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Painting Bee Hives

Discussion in 'Hives & Equipment' started by Grant, Jul 30, 2011.

  1. Grant

    Grant The Beekeeper Staff Member Donor 2014 Donor 2013

    Messages:
    3,846
    Location:
    Christchurch
    One of the key topics for recent has been whether to paint or dip the hives. It was explained this week that dipping would be a better process for a high volume of boxes. It was also pointed out that dipping was a time consuming process (in terms of heating the wax) and a dangerous one, having to operate within 5C of the paraffin wax flashpoint.

    Painting was therefore the preferred method, due to the low volume of boxes we have to paint, and the safety aspects, meaning we could easily do it at home. The advised paint to use was Woodlife II, but it appears this has now been re-branded. The product contains an anti fungal chemical that is safe for bees. It also has the benefit of soaking well into the wood, thus allowing for painting of the inside of the box.

    Two questions arise from this.
    • What is the replacement for Woodlife II called?
    • Where can you get it from locally?
  2. Grant

    Grant The Beekeeper Staff Member Donor 2014 Donor 2013

    Messages:
    3,846
    Location:
    Christchurch
    I've been up to the paint shop that was recommended in Hornby. The very helpful man that can, in this instance couldn't recall the product. But on hearing that there may be a few of us interested in making a purchase he's going to make enquiries as to a suitable alternative.

    The US sites indicate the active ingredient is 3-iodo-2-propynyl butyl carbamate if that helps anyone,
  3. Grant

    Grant The Beekeeper Staff Member Donor 2014 Donor 2013

    Messages:
    3,846
    Location:
    Christchurch
    OK, its not looking good for sourcing anything in terms of a direct replacement for Woodlife II
    Anyone know of a suitable alternative?
  4. Grant

    Grant The Beekeeper Staff Member Donor 2014 Donor 2013

    Messages:
    3,846
    Location:
    Christchurch
    I found a couple of avenues. In Bunnings, I was looking at Metalex Wood preservative. On the back of the tin was a list of "other products in the range" which included Metalex Bee-safe. I've asked Bunnings if they can source this. I'll hopefully know more on Monday,

    Also looking through some of the UK forums, Cuprinol used to be available in Europe as safe for bees. However, its now been removed due to a change of ingredients, so beware if anyone suggests it.

  5. Grant

    Grant The Beekeeper Staff Member Donor 2014 Donor 2013

    Messages:
    3,846
    Location:
    Christchurch
    OK. Do you want the good news or bad news?

    The bad news is Metalex bee-safe is not imported into New Zealand.
    The good news is that Metalex Timber Preservative is safe for bees according to the importer Holdfast NZ - Metalex its around $120 for 4 litres and is available in both Bunnings and Mitre10 :)

    Attached Files:

  6. Trevor Courtney

    Trevor Courtney

    Messages:
    10
  7. Kiwimana

    Kiwimana House Bee Donor 2014

    Messages:
    711
    Location:
    Waitakere, New Zealand
    I use Boiled linseed oil on our hives, seems to work fine. I have heard that paint doesn't allow the hives to breathe?

    See ya...Gary
    grant likes this.
  8. Trevor Courtney

    Trevor Courtney

    Messages:
    10
    This from Biodynamic Bee Keeping FAQ:

    16. Do you have a recommendation for treating the outside of hives?

    No, not really. I don’t think it’s necessary. Some carpenters say, wood without protection
    lasts 144 months while with protection it lasts 12 years! It’s more helpful to prevent too
    much rain falling on the hive, so that it dries out quickly. If for aesthetic or other
    reasons you want to paint the outside of your hives the exterior coating should be an
    ecologically friendly paint with natural ingredients. Some bee keepers use linseed oil or
    a very hot mixture of linseed oil and beeswax. The inside of the hive should not be
    coated with anything at all and does not need protection.

    Attached Files:

    grant likes this.
  9. Grant

    Grant The Beekeeper Staff Member Donor 2014 Donor 2013

    Messages:
    3,846
    Location:
    Christchurch
    thanks, keep the tips coming ;)
  10. BusdriverBen

    BusdriverBen Nu Bee

    Messages:
    45
    Location:
    Kaukapakapa
    Used linseed on mine and they look really nice. Will have to think of a way to keep hive parts identifiable so that they can be isolated if disease becomes a problem.
  11. ChrisNZ

    ChrisNZ Pupa

    Messages:
    195
    Location:
    Canterbury, NZ
    I'm not sure I agree with the Biodynamic people on that one Trevor. Bees produce huge volumes of water vapour and heat. Raw timber inside a hive gets very wet and will eventually rot. While it may take some time before holes appear, the timber will certainly go 'soft' and mould will develop, especially in cooler weather when the warm moist air starts to condense and pool in vulnerable areas such as joints and corners. I paint all of my boxes inside and out with Solaguard, which is UV resistant and water based. I picked up a couple of 10L mis-tints (a yellowy cream and a light grey) for peanuts from the Wattyl outlet.
    grant likes this.
  12. Paul Jenkin

    Paul Jenkin Pupa

    Messages:
    199
    Location:
    Tararua
    I've never painted the inside of mine. I have some here (not mine) that are a good 10 years old and they're still fine. Probably the biggest problem faced now is the rubbish kiln dried wood that is usually used.

