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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    Dumaguete, Philippines
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    15

    Default Safe fungal treatments for hive bodies

    Keeping bees in the Philippines, fungi and rot seriously shorten the life of hive bodies. It is generally hot and humid here but at the moment it is the rainy season and, despite using marine ply and multiple coats of paint, I'm still getting fungal fruiting bodies developing on the outside of hives, meaning the inside is being attacked. I've just read an article on making your own wood preservative http://www.bearfortlodge.com/home-br.../#comment-3070 using borates. Though the author doesn't recommend using a borate/propylene glycol treatment around people and animals a borate/water solution looks attractive.

    Does anyone have any other suggestions for a treatment that is safe to bees and proven to be effective in the kind of extremes found here?

    Roger Maddrell
    Negros Oriental
    Philippines

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,408

    Default Re: Safe fungal treatments for hive bodies

    Maybe use plastic or polystyrene hives. While in the U.S. Navy, I spent some time in the Philippines, some of it during the monsoon period. So my suggestion, is what I would seriously consider doing. Like BeeMax or Hasson's Hives Australia. Apparently there are many different variations of plastic beehives, available in different parts of the world.



    Here is one, I believe it's BeeMax:

    And here is one version, made in Australia:

    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,125

    Thumbs Up Re: Safe fungal treatments for hive bodies

    I want to dip my equipment in a boiling solution of wax and propolis like this. Not cheap, but should be long lasting and affective for all kinds of diseases and flowering bodies in the hive.
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Dumaguete, Philippines
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    15

    Default Re: Safe fungal treatments for hive bodies

    Thanks Joseph and Lburou.
    Both of these look attractive options for different reasons. I like the idea of not having to do any maintenance on the plastic and polystyrene hives and the timber hives dipped in wax look wonderful and have a 'naturalness about them that is very satisfying. I'd love to be able to just pull out my wallet and buy my way out of this situation but one thing I didn't mention is that cost is a fairly limiting factor. We are trying to develop an apiary here that will become a model and a resource base for tribal people in the mountains of Mindanao to develop livelihood incomes from beekeeping. Needless to say, they are not rolling in cash there to set themselves up.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Geauga County, Ohio
    Posts
    38

    Default Re: Safe fungal treatments for hive bodies

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Maddrell View Post
    ....<snip>.... I've just read an article on making your own wood preservative http://www.bearfortlodge.com/home-br.../#comment-3070 using borates. Though the author doesn't recommend using a borate/propylene glycol treatment around people and animals a borate/water solution looks attractive .....<snippity>....
    The Borax or sodium tetraborate treatment is effective, and deadly to insects. It isn't widely used because it is water soluble and rain would leach it out of the wood. And I doubt you'd be happy with the results using it on hive bodies. It is about double the toxicity of table salt for people and animals.

    What do the natives use for long-lasting building materials?


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Dumaguete, Philippines
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Safe fungal treatments for hive bodies

    Hi Diogenes, I'm currently trying to find where I can get some Tim-bor or anything else that contains di-sodium-tetraborate-decahydrate here in the Philippines. That in itself is a fair sized task in itself. I'm leaning towards using this and allowing the ply to dry out before painting it with enamel paints to seal it in the wood, both to prevent leaching and minimize any risk to the bees. I'd like to do a test hive dissolving the borax in propylene glycol but I'm flat out trying to get the borax; I don't know if I'e got the energy to hunt for something less common. Apparently propylene glycol is used in environmentally friendly anti freeze for cars but, as you can imagine, any anti freeze is not a big seller in the Philippines, let alone a green and possibly more expensive one :-)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Dumaguete, Philippines
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Safe fungal treatments for hive bodies

    One of the natives here says he doesn't use anything - just keep the hives out of damp areas and keep the colonies strong. I'm still waiting on a reply from another.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
    Posts
    1,066

    Default Re: Safe fungal treatments for hive bodies

    A strong colony on the inside and two coats of exterior latex paint should do it. Make sure to paint the top and bottom edges of the boxes. Rot starts most quickly where wood is touching.
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Huntington ,VT, USA
    Posts
    258

    Default Re: Safe fungal treatments for hive bodies

    I think borates are a bad idea for this application, they are extremely effective against insects. Generally they are minimally volatile, but they do leach readily with water. It may be that since the bees are not tunneling into the wood you would be OK...but just seems a bad idea to saturate their hive in a product known to be lethal to them and commonly used to eliminate colony based insects....

    propylene glycol just acts as a non volatile solvent in situations where water would evaporate off too fast for significant absorption.
    Their is some evidence that ethylene glycol can be used as a fungal treatment and wood stabilizer, but it has broad toxicity to most critters and is again water soluble...

    I would look to the local wood species that show rot resistance. I believe you have spanish cedar which might work well. I am sure there are some others as well.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,583

    Default Re: Safe fungal treatments for hive bodies

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Maddrell View Post
    I'd like to do a test hive dissolving the borax in propylene glycol but I'm flat out trying to get the borax; I don't know if I'e got the energy to hunt for something less common.
    Someone else looking for borax in the Philippines has posted that they found it at "Atlantic Hardware in downtown cebu".
    http://www.livingincebuforums.com/ip...-to-buy-borax/

    Contact info:
    Cebu Atlantic Hardware, Inc.
    Address: , 66-72 B. Aranas St., 66-72 B. Aranas St., Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines
    Telephone No: (6332) 261-4692 to 98

    http://www.localdirect.com.ph/cebubu...fice/22533/420
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Dumaguete, Philippines
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    15

    Default Re: Safe fungal treatments for hive bodies

    Thanks Radar. I'll follow it up. I make it up to Cebu every now and then.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Geauga County, Ohio
    Posts
    38

    Default Re: Safe fungal treatments for hive bodies

    The common laundry Borax sold in the US is sodium tetraborate. I don't know if they sell a laundry Borax in the Philippines, yet it's worth looking. It's usually pretty cheap, and I sprinkle that stuff on the ground as an ant deterrent. I have a heavy plastic sheet under the rows, and sprinkle borax under the plastic.

    Good luck and if you treat the wood with Borax, at least rinse the insides before use. You typically see a sheen of fine crystals on the surface of borax treated wood, and I doubt the bees would enjoy the experience.


  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Dumaguete, Philippines
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Safe fungal treatments for hive bodies

    I've come to the conclusion that, in the hives at least, using borax is too great a risk, even though I would have sealed it in the wood with paint. The thing is, it is the fungi that I am trying to beat, not termites. After chatting with the guy who wrote the original article which I read, I'm planning on trying just the propylene glycol. That will kill the fungus and, being hygroscopic, it will penetrate the wood and replace the existing moisture. When it dries out, I'll still seal the wood well with exterior grade enamel paint, just to be sure, but according to Wikipedia, popylene glycol is used in all sorts of foods, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, as well as a non-toxic antifreeze for winterizing drinking water systems. So I feel a lot more confident about using that. I'll try it one one or two hives and see how it goes.

    Now my problem is where to find some here. In North America, the easiest way would be to buy it as an environmentally friendly, non toxic antifreeze (cousin of the green ethylene glycol) but there's not a big demand for anti freeze in the Philippines :-)

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