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I've always wondered why "white" has become so universally standard in both bee-hive color choices and bee-suite colors. I know the "dogma" about dark colors bothering bees and potentially causing them to associate the beekeeper as a predator. However, I do a lot of queen rearing and often work my bees in a short sleeve t-shirt and a veil (usually no gloves). Often I wear a dark blue and sometimes even black t-shirt. Honestly, I don't think that color is as big a deal as we make about it. Plus, why would you want to have a white suite when it would just get dirty the first time you "really" work bees?

Also, hive color? Isn't white just boring? I rarely paint my hives white anymore. Yes, I've heard that white supposedly absorbs less heat and keeps the colony cooler, so maybe black wouldn't be the first choice! But there are still lots of other color choices that can be light pastels etc.

Anyone else ever wonder about this???
 

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Try working some "hot" bees with some spot of dark on your suit. The dark spot will be covered in stings while the white parts have almost none. I'm more likely to get stung in an area on my blue jeans than on my white jacket at any time. Dark is not a good color to wear to work bees. As for the boxes, I think most people chose white at one time (and a lot still do) because it's cooler in the summer and there is something more appealing to some people about a lot of uniform colored boxes rather than a lot of different colors. Mine, of course, are a lot of different colors from back when I was still painting...
 

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I just use whatever is available. Lots of my hives are white -- or off white but I also have a rainbow of colors with no real pattern.

Was just at the paint store yesterday to see what "miss-tints" they had as often I can buy a gallon of pretty good quality exterior paint for as little as $5.00 -- I just don't have my choice of colors to pick from. If I don't like what they have, I might not buy anything -- or I can buy it and mix it with another color and come up with something different.

I kind of like the neatness of all one color such as white; however, mixing it up a little bit does make it more interesting and helps me keep track of boxes.
 

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I've always wondered why "white" has become so universally standard in both bee-hive color choices and bee-suite colors. I know the "dogma" about dark colors bothering bees and potentially causing them to associate the beekeeper as a predator. However, I do a lot of queen rearing and often work my bees in a short sleeve t-shirt and a veil (usually no gloves). Often I wear a dark blue and sometimes even black t-shirt. Honestly, I don't think that color is as big a deal as we make about it. Plus, why would you want to have a white suite when it would just get dirty the first time you "really" work bees?

Also, hive color? Isn't white just boring? I rarely paint my hives white anymore. Yes, I've heard that white supposedly absorbs less heat and keeps the colony cooler, so maybe black wouldn't be the first choice! But there are still lots of other color choices that can be light pastels etc.

Anyone else ever wonder about this???
** emphasis added

No "supposedly" about it, the science has long been in on this one, it's a fact! :D

That being said, it doesn't keep me up nights but I agree with what you're saying. I've heard very experience Beeks say before that they really don't buy the "dark colored" clothing being a problem argument. I think it probably makes some sense for those in extremely warm climates to avoid the dark colored hive bodies, other than that, paint them whatever color you'd like....most folks I know do.

My wife picked out a lovely shade of light blue for my hives, which is so light, you'd swear it's white unless you're holding something "true white" next to it. LOL! :rolleyes: I really didn't get the point, but you know what they say, "Happy wife, Happy life".
 

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I personally think the color scheme is a deep reflection of the soul of the beekeeper... How it reflects is a question I can not answer and wisely shall not answer.

Around me the scheme tells me from afar whose is what.

Keith Jarrett : Blue
John Foster: Yellow
Strachan's: Some form of green
Myself: All new deeps are going gloss white with bright yellow handles. All shallow honey supers are Blue. All Ross rounds are green. All cut comb 5 11/16th's are a shade of white.
Another unnamed neighbor uses the puke colored mismatches sold at $5 a gallon.
A newbie nearby who uses the inroad that he's "doing it for his daughter" uses pink (yuk)
The other day heading north I did see some bright Orange ones: My wife's comment was " those sure stand out." All I thought was: "interesting" and "not my color. "

As per the suggestion that black ought to be used more often than white to absorb more heat.......... All I can surmise is that you have never pulled honey on a 110 degree August day previously.

