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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Recently someone was giving away an extra bottom board and I took it and it has the kind of solid wood bottom that are very rudimentary board has. It’s been all painted all over including the interior. I am wondering if it may be detrimental to the beast to make them live in a non-ventilated space with a painted surface. Does anyone have informed opinions about or experience with this?
 

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Just don't worry about it and use the board as-is.
No need to overthink.
That paint has let all the VOCs escape out long ago.

Of course, making a conscientious choice don't paint the insides by design - waste of time and money and takes time to air the VOCs out (still a potential pollutant); and it is better to let the bees propolise the insides anyway.

But I'd take this board and use it just as is.
The bottom boards are the dumpsters of the hives, anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Greg, it’s a newly painted thing so I wouldn’t say the VOCs have off gassed along time ago. But you say don’t overthink it. It seems to me that you have to think pretty hard about beekeeping to make it successful these days. There’s all kinds of diagnoses to be done, and overthinking the timing of life cycles to figure out things about queens and queen emergence and brood Into field bees in relation to the season. There sure is a heck of a lot of thinking that one has to do to be a successful beekeeper in my opinion. Otherwise you end up with lots of swarms, or bees dying of disease etc. etc. Would you say to Randy Oliver who has the scientific beekeeping page, “don’t overthink it”? Just don’t think that kind of advice is at all helpful. Thanks for trying.
 

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concur with Greg, if the paint is recent place the BB on a slant toward the sun, leave if for a day or 2, should be enough.
If you need it soon allow a top entrance for air flow , if you can wait a week or 2 the paint should have off gassed by then.

I have a bottom or 2 in the shop to stack hives on when not in use, can always use it to stack on or something else.

GG
 

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Hi Greg, it’s a newly painted thing so I wouldn’t say the VOCs have off gassed along time ago. But you say don’t overthink it. It seems to me that you have to think pretty hard about beekeeping to make it successful these days. There’s all kinds of diagnoses to be done, and overthinking the timing of life cycles to figure out things about queens and queen emergence and brood Into field bees in relation to the season. There sure is a heck of a lot of thinking that one has to do to be a successful beekeeper in my opinion. Otherwise you end up with lots of swarms, or bees dying of disease etc. etc. Would you say to Randy Oliver who has the scientific beekeeping page, “don’t overthink it”? Just don’t think that kind of advice is at all helpful. Thanks for trying.
Again, don't overthink it.
Beekeeping is a game of numbers, not of micromanagement.
If you are trying to be in control of everything and worry of every little thing - let me tell you, you will fail and will hardly be able to sleep.
:)

Just take the board and use it.
This is a "bottom board" - the dumpster of the hive; the part which the bees have the least contact with.

Ask little_john on this exact forum how he paints his hives inside and out.
Guess what, his bees doing just fine.
I would not do it myself because my bees are my food and my medicine.
But little_john has a different program and not concerned of his hives being painted inside.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well I think Greg’s feedback is fine. But I do find that beekeeping is a pursuit for thinking people. People like to figure out the bees and manage them and come up with the most efficient ways to do things and the best way to control what is essentially a wild animal. It’s completely in the spirit of American entrepreneurialism. I think that appeals to a lot of people. Me personally, I’m trying to learn to be a better beekeeper after about a decade of not overthinking it. Not micromanaging -just trying to understand better. So when I ask questions it’s because I want to learn something new. I want to learn from other people who have also been spending some time observing closely and taking lessons from what they observed. I had my years of bringing my lunch out and sitting next to the beehives and being enthralled and completely hypnotized by the buzzing sound. I had my years of watching swarms and finding it a peak experience. And then going and catching swarms was fun, but I’m over that. I’m not by nature a person who likes to manage - I’d rather observe what the critters want to do for themselves. I’m more of a naturalist at heart. Not a bee wrangler. So trying to learn better management is really a struggle for me. It goes against my temperament. But this is my year to pay attention and learn. And if I can make a choice not to use a painted bottom board because of credible evidence of negative effects of paint, well I would choose to do that and not see it as micromanagement. Hence I react very strongly when someone tells me not to overthink it. It also feels somewhat patronizing.
 

