Top cover and Roof

The hole in the centre of the top cover is for feeding correct?
I’m not feeding so I’ve put a lid over the hole to stop my bees building comb off the gabled roof… After a check the next day I see condensation on the side viewing window. So now I’m thinking I need to put fly wire over the hole instead or are people leaving it all together? Just worried the extra condensation may hinder the hives ability to keep at a constant temperature!
Thoughts please!

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I would recommend closing up the hole, the bees will take care of ventilating the hive better that way. How is your entrance? open or part closed? If closed then open your entrance to allow the bees to increase the air flow.

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Thanks for the reply Rodderick. No entrance reducer at this stage. About to make one though. Weathers a bit all over the place here at the moment so I’ll check again in a few days!

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If the problem persists you could move the corflute down a slot in the screened bottom board.

Was it particularly cold out when you saw the condensation?

Use mesh wire to close the hole so that ventilation won’t be affected

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As you have quickly seen there is a wide difference in thots n opinion on that crown board hole.

Mine are all covered by a wire mess but others “do” recommend closing off unless using for feeding.

I do screen to keep intruders out like yellow jacket n other bees from robbing/stealing or wax moth invasions. We have such a off/on cool/humid weather pattern in Western Washington state that I help control the excess humidity that collects on the crown board leaving it open but screened…

I’m guessing Rod has totally different circumstances n reasons for his opinion n procedures. There’s literature n notes that support both ideas. I’d try either or experiment with both n see what works in your area best. Also check with some of your local Beekeepers n associations/clubs for best local knowledge… Guess there will be varying ideas n opinions there too but ask for their reasoning not just what they do. We learn more by knowing the rational behind the reason.

Good luck n happy beekeeping,

Thanks for the feedback Gerald, Jmayot and Dunc. I’ll check how it’s going and if still seeing condensation I’ll try your suggestion. Thanks for taking the time to reply!

I kept mine open and was afraid of them going into the top. I think when I add the new box I will try add screen. I have not put my flow super on yet. I have another month to get to the beekeepers meeting. We are hot and humid. But winters are rainy, they are protected from the winds. I will be interested to learn about our seasons and Bees.

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Hi @drgray5, judging by your flag you are in NZ. We don’t usually have holes or ventilation in the hive mat/inner cover in NZ. I suspect there is often a bit of moisture inside a hive when the weather is stopping them from fanning, esp if you are feeding sugar syrup. But typically you wouldn’t see it unless you have the window. Mine gets a little bit of moisture from time to time, but not enough to worry about.

Cheers, Paul


Here’s my simple answer to screening all my five hives.

I used #8 screen wire n some metal furnace tape. I will remove these screens for winter so my bees can come up for grained sugar n pollen Pattie. Gerald

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Thanks Sting, Flag is Australian mate :joy:… But close enough :+1:t2:. I’ll have a good look this weekend and see if I need to make some adjustments like some of the others have suggested! Trial and error as they say! Cheers for your feedback!

Hi Neu, looks like the go…the insulation you’ve put in there for snow is it??

Oh god. I need to get my eyes checked!!! I feel a bit like some of those olympic bloopers…

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Say ? What no snow here maybe Mauna Kea on Hawaii Island. Here moisture is almost a daily event but I am windward so we also get heat and dry. I like the idea to tape the wire on.

seems to me- from what I have read- and not from experience- that if you decide to have no ventilation at the top of the hive: you would be well served by insulation instead. The theory goes that if the top of the hive is sealed- and insulated- then the inner roof will be kept warm from hot air rising from the brood below. As the roof is warmer than the walls the moist warm air will not condense on the roof- but be drawn down the walls of the hive- and exchanged for cool air at the bottom entrance or screen bottom.

Very high humidity for much of the year here in Mullumbimby Australia. I ventilate my migratory covers with 25mm holes in the ends. Insides of the holes are covered with flyscreen and on some of my hives, the outside is protected by a cleat. The cleat also serves as a handle for lifting the lid. I restrict ventilation when needed using inner covers.

I’m in the process of building two more migratory covers. These will have a slightly more complex ventilation system using vermiculite for insulation.


Vermiculite as insulation…

hmm- that’s a good idea! i am about to make some new hives and I have left a cavity in the roof to be filled with some sort of insulation- I was thinking foam or similar- but vermiculite could be simply poured in as a thin layer then trapped with a thin inner board. In that case it wouldn’t be for ventilation, but I have also designed a ventilated ‘blanket box’ frame cover that I was going to fill with wood shavings- I am guessing vermiculite could be good for that application too.

Vermiculite is almost all air- not being a science master- how much better for an insulator would it be than simply having an air cavity?

Dozens if not hundreds of times better Semaphore. I’m choosing vermiculite for some of its other properties as well as insulation. Being a mineral, it is not prone to rot. It’s also flexible and moisture absorbing. Its insulating value is its restrictive effect on air flow, particularly convection currents. It’s also literally dirt cheap and I already have a bag of it in my potting shed. One of its main uses is as a soil substitute in potting mixes but it is traditionally used as a high temperature insulation in slow combustion stoves as well. From memory, I think Aga stoves use vermiculite insulation.


Of cours- makes sense: it stops the air moving and so traps/holds the heat- yet can also allow moisture through with no chance of rot- AND like you I already have a bag in the shed!

My outer cover gable roof from FLOW must be leaking because I have opened up the hive a couple of times to find a puddle of water on the back (low) end of the inner cover and it is all the way to the top of the rim. And I make sure the telescoping roof is on correctly and aligned properly. Anybody else have this happening? I suppose I will have to caulk those joints in the roof.