Hole in top of Flow Frame Super? (Between super and roof)

Hi ya’ll,

I put my cedar flow hive together a few days ago and I have a couple of questions. I am new to beekeeping and will be receiving my bees in late may.

The top of the super which contains my flow hive has a 4 inch diameter hole in the middle of it. I assume it is for ventilation. My question is this…

Should I install a screen over the hole? Shouldn’t I worry about the bees building comb in the space between the roof and the top of the super?


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That is the crown or cover board. the hole is used for feeders or porter bee escapes - cover is with mesh or blank it off until you need it.

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Lorne, great question ! Yes. The inner cover does have a hole for ventilation purposes. Usually this hole is left unscreened so wintering worker bees have access to dried sugar n other overwintering candy cakes set on the inner lid. I wouldn’t worry about screening for now. There are a few reasons but not for the beginners !!

There’s a great pool of new bees as well as knowledgable beekeepers here. Keep the questions coming. As you will learn there are certain general rules that hold true to all beekeeper n there are also differing opinions on other info due to regional problems n beekeepers experiences. It’s a learning curve for all of us. Welcome aboard !

Good luck n keep learning.

PS. Where is your general location. Also find a bee club n glean from their pool of knowledge too.

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I live in central Texas. 30 minutes east of Austin, TX. I have taken 2 classes on beekeeping and have several books. The closer I get to the bees arriving, the more I realize I don’t know. I probably should join a bee club, I know there are active ones in my area. I think there is someone up in Georgetown (1 hour away) who has one of the early flow frame setups. I was thinking of going to visit and asking questions.

Followup question: Why don’t the bees attempt to build comb up in the hive “attic”?

Lorne, not totally why ! They just don’t seem do that burcomb building there. Keeping adequate space below keeps the comb building down below. If you just added the outer lid/top … It would quickly be glued down n secure. It would be difficult to remove thus the use of our inner lid or crown board as Valli mentioned.

Great question, they will! That is why you need to cover the hole with mesh. If you are feeding candy, I like to use a candy feeder board, so they can’t access the roof space.

hmm…now I’m confused, some say cover the hole with mesh, others say don’t!
No offence to the more knowledgeable and wiser beeks on this forum, but I’m tempted to take the view that if the hole needed to be meshed, then it would have had the mesh installed or supplied by bethinking.
Bracing oneself ready for incoming! :grimacing:

It is a feeder hole in a feeder board. Simple as that. Beethinking supplied you with a feeder board.The reason for that is that it doubles as a top board. A top board cannot double as a feeder board unless it has a hole in it. They are saving you money by not giving you two boards.
I would cover it with some Ally tape until you need to open it to feed the bees.
If you would prefer mesh try it. Likely the bees will propolise it solid.

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Dee, up here in west side of Washington State that inner cover hole doubles as ventilation n a passage to dry sugar place on it for extra winter insurance. Local our climate is very damp n cool not icy cold. Moisture has a habit of collecting on the lower side of the inner cover here from the bees transpiration.

Our local bee college experts are also adding temperature n Humidity sensors above the frames in this hole for research to see what way best reduces this internal moisture to keep our Northwest dry, warm n healthy for best wintering over here. We get a lot of weird false Sprjng starts here too so the sugar helps give them early Spring food (temps still below 50 dgs F) n nighttime temps at or below 40 dgs still. We had two several day sunny mild periods already but back to just cool n wet again as more juicy Wx systems come ashore but Spring moves on none the least.

I agree with Dee’s comments, mostly. Most inner covers/crown boards that I have seen have a hole in them. As she says, the hole means that you can then invert a feeder pail or a boardman feeder over the hole. I like to put mesh over the hole when I do that, so that when I refill the feeder, bees don’t fly out of the hole and get in the way. I don’t get much propolis with #8 hardware cloth. If you are not going to use a feeder, you can put a brick or a flat stone (or tape) over it if you like. I think the holes are a bit big. I bet they would try to propolis insect screen though, they sometimes like to seal up the pail feeder if I leave it in too long, and it has a fine mesh on the lid.

The hole has another purpose in traditional beekeeping though. It means you can put a bee escape in it. This allows you to put the cover below a super full of honey, and empty it of bees over a day or two. Much easier than brushing all the bees off before you take their honey! Of course you have to have the right type of bee escape for the hole - if the hole is oval or rectangular, you can use the one I linked above, if it is round, you will need a different type.

Rusty Burlew keeps bees in your state, and she has quite a nice solution to the condensation problem:


Because they consider that area “outside” of the hive.

Dawn !

Thanks for the great lead ! I was contemplating something similar but hadn’t worked out the details yet. She has worked out a great but simple moisture absorber on the excellent but cheap ! Love it ! I’ll go with this type of system this next Fall n Winter.

I am guessing the moisture was the big is sure back in the 1950’s n 60’s too but we hadn’t figure what was exactly winter killing off some of our hive colonies.

Happy Valentine’s Day young lady !

Again ! I appreciate the lead,

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And to you, Gerald! :slightly_smiling:

Ah, Thank you for that :smile:

Yes Valli mentioned a Porter escape.
I don’t like them. You have to set the “whiskers” every time and the bees propolise them open.
I have a home made clearer boards with either a central hole and a pair of Rhombus escapes or holes in each corner with half a Rhombus over each. Either way you have four exits for the bees.
I never brush frames unless there are only a few bees.

I adore Daphne - I can almost smell the perfume

The (2" dia) hole is for adding a feeder and should be closed so as not to create a chimney effect, which would cause bees a good deal of extra work trying to retain the heat inside their brood nest.

I think a lot of people keep them open in really hot parts

What many people fail to understand about honeybee colonies is that a great deal of their energy is spent simply maintaining the atmosphere inside their hive (or tree, or whatever cavity they are living in) within quite precise parameters of temperature and humidity.

A hollow tree, with its thick walls and many feet of natural insulation above and below, is relatively easy to manage, as the cavity is well insulated from the outside world and thus requires relatively small inputs from its occupants. A standard hive, however, has much thinner walls and little insulation above or below, and so requires a great deal of work to ensure that the brood nest can be kept at 35 C +/- 1 degree.

In a cool climate, which I would define as one in which the daytime air temperature rarely - if ever - exceeds brood nest temperature, then any time you open a hive, you allow heat to escape. If you use a typical thin-walled hive, heat is escaping all the time and causing the bees extra work replacing it. If you leave a hole open at the top of the hive, you create a chimney effect, which draws cool air in from below, causing bees even more work.

In a warmer climate, you can create similar problems for the bees by allowing too much over-heated outside air into the hive, and beekeepers in places like Georgia and Florida often report melt-downs when air in excess of 40 degrees C begins to soften wax and cause combs to collapse.

Good insulation and minimal ventilation helps the bees much more than gaping holes in their hives.

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