non-toxic seal for gaps between boards
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  1. #1
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    Question non-toxic seal for gaps between boards

    Hi, all,

    I'm looking for recommendations for the best non-toxic way to seal gaps between boards for a bee hive. I'm building extra deep hive bodies using cedar boards. Duck tape seems the most obvious, but I'm not sure if that is considered the best, and definitely that wuold look gnarly.

    REgards,
    Thomas
    My grandfather and great-uncle kept bees and my fiancée's grandfather, too. I want to pass this tradition along.

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  3. #2
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  4. #3
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    Niagara Co., NY, USA
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    Default Re: non-toxic seal for gaps between boards

    The bees will take care of it and do a lot better job than you can!

  5. #4

    Default Re: non-toxic seal for gaps between boards

    The bees will do a great job. The Big stuff i use aluminum tape for heat ducts. Duck tape doesn’t hold up for me.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: non-toxic seal for gaps between boards

    I use the DAP Plastic Wood which is also water based to repair my feeders. I can see where aluminum tape would be good for winter sealing of large gaps between boxes or joints in a top bar hive. But like others pointed out the bees should propolize any gaps and they do a real good job of it. Why do you have gaps in the first place?
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: non-toxic seal for gaps between boards

    I have used Tyvex tape to seal gaps. It seems to hold up ok so far. Gaff tape does not hold up well.

  8. #7
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    Landing, NJ, USA
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    Default Re: non-toxic seal for gaps between boards

    Fine sawdust mixed with whatever glue you're using.
    Bill

  9. #8
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    Default Re: non-toxic seal for gaps between boards

    I commonly use blue or green colored "painter's masking tape" for that job. It can be removed during a quick inspection and will re-stick when re-assembling the hive parts. I also use that kind if tape to "adjust" upper entry accesses such as a "notch" for ventilation or a 3/4" drilled hole in a honey super during a major nectar flow. It works well because it is easy for an attentive beekeeper to regulate the traffic flow and/or eliminate a potential robbing point.

    Steve

  10. #9
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    Default Re: non-toxic seal for gaps between boards

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    Why do you have gaps in the first place?
    Yep - I was wondering that ...

    When I make boxes I run the boards across a table router to ensure that the edges are true and cleaned-up ready for gluing. I don't bother with biscuits, but simply butt 'em together with 100% waterproof glue. I then fill any nail holes or other imperfections with automotive body filler ... then paint the boxes, both inside and out. No gaps. Never any gaps.

    If there were any - I'd leave 'em for the bees to fix.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  11. #10
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    Default Re: non-toxic seal for gaps between boards

    Here are couple of photographic examples of reducing entrances with tape as discussed above in post #8. The size of the entry can easily be adjusted to suit summer or winter, robbing conditions, etc. The tape can also be used to close long cracks between supers, but as LJ points out above, the bees will most likely take care of that in the fall and fill with propolis.
    , Bees, Winter Entry, B.jpg
    Bees, Winter Entrance, A.jpg
    , Bees, Entrance Limitation, B.jpg

    Steve

  12. #11
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    Default Re: non-toxic seal for gaps between boards

    It would seem to the naked eye that this is no gap between the boards, but with a thermal camera I can see heat leaking where the boards meet.

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    I use the DAP Plastic Wood which is also water based to repair my feeders. I can see where aluminum tape would be good for winter sealing of large gaps between boxes or joints in a top bar hive. But like others pointed out the bees should propolize any gaps and they do a real good job of it. Why do you have gaps in the first place?
    My grandfather and great-uncle kept bees and my fiancée's grandfather, too. I want to pass this tradition along.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: non-toxic seal for gaps between boards

    I have never used it, but I wonder if foam insulation tape applied to the edges of the hive might serve to reduce the heat loss at those points. It compresses to practically nothing but would serve to fill any iregularities in the mating surfaces. Gaps or seams in the body of your TBH are probably best filled with latex caulk.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: non-toxic seal for gaps between boards

