English for beekeepers

For my friends in the UK: the telescoping cover

About once every month someone in the U.K. asks me to explain what a telescoping cover is. You all must think we have a top secret, hush-hush, digital age piece of bee equipment that we keep under wraps. The words “telescoping cover” are never spoken above a whisper, spyware prises them from the internet, and photos are torn from the pages of catalogs.

Sorry to disappoint but it’s not smoke and mirrors, only semantics. Our Langstroth outer/upper/top covers are the same as yours but they have the name “telescoping” because the outer lid fits down over the top of the hive by two or three inches to give rain protection. Somebody somewhere thought this resembled the action of a telescope because the larger piece fits over the smaller piece—one part slides over the other.

Not a good name, I agree

It’s really a confusing name, I think, but I use it because it distinguishes the lid from a “migratory cover,” which does not slide down over the top of the hive. A migratory cover just sits on top, more or less. The migratory cover is better for hives that will be stacked on pallets because it allows them to pack better.

So, in short, “telescoping cover” is a fancy name for “lid” or “roof.” I wish I had something really exciting to report but, alas, a roof by any other name is still a roof.

Honey Bee Suite


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