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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    FRANKLIN NC
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    28

    Default To Paint or Not To Paint

    There are many different theories out there about whether or not to paint your top bar hive. I would love to have a discussion on the pros and cons.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Vancouver, WA
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    98

    Default Re: To Paint or Not To Paint

    Theres a notion out there that painting retains moisture in the hive, which could be dangerous in winter. Most people who want to keep Top Bar beekeeping as natural as possible use a mixture of tung oil or boiled linseed oil mixed with beeswax. Protects the wood, and lets it breathe....so to speak.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
    Posts
    1,618

    Default Re: To Paint or Not To Paint

    Try some of these threads...

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...light=painting

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...light=painting

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...light=painting

    Ed

    ETA: These links aren't TBH specific, but rather general paint info that tends to be geared more toward Langstroth hives...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    FRANKLIN NC
    Posts
    28

    Default Re: To Paint or Not To Paint

    That was alot of information...I think i will paint...lol

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
    Posts
    1,618

    Default Re: To Paint or Not To Paint

    Good choice, JOANAR. All my woodenware (except for an odd piece here and there) are cypress but I primed and painted it. So far I have used Kilz II as a primer but have read some negative remarks about it and will be using Zinser 1-2-3 waterbased primer from here on out. The paint that I've been using is premium Valspar that has primer already in it. It is a one-coat paint and lays down a nice coat of paint. I've been very pleased with it so far.

    My oldest boxes have only been out in the elements for a year and three months so really not a long term evaluation (I'm wondering about the Kilz) but as I insinuated, they're still looking good.

    I have one or two boxes that I needed before I could get paint on them and even though they are cypress they are showing weathering...some splitting and cracking in the surface is evident...nothing that is weaking the structure, but that over a period of time probably will. When I get a chance I'm pulling them out of service and slopping on some primer/paint.

    I have painted most of my boxes with them sitting on a counter propped up on little pieces of wood. I did the same with my bottomboards and tops and any other hive part. In one painting session I decided to make two stacks out of the supers that I was painting and paint them all at once. I primed each box before I stacked and painted (included the edges). I didn't get back to those boxes after I painted them for a month or two. By then the stacks were more or less one solid piece...the paint is a great glue...I could carry an entire stack as one unit. But, they popped loose easy enough. I am definitely going to use the board between two supports method the next time I paint (which I need to do soon).

    I initially painted the edges with box primer and paint. The last few painting sessions I just primed them and let it go at that...the Valspar is some thick paint and tended to make the boxes stick together a lot.

    If you want to "decorate" your boxes, or maybe paint bottom boards or queen excluders or some other small part a different color Home Depot sells little "sample" containers of exterior paint that you can get tinted in any color that they sell. Lowe's has small sample containers, too, but I'm not sure if there's state as being exterior. Hmmm, or that could be right opposite...so much for my memory! Well, I just typed that and remembered once again that you're working with TBH's...I guess you could use the "samples" for trim work or for painting bees and flowers on your hive. Best wishes, Ed


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    San Mateo, Ca, USA
    Posts
    403

    Default Re: To Paint or Not To Paint

    just paint the outsides. The insides can absorb moisture and breathe with the hive if unpainted on the inside

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,492

    Default Re: To Paint or Not To Paint

    Not painting is much less work...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Milw, WI
    Posts
    116

    Default Re: To Paint or Not To Paint

    I painted mine. I can attest to the fact that it is more work. But I also know how poorly unfinished wood (i used pine) fares in the Wisconsin weather. For me it meant a nice looking hive that would not need to be replaced as soon, and or have the leg rot out from under it (as readily).

    Repainting with 20,000 of your best friends watching you didn't seem like an awesome idea either....

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    FRANKLIN NC
    Posts
    28

    Default Re: To Paint or Not To Paint

    Funny!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    Posts
    31

    Default Re: To Paint or Not To Paint

    The one thing I would NOT do again is use boiled linseed oil and beeswax! I did two TBH's and a nuc with that stuff a year ago and they all are turning black with dirt streaks and mildew. I liked the initial natural wood look but now they look terrible and are getting worse everyday.

    Funny, I was just experimenting with various methods of trying to remove the BLO and BW finish today and somebody else is recommending it. I plan to replace it with transparent Cabot Deck and Fence Stain, if I can get the old finish off.

