sqkcrk -- I used three coats of Minwax Spar Urethane. I let it air out for about a week before I hived any bees and they haven't had any problems with it. I only finished the outside surfaces...except for the outer cover and the bottom board, those are finished all over. It's great stuff, water just beads right off the hive.
the.hines -- I ordered the hive components from Rossman Apairies in Moultrie, GA. Here's a link to their website: http://www.gabees.com/
I have nothing bad to say about them; I love the look of their cypress hives, their bees have been gentle and productive, and the screened bottom board with the beetle trap has been very effective (just replace the west beetle trap that comes with it with one of Jerry Freeman's trays).
Mike S -- You're absolutely correct, those are ant guards on the legs. I haven't had much need for them so far this year, but in the event of a full-on ant invasion I can smear some heavy duty grease around the cleats and keep those little marauders at bay. I'm very proud of this hive stand, I engineered it specifically to withstand extreme Florida weather. The legs go into the ground about four feet and are embedded in concrete, so it'll take a lot of effort to get it to budge. And if it does happen to budge, well, next time I'll bury the legs deeper!
My neighbors probably think I'm crazy too, "Look at this weirdo sitting out there staring at a bunch of insects." But they like the honey, so they keep these thoughts to themselves
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