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hedgerow pete 

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Ok so let’s talk painting hives, I shall go over all the coats and types so if i have missed something let us know and we will address it for you.
So starting from the beginning, we have brought our timber, made a massive pile of wood waste and a very small pile of timber bee hives, which we want to now last at least three life times, so its time to paint.
Lets see what’s available first and before we start, lets just completely ignore the bee friendly paint or not friendly paint brigade. As once it is dry it should make no difference to the bees and secondly we normally only paint the outside of the hives any way, so where are the bees going to come into contact with it? bee friendly paint is great stuff but please use some common sense with it as well. Beeks in the UK have been painting hives for the last couple of years (150) with, lime based paints, lead based paints, coal tar and creosote based paints as well as oils and all sorts of home made stains, so me using Dulux exterior bee unfriendly white paint to cover my WBC, is not going to make the hive collapse over night, so common sense brain cell engaged lets talk amount what to use. Also why or use a drawing pin in each corner when working around a live hive to hold a sheet up so the girls get the front whilst we get the two sides and the back, we can always do the front last ting at night, so try to thing around a problem rather than beating your head against it.
Oils,
Man has been slapping coats of oils onto timber for thousands of years, either the sweat from his hands or some new oil he has found to help make the timber last longer. The oil is painted or sprayed or rubbed and dipped onto the timber and which will retain some on the outside, but mainly it will penetrate into the outer surface of the wood, this means that the rain will run off the surface of the timber, BUT, oil is not a perfect layer so there will always be the slightest moisture in the timber but so small never to cause much harm. All we have to do is to re apply the oil when its properties wear off
Oils we can use can be many Teak oil, raw linseed oil and boiled linseed oil there is also Danish oil, Tung oil and lastly finishing oil. Now whilst they sound the same and do the same sort of job they all do it very differently so best we start to use the Google button or the forum search button as there are many threads about oils or we can use wicopeadia as well to help us choose an oil finish.
The main points are they are very simple to use very easy to apply and don’t effect the bees very much and are quick and simple for a yearly maintenance job so lets say 7 out of ten for ease and speed and protection
Stains
Are next up. Now these come in dozens of types, shades, colours and purposes. So i am only going to mention the bee hive ones, if you wish to have you hive in Tudor oak with a shellac finish that’s up to you, but I am going to keep it simple for everyone else.
We can use any of the shed or fence stains, the main problem is if the girls are in it when we are painting it, so let’s try to use the water or latex versions so we don’t have to use the white spirit based ones. The water or white spirit is the base or a carrier that will transport the colour and preservatives into the timber, we are painting, the old school of thorough used to be that the spirits carried into the wood better than the water based, but things have moved on and they are pretty much the same now.
Now most people will go to the local shop to buy their paints. So whether you have Sadolin or Ronsil or just Lieberon to use, or any of the many other brands it don’t matter to much as they are all going to work the same way, just like the oils, To seal the outside layer of wood and in this case to colour the timber to what ever colour we want, now colour is a very personal thing and we mention that later, so what do we use??
Any of the outside based shed or fence stains will do, big known name or not they are all the same The cheaper it is, the shorter it lasts outside. So cheap stuff will want redoing every 6 to 8 months, sometimes it will last the whole 12 months before it needs to be redone. Now that is not to improve on its looks but to improve on its water repellence. The expensive stuff will last five years more or less, horses for courses really. Buy what the colour is rather than the price and you can’t beat a good name for price and colour and value. Saying that i have been painting my hidden hives with the cheapest B and Q shed paint in the green for donkey’s years and they seam to last 12 months with no problems and some are 7 years old now and that’s with my cheap and nasty ply that i use so some thing must be working well.

Last word before we leave stains and that’s creosote, there are two forms, the old stuff and you will be very unlucky to find any nowadays or the modern stuff. Now it’s not what I would suggest that any one uses on there hives, but for the floor stands and such items sat in or on the ground it is very hard to beat price and quality wise. Not very bee/ eco but there are ten million telegraph poles stood up because of it. There are many other products we can use so let’s not bother with it and let’s go some where else. It is good to notice that most bee hives up until the 1940 were probable painted with this stuff.
 

hedgerow pete 

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Almost at the end now just a seven thousand words and spell mistakes to go through and some awful grammar to read.

