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Thread: Poplar Lumber

  1. #1

    Question

    Has anyone used poplar lumber to build hives, and if so, were there any adverse affects? I've heard that insects don't like poplar, and I wanted to make sure that it was okay before I built fifty hives out of it.

    New Guy

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Post

    Insects generally don't like cedar but bees do well in that. My guess is that it will do fine. I have no experience with it.

    Have you considered building one and seeing the results first?

  3. #3
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    Bradenton, FL, and Davenport, IA, USA
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    930

    Post

    I can't remember who it was, but someone made TBHs with poplar and it did fine as far as a material goes. Shoot, bees have made colonies within old rusted fuel tanks.

  4. #4
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    Jan 2004
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    Porter, Ok USA
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    Scott:

    Funny you should mention it. There is a feral colony, known to have survived for at least ten years now, in an abandoned oil field separator near here. Bees come in and out of a pipe connection just above the bottom. No other known opening.

    Colony is in a friend's pasture---he and I think that the oil and sulphur residue in the sand at bottom of the separator may account for the survival.
    Ox

  5. #5
    I built my observation hive - which is a permanent, year 'round hive - out of poplar (I think it was yellow poplar). The bees never showed any signs of disliking it (at least that I could observe). The wood was left "unfinished" on the inside and clear, poly-varnished on the outside. Of course, over time, the bees coat everything with propolis/wax so the raw wood wasn't "raw" for very long.

  6. #6

    Post

    I understand Tulip poplar gets called yellow poplar in some parts.
    Tulip Poplar is said a good nectar source:
    http://www.honey.com/votm/Tulip_Poplar.html

    Brian Cady

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Evansville, IN, USA
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    Greetings newguy,

    >Using Poplar wood for hives . . .

    Others have expressed ideas about its acceptance by the bees, so from a carpenter's
    point of view(POV), heres my thoughts.

    I use poplar indoors (trim for doors, windows, some flooring)and like how well it accepts paint.

    Outdoors, poplar does not "hold" paint very well. Wide boards tend to "cup" (from moisture). Poplar splits somewhat easily, nailing is best done w/ air nailer. Sometimes (reason unknown), extreame rot will occur even when primed and painted.

    Best use for poplar would be in making some very high-quality frames. Poplar "machines" very well.

    White pine is my FIRST choice, poplar maybe second.

    MrBEE's suggestion of making just ONE to try, might be very sound abvice.

    ------------------
    Dave W . . .

    A NewBEE with 1 hive.
    First package installed
    April, 2003.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    McMinnville, TN, USA
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    Yellow poplar is a variety of tulip poplar that grows cery slow giving it a harder wood. Yellow poplar does not rot bad or split bad the problem is alot of saw mills mix the lumber together and sell it all as yellow poplar. Tulip poplar in the woods will be much thinner trunked for the same height of tree. Yellow poplar keeps alot more of its limbs even in deep growth. I have a yellow poplar which is about 3 feet thru near my hives. Dad's farm have hundreds of tulip poplar but few yellow as his farm is to far off the mountain. We cut a large tulip poplar down to put my mobile home(it burned down). It was about 2 feet thru. The center wood of a tulip poplar is yellow in color and make great moldings like said above it needs to be kept indoors.

  9. #9

    Post

    I was wondering, because we have plenty of rough-cut poplar lumber available. Thanks for the input. Anyone else have any suggestions?
    New Guy
    BOTH my colonies alive and well -- with no Fumagillin-B!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
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    Catonsville, MD. USA
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    New Guy;

    Just built 50 medium boxes out of poplar (not sure if yellow or tulip). In working the wood, it seemed denser than the pine. I think that's a good thing. However, the die has been cast. It will be interesting to see if Dave's predictions come true.

    I'll let you know.

    Thanx.
    John

  11. #11
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    Berkey, OH, USA
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    The poplar around here is a cheap wood, grows fast, it is a soft wood. Used a lot in pallets. It sometimes has a green tint to it.

    I used some to make some hive covers. it will warp pretty easily, especially if it is not dried out good. Main thing is it is cheap and readily available! Also relatively light, although not as light as basswood.

  12. #12
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    Nov 2003
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    McMinnville, TN, USA
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    The yellow green tinted wood is the heart wood. If the tree had a very narrow edge of white it is a good wood to use. tulip poplar has a wide white ring and small amount of yellow green heart wood.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Catonsville, MD. USA
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    Cool

    Just a follow-up on the supers I built out of poplar earlier this year:

    When I pulled the popular supers off the hives to extract the honey this summer, I noticed that the corners of the box do not "deform" as much as the pine boxes do when wedging and prying with the hive tool. Another indicator that the wood is denser than pine.

    Also, eventhough the poplar boxes have been out in the wind and rain for the last 4-5 months, I have noticed no warpage as has been suggested. I put a couple coats of cytol on them before putting them out initially so they are not just bare wood.

    Thanx.

  14. #14
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    John, glad your poplar boxes are working out! Does the wood have a green tint to it?

    david

  15. #15
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    Jan 2003
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    Catonsville, MD. USA
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    Cool

    Dave, if I recall correctly, I believe it did. I since have coated it with Cytol which has wood staining properties so the green tint is not apparent anymore.
    Thanx.

  16. #16
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    Oct 2000
    Location
    canada, New Brunswick
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    Cedar here in Canada is the wood of choice but can be expensive.

    ------------------
    "Dont let fear or good judgement hold you back"

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
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    McMinnville, TN, USA
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    That is the problem. Poplar is one of the cheapest hardwoods. In the southeast it is a common tree. So poplar is 450 a 1000 feet where red cedar is 1200 per 1000. Big difference in price. Of course I an pricing #2 as this is what the chairshop purchases. #1 poplar is 600 per 1000.

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