    Sounds like you are having fun getting ready for your bees...now if the NC weather would just warm up. Today, I heard that this is the 8th coldest March here in the last 69 years!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    FRANKLIN NC
    Posts
    28

    Default Re: To Paint or Not To Paint

    My bees arrive in mid April...so very soon. I am almost ready. Here in WNC today is supposed to be 49 to 50 and it is just getting warmer from there. Come on Spring!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,049

    Default Re: To Paint or Not To Paint

    I hate painting, but unpainted wood looks pretty bad after a year. Not that it would fall apart but it looks bad. If you are buying premium latex full price versus not painting, you may loose money in the long run on paint. But if you get your paint as miss-tints at the big boxes it cost almost nothing (but your time). I was hoping to con my kids into painting, but I got about half of one coat on one hive painted that way.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
    Posts
    1,618

    Default Re: To Paint or Not To Paint

    ..wyatt, I have a friend who was shopping at one of the large discount stores. He had his three-year-old son with him. As they passed by toys or whatever his little boy would naturally come out with "I want one!". My friend would keep on going and respond with "No job, no toy". This happened several times during the shopping trip. When they got to the checkout the 3 yo did get a small pack of M&Ms which he handed to the checkout clerk who then handed it back to the child. The young boy quickly said "Thank you". This impressed the clerk who then looked in the buggy and exclaimed "Why, you don't have a toy in there!". To which the 3-year-old responded...."No job...no toy!". Naturally, the clerk chided his daddy for being a mean person but my friend just smiled. The boy now has several jobs...picking up toys all along, throwing trash in wastebaskets, picking up a few dirty clothes, etc.,. He doesn't do a great job at it, but he makes some effort...and he gets a nickle or so doing "the job" and along the way learns what "value" is. Now, when they go to the store he has his own money (that he "worked" for...and which his daddy adds to ). But, this little boy is learning that you work for things...that there's no such thing as a free ride.

    Hmm, your kids have any video games, favorite television programs, favorite McDonalds meal, favorite...???? Don't con'em...give'em a job...if a 3-year-old can figure it out...

    Ed

    PS...if you institute some form of this "work for money(toy?)" method please don't give them my name or location.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    San Mateo, Ca, USA
    Posts
    403

    Default Re: To Paint or Not To Paint

    I just used the leftover exterior latex paint that was used on the house the last time it was painted. It was free and makes my hive blend in to its surroundings (in my case its next to my house).

    Depending on your neighbors you may or may not want your hive to be easily noticeable or recognizable. Just something to factor in when considering getting the odd 'off colors' from the box stores. If your hives are out in the middle of a field on a farm then its no problem.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,972

    Default Re: To Paint or Not To Paint

    I have 5 tbh's. The first two I made, I never painted, but used a poly finish to keep the 'wood-look'. The next three I stained with a solid stain. Looking at them all, I wish I had stained them all.

    The 'wood-look' can get pretty dumpy looking once the water/sun set. The stained ones look great.

    Adam

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Bandon, OR
    Posts
    91

    Default Re: To Paint or Not To Paint

    Quote Originally Posted by beepopnc View Post
    The one thing I would NOT do again is use boiled linseed oil and beeswax! I did two TBH's and a nuc with that stuff a year ago and they all are turning black with dirt streaks and mildew. I liked the initial natural wood look but now they look terrible and are getting worse everyday.
    I can attest to that...the Boiled Linseed Oil and melted Bees Wax look a beautiful golden color when first applied, but after about a year starts getting black...not pretty...but what to use that's looks nice, weathers well, and is not harmful to bees crawling all over it?

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,592

    Default Re: To Paint or Not To Paint

    Sealing the exposed end grain will help to prevent moisture from entering the joints.

    I smear Titebond III over the exposed end grain of all of my assemblies. I also apply a bead/fillet of glue along all inside corners. It may seem excessive but when the joints are nearly impermeable to moisture it helps...

    I don't have TBH's but I have been a yacht refinisher/foreman. A sound, stable surface is easier to beautify and protect.
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
    Posts
    1,191

    Default Re: To Paint or Not To Paint

    I painted these long hives, but I felt I needed to, because they are plywood with solid timber stringers (background in boatbuilding too.)

    twohives.jpg

    I'm hoping the covers of galvanized roofing will keep rain off completely, but this is a humid climate here along the Gulf.

    I'd hoped to avoid painting my Langstroth hives, because they are made of cypress, but I've learned that modern cypress is not as resistant to deterioration as the cypress that used to be available, so I painted them too. I used Behr exterior primer and exterior satin enamel, thinking that maybe the smoother surface would be more resistant to mildew.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
    Posts
    1,618

    Default Re: To Paint or Not To Paint

    rhaldridge, go ahead and paint them...better now than when they're growing mold and mildrew.

    My woodenware is from Rossman (cypess) but it's not old growth stuff. I've got one or two boxes that I had to use before painting...they're not aging very gracefully.

    ed

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Pensacola, FL
    Posts
    142

    Default Re: To Paint or Not To Paint

    After reading this thread, and the threads linkined in post 3, I'm beginning to rethink the finish on my hive. I have cypress woodenware, and the only finish I put on is boiled linseed oil (no wax or turpentine). I just wiped it on with a cloth. They looked great at first. But now they've been in service for about a year and are beginning to show mildew.

    I bought some additional boxes recently, and finished them the same way. They haven't gone on the hives yet, so they still look nice. I'm thinking I'll sand them and try again with an exterior stain or paint. Then I can rotate them in, and refinish the original boxes.

    Brian
    Hobby Beekeeper - Second Year - Two Hives

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