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I'm half-way through building my first top bar hive, and here's a dilemma.

If the roof fits fairly tightly around the top of the box, how do the bees get out? -- the bees that come up between the bars as you go through?

Do you brush the bees off the top before closing the lid? Or is there a way for them to get out, later?

Most designs, if they have a roof, show that area closed off. Little ventilator caps from True Value hardware, etc. If it's open, maybe the bees would move into the attic? One guy with an open roof talks about having to clear out wasps that move into that area. It seems like this would be a common problem, but I haven't seen it discussed yet.
 

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I guess you have to brush the bees off the top-bars before putting the flat roof (aka 'a piece of plywood' - in one of the photos) back on.

My location is in full sun for most of the day. The bees in my Langstroths love it, get out early in the day, but I guess I'd like some space so the sun's heat doesn't transfer down into the hive.
 

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There is no perfect solution. If you make a peaked roof and make provisions to allow bees to escape, then presumably other critters can get in the same hole.

You could always add a sun shield to a flat roof - a second piece of wood is one option.
 

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I always scavange plastic cardboard political signs after an election (with permission from mostly winning candidates;) ). I use pieces of that cut to fit over my hives. Then i use plywood, or any other scrap lumber, then rocks or brick to hold it down. The lumber distributes the weight to minimize cell crushing in the plastic cardboard, which provides waterproof insulation for the roof. When placing it on the bars, I slide it across the bars to dislodge any bees, who quickly move. Got that advice from McCartney Taylor. I also use it as the roof over the top bars in my swarm traps stapled to the front and back of the trap. Keeps the bars down and the rain out.
 

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I have a completely open peaked roof. Wasps built inside my hive in the 2 days that the hive was outside before the install. Wasps are building all over our house, deck and eves but since the bees have moved into the hive they have steered clear of it and the roof.
 

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>If the roof fits fairly tightly around the top of the box, how do the bees get out? -- the bees that come up between the bars as you go through?

Mine is just flat and is not tight. That would be my preference.

>Do you brush the bees off the top before closing the lid? Or is there a way for them to get out, later?

My cover is actually a warped piece of 3/4" plywood. If it wasn't warped I'd put a one by under each end to make an airspace. But since it is warped there is already a space and the bees can just leave.

>Most designs, if they have a roof, show that area closed off. Little ventilator caps from True Value hardware, etc. If it's open, maybe the bees would move into the attic?

In my experience the paper wasps and mud daubers move into the attic...

>One guy with an open roof talks about having to clear out wasps that move into that area.

Exactly.

>It seems like this would be a common problem, but I haven't seen it discussed yet.

If it's not big enough, the wasps won't move in.

>I guess you have to brush the bees off the top-bars before putting the flat roof (aka 'a piece of plywood' - in one of the photos) back on.

Not if it has spacers on the ends to hold it off of the top bars.

>My location is in full sun for most of the day. The bees in my Langstroths love it, get out early in the day, but I guess I'd like some space so the sun's heat doesn't transfer down into the hive.

Exactly. And you can have that with a flat cover. You just need a spacer on each end.
 
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