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Well I think Greg’s feedback is fine. But I do find that beekeeping is a pursuit for thinking people. People like to figure out the bees and manage them and come up with the most efficient ways to do things and the best way to control what is essentially a wild animal. It’s completely in the spirit of American entrepreneurialism. I think that appeals to a lot of people. Me personally, I’m trying to learn to be a better beekeeper after about a decade of not overthinking it. Not micromanaging -just trying to understand better. So when I ask questions it’s because I want to learn something new. I want to learn from other people who have also been spending some time observing closely and taking lessons from what they observed. I had my years of bringing my lunch out and sitting next to the beehives and being enthralled and completely hypnotized by the buzzing sound. I had my years of watching swarms and finding it a peak experience. And then going and catching swarms was fun, but I’m over that. I’m not by nature a person who likes to manage - I’d rather observe what the critters want to do for themselves. I’m more of a naturalist at heart. Not a bee wrangler. So trying to learn better management is really a struggle for me. It goes against my temperament. But this is my year to pay attention and learn. And if I can make a choice not to use a painted bottom board because of credible evidence of negative effects of paint, well I would choose to do that and not see it as micromanagement. Hence I react very strongly when someone tells me not to overthink it. It also feels somewhat patronizing.
OK, Karen, good luck.
 

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I'm with you Greg, just too many other things to worry about. Today's worry is I've got mating flights going on and the the bloody wind is ripping out of the south and my mating yard is 1.5 miles to the north of my dc area. Argh!
 

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Well I think Greg’s feedback is fine. But I do find that beekeeping is a pursuit for thinking people. People like to figure out the bees and manage them and come up with the most efficient ways to do things and the best way to control what is essentially a wild animal. It’s completely in the spirit of American entrepreneurialism. I think that appeals to a lot of people. Me personally, I’m trying to learn to be a better beekeeper after about a decade of not overthinking it. Not micromanaging -just trying to understand better. So when I ask questions it’s because I want to learn something new. I want to learn from other people who have also been spending some time observing closely and taking lessons from what they observed. I had my years of bringing my lunch out and sitting next to the beehives and being enthralled and completely hypnotized by the buzzing sound. I had my years of watching swarms and finding it a peak experience. And then going and catching swarms was fun, but I’m over that. I’m not by nature a person who likes to manage - I’d rather observe what the critters want to do for themselves. I’m more of a naturalist at heart. Not a bee wrangler. So trying to learn better management is really a struggle for me. It goes against my temperament. But this is my year to pay attention and learn. And if I can make a choice not to use a painted bottom board because of credible evidence of negative effects of paint, well I would choose to do that and not see it as micromanagement. Hence I react very strongly when someone tells me not to overthink it. It also feels somewhat patronizing.
Hi Karen,
As you ponder the vast array of bee possibilities, I often start with what did the bees do 1000 years ago.....
Almost always they did not have a keeper doing "stuff" for them, and sometime doing nothing is a good choice.
So for this one, inside of trees were not painted, ergo the bees do not "need" the paint, they actually have paint "propolis" of thier own to use if they desire. We have seen swarms settle into places that are painted and at time not even wood. So they seem to be ok with other surfaces besides wood, and we have poly hives on the market. So I guess I would see the paint on the inside as not needed, and if done already , then "needs to dry" Other than that, it should work. I have a couple folks I have "assisted" in the past who have painted the inside of the hive, the bees did fine, the person stated they did not know not to paint the inside.

So to boil it down to the minimum, "unnecessary, but acceptable" would be paint on the inside.
If you need the BB I would not be afraid to use it, I think I have one made from a sign, where some of the parts were painted.

When you learn some neat tricks do share. :)

GG
 

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I have some painted interior wood and have not noticed anything different in how the bees react. I started painting the bottom boards and the top covers when I noticed mildew. Seems to help. Like GregV says, it probably doesn't matter.
 

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Allow me to inject my two cent's worth into this discussion ...

I think that quite a few people have lost the plot somewhat when it comes to what constitutes 'Natural' and what is not 'Natural', and their holding a view that 'Natural' equates to good - or at least better than - man-made.

