Vital Stats and Materials List for Double-Screened Inner Covers for Hives

By Howland Blackiston

Your bees will love you for making a double-screened inner cover for their hives. This design for a double-screened inner cover is extra heavy-duty compared to lightweight commercial designs that tend to twist and become damaged in use. Also, the double screen in this design has a specific purpose. Placing the cover on a hive one way provides a 3/8″ upper entrance for the bees; flipping it the other way results in a snug fit with no upper entrance option.

If you flip the cover so that the entrance notch is closed, bees from other colonies can still get under the hive’s outer cover.

[Credit: Illustration by Felix Freudzon, Freudzon Design]
Credit: Illustration by Felix Freudzon, Freudzon Design

The images show the measurements for this design as applied to a ten-frame Langstroth hive. However, alternative cut sheets are provided that allow you to build a screened inner cover that fits nicely on the eight-frame version of the Langstroth hive, the nuc hive, or the British National hive. Only the dimensions of the screened inner cover vary across these different hive types.

The materials list and the assembly instructions are basically the same.

Vital stats for the double-screened inner cover

  • Size: 19-7/8 inches x 16-1/4 inches x 1-1/8 inches (for the Langstroth ten-frame hive); 19-7/8 inches x 13-3/4 inches x 1-1/8 inches (for the Langstroth eight-frame hive); 19-7/8 inches x 9 inches x 1-1/8 inches (for the nuc hive); 18-1/8 inches x 18-1/8 inches x 1-1/8 inches (for the British National hive).

  • Capacity: You need to build one screened inner cover for each hive in your apiary.

  • Degree of difficulty: This is easy. It’s no more involved than making a heavy-duty wooden frame and stapling hardware cloth to both sides.

  • Cost: As with any of these hive parts, using scrap wood would keep material costs next to nothing. But even if you purchase the recommended lumber, fasteners, and hardware, you can likely build this screened inner cover for less than $15. What a steal!

Materials list for the double-screened inner cover

Here’s what you’ll use to build your screened inner cover. In most cases, you can make substitutions as needed or desired.

Lumber Hardware Fasteners
1, 6′ length of 5/4″ x 3″ clear or knotty pine lumber 24″ of 1/8″ hardware cloth. (#8 typically comes in 3′ wide
rolls, but some beekeeping supply stores sell it by the foot.)
10, #6 x 2-1/2″ deck screws, galvanized, #2 Phillips drive,
flat-head with coarse thread and sharp point
Optional: weatherproof wood glue 40, 3/8″ staples for use in a heavy-duty staple gun

Here are a few details about the materials for your double-screened inner cover:

  • Pine is easy to find and not terribly expensive. You can use clear pine or the less expensive knotty pine — it’s up to you. Clear pine is a little easier to work with (tight grain and no knots).

  • You have some extra fasteners in case you bend or lose a few along the way. It’s better to have a few extras on hand and save yourself an extra trip to the hardware store.

  • You may want a screened inner cover for each hive in your apiary. So if you have a couple of hives, you need to double the materials list to build a couple of inner covers.