Paints
Now this is split into two parts, first are poly paints the second is timber paints.
Many people decide to paint their poly hives and for many reasons. Now there are many properly made and formulated paints from the hive suppliers for this and they come in a wide range of colours. Easy enough!! We can also use if we want any form or WATER/ LATEX based paints as most spirit based ones could have a melting effect , but a quick test to check and then its a case of “slap it all over”. There are few paints that are designed to be used as a primer so i would suggest some thing other than a wood primer but some thing designed to stick to very smooth and unporus poly, so try mdf and or glass and tile primer as a test to see which sticks best, do not use any form of hammerite paint as it will melt your hive for you, but since poly is water proof, we are really just giving it some sun UV protection and or a colour. So if you wanted to you could always wall paper the hives to be a little different, what do you reckon wood chip or flock in deep red velvet, ha ha ha.
Next up is painting wood, whilst i take it that everyone knows we start with a primer then and undercoat and then the top coats, those that don’t do now.
Primers are the first and most important coat it is the one that sticks the timber to our paint. So on new timber we sand it down a fair way but once we are ready we then put one coat, thinly of primer may be even two if you wish and we then resand it. All because the paint will have made all the loose wood fibres stand on end and that’s why when we paint it becomes rough not smooth on the first coat, if we are going for an over old paint we really only need to primer if the bare wood is exposed when sanding the rest starts with a undercoat.
So primer to seal the wood and bond to the timber depending on the wood in use. We have a range of primers for most timbers. We can use a simple acrylic/ latex or spirit based primer. For difficult/ oily wood or wood with a lot of resin in it, so something like a teak hive or a spruce pine hive would be better off with an aluminium primer as it penetrates into the wood more than the rest and hold back the nasty resins and oils which ruin our finishes.
Next up is the under coat, now this tuff is designed to be thick so it fills in small imperfections on the timber face. It is also very stuffed full for colour, now this is to blind out the colour of the timber or the paint bellow. So lots of binders to attach the layer of paint and a coloured layer to hide what’s below, two well laid coats are enough for a wbc hive lift or a national side, this is a great base for our top colour coat.
Because i am getting old and blind and etc etc I prefer to add a little red paint to my primer so i know its done, because its slightly pink tinge and the same with the first coat of primer so i can see what i have painted but leave the last coat white .I also forget that one side has had four coats and the other just two, so some people also use a pencil mark as well
Lastly the top coat, more than ever this coat is the one that shows up where we have not sanded properly. As the shine shows all the marks up, daft as it sounds though the top coat has less colour additives in it than the undercoats, but its of a shiny or silk finish with a chosen amount of colour to finish off .
Now we have painted it all, there are very few differences between the paints and most are ok for outside, exterior works. Some are better than others as they have been designed to work outside, some are not.
Basically what happens is that our bee hive in the winter and summer and rain and sunshine absorbs water or moisture which makes the wood swell up and or shrink, remember your old front door being stiff in the winter but easy in summer?? This movement is very slight, but it makes the paint crack which allows a small amount of water to get behind it which makes its start to peeling the layers of paint off. This is why exterior paint is advertised as flexible to allow this to happen and not to split making it last longer.
There is an exception to the rule and this is a stain that is produced by sadolin (sorry but i love sadolin, but you choose your own brand!!) anyway this stain is marketed as white opac and it goes on like a stain with easy brush strokes but when its finished it looks like paint, best of both worlds lasting protect of stains but with a white painted finish, lovely stuff

Now we are getting some where the end is in site i have gone trough the postings on the forum and edited out the best bits and added them here to help show other people’s ideas;
To prevent the water getting into the timber many use a cupronol wood preserver, not the one with wood worm killer and or dry rot killer just the normal clear sealer and protector
Try dipping your timber into boiling paraffin wax for 3 minutes to make it water proof
Use a bees wax on the outside to make it water proof.
Leave cedar alone as its great outside,
I use a cedar seal first to stop it going grey to quickly
Yacht varnish for me
NEVER EVER USE ANY FORM OF TANILISED OR PROTINISED TIMBER AS THE PRESERVITIVES ARE DEADLY TO BEES AND HUMANS.

Now i am sure i have missed loads out but the basics are here, oils are natural wood protectors but no real colour changes, but long lasting protection.
Stains, a great range of colours and long protection but not to the finish you get from paints.
Paints are great but you have to re do it every four years to protect the wood, but in a massive range of colours.
Just a few more words and i am finished so let’s just talk colours.
Whilst most people will think the white painted WBC in a front garden is divine. Painting you hives bright white and then trying to hide them in a field away from the thieves won’t work, so maybe a green or camo would be better. In the front of my shed i paint the entrances different colours to help the girls go to the right home, some people also do the front of there hives for the same reason
And just a quick note, most people only ever paint the outside of there hives not the insides, so they can clean them with a blow torch when they want to. Personally i paint both inside and out on the wbc lifts and the outsides of the brood box and supers only, the inside faces does get a coat of cupronol clear wood preservative and my nationals get pained outsides only the cover crown boards are varnished on the outside and girls do the insides.