For example - I hear people asking how best to preserve the 'Natural' look of wood - either by the use of varnish, or Tung oil. But the 'Natural' look of wood is tree bark - nothing else. As soon as a tree is reduced into wooden planks, it ceases to become natural.

Likewise 'Natural Beekeepers' who use Hessian within their hives because it's a 'Natural' material. No - it's not - it's man-made, albeit originating from a natural material.

Another example of something originating from a natural material is bitumen, which is used over here (UK) to surface our roads. On very hot days (rare - but they do occur from time to time) this bitumen begins to soften and even melt. Bees have then been seen collecting this material for their own use.


Moving on to paint. There is a widespread belief that paint is bad for bees. Is it ?

A couple of years ago found me outside on a hot sunny day, painting bee-boxes with a fast-drying paint intended for the coating of steel structures - we call it's solvent 'cellulose thinners', which I believe you guys call 'lacquer thinners'. As I was working, several bees came over and started to seek out some soft half-dried chewy bits. I thought that no-one would believe me if I told them about this, and so I took some photos:





Now I'm not saying that paint is good for bees, I'm only saying that it's not as harmful as some would have us believe. As Greg has said, I paint my boxes inside and out, and if I had to choose just one - then I'd paint the inside in preference to the outside. Because - the inside of a bee-box is almost always damp, if not soaking wet - it's like a shower-room in constant use. It cannot be a coincidence that the materials that bees use are wax and propolis - both being materials ideal for use in a wet environment.

People tell me that bees will propolise the interior of their hives. Perfectly true - eventually - that is, in a few years time. But what happens to that wood in the meanwhile ?
Interestingly, the same people are more than happy to use foundation (some even *plastic* foundation - UGH) to give the bees a helping hand. I choose to run 100% foundationless (considering this to be more important), and am happy to assist the bees in not needing to prioritise propolising their hive walls, by painting them beforehand (which also helps to preserve the pallet wood I use). It's just a different approach.

If I even suspected that this approach might be harmful, then I'd do something different.
LJ
 

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Allow me to inject my two cent's worth into this discussion ...

I think that quite a few people have lost the plot somewhat when it comes to what constitutes 'Natural' and what is not 'Natural', and their holding a view that 'Natural' equates to good - or at least better than - man-made.

For example - I hear people asking how best to preserve the 'Natural' look of wood - either by the use of varnish, or Tung oil. But the 'Natural' look of wood is tree bark - nothing else. As soon as a tree is reduced into wooden planks, it ceases to become natural.

Likewise 'Natural Beekeepers' who use Hessian within their hives because it's a 'Natural' material. No - it's not - it's man-made, albeit originating from a natural material.

Another example of something originating from a natural material is bitumen, which is used over here (UK) to surface our roads. On very hot days (rare - but they do occur from time to time) this bitumen begins to soften and even melt. Bees have then been seen collecting this material for their own use.


Moving on to paint. There is a widespread belief that paint is bad for bees. Is it ?

A couple of years ago found me outside on a hot sunny day, painting bee-boxes with a fast-drying paint intended for the coating of steel structures - we call it's solvent 'cellulose thinners', which I believe you guys call 'lacquer thinners'. As I was working, several bees came over and started to seek out some soft half-dried chewy bits. I thought that no-one would believe me if I told them about this, and so I took some photos:





Now I'm not saying that paint is good for bees, I'm only saying that it's not as harmful as some would have us believe. As Greg has said, I paint my boxes inside and out, and if I had to choose just one - then I'd paint the inside in preference to the outside. Because - the inside of a bee-box is almost always damp, if not soaking wet - it's like a shower-room in constant use. It cannot be a coincidence that the materials that bees use are wax and propolis - both being materials ideal for use in a wet environment.

People tell me that bees will propolise the interior of their hives. Perfectly true - eventually - that is, in a few years time. But what happens to that wood in the meanwhile ?
Interestingly, the same people are more than happy to use foundation (some even *plastic* foundation - UGH) to give the bees a helping hand. I choose to run 100% foundationless (considering this to be more important), and am happy to assist the bees in not needing to prioritise propolising their hive walls, by painting them beforehand (which also helps to preserve the pallet wood I use). It's just a different approach.

