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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm just starting out this year and am trying to decide whether or not to put metal covers on my cypress telescoping top covers. Since heat rises wouldn't the metal be more of a negative than positive here in the South where humid summer nights range in the mid 70's, both in temps and humidity, and the winters are mild? I would think a metal top would increase the heat load in a hive in the summer rather than act as a neutral agent. I can see it in areas where it snows, but what are the advantages of using them in hot and humid climates? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated :).
 

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Metal covers are good. They make your hives last longer, keep them dryer and improve the thermal efficiency in both hot and cold weather.
 

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I agree with David, the metal will make the cover last longer. Water tends to sit on horizontal surfaces, and that is not good for wood.
I visited the FatbeeMan last week and there not a single hive with a metal roof, so take it for what it's worth it was one of the nuggets that he passed on to me.
No inner covers and uses painted commercial style tops.
 

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If you are going to go through the trouble of making a telescoping cover you might as well put a piece of metal on top to protect it. If not just use a regular migratory top. The metal is jut to help keep the moisture out.
 

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Actually, the metal will reduce the heat load in the hive. A metal roof on your house, any type, will lower your attic temperature about 30 degrees in the summer.

This is because while the metal gets hot, it does so because it absorbs the infared radiation or reflects it, unlike wood which is much more transparent to IR than metal.

A metal covered telescoping cover, kept painted where there is exposed wood, should last at least 50 year, possibly much longer.

Peter
 

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I'm now just using Advantech as a combination top cover and solid bb. Cut to hive body size. On one side, 3/4x 3/4" spacer all around except for 3" opening in the front. On the flip side and opposite the side with the opening, I glue shims as Michael Bush has shown. No inner cover. Works great & I can always get small Advantech pieces from the builders in the area free of charge. One piece of wood, dual purpose.
 

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I know nothing really, but in my brain the idea of reflective metal is a good thing on a hot summer day. I have understood that non-reflective surfaces obsorb and hold heat more than reflective; like the color "white" does not get as hot as the color "black" in the hot summer sun. Of course the material makes a difference as well. Although metal gets warm faster, it also cools faster; possibly a good thing on summer nights. Yet, a limited sunny day in the winter may just quickly heat the metal enough to provide some warmth; although relfective, faster than wood. There may not be enough time for wood to obsorb the heat. Somewhere, there has to be a study about heat properties of materials. It would be great to know the facts behind this. Any science buffs out there?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you all. I especially appreciated what psfred said about infrared heat and bee whisperer said about reflective metal. Both explanations made a great deal of sense. But, more importantly, no one gave a specific reason why not to use them in hot and humid climates (unless maybe you're a commercial beek and want to keep your expenses down). I guess it's time to go buy some sheet metal!
 

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Aluminum trim coil is what you are looking for 2'x50'. Usually runs about 80.00. Should make roughly 25 covers.
That makes a very nice cover. It comes already painted and looks great. If you want to save some money you can get it for about half the price unpainted ask for flashing or valley roll.
 

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You may be correct, Ross, as I've heard that in the south most beeks use migratory covers whereas in the north most use telescoping covers due to the moisture issues and cold. Having said that, my mentor uses telescoping covers (running roughly 35 hives this year and has been up to around 55...he's 80 yo and beginning to downsize ;) ). His best friend is ~84 and also used inner covers...he's been beekeeping since he was six years old. Naturally, I'm using telescoping covers but I do have a few migratory covers in the mix. I guess there are pockets of both types of covers scattered through both the north and south with each region having it's more popularly used type.

For a commercial or a large sidleiner beekeeping operation I would have to say that telescoping covers would be very problematical. A hobbiest, though, has the pleasure of smaller requirements in terms of quantities.

To the OP...if you're using telescoping covers then I would definitely use metal on them...with a very minimal amount of upkeep and care they'l last your lifetime.

Last year was my first summer (I got my first bees in the winter before that). I have my hives in full, all-day-long sun and was worried about the heat. I was actually more concerned with sun hitting the sides of the hive. I ended up cutting some heavy cardboard sheets that were roughly 12-16 inches bigger than the tops. I sat these on top of my telescoping covers and weighted them down. Except for early in the morning, most of the sides of the hives had some shade cast on them. After a few rains the overhangs would droop and flop in the wind, which was fine as the flopping helped keep them from becoming sails in high winds. Anyhow, it might've been overkill by this newbee and it might not have made a difference to the bees but it made me feel better. :D

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I have my hives in full, all-day-long sun and was worried about the heat. I was actually more concerned with sun hitting the sides of the hive.
I also had the same concern and built a 5' fence on the west side behind my hives to not only block the afternoon sun, but shield them from the 60 mph squall lines that periodically come blasting through here. But then I thought about the winter time and with some hinges and a couple more 2 x 4s, I cut the fence horizontally in half so I could drop it down in the winter to allow the hives full sun access. I definitely need to get my NUCs so I can quit theorizing and get on with learning the realities of raising bees.
 
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