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After reading some old posts I found:

I have hive bodies, painted on the outside, and the rim (but not the inside), that I put into service 30 years ago. They are toward the end of their life, but they are still in use. The wood is a bit punky and there are some rotten spots in splits that the bees can get in and out of now. Frankly I think the bees like old wood better anyway.
And then this:

I have some boxes now that I haven't painted at all. I'm wondering if they will not last just as long or maybe longer without the paint. When you have a constant source of humidity inside, maybe it would be better if it can evaporate to the outside?

I thought that was kind of interesting until I read:
THIS:
Clearing the Air

A few years back, one of our beekeepers used most of his almond check to upgrade his bee hives – replacing tattered, leaky boxes with brand new tight boxes. The following almond season, he went from bringing great bees to bringing weak, struggling colonies – from lousy looking boxes with great colonies to beautiful boxes with lousy colonies. When the pollen patties he fed during the winter turned moldy he got a clue: poor air circulation was damaging his bees, making them more susceptible to diseases. This makes sense when one considers that colds and viruses can spread rapidly when school children are confined to small classrooms. Bees naturally prefer and, if given a choice, will choose a domicile with good air circulation (a tree-hollow or an old house).

Here’s Ben Franklin on fresh air (excerpted from an essay on the subject): “Another means of preserving health is the having a constant supply of fresh air in your bedchamber….Confined air, when saturated with perspiable matter will not receive more, and that matter must remain in our bodies and occasion disease.”

The beekeeper referenced above drilled upper entrance holes in his top box and his colonies are much improved. A 1947 book on hive ventilation was reprinted last year and is highly recommended: The Ventilation of Bee-Hives by E.B. Wedmore.
Seems MB, once again, even WAY back then, was on top of it!

Perhaps I should start investigating top entrances?
 

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"I had a neighbor who used the common box hive; he had a two inch hole in the top which he left open all winter; the hives setting on top of hemlock stumps without any protection, summer or winter, except something to keep the rain out and snow from beating into the top of the hive. he plastered up tight all around the bottom of the hive for winter. his bees wintered well, and would every season swarm from two to three weeks earlier than mine; scarcely any of them would come out on the snow until the weather was warm enough for them to get back into the hive.

"Since then I have observed that whenever I have found a swarm in the woods where the hollow was below the entrance, the comb was always bright and clean, and the bees were always in the best condition; no dead bees in the bottom of the log; and on the contrary when I have found a tree where the entrance was below the hollow, there was always more or less mouldy comb, dead bees &c.

"Again if you see a box hive with a crack in it from top to bottom large enough to put your fingers in, the bees are all right in nine cases out of ten. The conclusion I have come to is this, that with upward ventilation without any current of air from the bottom of the hive, your bees will winter well without any cobs."--Elishia Gallup, The American Bee Journal 1867, Volume 3, Number 8 pg 153
 

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Beginning of last Winter, I set all my hives up with bottom and top entrances for improved ventilation during the cold. Come Spring, I just left them all with both upper and lower entrances. Seems to be working really well.

I bought a full size hive from a commercial beek this year. The hive had a 2" hole drilled in the top for ventilation. The bees had propolized it down to a perfectly round 1" hole. In other words, given the option, the bees wanted a top hole for ventilation.
 
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