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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Lockport, NY USA
    Posts
    9

    Default Painting hive boxes

    Ok, It's probably been mentioned somewhere, but I can't find it. I'm at the point that I'm painting my newly assembled hives. I know not to paint the inside, and to put a good couple of coats on the outside. But, here's my question. Do I paint the mating surfaces of the boxes, where all the components come together? I'm on a roll painting and stopped to be sure I don't paint something I shouldn't. Does it make any difference or is there a reason not to paint the stated areas?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    6,949

    Default Re: Painting hive boxes

    The only reason not to paint the mating surfaces would be if it is uneven and leaves gaps. Gaps will allow intruders in like wax moths and small hive beetles. There is little reason to paint the mating surfaces since they get wax and propolis all over anyway. If the supers were plywood I would paint the mating surfaces anyway. Don't worry if you do get paint on the mating surfaces anyway. The hive tool scrapes it right back off.
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,217

    Default Re: Painting hive boxes

    How much free time do you have?
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    5,999

    Default Re: Painting hive boxes

    I paint them with the wood all stacked up, before the box is assembled. Don't paint the inside of the box though.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,770

    Default Re: Painting hive boxes

    I don't paint the mating surfaces because they stick together when I use latex paint. Invariably, when you maintain boxes, you get some on those surfaces. Over time, the stickiness goes away. You're fine if you don't paint them.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, North Carolina
    Posts
    2,747

    Default Re: Painting hive boxes

    I didn't used to paint them, then I noticed where I didn't paint often rotten away much faster. I do paint them now, and like that I do. It does cause the boxes to stick together, so I just use a little bit of Vaseline, which eventually wears away when the boxes arn't sticky anymore.

    I don't know for sure that painting the mating parts helps with the rot, but it does help with my piece of mind. You would be fine if you didn't paint them though.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Huntsville, Alabama
    Posts
    677

    Default Re: Painting hive boxes

    I assemble the boxes, making sure there is plenty of glue at the contact points. This is the "waterproofing". I find it easier to paint assembled. Paint one side, flip, paint, flip, etc...then set down. Next box, same thing, set down at an angle on the previous box to allow air flow where needed.
    Now, if I was assembling 100+ boxes, I might do it different. But my way, I am able to get a good coating on everything and dry time is minimal. Just made 10 nuc boxes and will be painting then and numerous supers at the first 50+ degree 2 days in a row opportunity.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Kingsport, Sullivan, Tennessee
    Posts
    786

    Default Re: Painting hive boxes

    I had the same question, once, but wound up taping half the mating edge up longways and painting them. Once the paint dried, I removed the tape the outside half was painted while the inside half was not. To paint or not to paint? I did both at the same time, lol. I figured propolis would take care of the unpainted portion. -james

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Dorset, Vermont
    Posts
    129

    Default Re: Painting hive boxes

    Somebody somewhere recently mentioned a hive painting trick that bears repeating - hang several hive bodies on a 2 X 4 suspended between two sawhorses. Paint, rotate, paint, rotate ...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Clay Count, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    819

    Default Re: Painting hive boxes

    I paint the "mating" end of my hives - for now that is. I'm only in my second year of beekeeping so I have not had a chance to see if it makes a difference in my equipment or others. I live in Missouri which has a different climate than say Washington State.

    Sure would be nice not to have to paint the mating ends because of the time it takes for the ends to dry which causes an extra step. If time was money, which is hardly ever is for my hobbies, I would build or buy a bunch of parts and paint them all at once in as quickly a way as possible which I'm sure would mean not painting the mating ends. It's all situational.

    JRH - Thanks for the pass-on regarding the 2x4 method. Makes a lot of since.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Clifford Township, PA
    Posts
    2,029

    Default Re: Painting hive boxes

    I don't paint the eges or the insides of the boxes. But since most of the free cut-offs I use come with 2 coats of acrylic primer on both sides and all edges, the interiors of most of my hives are painted inside.

