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TT R-5 Insulated Telescoping Top
TT R-5 is an insulated telescoping metal topped cover for Langstroth hives. It's polystyrene core is encased in wood to protect it from bees and hive tools, while giving it over 5 times the R-value of a wood top alone. Conserving heat in cold winter months saves honey, and protects bees from starvation. It also reduces condensation on the inner cover by keeping it warmer than the walls. Water vapor tends to condense on the coldest surface it contacts first. Because the walls are only 3/4" wood they have an R-factor of about 1.0. The inner cover, the 1/2" of dead air space and the R-factor 5.0 telescoping cover provide a warmer surface on the top than the sides, resulting in much less condensation on it. The water that runs down the side walls is of no danger to the cluster, which it would be if it fell directly on them from above.
Here is the proof of how much heat the R-5 is saving. On 12/25/2010 we got an inch of snow over night in Birmingham. The pictures on the left show a hive from my bee yard with a regular top and one with an R-5 top. As you can see, the heat escaping from the regular top has melted most of the snow, while the R-5 top still has all of its snow intact. Of course this heat loss goes on all winter, even when there is no snow to evidence it; but this is proof in black and white (well maybe just white) that the R-5 telescoping top saves heat, which saves honey, which saves bees!