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I thought I’d just pass on a few thoughts on my experience with WBC hives, not offering advice, just how I have found them.
To cut to the chase, I inherited my bees from my son when he left home, so still a novice, part taught by my son but largely taught by this forum – so thank you everyone.
Having started with a secondhand WBC, we continued with the same for any more parts which we needed, ending with 2 secondhand hives and one new. This is the first thing to note of course – whichever hive you start with, it can be difficult to change mid course.
I do like the WBC as it feels better to have two wooden skins for the bees to inhabit, rather than one, also I like that in winter I can stuff polystyrene between the lifts and boxes as well as insulating with Kingspan above the crownboard, beneath the roof, (as advised by the cognoscenti on this site!)
But recently when needing new supers or brood boxes I have bought National parts as, again advised here, they do fit inside WBC lifts so I am hedging my bets in case I want to change sometime. Which brings me to another discovery. One WBC is being particularly targeted by wasps, not mercilessly, but consistently and, unless you have superbly fitting lifts wasps will always find some crack to get in despite best efforts at sealing. So, I tried removing the lifts altogether, just leaving the national brood box and one national super sitting on the WBC mesh floor/stand (I do have a National roof). It worked like a dream and was then very easy to fit a reduced tunnel entrance, or could have been a regular entrance block, across the entrance. It worked! Wasps are well and truly confused and I hope soon will give up. Come the winter I will probably put the lifts back.
I think, if starting again, I would opt for a regular National hive, probably Abelo poly as the concensus seems to be that poly keeps the bees cosier, and I do tend to mollycoddle my bees.
 

fiat500bee 

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Lesley, you'll love the Abelo. Today I was thinking about the ridiculous levels of insulation I'm going to and realised that within the technology of its time the WBC must have been far superior in the way it protects the bees than a straightforward National. Looking at my wooden National which I have just dismantled after one summer sitting in the garden it's incredible how warped it is and how much blackened wood there is inside. Presumably that couldn't happen in a WBC and I doubt it will happen in the well fitting joints of an Abelo.
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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Looking at my wooden National which I have just dismantled after one summer sitting in the garden it's incredible how warped it is and how much blackened wood there is inside.
Goodness, you must have bought some real rubbish kit there - where did you get it?
 

fiat500bee 

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Goodness, you must have bought some real rubbish kit there - where did you get it?
It has turned out to be expensive rubbish. :( It also came with appallingly poor instructions which assumed that the purchaser knew how to asemble a hive already. Customer service was poor when I asked for clearer guidance and I was recycled back to the poorly scanned, online drawings.
It was bought for my partner Sheila's birthday last October before I knew a thing about bees, (not that I know much even now;) ) She was meant to bee the beekeeper. :laughing-smiley-014

I think it was this but with plastic foundation....:sick:


The bees are out of it now and it's relegated to emergencies and baits from now on. I haven't photographed the inside but just the other day this is the joint assembled. I could see right through to the other side and had a view of bees walking around inside. The odd thing is, this hadn't been moved for three weeks yet the bees hadn't propolised it.

NOV_8706.JPG
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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It has turned out to be expensive rubbish. :( It also came with appallingly poor instructions which assumed that the purchaser knew how to asemble a hive already. Customer service was poor when I asked for clearer guidance and I was recycled back to the poorly scanned, online drawings.
It was bought for my partner Sheila's birthday last October before I knew a thing about bees, (not that I know much even now;) ) She was meant to bee the beekeeper. :laughing-smiley-014

I think it was this but with plastic foundation....:sick:


The bees are out of it now and it's relegated to emergencies and baits from now on. I haven't photographed the inside but just the other day this is the joint assembled. I could see right through to the other side and had a view of bees walking around inside. The odd thing is, this hadn't been moved for three weeks yet the bees hadn't propolised it.

View attachment 22179
Ah, that explains it then - not exactly 'quality' kit. Pine is very much a lottery, especially as you have no idea of the provenance. never been impressed with that particular line. You'd have been much better off with 'second quality' cedar kit from Maisemores or Thornes Can't say I've been able to find fault in any item I've had from that line - and I do have rather a lot of it :D
 

fiat500bee 

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Ah, that explains it then - not exactly 'quality' kit. Pine is very much a lottery, especially as you have no idea of the provenance. never been impressed with that particular line. You'd have been much better off with 'second quality' cedar kit from Maisemores or Thornes Can't say I've been able to find fault in any item I've had from that line - and I do have rather a lot of it :D
Now you tell me.;)
Despite the truth in what you say, I still don't see any excuse for selling kit that won't even last a season before becoming a warped, mouldy and discoloured pile of firewood...probably wouldn't burn just now anyway. Just had a thought ...damp wood...smoker fuel.:ROFLMAO:
 

understanding_bees 

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Despite the truth in what you say, I still don't see any excuse for selling kit that won't even last a season before becoming a warped, mouldy and discoloured pile of firewood...
There seems to be a real quandary between the choices of what material to use for constructing hive boxes.

Should we use quality timber which has natural resistance to decay but is expensive, or inexpensive timber which can decay rapidly?

