View Full Version : Cedar vs. Cypress - Any thoughts?

10-13-2011, 04:06 PM
Looking at purchasing some beehives - any thoguhts on which is better - cedar or cypress wood?

mike haney
10-13-2011, 04:13 PM
pine will last for generations if painted-i have some old boxes that were old when i got them-35 years ago. better is subjective.

10-13-2011, 05:20 PM
good white pine lasts for years. cypress is a little more heavy but will last longer. the only place I know where cypress can be bought is from rossmans.. either one will work well.

10-13-2011, 06:13 PM
brushy mountain sells good quality cypress

10-13-2011, 06:49 PM
The cypress that I have bought, and used in my opinion must be painted or stained because it will absorb moisture, and in my opinion will add to moisture in the hive in the winter. I noticed that after a rain the wood was wet while the painted or stained hives were not. I will only buy pine from now on and use oops paint or stain. I see no advantage to paying a higher price for cypress. It also warps easier.

10-13-2011, 06:54 PM
I've always been under the impression that cedar was anti-insect. We put up cedar posts in our fences to resist termites and other little insect beasties but it doesnt affect bees? Mason bees and leafcutter bees won't nest in cedar blocks, I've tried. All my hives are pine but I have seen many cedar hives advertized, even on this page, and have always wondered how honey bees were affected by its insect resistant qualities if they were even affected by it at all. Honestly if you protect your hives from the elements by painting or dipping in wax/resin they should last at least a decade but the cedar issue has always intrigued me.

edit: I would go cedar and dip it if only because it has such a beautiful finish, but that's me :)

10-13-2011, 06:55 PM
I will only buy pine from now on and use oops paint or stain. I see no advantage to paying a higher price for cypress. It also warps easier.

I agree, I use marine grade urethan on mine, I love the natural wood grain look.

10-13-2011, 07:01 PM
not from fact but other beekeepers have told me that it is hard to get a good quality cypress. as far as cedar goes I have never had any of It but it must work. the fact that if you want to keep bugs out of your closet you line it with cedar. maybe a different varity. I dont know myself.

10-13-2011, 07:09 PM
Yeah i was thinking it must be a different variety cedar. If you are only going to have 1 or 2 hives, cedar with a natural finish would surely wow everyone who saw it. In our town you can only have 2 hives max, and although it isnt specified, other towns in our state mandate you keep a 3rd empty hive for swarm catching and housing until you can do something to get rid of it. I go straight pine myself because, honestly, its cheap and when painted and maintained can last for decades.

10-13-2011, 07:55 PM
I have pine and cypress hives. They both last equally long when sealed for me. Cedar is a little too light for the rough handling the teaching hives receive. It is fine for bottom boards, but anything else is damaged by working the hives. I have not weighed cypress but picking up stacks of unbuilt supers the cypress seems lighter than spruce pine for me.

11-23-2011, 01:54 PM
It is apparent that folks are mixing up at least two and maybe three species of “cedar”.

Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana) is aromatic and used to line closets and chests for insect repellancy

Northern white cedar (Thuja occidentalis) and Atlantic white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides) make high quality white lumber that is easily worked and holds paint well.

11-23-2011, 05:46 PM
I run a hive manufacturing buisness in the UK,and 99% of hives over here are made from western red cedar(Thuja plicata) it's been the traditional hive material for many many decades,we have plenty of our own home grown which we mill and dry ourselves,and lots also comes from over your way. Brought over here and planted originally in the mid 1800's. No paint or treatments needed,i have box's over 50 years old, and still in reasonably good order.

11-23-2011, 07:36 PM
Eastern red cedar is not anti-bee. I know of a feral hive in West Tennessee that has been living in one for years.

Michael Bush
11-23-2011, 07:47 PM
I have had hives of pine, cedar and cypress (as well as many other types). I prefer pine if I have to buy the wood. I don't care if I don't. Pine lasts well enough if it's not in contact with the ground and it's cheap and light weight. I've build a lot of them out of scrap cedar and I like it fine too, but wouldn't pay the difference in the price. The same with cypress. It's fine, but I wouldn't pay a lot extra for it.

Daniel Y
11-24-2011, 05:26 AM
Between Cyprus and Cedar I would say the deciding factor would be what you like the looks of or like working with. There is not going to be that much of a difference in the longevity of one over the other. Even though they are both woods used to withstand the elements without any paint or stain. They are usually kept looking decent by adding water sealant. You will not be able to do that for a hive. I know cedar will dry crack warp and tend to fall apart without some protection. SO if you have to paint it the looks also don't matter. it becomes a matter of price beyond that.

11-24-2011, 07:23 AM
I know cedar will dry crack warp and tend to fall apart without some protection.

Ours don't,and thats the main reason nearly all hives over here are made from WRC,perhaps our climate plays a part in it.