There are also on the market several makers of earth pigments and paints made with or from lime based stuff that is eco friendly and ticks all the right boxes,
Lastly when looking for paint advice ask to see the COSHH sheet as this is the sheet of paper they have to have by law that will tell you what’s inside the tin and what it will do, the down side to that is you will need another sheet that will translate it into English for you!!

Happy painting Hedgerow Pete
 

mister_oxo 

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If a beehive was painted black it would absorb more heat/sunlight and get warmer than if it was painted white. Is there any preference to painting white or black ?

If you have more than one hive all painted the same colour you recommend painting the entrances a different colour to the other hives? Does this really help stop bees going in the wrong hive?
 

hedgerow pete 

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HIVE PAINTING.
QUESTION
Hi,I'am a newbee.Have just washed with soda,scrubbed and blow torched my 2nd hand Langstroth hive in preparation for bees in the Spring.The exterior of the hive looks a bit washed out now and I wondered if I could treat it with something that is safe for bees,but would put some colour into it.Also the zinc roof has a few very light rust marks that I have cleaned,could I give this a coat of metal paint? and if yes what would be safe.I assume I don't put any treatment on the interior?Thanks in advance for all advice.
ANSWERS;
with the roof the two quickest ideas would be, hammerite type paint and for ever paint it or you can buy cold galvanising spray and stick a new layer over the top, it wont be as thick and as long standing as the first coat but it does work, try your local hardware store or tool station/screwfix for it, the basic gist that most people go with is what is avalible to them at the time of painting as not all shops carry every type of paint
Linseed oil and beeswax mix applied hot is a great way of treating hives
the problem with painting metal is that once you start you have to keep doing it,
with a national we normaly only paint the outside but when i use my wbc i paint the insides of the lifts aswell to help prevent rotting,

most of my hives are made from cheap ply so i have to do more painting than most to preserve them but i do count the floors/bases as disposible after three years
Plan to use Cuprinol Ducksback which should last 5yrs.Will treat and then leave hive out throughout the winter ready for bee's in the Spring
You can also use clear cuprinol on outside of hive as it is claimed to be harmless to bees (the one with the green label) but no colour though.
QUESTION
I am still renovating the WBC hives in preparation for Spring and wondered if there is any reason why I shouldn't paint the outside of the lifts in gloss paint as I noticed that originally they appear to be in a matt finish,also would there be any benefit in painting each hive a slightly different colour than the others.
ANSWERS.
My WBC is gloss paint, and as long as you don't paint it Monday and put bees in Monday eve. you should be OK I should think. If you are going to have more than one colony it might be an idea to paint a lift on each a different colour to help avoid drifting.
Bees do not see colours like we see colours.

QUESTION.
I've just taken delivery of some Kieler mini-nucs from Rooftops. I've not used poly kit before so ..

In the helpful booklet provided by modern beekeeping it says to paint poly hives, including the feeders to seal them and make them easier to clean. Do I paint the mini nucs inside as well? Or just outside + feeder?
I've just taken delivery of a poly Lang from Swienty (seems very good - just the thing for colony 2 to overwinter in).

I've got to paint it up to prevent UV degrading it - were we to get any sunlight here of course - and I've been recommended NOT to paint the mating surfaces (they shouldn't see daylight anyway).

Question is: should I paint the insides? It might be better from a later cleaning point of view; it could be bad from a 'paint isn't a foodstuff' point of view. Is there a consensus view on this?
ANSWERS;
I didn`t paint the feeder and fondant comes out easy in some warm water.
I just painted the outsides and up the circular channel under the floor, bit inside the entrance disc. Comb in the feeders is a drag.

Never have. Can't see any point to be honest. None of the vendors that I know of advise it.
The inside of a hive remains in the dark 99% of the time. UV isn't a problem so no painting needed. I'm sure it would come off anyway with scraping etc

If the poly is white without painting, bee become somehow blind and cannot find the entrance at once. Another thing is that paint protect the surface against UV corrosion. It does not take much if you paint them.

Hi Onge, I have only painted the outside on mine. You might find they stick together if you paint the inside edge. Try a varnish for that, I use ronseal floor varnish it drys hard.

