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Author Topic: Need Inexpensive Migratory Covers  (Read 3351 times)
beyondthesidewalks
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« on: March 30, 2012, 10:22:20 AM »

I"ve been using telescoping covers and inner covers since I started beekeeping and have a bunch of them.  This year I am noticing many SHB under the top cover hiding/resting/living on the inner cover.  I need to get rid of this problem.  My solution is migratory covers.  Any inexpensive options any one can recommend?
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cinch123
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« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2012, 12:42:59 PM »

You could probably make about ten of them out of a single $15 piece of CDX plywood and a $8 pine board cut into the cleats.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2012, 01:13:31 PM »

I don’t know the answer, but I am leery of plywood; at least in my climate.  Plywood tends to have internal stresses which makes it prone to warp.  The fewer the plys the more the stresses.  If/when it does warp, then you end up with a top entrance on your hives for robbers to attack, moths to enter, or rain to get in.  Even if it doesn’t warp, I would worry about delamination.

What about a foam top cover?  It would help cut down on the Texas Sun load into the hive and foam is immune to a lot of weather if it is painted.  A 4' x 8' sheet of 3/4" foam is about $10 a pop.
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danno
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« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2012, 01:26:54 PM »

the best I have made came from recycled poured wall forms or pans as they are called.  The material is a 3/4 inch coated plywood.  It never warps and is completely water proof.   The only draw back is cutting the stuff to size.  It eats up blades.   here is a link to the kind of material I am talking about. 
http://www.emisupplies.com/steel_index1.html
the ones that we got say Mid-South Ltd but its the same HDO plywood
« Last Edit: March 30, 2012, 03:08:30 PM by danno » Logged
beyondthesidewalks
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« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2012, 03:33:01 PM »

I've tried a few other things with RMax foam sheathing.  The foil and plastic facing tends to delaminate.  Bugs and birds eat away at the foam.  It's very light and will blow away in our winds.  Not sure it would last very long.

I'm also leary of plywood warping and delaminating.  I've built many swarm traps from 3/4" plywood and they've lasted years but they are nailed and screwed together, fighting the warp and delamination.

HDO plywood sounds like it would work.  Could use a diamond blade to cut it.  Any other ideas or comments?

So far my best option is migratory covers but that's going to be expensive.  I bought some ten frame migratory covers at the Dadant office in Paris, TX because I was there for work.  It was less expensive because there was no shipping.  Had to take advantage of that but I need many more.  Oddly enough, Dadant doesn't make an 8 frame migratory cover.  I had to buy some 10 framers that have a date with my tablesaw. Smiley
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BlueBee
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« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2012, 03:41:46 PM »

Cement board?  Fiber board?
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danno
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« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2012, 03:56:08 PM »

I dont deal much with SHB but what if you window screened the holes in the inner covers or eliminated them all together.    I have never liked standard plywood because it always warps.  The HDO will not warp and will out live you.  You said you have a table saw so just buy a bunch of 1X and make your own.  I use treated and let them weather for a few months.   If you wanted to really make them cheap use pallet wood. 
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hardwood
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« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2012, 11:09:59 PM »

I use what y'all are calling HDO too. I buy used sheets from the concrete contractors for $4-5 and get 10-10 frame covers and 4 5-framers plus a bunch of 4-framers out of each sheet. Our Dadant in High Springs, FL sells the same covers (made from used HDO) for about $4 ea.

Scott
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beyondthesidewalks
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« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2012, 02:04:18 AM »

Scott,

What do yo use to cut the HDO?
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AR Beekeeper
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« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2012, 06:26:52 AM »

If your inner cover has a hole in it just cover the hole so the beetles can't use it as an enterance.  The beetles under the cover are easy to kill and will do the colony no harm there.  You are going to have an unnecessary expense making migratory covers and you will not gain any advantage on the beetles.
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hardwood
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« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2012, 08:57:21 AM »

If the material is clean enough (not much old concrete stuck to it) I bang off what there is and pull out any old nails and screws and run it through the table saw. If it's really nasty with concrete and crap I use an old circular saw with carbide blade.

