Screened inner covers can give your hive a lot of good ventilation. They are used in place of regular inner covers and are designed the hold the telescoping cover up on two ends (or two sides) so that air can flow from the hive and out from under the telescoping cover. The screen is tacked down with narrow strips of wood that are just thick enough to provide some bee space between the top bars and the screen.
You can buy screened inner covers from some of the bee supply houses, but they are also easy to make. I bought long pieces of standard 1 x 2-inch lumber, and used the 2-inch dimension to provide the height necessary to elevate the cover, and I used the 1-inch dimension for the front and back.
The way I cut my pieces, the ventilation air goes out the front and back of the hive. You can also reverse the pieces so the ventilation air goes out the sides, the way the commercial ones do. Either way works, although you will get more air flow if the air goes out the sides, which are longer than the width. However, if your hives are close together, having the air go out the front and back may be best.
- First I cut all the wood to the proper length. I had help cutting the strips, which were ripped from a standard 1 x 4.
- Then I cut out a notch on each end of the long pieces where the corners will join together.
- I used a square to assure right angles, then I pre-drilled the holes with a countersink, so the screws could be recessed.
- If you are going to paint, this is an easy time to do it, but painting is not necessary.
- I cut a piece of #8 hardware cloth to size, stapled it in place, and then stapled the wooden slats over the edge. The cloth needs to be stretched tight to limit the amount of sag in the center. The wooden slats give you a nice clean edge and they also provide bee space.
- When you install the cover, remember that the screen side goes down.
- Center your telescoping cover over the screen so there is room for air to travel out each end (or side).
Note: for a complete set of plans, see Screened Inner Cover