Okay, so on the advice of y'all, I'm going to start with two hives this spring. I shall be using the standard KD pine hives, and wanted to enclosed them with a pretty WBC facade (as per your plans), as a Brit I have to have the quaint hives of home. Question is should I paint the exterior WBC white, or use western red cedar? Doesn't paint hold in moisture? Or is reflecting Kentucky sun off more important? Any insight appreciated.
Adair Co., KY
I don't think you're going to move much bee generated interior moisture through the wood of the hive so painting is mostly a matter asthetics and preservation of the wood. Although I know one should paint both sides of wood to prevent hive interior moisture from effecting the outside paint, I only paint the outside. I use a primer and 2 topcoats and in 3 years have yet to see peeling of the paint. I also mostly use a light color in the belief that keeping the hive cool in summer is more important than keeping it warm in the winter, at least at my locale. What species/type of wood to use is mostly a matter of economics, IMHO.
I would say red cedar on the outside if fine and the bees won't care if it's painted. Moisture isn't really an issue one way or the other.
NEVER paint the inside. The bees will polish it wil propolis if it's bare wood and it will be preserved as well as you could hope. If you paint it, the bees will be less accepting of the hive and may just absocond (run away from home?).
Western Red Cedar will "weather" very well, but rots quickly when in contact with the ground.
Fresh-cut Western Red Cedar is also very aromatic. Is this wood used often in hive construction?
Maybe I misunderstood, but I thought it was just being used for the outside layer of a WBC hive, not the inside part. Also, I haven't built hives out of cedar but have seen feral ones in cedar trees.