Scott
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"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

Theodore Roosevelt 1907
beyondthesidewalks
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« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2012, 09:14:26 AM »

"You are going to have an unnecessary expense making migratory covers and you will not gain any advantage on the beetles."

That is not my understanding.  A strong colony will keep the SHB out of the hive but the SHB will attempt to hide wherever they can in the hive.  This gives the SHB a chance to "hang out", waiting for an opportunity to lay eggs in the hive.  As I understand it, if you can eliminate hiding places in the hive the SHB have less opportunity to multiply.  My bees seem to be satisfied with driving SHB up above the inner cover, considering that area out of the hive.  Switching to a migratory cover will remove that area in which they hide.  Then they will have to hide on the outside of the hive at the entrance.  The bees are more diligent about guarding the entrance and will do a better job of keeping them out at the entrance.  If my logic is flawed, I'd like to know.
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Intheswamp
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« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2012, 10:44:42 AM »

I've only seen a few beetles in my three hives, but living here in south Alabama I *know* more are coming.  I know that many folks recommend migratory type covers to take away a hiding place for the beetles and it makes good sense to me.  It is kind of strange, though, that most of the beetles that I have seen have been on the bottom of the inner covers along with bees.  I've seen these bees "chase, tackle, and pile on" these beetles so I know the bees are watching them and not just complacent with them.  I've seen fewer beetles on top of the inner covers.

Currently I'm using telescoping covers, but having just a few hives I've got enough migratory covers prepared in case the beetles begin to take advantage of the inner cover space. 

I keep #8 mesh wire over the porter escape hole in the inner cover (mason jar feeders) and I've see beetles between the mesh and the wood...they appear to prefer traveling through the small gap between the flat surfaces of the wood/mesh rather than going through the holes in the mesh...when you see them there it's an easy kill.  evil  grin 

Being as the beetles seem to prefer that little gap rather than going through the mesh it seems that the opening in the mesh is *almost* small enough to keep the beetles out of the hive.  I've toyed with the idea of using spray paint to lightly paint the mesh on my screened bottom boards and the screen over the vents...this would effectively tighten up the mesh openings a small amount and maybe prevent the beetles from entering via either point.  A warning here, though...I've found only one spray paint that is reported to actually work on galvanized metal...Krylon H2O latex...it doesn't say it's for galvanized but as for as that goes their alkyd paints don't have a warning on them saying *not* to use them on galvanized metal, either.  The article I read stated that they don't think Krylon knows this paint will work on galvanzied.  Naturally you could use a paint brush but I don't think it'd give quiet the effect that we would be looking for.  Don't use the Krylon latex primer, either, being as it's alkyd based, too.   Just a newbee thought....

Ed
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beyondthesidewalks
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« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2012, 10:54:49 AM »

The reason I may be seeing so many at this point in the year is that we've been much warmer, earlier than normal, and we're getting a nice amount of precipitation.  As spring turns to summer, we dry up some and get much hotter.  That will probably put a dent in the SHB population.  I may be concerned over a small mole hill but I'd rather be prepared than sorry.  Until this year I"ve seen SHB but not in numbers that would get me concerned.  I may have been lucky to not get taken over by them in the past and about to learn my lesson this year.  Might be time to work on SHB traps also.  I've never needed them before.
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Intheswamp
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« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2012, 11:23:26 AM »

What you said makes sense to me...moisture and a lack of a killing cold.  Around here it is a given that you have traps in the hive...notice the use of the plural.  I got my first little colony back in December...small little 8-frame nuc...maybe three frames of bees, some brood and stores...at a buck a frame I was happy.  But, upon first inspection what do I see...a couple of beetles!  Thankfully, these bees will run 1/4 the way across the inner cover to tackle a beetle...now if they could just start tearing legs off of them.

Type of soil comes into play, also...I believe that areas that have ground that is hard for the beetles' larvae to burrow into isn't attractive to them.