The rule of thumb is if the sun don't see it dinna paint it.

Some varnish the inner recess to make cleaning off propolis from the top bar lugs easier. I don't.
Vaseline, or any acceptable grease, is better than varnish to prevent them sticking together

I am getting confused here.

The joining edges are NOT painted or varnished or anythinged. They are left bare : au naturel .........

KISS guys. Keep it simple. And more simple than this it does not get.

Ya paint the sides only, with gloss or vinyl it really does not matter.

And that is it. Very very simple.

Cuprinol Garden Shades works but is not as hard wearing as Dulux Outdoor Masonry Paint. Both are water based which is easier to use and clean up afterwards. A 4" wide roller plus a half inch brush for the corners works fine. You can also just use more or less any sort of paint suitable for outdoors which needs white spirit for cleaning the brush.

For years I used matt paint but Murray recommended gloss so it's now gloss that is in use.
 

hedgerow pete 

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PRESERVING AND PAINTING MY WOODEN HIVE?

ANSWERS;
I cant help as I just throw ordinary fence preserver on the outside of my hives.

Cheap cheerfull and does the job,I just leave them outside for a couple of weeks or overwinter if they are for the following season
We were told to use Sadolin Classic on the outsides only (and linseed oil on the insides). I have read Sadlin's impenetrable safety information, which seems to indicate that it is “Not regarded as a health or environmental hazard under current legislation”. We painted the hives as instructed and left them for a week before using them. The bees seem to be thriving,

ronseal works fine for me

boiled linseed oil (Rustin's is food-grade) with some beeswax melted into it - applied hot.... Cheap, smells gorgeous, looks good, and if you chose, you could eat it One part wax to twenty of linseed. Rustins boiled is food grade...though their online datasheet doesn't say so. It's also not so readily available. We buy ordinary, bring it to the boil (slowly - watch it!) then add to the gently melted wax.!

Rustins boiled is supposed to be bee-friendly. The boiled cures faster like a couple of days in good weather, the raw takes weeks. We add 1/20 of beeswax to boiled.

Used alone, you will find that raw linseed oil has some problems, other than the drying time, of course.
# No UV (ultraviolet) light resistance... UV causes more damage to exposed wood than any other factor, destroying wood fibers and setting it up for attack by mildew, fungus, and insects.
# Linseed oil is mildew food... Many vegetable oils are food products for humans... all vegetable oils are food products for mildew! Linseed oil is not completely denatured, so it can encourage rather than discourage mildew growth.
Personally I'm a fan of raw linseed oil, but still need to get the brush out

Standard cuprinol fence preserver, mid brown, dark brown and green splotches (cammo 'cause hives are visible over winter from a road).

Tried this on a nuc. Should it take 3 days to dry? The mix I used was a bottle of boiled linseed oil with a lump of wax the size of a ping pong ball and I put it on hot.

As I make my kit from ply I use Sadolin superdec, water based and I have painted hives with bees in and no problems, it is however expensive but does not flake just wears well.

Cheap and nasty rape oil (sub £1 Tesco) plus melted candlewax or beeswax.

How to preserve hives naturally

If they are ceder and you want them to stay wood looking not black , i wood suggest a couple of coats of ceder seal which will help prevent discolouration, what you have already put one is a wood preserver, we are now talking wood apperience, ie colours or not

if you want to colour your hive without the paint problems i wood suggest sadolin, it is a varnish type coating but with the ability to allow the wood to breath, i personaly used it and it vast colours for years

Paintings next but to last out side we are looking for one coat primer and two to three undercoats and at lest two gloss coats all with good quality paint cheap stuff does not last, as long as it is washed every year and applied properly you should have to reapply the top coat every three to four years with a prberble 15 year life span before we would be looking at resanding and starting again

every one poo poo's painting in todays world but just remeber there are plenty of edwardian and victorian window frames left in birmingham, 100+ years ?


ALSO FOUND ;

"All measures that are taken to ensure a long life of wood fall under the definition wood preservation (timber treatment). Apart from structural wood preservation measures, there are a number of different (chemical) preservatives and processes (also known as timber treatment or lumber treatment) that can extend the life of wood, timber, wood structures or engineered wood. These generally increase the durability and resistance from being destroyed by insects or fungus.

