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  1. #1
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    May 2010
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    Surfside Beach, SC
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    Question Painting hive bodies

    I would like to know whether it is advisable to paint the top and bottom edges of hive bodies or leave them natural wood. I have been using semi-gloss paint which tends to make them stick together. I figured it would be good to paint them to preserve the wood, but was wondering what the convention wisdom is on it.

    I was also wondering whether to use semi-gloss paint or flat. I figured that semi-gloss would resist water better and would be easier to keep clean, but again, I was wondering what the conventional wisdom is on this too.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Birmingham, Alabama, USA
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    101

    Default Re: Painting hive bodies

    I purposefully did not paint the top and bottoms to prevent the paint from sticking them together. Of course, the bees will glue everything together with propolis, so they will be stuck together whether you help or not. Either way, you'll be using your hive tool to pry the supers apart.

    When I took my beekeeping class, it was suggested that hives be painted with any type of latex/acrylic exterior grade paint. I do not recall any of the instructors mentioning that one paint finish type was superior to another. Most of the beekeepers I've talked to simply buy whatever light colored "oops" paint they can find at Home Depot since it is so cheap.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    North Salem, IN, USA
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    72

    Default Re: Painting hive bodies

    I am doing the same thing. I used to use a flat "barn" paint ($12/gal) and it tended to mildew after one season even after three coats. This year I went with Valspar semi-gloss ($28/gal) to try to extend the life of my gear. I always painted the top and bottom edges with the flat and did the same with the semi-gloss. The edges stuck with the semi-gloss so bad that the paint peeled away. I really like the look of the semi-gloss but may put a primer coat of the flat on and get the edges with that, then follow-up with a second coat of the semi-gloss and just get the sides. I had a three deep hive to move the other night and had switched the older boxes out with the newly painted ones a few weeks prior to the move. That wasn't very much fun trying to pry those boxes apart. Talk about some ticked off bees. I would much rather have natural looking hives without paint but am reluctant to use something like Thompson's. Interested to see some others comment on this thread.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
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    6,437

    Default Re: Painting hive bodies

    propolis is much better than paint on the upper and lower edges.
    semi-gloss is better than flat, and gloss is best as far as lasting outside
    I am glad you did not go with stain. I just read the directions that came with the Hardie-board, because I cannot afford to waste all that money. Stain is not suggested or approved as a final coat because it does not slow moisture getting in and destroying the material.
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Greenville County, South Carolina
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    87

    Default Re: Painting hive bodies

    Boiled Linseed Oil. All natural product for an all natural look. All my painted hives are stored out in the barn now, I am hooked on the natural look.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    KC, MO, USA
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    930

    Default Re: Painting hive bodies

    Boiled Linseed Oil--how long will it last, how often do you reapply, what is the cost?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    Surfside Beach, SC
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    249

    Default Re: Painting hive bodies

    Have any of you found a cheap airless spray gun that can speed up the painting of multiple boxes, or do you prefer to brush it on to get better coverage?

    I guess the better question would be, do you prefer to brush or spray your boxes?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
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    2,225

    Default Re: Painting hive bodies

    Linseed oil coatings will need to be re-applied when they quit sheding water, which typically is every couple years.

    Follow the guidelines for exterior paints, to whit: At least one coat of a good, exterior grade primer, followed by two coats of exterior grade paint. These can be alkyd or latex, although I've found over the last 40 years or so alkyd primers to be much better. They are available in fast dry form, which makes things easier.

    Primer (latex or alkyd) is critical, as latex paint in particular, but also alkyd exterior paint, will NOT bind to bare wood properly, with the result that it simply peels off in a few years. You need the "glue" ability of the primer to keep the paint on the box.

    You can "fix" the sticking problem with cornstarch, just sprinkle some on and rub it in with your finger. This prevents the paint sticking together.

    Most people don't paint the upper and lower edges, it takes too long and doesn't do much for longevity compared to painting the outer surfaces.

    You can refresh the paint every few years by rotating the boxes and painting them when empty, or if you are using latex paints, you can actually paint the hive in the fall as it stands on a day when the bees aren't very active (but above 50F). Don't do that with alkyd paints, and don't put latex on bare wood, if the paint is peeling, you'' have to scrape the box and re-prime.

