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Discussion Starter #1
Although I live in an area that seems friendly to the bees, with supportive neighbors, I assume that with more people spending time at home, and the potential for less-accepting neighbors to move in closer at any time, it may be beneficial to start using hives that are even more "un-noticable" than my current cedar-looking pine wood ones. Ideally I was thinking about just covering the outside of the supers (each done separately) with a layer of glued-on Mossy Oak or other camo fabric, but I am concerned about the potentially-unhealthy glue or fabric being eaten away by curious bees that might be less-than thrilled with it. I could always paint each of them by hand, but I'm not really a great painter either unfortunately, and the time could probably be best spent doing management activities instead. Has anybody tried such an idea? Considering all the new folks that might be thinking about food security going forward, I think that if I put out some "remote hives" I might feel better if they didn't stand out like a sore thumb. Maybe cover each with fabric and then go over with a UV-resistant and bee-resistant sealer before use? Fabric that fades out in a single season seems mostly pointless lol. Thanks for any ideas!
 

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I a lot of time paint boxes in brown and green tones. A privacy fence worked to shield the hives.
 

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Painting in a subdued tone that blends in with the location the colonies are located is probably the simplest solution.
 

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Positioning hives behind something 'innocent' should work ok (vehicle, parked trailer etc) - as bees are fairly invisible in flight (unless a person is particularly focused on looking-out for them), it's only when they get close to the hive entrance that they look like an unruly mob.

Long Hives are particularly good for adopting a low profile (in every sense), as they can be set fairly close to the ground if needs be, and they don't much look like most people's idea of a beehive.

I've always thought that some Long Hives (KTBH's in particular) look like planters anyway - so you could just place a few pots of hanging plants on top of those ... :)
LJ
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Positioning hives behind something 'innocent' should work ok (vehicle, parked trailer etc) - as bees are fairly invisible in flight (unless a person is particularly focused on looking-out for them), it's only when they get close to the hive entrance that they look like an unruly mob.

Long Hives are particularly good for adopting a low profile (in every sense), as they can be set fairly close to the ground if needs be, and they don't much look like most people's idea of a beehive.

I've always thought that some Long Hives (KTBH's in particular) look like planters anyway - so you could just place a few pots of hanging plants on top of those ... :)
LJ
The idea for long hives is interesting for a number of reasons, but being able to do brood inspections without dragging everything apart at the same time, and lifting all that stuff seems particularly nice as I seem to get weaker every year lol. Due to property lines and road layout privacy fence is not really an option, nor is vehicle parking obscurement. I think for now I'll just make a few things up, drop them on hives, and see what happens. Then I can let the bees decide what they like best. Regardless of my choices, doing anything is probably better than ignoring the possibility of vandalism, theft, or complaints, so I'll have to update everybody with the ideas I try and show what happened :)
 

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I wanted to do the same thing at my old place. My hives were scattered around a forest then, so I took a dead leaf off the ground and had it color-matched at Home Depot. Then I painted my hives to match the leaf. If I had to do it over, I'd color-match the bark from the trees instead. But even with the leaf color, it was nearly impossible to see any of my hives unless you knew they were there.

150418_BeeHive.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I wanted to do the same thing at my old place. My hives were scattered around a forest then, so I took a dead leaf off the ground and had it color-matched at Home Depot. Then I painted my hives to match the leaf. If I had to do it over, I'd color-match the bark from the trees instead. But even with the leaf color, it was nearly impossible to see any of my hives unless you knew they were there.

View attachment 54053
Very nice, especially with the nice spring bloom starting! What are those flowers? Around here the earliest stuff is usually wild daffodills and grape hyacinth, not those nice little white ones.

Secondly though, your hives are obviously not in full sun during summertime. Do you have any issues with excessive hive beetles? Thanks :)
 

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Another thing you might think about, and this is more for prosecution than defense, is to place a couple of game cameras to watch your hives. They are reasonably cheap and they actually do work fairly well both day and night.

Happy Home
 

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Very nice, especially with the nice spring bloom starting! What are those flowers? Around here the earliest stuff is usually wild daffodills and grape hyacinth, not those nice little white ones.

