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Author Topic: Alternative inner covers.  (Read 350 times)

Offline Bob Wilson

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Alternative inner covers.
« on: April 26, 2020, 06:06:14 pm »
I am about to build a third long langstroth hive. I want to use a thin sheet of plywood on top (less weight and awkwardness). That means when I take off the top cover, I don't want to expose all 4 feet of frames, so I am thinking of using four, soft  inner covers, end to end across the expanse, which I can remove one section at a time. Questions...
1. Should I use pieces of canvas or the thin, flexible sheets of foil insulation? I see both being used.
2. Will the soft inner cover, laying on top of the frames, mess up bee space movement on top of the frames and air flow inside the hive?

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Alternative inner covers.
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2020, 06:18:48 pm »
Bob,
Bees prefer one main opening. If the top is not air tight the bees will probably seal up any openings so the tighter they fit, the better. Why not just cut a piece of plywood into four pieces and put a solid piece for a cover. The top could be made of any material that would hold up against the weather.
Jim Altmiller

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Re: Alternative inner covers.
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2020, 06:32:50 pm »
I have three or four pieces of 1/4 plywood as my inner covers.  I have a hinged top cover over that.  The soft cover might work but I think the bees will propolise it to the frames.  I have no experience with soft covers.

Offline Bob Wilson

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Re: Alternative inner covers.
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2020, 06:52:36 pm »
I just did a few searches through past forum threads. Lots of info there.
JIM. I used 4 square plywood pieces, end to end as migratory tops as of now, with a thick sheet of plastic for rain, and bricks for weight. The 4 tops get propolised down, which is good, but also between the ends.. it seems like there are always gaps developing between the tops. Thats OK with the plastic over cover, but I worry about beetles entering. I wondered if a single board over all, and canvas inner covers would be more beetle proof. People use canvas all the time on standard hives. Does that sacrifice air tightness?
CAO. I always read your long lang comments with attention.

Offline Kwalt

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Re: Alternative inner covers.
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2020, 09:23:16 pm »
Bob,

I use a a bunch of narrow 1x covers. They?re probably around 3 inches wide. There is bee space under the covers. I have a hinged cover over the top of that but I don?t see why a piece of plywood or sheet metal over the top of the inner covers and a big rock or two to hold it down wouldn?t work. 

The narrow covers seem to work. I pop out a couple and work my way through covering them back up as I go. The smaller plywood like you use could work the same way. Just slide them back as far as you need.

As far as bee space on top of the frames, it?s probably not necessary.  The top bar hives I have seen don?t have it. The top bars touch.  My Layens hives are the same way.

This is a picture of the small inner covers on my long Langstroth.




I bet the bees will bee fine no matter what you choose.

Kevin


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Re: Alternative inner covers.
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2020, 09:28:21 pm »
If you are worried about beetles getting in, there is one hole that I know they are getting in and you can't close that one. :wink:

I wouldn't worry about little cracks as long as your top cover keeps the rain out.

Offline Acebird

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Re: Alternative inner covers.
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2020, 09:10:44 am »
You can use sheets of plastic under your cover.  Because it is a long hive you can shoot staples in the top bars to create bee space.
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Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Alternative inner covers.
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2020, 02:23:14 am »
Kwalt, what do you do for beetle control, if anything?
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline Kwalt

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Re: Alternative inner covers.
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2020, 10:37:44 am »
I have hive beetles. But only once were they a problem and that was in a weak hive, my error. The bees are pretty aggressive at keeping them cornered and even balling them up and removing from the outside of the hive as they try to get in. 

One year I tried the beetle blaster things that go between the frames. It killed beetles but it was a nuisance. I was clumsy at handling them and spilled oil from from them on a regular basis and killed bees.

The entrance to my long hives is about 1/2? x 6? long. I run an entrance reducer on my other hives year round.  It may be just the fact that they aren?t quite as much of a problem here in SE Kansas.

Kevin


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Offline paus

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Re: Alternative inner covers.
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2020, 02:26:30 pm »
In warm climates I would never use any kind of inner cover that is air tight.  I am using all screened inner covers with a cloth and sawdust/shavings over the cloth.  This is an insulator to keep the bees cool or warm yet allows enough ventilation to prevent condensation.  I have never had mold since I started using SIC.  You can also do a quick top lookin and never disturb the bees, this is very useful when checking on adding another box.    PS:  I just checked a hive that was very active, double deep, Yes they need a third box as soon as weather allows.  I used flannel in this hive, mistake, use denim or a tight weave as the flannel was propolized to the screen and the flannel tore if I was not careful.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2020, 03:27:54 pm by paus »