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Does it matter what material you use for a hive?

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jigsaw 

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I am a total newbee to this hobby and would like to hear members thoughts on what material they would use to build their own hives? I intend to build at least four complete hives over winter to be ready for spring (not that they will all be in use) So what would you use, white or red pine, external ply or birch ply, (probably not red cedar, due to cost) and why?
 

Somerford 

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not sure. I was in the carpenters workshop next door to my unit this evening and was talking about timber for my beehive construction projects this winter and have possibly found a good source of RED CEDAR that is grown in the UK !!

Also, Deal and Pine too.

I and he were talking about extrenal ply and he said that it has high amounts of arsenic and formaldehyde in it that makes HIS eyes water let alone bees...


Moreso if the timber is freshly milled.

S
 

Hivemaker. 

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My number one choice will always be western red cedar,light durable and needs no treatment. Second choice Larch, and third if i was really forced to make one, would be good quality hardwood ply.Would never use any type of pine at all,redwood,whitewood,or any other type even if i was forced to,sooner put bee's into a straw skep..
 
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JCBrum 

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Western Red Cedar is not particularly expensive if you select 'utility' grade, which will have some knots and density variation, but that is not much of a problem for use in hives. Cedar has two big advantages, it's lightweight, and weather resistant in its natural state.

Deal and Pine are probably half the price of cedar but only if the utility grades are selected, and they can be very knotty and subject to warping, and weather resistance is very low if untreated. So you must add the cost of weatherproofing coatings for a fair comparison.

Birch ply is high quality stuff and very expensive, so is marine ply. Far too good for beehives really, and much heavier than Cedar.

Cheap ply is quite ok as long as the glue is water and boil proof, known as WBP, and the fast grown spruce, or cheap exterior grades are fine for beehives. Significantly heavier than Cedar but only about a quarter of the price and still needs waterproof surface treatments. Plywood is generally dimensionally more stable than Cedar or Pine and is stronger thereby allowing very simple joints.

I have used all of them to construct hives and I consider that plywood gives the most effective use of the money spent if costed over say 5 years. Of course, treated Cedar might last 50 years but is that important ?

I have had no problems with arsenic or formaldehyde with the aforementioned materials, but I do think chip-boards, strand-boards and MDF suffer from irritative toxins.
 
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GingerNut 

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I'm going to build a hive from polystyrene this winter.

Search around the threads on this forum for the many advantages of poly over wood.

I noticed you are in Scotland, so it's thermal qualities for over wintering should be a big bonus to your bees in their survival.

Yours Roy
 

Baggyone 

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There are various grades of wbp plywood which depend on how much gas is released in the degradation of the glue. My choice will always be cedar.
 

JCBrum 

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My choice will always be cedar.
Definitely a safe choice Baggyone, but personally I don't require that my beehives will out live me, and I can use the cost of cedar in other more preferred articles.


There are various grades of wbp plywood which depend on how much gas is released in the degradation of the glue.
WBP spec glue is either (W)ater and (B)oil (P)roof, or it isn't. I have personally found no evidence of outgassing at all, can you suggest where i might obtain verified independent evidence of the problem you suggest, as I would wish to check it further.
 

Poly Hive 

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DIY poly is not worth it.

Bees will chew it to nothing in weeks unless faced with ply.

Sorry but facts are awkward so and so's

PH
 

jigsaw 

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My number one choice will always be western red cedar,light durable and needs no treatment. Second choice Larch, and third if i was really forced to make one, would be good quality hardwood ply.Would never use any type of pine at all,redwood,whitewood,or any other type even if i was forced to,sooner put bee's into a straw skep..
Thank all of you for your thoughts, I would love to know what hivemaker has against all pines. I can see the point of not using white pine, being low in resin, really only suitable for internal use. red pine on the other hand is a good external timber. I think if I go for national hives I would use good quality 18mm ply for the side and end boards and red pine for top and bottom rails. Langstroths, all 22mm ply. Polly hives, only one way to go there, make your own timber pattern equipment, get it cast in aluminium, machine it, take it to an injection company, churn them out. Initial outlay might be a little high.//////////////:(
 

Hivemaker. 

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I hate the stuff,because when milling i have to get it into the kiln so fast,to reduce the moisture content,or it turns into a pile of rotten blue crap,fast,unless milling in freezing weather. The other alternative is to treat all fresh sawn timber with antiblue,which is using chemicals i am not at ease with.
Then in use moisture content rises,and it rots if not treated.Cedar on the other hand can be milled,and left for years,or left in the round. Scots pine butt will start to turn blue in a couple of weeks...redwood.
Douglas fir is moderately durable,but rather heavy,still needs treating.
 
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Black Comb 

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Have you tried lifting a full brood box made of plywood?
Then lift a cedar one.
I'm heading for cedar in future (may flirt with poly along the way).
 

JCBrum 

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Have you tried lifting a full brood box made of plywood?
Yes, of course, I have several ...... ( I don't make fantasy posts :) )

then lift a cedar one
I've got some of those too.

The cedar one is a bit lighter but not much. I'm on 14x12 and the difference in weight between cedar and ply / pine is unimportant because it's only a fraction of the weight of the "full brood box" (your stipulation) which is comprised mainly of frames, wax, bees, stores, and brood, - a total of maybe 30 - 40 Kg.

Try it yourself ! :)
 

JCBrum 

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Hivemaker, what do you think of spruce, Howard Hughes made a very large aeroplane from that I understand.

I think it's best oiled straight away for beehive use.

Er, cheap cooking oil is quite good Fris, no need to use linseed, (ducking to avoid flying rock) ;) xx
 

Hombre 

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Hi JC, didn´t Howard Hughes use goose fat on his aeroplane? I wonder where I got that ideas!!! :)
 

JCBrum 

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Could be, Hombre, it was certainly known as the "Spruce Goose" ....

p.s. (spruce goose) ... tried that on Fris but she smacked me ..... ;) ha ha
 
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Hivemaker. 

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Spruce is the biggest load of S%*(t, the best of them is sitka,also used for the De Havilland mosquito,fine if you want flying hives,lol.
 

JCBrum 

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Think you're right HM, I'm gonna shut-up ..... say nothing ...... shtumm ..... ;) ha ha
 

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