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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    White Heath, IL, USA
    Posts
    29

    Post

    I am a new beekeeper this year and just got through constructing all the hives and honey supers.

    As a disclaimer, I have read a lot and done a couple of different searches on this bulletin board and others.

    One thing that there seems to be some disagreement on is whether or not to paint the inside of the hives. The Langstroth Beehive diagram on BeeSource has a statement that indicates all parts of the beehive should be painted (outside, inside, and edges). Most of the advice I have seen on this bulletin board seems to indicate that everyone thinks this is a bad idea. I even saw one posting claiming that it could be harmful to the bees to paint the inside of the hives. And of course, there are also people who dip their hive bodies in various liquids (wax and wood preservative are the ones that I have seen).

    Does the woodware last longer if you paint all surfaces?

    Do the bees find it objectionable to live in a painted hive?

    What do you personally do and why?

    I have already built and deployed my hives for this year - therefore this is more out of curiousity than anything else. If you are interested, I decided to paint only the outside surfaces and the edges of the hives.

    Thanks for the information and advice.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Krum,Texas,USA
    Posts
    14

    Wink

    Hi BeeCultivador, In the book Mastering the Art of Beekeeping by Ormon and Harry Aebi in chapter seven they explain why they feel you should not paint your hive. They go on to say if you must paint, then just the outside. They then tell a story of a guy that wanted them to catch a swarm in a hive that was painted inside and out, the swarm refused the hive twice.

    Disclaimer, I am a newbie that owns no bees, and I am just reading books for now.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    brown county,indiana,usa
    Posts
    571

    Post

    i think most beekeepers would agree that you only want to paint the outside.the bees will take care of the inside.some people paint the rabbets and that does seem to lessen propolis build up.i always try to coat my bottom boards well,since they suffer the most weather/water damage.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Wyoming MN
    Posts
    406

    Post

    The class I took at the U of M (Beekeeping in Northern Climates) advised that all exposed parts of a hive should be covered with a coat of exterior primer, followed by one or two coats of good latex paint. In class, we discussed the fact that occasionally, the bees will chew the paint off anything they don't want painted, which is a waste of my time and the bees. I did however paint both sides of my bottom boards so that scraping goes easier. Didn't paint the inner covers at all, but did paint inside the lid.
    With only painting the outsides, latex offers a breathability factor that I don't think comes with polyurethane products. I have some boxes (unknown ages) that I re-painted 3 years ago and they are in good shape still.
    Logically, there may be some regional differences here, depending on weather patterns, etc. Here in MN, woodenware wouldn't last long without some sort of protection. Would love to try the paraffin dip, but everything I inherited was already painted, so don't think it would be practical.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,925

    Post

    There is some disagreement on wether painting helps at all, but I have seldom heard of anyone painting the inside. Most paint the exposed areas. I'm lazy, I stack them up and paint the outside and never bother with the edges where the boxes meet. It's just too much work. I may try not painting a few at all and see how they last.

    It's true that the parafin dip will coat the inside also, but most are also using gum with the parafin which makes it a lot like propolis which is what the bees will coat it with, as opposed to paint, which they will try to remove and then will coat with propolis anyway.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    Posts
    5,159

    Post

    The first three years of my beekeeping experience I primed and painted every square inch of my equipment.

    I have had no problems with the bees chewing off the paint, no problem with warping, cracking or peeling.

    I have had no problem with moisture in my hives.

    I have had a problem with becoming too busy to do a proper job and it took little encouragement after reading this forum to not paint the insides of my hive boxes.

    Time will tell.
    Bill

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    oneonta al.
    Posts
    848

    Big Grin

    I've got some honey super's that's over 20 yr's old never been painted on the inside.most of them has just been painted twice 1 of them was this yr.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,925

    Post

    I have a deep hive body that was only painted once 30 years ago. It is just now starting to get cracks in it deep enough that bees can get through. It was painted on the outside with latex and nothing on the inside. I just noticed it yesterday and remembered how old it was.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    White Heath, IL, USA
    Posts
    29

    Post

    Thanks for the input from everyone.

    So it seems that no one paints the inside of their hives anymore. It would also seem that we are not really damaging the woodenware by taking this approach. Supers that last 20 - 30 years without being dipped, completely painted, etc have certainly paid for themselves many times over.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    mn, wi, tx
    Posts
    174

    Post

    Dipping is absolutely the best. Instead of coating the wood, it permeates the wood to the core, making all of it moisture resistant if not proof. Probably will last forever, or at least your entire lifetime, if you are not to tough on them.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,925

    Post

    I've never done dipping, but it does sound like the best for doing lots of boxes. It would be the least labor (once you got the vat of stuff melted) and would offer the most protection and I would guess, especially with the gum in it, it would save the bees some work gathering propolis.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    NE Calif.
    Posts
    2,299

    Post

    >>Supers that last 20 - 30 years without being dipped, completely painted, etc have certainly paid for themselves many times over.<<
    I bought some old boxes a few years ago.They werent pretty but still looked like they had a few more years in them.When I scraped off the old flaking paint,I saw that they were made from old WW2 ammo boxes.I could still read the printing on them.What is the depreciation on a box that lasted over 55 years!
    --Mike

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    White Heath, IL, USA
    Posts
    29

    Post

    So what, exactly, do you dip them in? I like this concept as painting just the outsides and edges was pretty time consuming.

    Plus I like the look of natural wood...

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,925

    Post

    Mann Lake sells parafine and gum rosin. I guess you melt them both together and dip. I've never done it.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,861

    Post

    I have started to paint the top and bottom edges od supers and bottom boards because that is where rot starts.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Belmont, NC, USA
    Posts
    38

    Big Grin

    The issue with painting is to protect them from the elements. The bees will manage the inside of the hive just fine as is with natural wood but if ya want to cover the inside as well it is a lot of extra time for yourself with questionable results. It doesn't sound like it extends its life that much if at all. Dipping sounds like a great process if you have a lot of woodenware to cover but sounds like you you would need a lot of solution.

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