There is another approach which can be brought to this decision making process, namely treating the wood with a suitable preservative. In most instances, it seems that the first choice is to use paint. There is no doubt that paint provides protection against the weather, to hive boxes. The problem is that paint deteriorates over time, especially at the joints in the corners of the boxes.

What surprises me is that so few people seem to realise the benefits which are provided when hive boxes are impregnated with wax. When paraffin wax dipping is used, the wax will penetrate completely through the wood provided that the boxes are properly "deep fried".

Depending on the responses which this comment receives, I may describe how I have built and used my own wax melting vat.
 

Amari 

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There seems to be a real quandary between the choices of what material to use for constructing hive boxes.

Should we use quality timber which has natural resistance to decay but is expensive, or inexpensive timber which can decay rapidly?

There is another approach which can be brought to this decision making process, namely treating the wood with a suitable preservative. In most instances, it seems that the first choice is to use paint. There is no doubt that paint provides protection against the weather, to hive boxes. The problem is that paint deteriorates over time, especially at the joints in the corners of the boxes.

What surprises me is that so few people seem to realise the benefits which are provided when hive boxes are impregnated with wax. When paraffin wax dipping is used, the wax will penetrate completely through the wood provided that the boxes are properly "deep fried".

Depending on the responses which this comment receives, I may describe how I have built and used my own wax melting vat.
My understanding is that cedar does not need paint or any other preservative while pine does. From the pics above it seems that Fiat’s pine has warped despite paint.
T’s seconds mentioned above are, I believe, made from European cedar. Western red cedar from Canada is the premium product.
 
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Erichalfbee 

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My cedar hives have weathered to a lovely silver sheen and are perfect. They are only 13 years old mind.
I don’t torch my hives, so they are coated and protected inside by the generations of bees that have lived in them And outside by the wood’s natural oils. I’m sure there are Beekeepers here who have cedar hives that are human generations old.
 

Gilberdyke John 

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There seems to be a real quandary between the choices of what material to use for constructing hive boxes.

Should we use quality timber which has natural resistance to decay but is expensive, or inexpensive timber which can decay rapidly?

There is another approach which can be brought to this decision making process, namely treating the wood with a suitable preservative. In most instances, it seems that the first choice is to use paint. There is no doubt that paint provides protection against the weather, to hive boxes. The problem is that paint deteriorates over time, especially at the joints in the corners of the boxes.

What surprises me is that so few people seem to realise the benefits which are provided when hive boxes are impregnated with wax. When paraffin wax dipping is used, the wax will penetrate completely through the wood provided that the boxes are properly "deep fried".

Depending on the responses which this comment receives, I may describe how I have built and used my own wax melting vat.
My current preference is for Abelo polyhives but historically beekeepers were liberal with creosote. (Cue lectures from the elf n safety brigade?)
 

Murox 

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Now you tell me.;)
Despite the truth in what you say, I still don't see any excuse for selling kit that won't even last a season before becoming a warped, mouldy and discoloured pile of firewood...probably wouldn't burn just now anyway. Just had a thought ...damp wood...smoker fuel.:ROFLMAO:
The sad truth is money in the makers pocket. More simply, most people get led by advertising and then like to buy what they initially perceive as a "bargain", not realising that good bought kit costs. Your experience serves to yet again underline the need for new/would be beekeepers to connect with a local association and see and experience firsthand various hives and types of hive.
AND
Ah, that explains it then - not exactly 'quality' kit. Pine is very much a lottery, especially as you have no idea of the provenance. never been impressed with that particular line. You'd have been much better off with 'second quality' cedar kit from Maisemores or Thornes Can't say I've been able to find fault in any item I've had from that line - and I do have rather a lot of it :D
Or just go with poly. But be aware that they are not all 'compatible'; so research your chosen brand well.
 

elainemary 

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I thought I’d just pass on a few thoughts on my experience with WBC hives, not offering advice, just how I have found them.
To cut to the chase, I inherited my bees from my son when he left home, so still a novice, part taught by my son but largely taught by this forum – so thank you everyone.
Having started with a secondhand WBC, we continued with the same for any more parts which we needed, ending with 2 secondhand hives and one new. This is the first thing to note of course – whichever hive you start with, it can be difficult to change mid course.
I do like the WBC as it feels better to have two wooden skins for the bees to inhabit, rather than one, also I like that in winter I can stuff polystyrene between the lifts and boxes as well as insulating with Kingspan above the crownboard, beneath the roof, (as advised by the cognoscenti on this site!)
But recently when needing new supers or brood boxes I have bought National parts as, again advised here, they do fit inside WBC lifts so I am hedging my bets in case I want to change sometime. Which brings me to another discovery. One WBC is being particularly targeted by wasps, not mercilessly, but consistently and, unless you have superbly fitting lifts wasps will always find some crack to get in despite best efforts at sealing. So, I tried removing the lifts altogether, just leaving the national brood box and one national super sitting on the WBC mesh floor/stand (I do have a National roof). It worked like a dream and was then very easy to fit a reduced tunnel entrance, or could have been a regular entrance block, across the entrance. It worked! Wasps are well and truly confused and I hope soon will give up. Come the winter I will probably put the lifts back.
I think, if starting again, I would opt for a regular National hive, probably Abelo poly as the concensus seems to be that poly keeps the bees cosier, and I do tend to mollycoddle my bees.
Enjoyed reading your post about WBCs.
I too have WBCs, I started with 2 brand new Ceder ones that I painted white. Choice was initially because I live 1000ft high up in the Pennines & WBCs seemed to offer good winter protection. Also I’m a keen gardener and liked WBCs aesthetically.