    Good paint (or wax/rosin dipping) will make your boxes last a lifetime, it's a false economy to be sloppy with the paint to my mind. 'Course, I'm a scientist, so I'm picky.

    Peter

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Birch River, WV
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    29

    Default Re: Painting hive bodies

    Bamindy...you might want to check out Eco Wood. I will be using it on all my new equipment. Paint don't seem to hold up well for me...even using primer and two top coats.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Sullivan, MO
    Posts
    827

    Default Re: Painting hive bodies

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Fran View Post
    Have any of you found a cheap airless spray gun that can speed up the painting of multiple boxes, or do you prefer to brush it on to get better coverage?

    I guess the better question would be, do you prefer to brush or spray your boxes?
    I found a cheap sprayer at walmart in the clearance section and that is how I paint my boxes now and I don't think I will ever go back. I stack the boxes up till they are almost as tall as me and start spraying. Once I have gotten all the way around, I grab a brush and just quickly go over each box (think 5-10 secs a box) back and forth to smooth it out. Let it dry (this is really quick too). Then hit with another quick spray and brush and they are done.

    Rod

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Yukon, Oklahoma
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    151

    Default Re: Painting hive bodies

    We stack up the bodies and just use a roller to apply the paint. We don't paint the tops and bottoms of the bodies.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Evansville, IN
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    Default Re: Painting hive bodies

    Spray equipment is the way to go if you have dozens or hunderds of boxes. Not much difference in time for a handful, especially if they have cleats instead of cut-out hand-holds.
    Used properly, you will get better coverage, less running, and better utilization of the paint, but you hvae to balance that against the waste of cleaning out the spray gun and mis-guaging the amount needed, hence thinned and then discarded.

    A roller will do great on flat surfaces, but a brush is probably going to be needed for the handles either way.

    Peter

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Battle Ground , Washington, USA
    Posts
    710

    Default Re: Painting hive bodies

    putting a 2x4 through the boxes and painting them as you roll them works good, you can paint all sides with no sticking, saw horses are a little low for this but they will work. You can do 10-12 boxes per 2x4 .
    I'm not tense, Just terribly, terribly alert!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Surfside Beach, SC
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    249

    Default Re: Painting hive bodies

    Thanks to all for some really excellent and helpful information!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Greenville County, South Carolina
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    87

    Default Re: Painting hive bodies

    Linseed Oil is about 8 to 10 dollars a quart. Last winter I built 5 hive bodies, and 5 nuc/trapsout of some old pine board. 1 quart did all 10 boxes and I have a little left in the can. You can find it in the paint department of any store.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    OKC, OK USA
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    Default Re: Painting hive bodies

    Hey Tom, I buy oops paint at Lowe's for 5 buck a gallon and use gloss as it lasts longer and is easy to clean when needed. I use a brush with the set up in the picture.

    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

  17. #17
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    May 2010
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    Surfside Beach, SC
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    Default Re: Painting hive bodies

    Very nice!

    I like your handholds too. How did you do those? It looks like a 3/4" dado, but then you also have a flared bottom lip.

    Do you really get exterior paint for $5? I need to check that out!

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    OKC, OK USA
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    2,870

    Default Re: Painting hive bodies

    Yep, $5 a gallon for $30 a gallon paint. Those are Mann Lake boxes.
    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

  19. #19
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    May 2010
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    Surfside Beach, SC
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    Default Re: Painting hive bodies

    Do they always have some, or do you tell them to give you a call when they mess up an order?

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Evansville, IN
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    Default Re: Painting hive bodies

    They have "oops" paint when someone makes a mistake on adding color, or the customer refuses to take it because it came out different than expected.

    Right now, locally, there is only some neon green interior flat latex and a pint of semi-gloss dark gray available at the stores I haunt. Pretty early for outside work season, I expect to see more when it warms up.

    I don't expect a steady supply, it's more like there sometimes is, sometimes isn't any to choose from. Again, when it warms up and people start painting things, more will appear. Gotta buy it when it's there.

    Peter

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