    The bees do not seem to be affected. They do not cover it with propolis. They do not die from it. They do not complain about the color. They do not stop raising brood or making honey. The wood does not rot or check because of it. The paint does not cause excess moisture buildup or condensation. In fact, I don't see any reason for all the warnings not to do it except that it isn't really necessary.

    Wayne

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Reno, NV USA
    Posts
    2,310

    Default Re: Painting hive boxes

    I stack the supers (on a pallet) with tile spacers (very cheap from Home Depot) and place several internal frame feeders full of water in the top box for weights. The first coat is oil based primer. The second coat is 1:1 primer with oil based ext paint. The primer has hardeners that accelerate the curing of the mix (you can add Japan hardener instead). The third coat is the same as the second unless I have a lot of cure time ahead of me then I will use only the ext alkyd paint which takes a lot of time to cure. When all the stacks are dry the boxes can be taken down and tile spacers removed. The tile spacers keep the boxes from being glued together by the paint. I started out with a long painting jig that I built but found stacking allows much faster used of the paint roller. If you use a 4 way pallet and place boxes in only two of the 4 spots kitty corner, then you can get the paint on all four sides.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Kingsport, Sullivan, Tennessee
    Posts
    786

    Default Re: Painting hive boxes

    I thought you were not supposed to use oil-based paints, but only latex? If oils are OK, that opens up the possibility to use a lot more junk/scrap paint lying around being otherwise wasted. -james
    Last edited by Barry; 01-23-2011 at 11:42 AM. Reason: don't quote the entire previous post

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Dripping Springs, TX USA
    Posts
    296

    Default Re: Painting hive boxes

    An interesting twist: I noticed Michael Bush shows dipping his hives in a wax/rosin mixture. It looks cool, but not sure I can implement it for me though. I would love to do something similar, but ....

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Denton, TX
    Posts
    92

    Default Re: Painting hive boxes

    Quote Originally Posted by dixiebooks View Post
    I thought you were not supposed to use oil-based paints, but only latex? If oils are OK, that opens up the possibility to use a lot more junk/scrap paint lying around being otherwise wasted. -james
    What difference does it make? As long as the boxes are protected and you arn't putting on any kind of lead based paint.

    I've seen both used.
    9/11/01 NEVER Forget! 343

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Kingsport, Sullivan, Tennessee
    Posts
    786

    Default Re: Painting hive boxes

    TexasFirefighter: I don't know what difference it would make. That's why I asked. I just read previously that we should use only 100% acrylic latex, not oil-based paint.

    -james (an AL firefighter/emt)

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Reno, NV USA
    Posts
    2,310

    Default Re: Painting hive boxes

    A lot of guys use latex paint but it hasn't come close in performance for me. A high solids oil/alkyd over an oil primer has outlasted my latex boxes by many years. Some people have posted that they have latex in the yard that is quite old. Latex paints have always peeled and flaked after a few years so I stick with what works for me.
    Latex generally forms a coat over the surface of the wood and doesn't really penetrate. My main goal is to get the end grain on the joints to absorb paint so they don't suck up water during the wet months. While painting I usually roll over the joints a few extra times with the roller to be certain I have good coverage over the joint. All of my oil/alkyd boxes are like new while the latex boxes are becoming firewood. Once the water does its thing, the rabbit joints tend to spread which causes the frames to drop off the rabbit while working the hive. I have not ever had this happen with a box built with finger joints, glued with either urethane or TitebondIII, and painted with an oil/alkyd.
    Dipping boxes is a wax resin mix sounds great and I hope to get to that point.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Weatherford,Texas,USA
    Posts
    450

    Default Re: Painting hive boxes

    what about using linseed oil? anyone know how well that works or last? I was planning on going with the natural look of the wood to help the hives blend in so not to draw attention.
    Jason
    "It's better to die upon your feet than to live upon your knees!" Zapata

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Reno, NV USA
    Posts
    2,310

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Chippew County, WI, USA
    Posts
    650

    Default Re: Painting hive boxes

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldtimer View Post
    I paint them with the wood all stacked up, before the box is assembled. Don't paint the inside of the box though.
    Brilliant! That is take pain the the rear end out of it.

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