cavity with ONE SMALLISH entrance/ventilation port for a reason. You are not smarter than mother nature.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I think I’ll go with the tarp. I have a screened bottom board so they should be ok. I was surprised to find 95 is a good temperature.
 

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@Bill Dickerson -- If you use cloth inner covers or similar material please do watch out for SHB. I changed to canvas ones because of the ease and also I can open just the frames I need to work with, but last year SHB took a boom out of that. In my experience it provides more places for SHB to lay eggs and hide when compared to standard inner covers. I tried two years and if the weather is not too hot (more wet weather) SHB is a problem in my area - Middle Tennessee. So this year I removed all of them - some with standard inner covers and some with none. As long as you don't have SHB problem either material will work. Thx
 

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I was recently gifted some old 8 frame boxes with observation windows on either side. I've sanded, sanded and sanded some more followed up with sealant and trim to make some beautiful hives.

Only thing missing was this idea!

Do you take existing covers and swap the wood for plexi or build your own plexi covers from scratch?


I've done it both ways....reworked some and built my own from scratch.

During the winter I have 3" feed rims on above the frames plus the plexi. It allows me to check sugar bricks on all but the coldest days. However, it also gives the girls room to build a bit of comb from the plexi that needs to be scraped off when the feed rim is removed.
 

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My climate is a mild one. I was frustrated with how long it took for the bees to dry nectar before pulling honey so I had an idea on how to speed up the process. It was a large hive. I thought with a screened bottom board and a screened inner cover there would be maximum air flow and dry the nectar faster. Apparently it was too much air or too much light because they propilized part of the inner screen shut.
 

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I checked Kamon lives in the hills in East Tennessee. Here it hits 100 degrees sometimes I worry they might over heat. What’s the max temp inside a hive?
Actually he lives in Middle Tennessee unless I am mistaken. I am in East Tennessee myself and it gets pretty hot here with several days over 100. I use solid bottom boards and no other ventilation other than a notched inner cover. The bees beard some in the summer but I have yet to see proof that this is a bad thing.
 

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My climate is a mild one. I was frustrated with how long it took for the bees to dry nectar before pulling honey so I had an idea on how to speed up the process. It was a large hive. I thought with a screened bottom board and a screened inner cover there would be maximum air flow and dry the nectar faster. Apparently it was too much air or too much light because they propilized part of the inner screen shut.
I leave my quilt boxes on year round and they also partially propolize them. I have left them alone so far because I assume the bees know what they are doing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It was mild this year but some years it’s bad for a few weeks.

From what I’m hearing the bees don’t need my help. I thought temps inside the hive above 90 might be an issue. I did some reading and they like it at 95.

I do worry about the bees not having room to move over the top of the frames if I use a tarp. Is that an issue?
 

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It was mild this year but some years it’s bad for a few weeks.

From what I’m hearing the bees don’t need my help. I thought temps inside the hive above 90 might be an issue. I did some reading and they like it at 95.

I do worry about the bees not having room to move over the top of the frames if I use a tarp. Is that an issue?
There area millions of hives with migratory covers; no crawl space there. I have a notion that for wintering in cold climates it might be an advantage to have cross over space. If you look at Scott Hendricks Youtube web site he drills an inch and a half hole dead center of each foundation sheet.

A lot of people top their winter colonies with an inch and a half lift ring that gives space for top feed of dry sugar or pollen patties and that would give cross over between frames.
I dont remember seeing the value being argued to a firm conclusion.
 

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I do worry about the bees not having room to move over the top of the frames if I use a tarp. Is that an issue?
When I tried soft covers myself a while back, using clear polythene (ex polytunnel /hoop-tunnel covers) I found that they lifted the polythene up and crawled underneath it. To make life easier for themselves, they laid-down ribs of a wax/propolis mix which held the polythene sheet up, creating 'crawl-tunnels' in the process. By doing this the polythene became badly distorted and, over time, unusable. The same problem wouldn't occur if using a fabric.
I mentioned this to Greg, who suggested placing thin sticks/battens across the frame top-bars, at right angles to them - especially towards the centre - to create a crawl space. This is a well-known technique in some parts of Russia/Ukraine, and indeed I've since seen several videos where this is done. Works a treat, especially if using a heavy material as a cover.
'best,
LJ
 

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LJ;
Do you think communication throughout or over the frame tops is a measurable benefit? The old analogy of a hollow tree would see the comb with no top communication, but natural comb seems to have lots of passages here and there and perhaps not complete side attachment. Plastic foundation limits their ability to create them. I think some of the historic beekeepers made deliberate passages comb to comb as part of winter preps. I wonder how much there really is in it?
 
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