Secondly though, your hives are obviously not in full sun during summertime. Do you have any issues with excessive hive beetles? Thanks :)
Those are "spring beauties" and they normally start blooming in March here in Missouri. I never see honey bees on them, but they (along with cut-leaf toothworts) sure make our forests pretty this time of year.

That's an old picture, and I don't live there anymore. I moved to a property with an open pasture, so my hives get far more sun now. That being said, my experience in multiple bee yards--some with full sun and some in full shade--has taught me that the amount of sun has little to do with the number of SHB. The more important factor, I've found, is the effort you spend sealing up all the nooks and crannies in your woodenware before you put bees into it. Hives will pretty much always have imperfect seams between boards, and making sure those are all filled (I use wood glue) makes a huge difference in how many hive beetles you'll have. Those cracks are perfect spots for beetles to hide and lay eggs, and the bees are too big to get in and clean them out. So that's my opinion about SHB control--people put way too much focus on sunlight and way too little focus on tightening up their woodenware.
 

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I wanted to do the same thing at my old place. My hives were scattered around a forest then, so I took a dead leaf off the ground and had it color-matched at Home Depot. Then I painted my hives to match the leaf. If I had to do it over, I'd color-match the bark from the trees instead. But even with the leaf color, it was nearly impossible to see any of my hives unless you knew they were there.

View attachment 54053
+1 dead leave and bark colors in a camo pattern. BTW a camo pattern does not require stupendous tallent as a painter. Just do the hive in 1 of the colors and put some of the other color or 2 here and there. Stand back, have a look, adjust the size and shape a bit , done.

if really worried about theft or vandalism, scatter them more and start looking for "safe" Apairy sites. The eggs in one basket theory. and if a gate or 2 exists with a house or farm to drive by to enter the likely hood of theft goes way down.
GG
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Update, several options tested:

1. Spray painted with flat camo colors. Created 3 stencils made from file folders, then progressively spray painted each color to form the camo pattern. I used a pattern called "flecktarn" as it seemed like it should work well for this purpose, and it came out pretty good, see photo #1 below (painted onto a Don Kuchenmeister "fat bee man" style top feeder). Takeaways are:
- Paint used was oil based, so not compatible with typical water-based low-VOC type materials, only possible to clear-coat with an oil based product
- Due to using 4 colors and stencils, application was a pain, and took a while (too long)
- Ultimate flexibility, since you could use this method to do your own pattern

2. Camo fabric adhered to the box with a thin coat of PVA glue. Applied over my new concept "hover entrance" bottom board setup with luxurious SHB veg oil "spa", including entrance area jar trap. Front wall open for viewing. I'll post details on the other thread.
- Cutting the fabric was easy with a roller cutter, just trimmed a bolt into strips the correct height
- Application was done pretty quick, glue applied with a sponge brush, then press fabric in place
- The "ends" were overlapped with glue to ensure no peeling
- Dried overnight, then covered with my normal water-based wood sealer and UV protector
- No trimming required
- Loose threads need to be managed with extra glue to make sure they don't unravel
- Much faster than painting, and doesn't require a base paint layer.
- Weather resistance and durability is TBD

IMG_20200416_153035530.jpg IMG_20200416_153159038.jpg
 

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Those both look like very effective woodland camouflage, nice job. I do suspect you'd tire of either process if you have to do this for more hives in the future, so you may want to explore ways to simplify it a bit. But I could be wrong--maybe you get "zen" doing this, I just know I like to get my hives painted as quickly as possible so I can work on other things.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks Bee, yes I am hopeful. Interestingly I found that the time for fabric covering is actually less than the method I usually employ for finishing, so if it works well and doesn't degrade like a napkin in a mud puddle, I'll probably try to continue. It's pretty nice that I may be able to cover the boxes in any sort of customized pattern this way, if it holds up. When I get some results, I'll start a new thread with details. It would be nice to have a bunch of customized bling-hives with interesting patterns, but my current goal is LESS visibility, so that version of the experiment will have to wait for more acreage and fewer neighbors :)
 

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Maybe use a different psychology. Look around your neighborhood, and camouflage it by painting it to match ubiquitous objects. Paint is yellow and stencil GAS CO. on all sides, or paint it that olive drab green with the Bell Telephone logo on it. Something like that. Look for things that at first look like bee hives, then match how they look.
 
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