As proposed by Richardson, treatment of wood has been practised for almost as long as the use of wood itself. Some accounts reach back to the beginning of recorded history. For example the Bible in Genesis, 6:13-14 “And God said unto Noah… make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.” There are also records of wood preservation reaching back to ancient Greece during Alexander the Great’s rule, where bridge wood was soaked in olive oil. The Romans also protected their wood by brushing their ship hulls with tar. During the Industrial Revolution wood preservation became a corner stone of the wood processing industry. Inventors and scientists such as Bethell, Boucherie, Burnett and Kyan made historic developments in wood preservation, with the preservative solutions and processes.

Linseed oil
In recent years in Australia and New Zealand, Linseed has been incorporated in preservative formulations as a solvent and water repellent to 'envelope treat' timber. This involves just treating the outer 5mm of the cross-section of a timber member with preservative eg Permethrin 25:75, leaving the core untreated. While not as effective as CCA or LOSP methods, envelope treatments are significantly cheaper as they use far less preservative. Major preservative manufacturers add a blue dye to envelope treatments. There is an on-going promotional campaign in Australia for this type of treatment. Linseed oil is used to preserve Wood fences, log cabins, and wood furniture.(Such woods as Willow, Pine, oak and exc.) The function of linseed oil as a preservative is believed to be related to its action as a water repellent and drying agent rather than a direct biocidal activity. A number of European companies have developed natural-oil-only-based treatments; no synthetic preservative such as permethrin is added. Menz Holz OHT use autoclave impregnation with linseed, sunflower and rapeseed oil for 6 to 8 hours.
Wood treated with linseed oil is resistant to denting and scratches and is easily repaired, but the surface is not as hard as a modern varnish, and the wood will slowly absorb moisture if allowed to stay wet.
Boiled linseed oil is used as a paint binder or as a wood finish on its own. Heating the oil causes it to polymerize and oxidize, effectively making it thicker and shortening its drying time. Today most products labeled as "boiled linseed oil" are a combination of raw linseed oil, petroleum-based solvent and metallic dryers. The use of metallic dryers makes boiled linseed oil inedible. There are some products available that contain only heat-treated linseed oil, without exposure to oxygen. Heat treated linseed oil is thicker and dries very slowly. This grade of linseed oil is usually labeled as "polymerized" or "stand" oil, though some types may still be labeled as "boiled".
From: Wikipedia.com

Efficacy of hot wax dipping
"Robinson and French (1984) indicated that some apiarists found that hot wax dipped treatments lasted in excess of 15 years before retreatment of the material became necessary. Some beekeepers have indicated that well-treated boxes will last for more than 20 years before further treatment is required.
The extent of microcrystalline wax penetration was determined in trials conducted in Australia by Robinson and French (1986)"
From "HOT WAX DIPPING OF BEEHIVE COMPONENTS For preservation & sterilisation "



Linseed Oil - Its Uses and Limitations
Bee Hive Woodwork Preservation

Also from Michael bush web site below.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesdipping.htm

WHAT DO THE BEES SEE IN COLOURS?
Beekeeper bees
Red Black
Yellow Yellow/Green
Green Green
Blue Blue
Violet Blue
Purple Blue
White Blue/Green
Black Black
 

hedgerow pete 

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mr oxo:

most people go for light colours because you have a lot less agro in the winter with a white hive than you will with a black hive in the summer time, if you want to why not cover you hive in a black material in the winter to attract heat or just add thick insluation
 

oliver90owner 

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mister_oxo,

Black body radiation.

Black bodies are those which absorb a wide spectrum (often more than visible light). They will therefore gain energy faster than other finishes/colours (see Lesley cube).

Set against this matt black bodies also radiate electromagnetic radiation more efficiently than other colours/finishes.

This may mean very much hotter hives in the summer and colder hives in the depths of a dark winter night. Compromises, compromises. Swings and roundabouts and all that.

A light colour possibly wins out overall. Pretty likely as most hives have been light grey in colour for years - naturally aged cedar hive components seem to fit the bill admirably.

Polyhives? With such good insulation values, it probably makes little odds either way.

---------------
HP,

Not read it all yet, so not disagreeing with anything, but it appears to be a comprehensive report and a fantastically useful post for those who study it in detail. Well done. You are a star!

