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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there,

I'm a new beekeeper (don't even have bees yet), but I've got boxes built and bees on the way. I am trying to decide whether or not to paint them. I'd prefer not to because I like how natural wood looks especially as it ages. I plan to go foundation-less with wooden comb guides and I don't want to risk comb collapses if they can be prevented by keeping the hive cooler through painting them.

My question is basically whether or not I should paint them being in central Alabama where it can get pretty warm.

Thanks in advance
 

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Paint just the outside. You s/b using a light color anyway....not black or dark red that would absorb the heat. Painting protects the wood so unless you feel like changing them out when they rot, then paint. If you like the natural look than its okay to varnish but make sure it sets good before using it for bees. ONLY THE OUTSIDE. 75% of beekeepers hate this part of the equipment. Me included. (painting)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
What about using like a beeswax and linseed oil mixture vs varnish?

I may end up painting some of the boxes and doing something more natural looking on others and see what lasts longer over time.
 

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That will work too. The outside is for the beekeepr and his choice. The inside is for the bees and that you leave natural wood. I'd think with linseed oil/beeswax you'd have to refinish every year or more often. I dont see that lasting too long in the elements.
 

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it get's really hot and humid here in the summer. if you paint them white your bees will have to work less (and be more productive) foraging for water to keep the inside of the hive cool. being close to a water source helps a lot too.
 

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You should buy them already painted if you haven't painted them well before hand.

Otherwise, just leave them bare if you're just starting.

It takes longer than you think for them to cure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yeah there is a small stream about 100 yds away. I think I'll paint half and treat other half with beeswax/linseed oil. Just see how they fair through time in my location. Will have one hive painted and one oiled/waxed, should be interesting.
 

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i set mine facing southeast, and just behind them is a treeline that protects them from the cold northwest winds in the winter. that treeline also gives them a couple of hours of shade at the end of the long summer days, and i think it makes it easier on them. they really slow down on the water foraging when that shade reaches their hives.
 

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I forgot to mention that my boxes are cypress. Would that make any difference?
Yes. Until I read that little dab of info, I would have suggested to paint them because they wouldn't last very long if you didn't and they would be too hot most likely, but cypress weathers a nice silver color and I doubt they will be too hot. I have several Bluebird houses that I made from rough cut cypress back in 1996 that are still in service today and still look great. If you put the boxes together with screws, either galvanized or stainless, and glue the joints, those boxes will last for a long time, even unpainted.

I built those BB houses when I lived in Troy. I had a good source of cypress then. I sure wish I had a source for it up here. If I did, all of my woodenware would be cypress.

BTW, I spent a few years down at the loveliest little village on the plains.
 
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