    Hoping to have access to a paraffin dipper soon so I can dip the above boxes and use them. They came 2nd hand out of someones shed, so are an AFB risk - hence they're in a separate shed till I can dip them... should also help them last another 10 or 20 years.
  13. ChrisNZ

    ChrisNZ Pupa

    Messages:
    195
    Location:
    Canterbury, NZ
    Absolutely. That's the main reason I paint mine. I'd love some of those marvellous cedar boxes they sell at Thornes online, but can't see it happening. Shame no-body in New Zealand does those. We must have some cedar here somewhere......?
  14. Paul Jenkin

    Paul Jenkin Pupa

    Messages:
    199
    Location:
    Tararua
    It's here. My father was thinking about making some, but it was suggested to him that the bees might not like them due to the smell. Needless to say he never got around to it.
    They would have been beautifully light though...
  15. Pbee

    Pbee Guard Bee Donor 2013

    Messages:
    1,446
    Location:
    Waitakere
    Bees have no problem with cedar - from my experience. Both my nursing hives are made from NZ grown cedar. It has the added advantage that the dreaded wax moth hates them. Unfortunately it is an 'expensive' timber and yes, you need to treat the outside. Raw linseed oil will stay soft for a long time and protect the wood, whereas the boiled linseed oil goes brittle and water will penetrate the timber after only one season.
  16. Kiwimana

    Kiwimana House Bee Donor 2014

    Messages:
    711
    Location:
    Waitakere, New Zealand
    Where do you get your Linseed Oil from Peter? I can only seem to find Boiled.

    See ya...Gary
  17. Pbee

    Pbee Guard Bee Donor 2013

    Messages:
    1,446
    Location:
    Waitakere
    Hi Gary,
    The last lot I got from the Resene Shop in Glen Eden. They had to order a 5 liter drum in for me. I would start with Mitre 10 Mega on Lincoln Road.
    Let me know how you get on.
    Pbee
  18. john berry

    john berry House Bee

    Messages:
    594
    Location:
    Hawke's Bay
    Tunnicliffe sell ecowood boxes (tanalised without the arsenic) mine are paraffin dipped but not painted.
    They also have themowood which is basically cooked to a very high temperature. I really like these as there is no chemicals. They are supposed to be very durable but we have only had them for a few years. Once again these are paraffin dipped but not painted. The one problem with these boxes is they are more brittle than conventional pine boxes . Kilndried painted and paraffined boxes only seem to last about five years. In the last couple of years we have had access to old man pines and have milled and made their own boxes . Air dried old man pine, painted and paraffined every 10 or 15 years are often good for over 50 years. New Zealand food safety can be a bit snarky about metalex and it doesn't always stop the boxes rotting. John Berry
  19. Pbee

    Pbee Guard Bee Donor 2013

    Messages:
    1,446
    Location:
    Waitakere
    Wish our NZ Cedar was a bit less expensive. The cheapest I found so far sells at $12 a meter and you need 1.85m per box. They are MUCH lighter than pine and will outlast pine by miles. Further - I boxjoint my stories (square dovetails). The first ones I bought were checked and when the rain gets in, they split open top and bottom. I hope mine will outlast me! And I hope I have many more years to go!
    John, a better, but more time consuming way to protect the boxes is to paint them with raw linseed oil, as parrafin deteriorates fast in our NZ blazing sun. Again, paraffin goes brittle over time. When painting the hives with linseed oil you need to thin the oil down with turps - so the oil can penetrate the wood. Otherwise the oil will dry over the years and fall off. Add a wee bit of kerosene to the mix, it will make them waterproof. Bees don't mind the kerosene. It only stinks for a week or so.
    Pbee
    Chris Valentine likes this.
  20. Pbee

    Pbee Guard Bee Donor 2013

    Messages:
    1,446
    Location:
    Waitakere
    John, you can get the boxes I am talking about from here...
    http://www.beehives.co.nz/hives.htm
    They are a wee bit more expensive, but you don't have to make them as it is time consuming!
    And...they are not far from you I believe!

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