Regards, RAB
 

rowbow 

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Do not treat the inside of hives the bee's will do that (if they want), as regards to windows lasting for 100 years and more, when windows were made 100 or more years ago,the timber was properly seasoned and primed with red lead paint (pink in color), when fitted they would be painted with under coat and gloss also containing a large amount of lead, lead was the product that kills wood rot spores, the government stopped it's use due to health risks, there is a company in England that makes traditional oil based paints,but with out the lead.
I use raw linseed oil (not boiled) on ceder, because it does not form a skin, and you are able to re treat at any time with out loss of penetration.
Regards
John
 

Hombre 

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. . . Set against this matt black bodies also radiate electromagnetic radiation more efficiently than other colours/finishes.
I must get out and paint all my radio antennas matt black for increased transmitter performance and better reception then - :) :) < rhetorical of course >
 

fincaazul 

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being a beek and gun enthusiast I use gunstock finishing materials on my cedar hives. Linseed oil (raw or boiled) in which alkanet root is soaked for a couple of weeks. This root has been used for centuries in cosmetics and is still used today. You end up with a beautiful red linseed oil, the more alkanet root you add, the darker red the colour. I apply this to the hives and it brings out the beauty of the grain incredibly well. It also preserves the wood as well as waterproofing it. Biggest problem with linseed oil is that on its own it takes ages to dry so hives will be sticky for some time. After applying 2-3 coats a final coat should be applied which contains 1 teaspoon of terrebine driers to 1 pint of coloured oil. This will dry quite quickly and the finish should then last for many years. This is how the stocks on expensive shotguns are done ( along with hours of buffing to produce a fine polish ) These guns then subjected to all the elements for many years and maintain their good looks for many years. If you really want the 'ultimate' for your hives then use Walnut oil instead of linseed oil. Sounds extravagant but 500ml costs less than £2.00 and penetrates better. With a little effort you can have a hive with a ' Purdey' finish
 
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psafloyd 

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If you really want the 'ultimate' for your hives then use Walnut oil instead of linseed oil. Sounds extravagant but 500ml costs less than £2.00 and penetrates better. With a little effort you can have a hive with a ' Purdey' finish
Worth doing on brood boxes, perhaps. What of almond oil?
 

nonstandard 

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Olive Oil?

..........There are also records of wood preservation reaching back to ancient Greece during Alexander the Great’s rule, where bridge wood was soaked in olive oil.......
Has anyone used Olive oil or an Olive oil/beeswax mix to preserve hive parts? I have been given 5 litres of edible grade Olive pomace oil and was wondering if it would be suitable or is it likely to leave a sticky residue?
 
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I oiled a chopping board in the kitchen with olive oil and it hasn't left a sticky residue - just soaked in and the surface was dry to the touch within a few hours.
 

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.

NEVER EVER USE ANY FORM OF TANILISED OR PROTINISED TIMBER AS THE PRESERVITIVES ARE DEADLY TO BEES AND HUMANS.
Just a quick question, I have lots of Tanilised timbers in my Garden, decking for one, I was going to make some hive stands and workstands out of the off cuts? Is this a bad Idea now?
 

REDWOOD 

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Correct me if iam wrong but if something black creates more heat inside why do people in Arab countries wear black clothing? this has troubled me for years, I asked this to an x RAF guy and he told me that it does make them cooler. Also today, totaly changing the subject you should have seen the look at staff in B&Q when I was opening the tins of paint and sniffing the contents! , I did settle for the Cuprinol Garden Shades, colour green.
 

teena 

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tung oil

is tung oil that you use on floors ok for hives?
 

Into the lions den 

Queen Bee
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Many people decide to paint their poly hives and for many reasons. Now there are many properly made and formulated paints from the hive suppliers for this and they come in a wide range of colours. Easy enough!! We can also use if we want any form or WATER/ LATEX based paints as most spirit based ones could have a melting effect , but a quick test to check and then its a case of “slap it all over”.
Not really a nit pick here, but we use oil/spirit based gloss paint on all the external surfaces of our poly units.

The very property you mention, the dissolving quality, is actually your ally in this, but important you get it right. (Never use significantly more thinners than the amount recommended for sraying.)

The spirit part does indeed attack the surface of the polystyrene, but the paint layer is microscopically thin, and also the layer attacked is invisibly small under all but extreme circumstances. The paint and the dissolved layer actually mix and the result, once dry, is a finish that is an integral part of the box, and in 11 yrs none has ever flaked off, and many look as if they were painted in the last couple of years yet were done as far back as 2000.

Only internal surfaces we ever paint ar the interiors of feeders, and the bottom half of the Canada style nuc boxes. This is due to syrup lying in these areas and is to prevent it insinuatiiong itslef into the matrix of beads of the poly, which causes mildew to form and the feeders to get heavy. For that job we normally use acryllic based smooth exterior masonry paint.
 

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