One of Tom Seeley's points of Darwinian Beekeeping was to make the inside of the hive rough so the bees would put propolis over the entire surface, just as they do in a tree hive. The propolis is a natural antiseptic and helps to improve hive health. The thought is that more propolis in the hive is better.
In my long hive, I used some old rough cut fence board for the inner cover. Indeed, the bees have covered it with propolis and its as if it has a thick film of shellac on it. The sides of the hive are smooth lumber, and have no propolis on them.
So, I want to make a few hives with rough interiors to see how the bees respond, and see if it creates any difficulties in beekeeping. I'm not sure I can measure the effectiveness in health of the additional propolis, but I can surely see the amount of propolis they add.
How might we do this?
1 - Are there any box suppliers making standard hive boxes that are rough cut on the inside? Can you even buy rough cut 3/4" lumber in sizes adequate for a deep box? I know I can buy 3/4" fence boards, but they are usually only 6", maybe 8".
2 - Know any small scale or innovative box makers that we might convince to try a new line of products and make a few boxes?
3 - Do you have any ideas how to roughen up the inside of some pine boxes before assembly? (or after assembly) I have tried wire brushes, tree saws, scrapers, and some other techniques to try to roughen up the wood. I haven't come up with a method that I'm satisfied with yet. Got one or two more things to try, but thought I'd get the collective wisdom of the group thinking on how we might do this.
4 - Have any of you ever made some rough cut boxes that you can report on how the bees behave compared to smooth boards?
If we find a builder, or a decent method of modification, anyone else want to try out a few boxes come spring?
Do the bees stop adding propolis in the fall the same as they stop making wax this time of year? (my guess is yes, but I don't know for sure.)
Know any college kids that need a research project?
Just thinking out loud on a Friday night.