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For my first hive I used tung oil because I love the look of the cedar. I’m thinking about getting a second hive, my friend is a woodworker and would be building or for me, out of pine. He is insisting I paint it with latex paint for durability. I’m inclined to do so as he obviously knows more about wood and how it weathers in the sun than I do but I’m wondering what everyone else uses for their hives and how soon after finishing it can bees be introduced.
 

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Any clear finish, even an exterior one, is not going to offer much UV protection. After a couple of years it is not going to look very good. That said, sometimes the weather look is what some people are looking for.

If you aren't picky about a paint color go to your local paint store and ask for an exterior paint mis-tint. Mistints are paints where they goofed on the color matching. You can usually pick those up for around five bucks. The paint stores like Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams are more likely to have exterior mis tints but check Lowes and Home Depot as well.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Oil based primer followed by two coats of whatever exterior latex paint you can buy on the cheap. The little 7.5 oz jars of Oops paints can be had for $0.50 from the big box stores and are enough for one hive including a super. I try to let my stuff dry in the sun for a week before introducing the bees.
 

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Exterior miss-tints, no primer works for me.
 

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6a 3rd yr 5 production hives 1/ 2 q resource hive
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PolyWhey Exterior Wood Stain in Caspian Clear from Vermont Natural Coatings. The same one that VinoFarm uses on YouTube. Expensive but natural organic finish made from whey. I use it on raised beds too.
 

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Whatever paint/primer/stain I get for free on Craigslist.
IF I have time for this non-essential busy work.
:)
 

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I made 1.5" thick western red cedar boxes between 2013 and 2016. I still have all of these in use. Over the years I started doing things slightly different. By 2016 I would:

  • scorch the end grain smooth, then seal it with waterproof glue.
  • bury the screws under sawdust and glue.
  • if crack develop I fill it with glue when I get a chance. Or any extra beewax /propolis I come upon while working the hives

It's largely all an experiment to see if it would be less effort than painting. I really dislike painting, and fixing peeling paint.

The worst damage seems to happen in winter. One time I did an experiment with bubble wrap under tar paper for winter. That resulted in lots of cracks on my boxes.

You can get a sense of what my boxes look like now in this video:

 

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Use a spar urethane. It's marine grade, and uv protection built in. Regular urethane will peel allot of the time. I use a exterior primer and 2-3 coats of exterior semi floss from glidden premium. Mistints work great and are cheap. I can be fussy, but I'm a pro painter for 40 + years. I always have top line paints to burn.
 
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