    My grandfather and great-uncle kept bees and my fiancée's grandfather, too. I want to pass this tradition along.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: non-toxic seal for gaps between boards

    Thank you!
    Quote Originally Posted by My-smokepole View Post
    The bees will do a great job. The Big stuff i use aluminum tape for heat ducts. Duck tape doesn’t hold up for me.
    My grandfather and great-uncle kept bees and my fiancée's grandfather, too. I want to pass this tradition along.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: non-toxic seal for gaps between boards

    Thanks Elmer!
    Quote Originally Posted by elmer_fud View Post
    I have used Tyvex tape to seal gaps. It seems to hold up ok so far. Gaff tape does not hold up well.
    My grandfather and great-uncle kept bees and my fiancée's grandfather, too. I want to pass this tradition along.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: non-toxic seal for gaps between boards

    HI, what are biscuits?

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    Yep - I was wondering that ...

    When I make boxes I run the boards across a table router to ensure that the edges are true and cleaned-up ready for gluing. I don't bother with biscuits, but simply butt 'em together with 100% waterproof glue. I then fill any nail holes or other imperfections with automotive body filler ... then paint the boxes, both inside and out. No gaps. Never any gaps.

    If there were any - I'd leave 'em for the bees to fix.
    LJ
    My grandfather and great-uncle kept bees and my fiancée's grandfather, too. I want to pass this tradition along.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: non-toxic seal for gaps between boards

    Thanks Steve, I've actually used that same method with entrances!
    Quote Originally Posted by Bear Creek Steve View Post
    Here are couple of photographic examples of reducing entrances with tape as discussed above in post #8. The size of the entry can easily be adjusted to suit summer or winter, robbing conditions, etc. The tape can also be used to close long cracks between supers, but as LJ points out above, the bees will most likely take care of that in the fall and fill with propolis.
    , Bees, Winter Entry, B.jpg
    Bees, Winter Entrance, A.jpg
    , Bees, Entrance Limitation, B.jpg

    Steve
    My grandfather and great-uncle kept bees and my fiancée's grandfather, too. I want to pass this tradition along.

  19. #18
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    Default Re: non-toxic seal for gaps between boards

    thanks for the tip JW!
    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    I have never used it, but I wonder if foam insulation tape applied to the edges of the hive might serve to reduce the heat loss at those points. It compresses to practically nothing but would serve to fill any iregularities in the mating surfaces. Gaps or seams in the body of your TBH are probably best filled with latex caulk.
    My grandfather and great-uncle kept bees and my fiancée's grandfather, too. I want to pass this tradition along.

  20. #19
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    Default Re: non-toxic seal for gaps between boards

    Quote Originally Posted by Yunzow View Post
    HI, what are biscuits?
    There are several ways of joining planks together edge-to-edge. Perhaps the most common is 'tongue and groove' - which is a fine method, but one which requires accurate woodworking.

    With 'biscuit joining' a groove is cut into the face of one plank edge, with a similar groove cut into the edge of the opposing plank. A thin oval-shaped piece of wood called a 'biscuit' is then inserted into one groove, and the planks brought together so that the biscuit is then pressed into both grooves, ensuring that the planks are butted-up together accurately at that position. Long planks require multiple biscuits, obviously. Again, it's a method which requires accurate woodworking.

    If using modern glues however, such methods are no longer absolutely necessary. You can see the results of simple glued-butt-joints in the bottom two pictures at: http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/firewood01.htm
    In the top picture of: http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/beek12.htm you can see how a KTBH was made using this type of wide plank. To ensure warping didn't occur at a later date, a second skin of pallet-wood planks was attached at right angles to the first.

    That particular KTBH was trialled for a year and then sat in a shed for several years before being converted into a Deep Long Hive. A couple of years later that hive has finally been sliced in half, and has now become two separate 16-frame Dadant-sized hives - but still using those original planks from the KTBH, in which gaps have never subsequently formed. But only thanks to the modern glue which I now use.
    'best
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  21. #20
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    Default Re: non-toxic seal for gaps between boards

    Very good!, LJ

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