Like you, acquired more kit, I was given 3 WBCs by a beekeeper giving up, then acquired 4 more heavy duty old pine WBCs from auctions.

A few thoughts from me:
-After 4 seasons of beekeeping and now with 9 hives I’ve only lost 1 colony - isolation starvation in my first year, when I didn’t feed early or long enough
-Really wish I’d known when starting that National boxes fitted inside WBCs! Far better availability and more deals to be had vs spare Wbc parts. But I’m committed with all my kit now to change
-I use the lifts as stands when dismantling / inspecting. Really helps the back and when boxes positioned 45 degrees to the lifts in a stack, easy to use as a stand
-Now use linseed oil / teak oil to maintain the outside lifts, wouldnt paint white again if new - maintenance!
- use extra lifts in out-apiaries or a spare hive to store extra equipment inside
-Like you, put kingspan above the crownboard but keep it on all year. Think WBCs also keep south facing hives cooler in summer. Haven’t stuffed the space between lifts and boxes with insulation, figured airflow was more important to help reduce condensation under the roof?
-my lifts are pretty well fitting and I’ve always thought of them as an extra barrier to wasps, compared to nationals if boxes ill fitting. Do need to double check they’re on properly though before walking away
-Like the slider entrances dead easy to open and close smaller. Like the notches in the slides for using instead of a mouse guard in winter
-Most of mine have removable open mesh floors - good for Sliding out to remove any dead bees after winter before changing floors when a bit warmer.
-Main downside of WBCs is using with special boards eg Snelgrove or doing Bailey comb changes. However I’ve found a way around this with ekes and boards I’ve asked hubby to make that straddle the lifts
-Now experimenting with poly hives, as I bought a colony at auction in one. Love how light they are and will probably move more towards these for my out apiary

On balance, like the look and extra insulation that WBCs give. If I was starting again I’d go the same route for hives at home with national parts inside and polyhives for out apiaries.

Best wishes and thanks for starting this thread!
Elaine

P.S. Attached photo of old pine Wbc hives, I recently renovated, dead pleased with them!
 

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understanding_bees 

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The quandary maybe Is between poly and wood ?
For those people who do not have woodworking skills, the most likely choice is for them to buy the equipment they need - whether that is fully assembled, or kit form. Some of these people need to look for their best affordable option. Sometimes the "budget price" option does not actually represent value-for-money.

When it comes to "poly" hives, it is not likely that many (or any) beekeepers are likely to try to build their own.

My observations indicate that wooden hive boxes are almost invariably made from natural timber. The trouble is that boards, wide enough to make hive boxes, are in short supply. It becomes necessary to use narrower boards, glued together, to make up the required width.

There seems to be resistance to the idea of using plywood for the manufacture of hive boxes. The chief objection which I have heard of concerns the likelihood / possibility of plywood delaminating, when it is in a permanently exposed position. My experience is that plywood which has been saturated with paraffin wax is basically immune to this problem.

I have used thick plywood (one inch / 25mm) for my hive boxes, which are strong and dimensionally stable. By all appearances, the bees love them.
 

madasafish 

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I don't like the WBC - too much fiddly handling and too heavy.

Surely WBC is an acronym for
We Bought carp.
Or : Why Buy carp?



I'll:);) get my coat..
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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My current preference is for Abelo polyhives but historically beekeepers were liberal with creosote. (Cue lectures from the elf n safety brigade?)
Still used by commercials out in Southern Africa
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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There seems to be resistance to the idea of using plywood for the manufacture of hive boxes. The chief objection which I have heard of concerns the likelihood / possibility of plywood delaminating, when it is in a permanently exposed position. My experience is that plywood which has been saturated with paraffin wax is basically immune to this problem.
Notwithstanding a paraffin wax dipping tank, many don't have the luxury of
a. The Australian climate
b. only having two hives with the necessary supers to move around.
c. not bothering taking much honey off
as well as being prone to delaminate (whatever steps you take to weatherproof it) plywood is also a lot heavier than either Cedar or poly
 

Mandeville 

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I started with WBCs because HWBMO wouldn't have a "pile of packing cases" in the garden.
Like ElaineMary, I've never lost a colony over winter in 10+ years, so I think the double insulation is a benefit. I have only cedar lifts and boxes so no trouble with warping or rotting.
But mis-matched components are a nightmare, and sealing up a hive for transport is out of the question, so I think if I were starting again, I'd probably go for National.
 

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