Ed
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www.beeweather.com 
American blood spilled to protect the freedom and peace of people all over the world.  320,000 USA casualties in WWI, 1,076,000 USA casualties in WWII, 128,000 USA casualties in the Korean War, 211,000 casualties in the Vietnam "conflict", 57,000 USA casualties in "War on Terror".  Benghazi, Libya, 13 USA casualties. These figures don't include 70,000 MIA.  But, the leaders of one political party of the United States of America continue to make the statement..."What difference does it make?".

"We can't expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism."..."The press is our chief ideological weapon." - Nikita Khrushchev

"Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they wont come to yours." - Yogi Berra
vmmartin
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« Reply #15 on: March 31, 2012, 01:49:07 PM »

I am in need of some myself and was thinking about using some left over 4X8 sheets of Hardy board.  It has a natural grey color but was contemplating a silver paint on the top to reflect some heat.   I am a little concerned about any potential chemical hazard on the inside of the hive from the concrete.
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Intheswamp
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« Reply #16 on: March 31, 2012, 06:29:30 PM »

I may be in error but I believe white paint will reflect solar radiation better than silver paint will.

Ed
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www.beeweather.com 
American blood spilled to protect the freedom and peace of people all over the world.  320,000 USA casualties in WWI, 1,076,000 USA casualties in WWII, 128,000 USA casualties in the Korean War, 211,000 casualties in the Vietnam "conflict", 57,000 USA casualties in "War on Terror".  Benghazi, Libya, 13 USA casualties. These figures don't include 70,000 MIA.  But, the leaders of one political party of the United States of America continue to make the statement..."What difference does it make?".

"We can't expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism."..."The press is our chief ideological weapon." - Nikita Khrushchev

"Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they wont come to yours." - Yogi Berra
backyard warrior
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« Reply #17 on: March 31, 2012, 11:02:08 PM »

  A 4' x 8' sheet of 3/4" foam is about $10 a pop.

[/quote]


Let me know where you are buying foam for $ 10 bucks a sheet how long has it been since you bought foam?Huh i know 1/4 inch 4x8 here in pa is 19 dollars a sheet. Chris
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BrentX
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« Reply #18 on: April 01, 2012, 10:34:45 AM »

I have gone to the disposable traps filled with cider vinegar and oil.  They do collect beetles and seem to make a difference.

Why not just run without the inner covers?  Add an upper entrance if there is concern about heat build up.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #19 on: April 01, 2012, 01:04:46 PM »

Let me know where you are buying foam for $ 10 bucks a sheet how long has it been since you bought foam?Huh i know 1/4 inch 4x8 here in pa is 19 dollars a sheet. Chris

BYW, ALL my hives and nucs are constructed of foam, so yes I know how much foam costs.  I usually get my foam from Home Depot since they are a little closer than the other big box stores.  Here is a screen capture from today (Sunday, April 1st, noon).  Is that a recent enough price for you?  About $10 a pop, just like I said in post #2.



The prices of foam does vary a good deal from state to state and even store to store; probably due to shipping costs.  Dow is headquartered in Michigan so maybe they can make foam here cheaper than elsewhere?  The blue extruded foam is a Dow product, the pink is Owens Corning.  In Michigan there are multiple big box retailers that sell the ¾” thick stuff for about $10 a pop.

When buying extruded sheets of foam, you may want to observe the product name.  The pink stuff is commonly sold as a Foamular 150 product and a Foamular 250 product, each with the same thickness.  As you might guess the bigger number costs more money.  The difference is the compressive (PSI) strength of each sheet.  The 150 stuff will withstand 15 psi pressure while the 250 stuff 25psi.  15psi is plenty strong enough for bee hives and is what I use.  It is usually about 20 to 40% cheaper than the high compressive strength foam.

As for the durability of foam, if it is protected from UV (with paint), it will probably outlive you.  I have not had any problem with birds and bugs eating my foam tops, but they are indeed light!  If you work your hives in the wind, then you are liable to get your tops blown over to the next county.
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