Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,406 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What is the average useful life of woodenware? Boxes, frames, bottoms, tops, ect.

I know it varies on what it's made of and how well you take care of it, but I'm looking for a ball park in order to plan for the future.

For example, if you've noticed a hive box lasts about 10 years (after small fixes) and comes to the point where it needs to be retired, then I need to re-purchase about 10% of my woodenware every year in order to keep going. More than 10% is for expansion, less if I'm reducing hives.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,373 Posts
The average useful life of wooden beehives and components is tricky for me to know. I've never had any of my own woodenware wear out, going on fifteen years, plus, in my current location. And in my earlier years, I never had any woodenware wear out, I usually relocated to a new location after seven years, often less, left my old gear behind, and then acquired new gear in my next location.

For those of you who have visited my apiary, you will have noticed piles of ageing idle equipment. All of that equipment was donated, and I keep it, planning to someday, rework some of it into usable gear.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
I'm on my 15th year using the same budget grade boxes/frames for brood chambers and some honey supers. Cedar lids and bottoms are also the same age.

I've lost about 5-7% of my honey super frames to blow outs and such over that period of time.

All Ponderosa Pine. 20 years in service is the average.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,406 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
20 years in service is the average.
The first number estimate I've been able to get. Thanks wbee!

If most of you are using the same equipment for the past 15 years, I must be doing something wrong. Some of the boxes I've had about 5 years now show signs of rotting in the corners. The wood is real weak and breaks apart in your hands. Usually only on the bottom edge. Two deeps this year the top edge fell apart. I cut them down to medium boxes, but still.

I can see the frames making it 10 years, maybe 15 if I take real good care of it. Some of the migratory and telescoping tops could probably make it 15-20 years. But I can't see my boxes making it that long, even with me priming and painting them. Maybe I'm just real hard on my equipment though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34,542 Posts
I don't know for sure what average is, as far as boxes. I have some that are 50 years old. But most of mine are alot younger than that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,524 Posts
Telescoping Roofs- Common dates on the newspaper inside is from the late 30's(there might be a war soon, careful)

Supers - we have many in service that we can date to the early 40's due to anecdotal construction techniques, when a new hand hold tools was purchased, etc. One in particular has the date 1946 painted on the inside. Some are also noted to have maple frame rests, steel was rationed at the time.

Bottom boards, innercovers, excluders:- undetermined, but probably shorted lived than supers.

Frames - the ones marked from the early 90's are in rather good shape. We have alot of dark brood comb that may be Root frames. The ends of top bar reduces to a 1/4 inch nub when view from the top. The propolis does not have as great an area to stick the top bar to the side of the frame rest. I would guess they are from the 60's and 70's.

I recently repainted some nucs, and noticed that the original color was that used by my Great Grandfather in the 20's.


Roland Diehnelt
Linden Apiary, Est 1852
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,274 Posts
It depends a lot on the climate you're in. On the Eastern Seaboard we have high humidity all the time. The wood is wet all the time. Paint slows it down but doesn't eliminate the take up of moisture. At 80-90% humidity you, for all practical purposes, have swimming equipment. The boxes will normally rot at the corners because of the exposed end grain there. I build boats and the only way to keep moisture out is to use a solid coating of epoxy resin inside and out. Fiberglass with the regular polyester resin does a really poor job of locking out moisture. Marine epoxy resin with fiberglass is virtually impervious. Too expensive to use on beehives though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,406 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I have noticed that I need to keep the bottom boards a full foot at least off the ground. If not they rot and are gone in about two years, max.

Moisture explains alot. But other than priming and painting, what am I supposed to do? Linseed oil? I doubt that would stop rot.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,274 Posts
Mann Lake carries Perm-E8, copper napthenate. You mix it with mineral spirits and dip the equipment. Does a great job of moisture protection if you can afford it. Dadant may also still carry it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,309 Posts
Good quality primer and paint makes all the difference. Plus, as mentioned, keeping bottom boards off the ground. Maintained, and not abused, my wooden ware lasts upwards of 20 years. Of course there are exceptions.
Regards,
Steven
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
494 Posts
Marine epoxy resin with fiberglass is virtually impervious. Too expensive to use on beehives though.
That's what I put on my telescoping tops (w/o the cloth, just the resin and some peanut-butter in the cracks). They'll probably be around longer than I am.
 

·
Vendor
Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
Joined
·
54,120 Posts
>What is the average useful life of woodenware? Boxes, frames, bottoms, tops, ect.

Boxes outlast tops and bottoms. Frames outlast boxes. How long depends on your climate and on them being in contact with the ground. I have some 36 years old and still in use, but they aren't in very good shape and probably won't last much longer. They started to break down much quicker after I moved from a dry climate (Western Nebraska) to a more damp climate (Southeastern Nebraska). i don't have ANY bottoms or tops that have lasted that long but do have some frames that are 36 years old or older. They don't last that long left in the weather (the frames in particular). In other words boxes with no lids on them will not protect the frames (big surprise).
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top