Ventilated "Garden Style"  Outer Covers
"Garden Style", or "peaked" outer covers have always been marketed as an upgrade to make your bee hive more visually attractive. However, my primary concern during the design phase was not only aesthetics, but also function.

Here on the West Coast of Canada, ventilation (or lack of it) within the hive is a major concern and one of the three biggest causes of colony losses during the winter months (the other two being starvation and poor colony health, often from varroa mites). So I wanted to design something that not only looked good, but also solved a major problem with commercially-available flat outer covers.
Your peaked outer cover comes with a weather-proof metal roof in either brown or silver 
When the bees consume honey in winter, they create heat which in turn creates warm, moist air inside the hive. If that air is allowed to cool suddenly without venting to the outside (usually on the inside of an uninsulated inner cover), condensation forms and usually results in wet bees, which are unable to survive.

Our peaked outer cover works together with our design of screened bottom board. Unlike any other outer covers I've seen, ours uses a passive ventilation system. The warm air escapes out of the centre hole in the inner cover, and vents into the 'attic space' of our peaked outer cover. The air can then slowly cool while venting out the gable ends. All of the vent holes are screened, so bees cannot be 'lost' in the attic, nor can other critters (mice, birds etc.) make a home for themselves in the attic space.

Seen from the bottom, the outer cover is ventilated through screened holes into the 'attic' space, which is vented to outside.
The design has been fine-tuned to obtain the ideal combination of number, size, and position of vent holes. The end result is that, with our ventilated outer cover and screened bottom board, you won't have to add or change anything for overwintering your colonies. No quilt boxes, no insulation, no hive wraps, no elevating the outer cover. Our ventilated outer cover has already addressed all those issues, which greatly reduces your overwintering challenges.

There are other benefits to this design. Increased ventilation allows the bees to better regulate temperature and humidity in the summer months, which means you'll see far less bearding (clustering of bees outside the hive in hot weather, to avoid overheating the brood), and the bees are also able to reduce moisture in the nectar and cap off honey stores much more quickly. 
This custom design has the same features as the standard version, but with a solid cedar top and roof cap instead of metal. Click for a larger image of this gorgeous piece. 
Our Ventilated, peaked outer covers are available with silver or brown metal roofing material. The pine version is $95 (painted) or $110 (stained and oiled), while oiled Cedar is $130. Note that the cedar topped version shown (above left) is not part of our regular inventory, but is available as a special order, at a higher cost.

Nanaimo, BC Canada
Tel: (250) 802-3991