Beekeeping: Inner Cover

If you’re new to beekeeping you might be wondering what all this stuff is that you’re getting for your hive and why you need it.

What is this inner cover and why do you even need it?

Depending on the type of outer cover you have, you might not need it.  Commercial or migratory outer covers don’t use an inner cover.  They only have two sides to them and just barely cover the top of the hive.  They are used by commercial beekeepers because they allow beehives to be placed directly next to each other for transportation on a pallet.  That said, they’re not the best option for home beekeepers due to the ability of rain to get in the open sides of the lid.

For a typical outer cover you’ll usually use an inner cover.  The inner cover serves several purposes.

  1. It makes the outer cover easier to remove as the bees don’t glue the outer cover down with propolis.
  2. It can be used when pulling off honey supers by using a bee escape in the hole.  The bee escape allows bees to leave the super but not reenter it.
  3. Some beekeepers cut a 2″ hole in the inner cover frame to create a top entrance for the hive.  This allows for better ventilation and also allows foraging bees to come directly into honey supers rather than having to crawl up through the hive bodies.
  4. It is often used for jar style top feedersto provide a feeding area for the bees.

Inner covers can be made of wood or plastic and in general don’t need any painting as usually the outer cover keeps any raw wood away from the elements.

Photo by Jessica Dally

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