If I even suspected that this approach might be harmful, then I'd do something different.
LJ
interesting LJ
I have never painted the insides. I often scrape them with a hive tool to remove bur and propolis, so I think some of the paint would scrape off.

I did start coating the new Stuff I make with Propolis tinture, but I do not have enough to do many parts only a few.

GG
 

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Since LJ has tossed in his two cents, I'll pay to play and throw in mine too. I paint the entire bottom board, inside and out, before stapling the screen on. I do not paint the insides of any of the boxes. I like that I can scrub the bottom boards to get them clean again, cause like Greg says, they are the dumpster of the hive.
 

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FWIW - there's an interesting (at least I found it interesting) book in Cornell's library: Ed Clark's Constructive Beekeeping (1918).

A copy can be downloaded from: https://archive.org/download/cu31924003100306

Clark goes into enormous detail about ventilation issues etc, and concludes that the only practicable method of removing water from a hive is by condensation. This is faclitated by:
All joints and cracks are filled with hot rosin or pitch and the inside of the hivebody and cover is given three coats of varnish.
I know this is a contentious issue, but as it supports my own methodology - as expected - I'm something of a fan of Ed Clark. :) LOL
LJ
 

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Looking at all of the above, I don't see why not paint my own hive bottoms inside and out just as well - when given a chance and free primer/paint. These are probably the most abused parts of the equipment and I don't collect anything useful off them - nothing but cadaver and bee activity refuse.

The internal walls of my hives are one place where I scrape propolis, so no paint belongs on the walls (as I don't want paint chips in the propolis) - this is applicable only to my own business model, to clarify.
 

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I paint solid bottom boards because any condensation dripping down or rainwater leaking in will collect down there and encourage rot. Also nice if you use the old "reversible" board with a 3/8" gap on one side and 3/4" on the other. Definitely paint the exterior surface if you want them to last more than a year to two.

I like to make equipment, but not enough to replace all my bottom boards every couple years! Plus I use screened bottoms mostly, and always paint any part the bees cannot reach.

The bees very rapidly coat the entire inside of the hive with propolis and wax. If you use inner covers, it will take a year or so for them to get the outer cover completely covered, but cover it they will. That means painting the inside is a waste of time and money as the bees will do it for you if you are patient.

You actually don't want too much ventilation in the hive -- the bees need the condensation in the winter to dilute honey, and collect it from the outside of the cluster. If you keep the hive too dry they won't get the water they need.

My brother had a propolis happy hive one year, with a translucent plastic cover (we don't use those any more) -- the bees closed off the bee escape hole in the inner cover down to two holes a bee would fit through, and reduced the entrance to about an inch and a half all on their own. Should indicate how much air they want moving in the winter.

I've also put sugar and a protein patty on a hive with a solid (unvented) inner cover, and the bees eat the sugar and protein and raise a crop of drones in the space IF it is well sealed. If it leaks or there is a hole in the inner cover, they don't raise drones up there.

Bees like cavities with an entrance hole about half way down, no holes in the top. They will use anything, but that's what they prefer. They will also coat tree cavities with propolis up to a quarter inch thick....
 

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I thought the detritus in the body of a bee cavity was a wonderful conglomerate of eco friendly biota that had some kind of wonderful symbiotic influence on the wellbeing of the colony! This "natural floor" must be encouraged and preserved!:rolleyes:

Seriously though, back in the day of still living memory, one of the main fillers in paint was lead oxide. It really was showing up to no advantage in human tissues.

Todays household paints are not even remotely comparative. It is possible though to get industrial coatings that are deliberately loaded with some pretty mean compounds but you would really have to go out of your way to find them.

All my boxes, bottoms, inner covers, etc., have inner surfaces that are whatever, wax, propolis, honey, bee poop, all scorched with propane torch. It could have some sanitizing effect but it is mostly from laziness; just an easy way to clean up with a minimum of "elbow grease".
 

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BTW, scorching the wood achieves an effect really close to priming the wood - scorching the wood closes the pores and creates a very resistant coating.
So that, indeed, torching is a good alternative to priming/painting in certain ways.

Good example of that - go and look how the burned trees are very resistant to the elements and the insect/fungal damage.
 
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