Around here it would be the color of death as well as the sign of the guy with no brains and if its summer "no bees."
 

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Discussion Starter #6
True Micheal, I guess when working "hot" colonies it may make some difference, but I generally don't keep "hot" colonies in my yards or breeding program. At the least it would just seem more practical if the commercially offered colors weren't white because they don't stay white...LOL!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Funny! The soul of the beekeeper!

I really like your idea of coding colors to super type. I have done that with my top feeders. All 25, or so, are a gray color. I use a lot of color variation with my nucs. I try paint different color triangles on the front faces to help with orientation. I think it adds character to a yard (-the yuk colors).....LOL!

Maybe I didn't write it clearly. I wasn't suggesting that black should be used, just that more colors should be considered.
 

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I have no experience yet ... the all white inspection jacket, and the painters pants and socks to go with it, are as yet spotlessly white. Hopefully we'll correct that tomorrow, when our newly-assigned mentor shows us his hives.

That mentor will probably be wearing an inspection jacket and blue jeans. We met him last night and he showed up in the same jeans he had been wearing to inspect hives a couple of hours earlier. He said black should be avoided, but blue jeans are OK. But then he pointed to a couple of dings on the jeans ... stingers still imbedded in them from his inspections, and admitted that he does tend to find bees down in the pockets, etc.

Realizing they are only bees, and they'll make more, and losses are unavoidable, I still have a soft spot in my heart for the girls. I'll try not to crush any, though I know I will. I'll also try to avoid provoking any stinging of dark fabric.
 

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back a hundred years ago or so barn paint came in white lead or red lead colors. the slightly more expensive white made for cooler summer hives, this helped production, overwintering had less problems then...later inexpensive silver grain bin/roof paint became popular. the silver paint had asphalt mixed in, it was cheap and held up well.... today we as creatures of habit and like white.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Dirty white beekeepers protective clothing shows "experience". (Typically) Brilliant white= newbee.....
Taupy grey= seasoned. Mine was white years ago.

When I do buy a new brilliant white suit, it stays that way for about three months. lol
LOL! Very true. When I sell nucs I sometimes offer a learning session. You can easily pick out the newbies with the shiny white suits. I honestly hate to wear mine unless there is a real reason to wear it. I often refer to it as the sweat suit....LOL!
 

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While the hive color may not be an issue, the color of attire while opening a hive certainly IS. We had as a guest speaker a guy who had a lot of great photos from his trip to Kenya, visiting with the local beeks. Most of their "hives" there are logs (literally), which the bees occupy. He was working with the locals wearing a very high quality suit, but had put a black object (small log book or something) in the breast pocket. Dozens of bees attacked that thing. He was somewhat unnerved, so he pulled it out of his pocket and tossed it on the ground. The attack abated very quickly.

I either wear white, or a medium olive collared shirt, which seems to be rather neutral to the bees. Some land on it, but none ever attack it. I am thinking of painting some hives that color, more because it tends to blend in with the natural surroundings and be less visible to people.

Phil
 

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I personally think the color scheme is a deep reflection of the soul of the beekeeper...
Lucky I live in a cool climate. I get to have dark hive colors:



Not a drinker, but I like my adult life, old time photos, etc. Ya, that bottle is full of honey...



Below is dark walnut stain sealed with spar urethane.



 

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Lauri, those are gorgeous ... but honestly, masking tape name labels on furniture-grade hives!?? You need an upgrade to brass nameplates.
 

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It is "interesting" to see that nice new white bee jacket with hood or hat speckled with the yellow rain from the package of bees you just installed. :)
 

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I painted all of my hives a light green. Hopefully it's light enough to be reflective, and I think it looks nice to have some color! I bought a decent outdoor latex/primer in one, we will see how long it lasts!!!
 

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Does anyone have a good answer to the question, what kind of paint is best for a hive, aside from color? I have seen bees pulling bits of outdoor latex apparently to use like propolis. Oh, and some of my bee books say to only paint the outside of the hive, and some say to paint the inside as well. I am building my first Langstroth hive and need to know what is the consensus for best practice.
 

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Contamination issues aside, the bees will paint the inside bee-spit brown in any case. Why fight their decorating tastes?
 
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