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opa 

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I am new to beekeeping this year and starting to get some equipment for next year. I have been offered (to buy) a good used softwood WBC, treated and painted white. Are these ok? I will be buying a new hardwood one also.
 

johna 

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I am new to beekeeping this year and starting to get some equipment for next year. I have been offered (to buy) a good used softwood WBC, treated and painted white. Are these ok? I will be buying a new hardwood one also.
Cedar hives are "softwood" hives.You would do better as a beginner using the more simple National style hives as they are far less complicated to operate than the W.B.C hive with all its extra outer lifts.Dont be tempted to use hives made from hardwoods-they would be far too heavy in use.
 

opa 

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johna

Thanks for advice. I do already have a WBC so am used to the lifts, I like that it is a bit more insulated in winter as well as the look of it. Cheers!
 

oliver90owner 

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Cedar hives are "softwood" hives.You would do better as a beginner using the more simple National style hives as they are far less complicated to operate than the W.B.C hive with all its extra outer lifts.Dont be tempted to use hives made from hardwoods-they would be far too heavy in use.
I agree with Johna to a degree.

You will likely find the format is not spacious enough for the brooding area and the extra fiddling is a bit more to contend with. Brood and a half is nearly always needed, but often not used (so swarming problems arise earlier - not good for a new beek).

That said, if only a couple of WBCs - does it really matter? A few extra minutes per each inspection is not too intrusive on one's time. The brood boxes are of much lighter construction so can be of very much less weighty than the National equivalent.

Johna - Balsa is a hardwood and not very dense! Probably not a good choice for a hive anyway, but not all hardwoods are dense and neither are all softwoods of low density.

Cedar just fits the bill nicely. Reasonable weight, reasonable cost and very durable.

I would not want a gloss-painted WBC. A breathable finish would, in the longer term resist rot better. If water gets behind gloss paints (well, a lot of oil based ones) it cannot escape and can easily rot out from the inside.

Regards, RAB
 

oliver90owner 

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Opa,

Are the brood/super boxes' construction as a WBC (although to my knowlede the jumbo size was never mentioned) or is a National 14 x 12 box and super fitted into a WBC?

There would be a considerable weight difference.

I never found the WBCs that much more difficult to work - as long as there was enough space to dump the roof well out of the way and stack the lifts next to the hive; and the lifts were useful for standing the boxes on.

I still have some lifts but the floors and certainly one roof had seen far better days!

Space, time and replacement cost persuaded me to adopt the National (the other format I started out with). So not a difficult choice for me at the time.

Regards, RAB
 

Heather 

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Johna

I have WBC and Nationals. The WNC are not extra work- the lifts make great waist height areas to put supers on when inspecting. You can put each super on each lift so keeping any bees safely off the ground.

Cedar isnt softwood- softwood more likely to warp- but if treated will last years.
 

johna 

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Johna

I have WBC and Nationals. The WNC are not extra work- the lifts make great waist height areas to put supers on when inspecting. You can put each super on each lift so keeping any bees safely off the ground.

Cedar isnt softwood- softwood more likely to warp- but if treated will last years.
Sorry Heather but Cedar is most definately a softwood ,as for balsawood,if the tree gets over about 10 years old it gets realy hard and heavy-look it up on the internet for definitive info.
 

Hebeegeebee 

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I have 5 WBC's plus Nationals. 4 of the WBC's are painted white, the other is a Thornes cedar one I got on ebay (never used!) I have seen no problems in rotting of the wood of the white painted ones, 3 of which are odd-ball models with one of marine ply (rediculously heavy) and the others of softwood. The other WBC is a Caddon hive which fite together well. The lifts of a WBC are sloppy enough that they don't harbour damp unlike a painted National which is a BAD IDEA. Nationals need to be able to breathe.

2 of my WBC's now have 14 x 12 brood boxes. I am still not sure if I like 14 x 12's yet! The option of a double brood (rather than brood and a half) is fine for me.
One pain with WBC's is the matching of lifts - if as I have - you have a selection as some don't always fit others and if you have different types you will need to chop and change lifts as colonies expand and contract. For example if you have a double brood WBC with 3 supers, it starts to get quite tall and you need lifts to suit. Then you put on a trapizoidal clearer board with a 2" eke around and find that you need another lift more than you own.

Handling colonies with WBC's is fine. For a few hives it takes little time extra and it's easy to put supers or bood boxes on the lifts diagonally when doing inspections.

I think that WBC's don't really insulate the colonies much better as there are plenty of gaps in the lifts - in mune anyway!). However they do stop the brood boxes from getting wet from rain which would result in a lower insulation value. They will also reduce wind-chill with a wet box. In the summer thay may help shield the colony from the sun.

Finally. Irrespective of my personal views, my Wife likes the look of WBC's and I love her dearly and that's the deciding factor!
 

Hebeegeebee 

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I have WBC and Nationals. The WNC are not extra work- the lifts make great waist height areas to put supers on when inspecting. You can put each super on each lift so keeping any bees safely off the ground.
.
Heather, agreed.
 

Heather 

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Better tell the supplier then- why we paying less for softwood??

Paynes catalogue


We offer 2 types of national Hive - Cedar wood & Softwood. Softwood, although more likely to warp or split after time, is a great deal cheaper and if coated with Cuprinol, will still last many many years.
 

Heather 

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I actually prefer 14x12. More space- less likely to swarm-allegedly

If you have double brood you need to manipulate one off the other to inspect lower- more likely to damage bees and possibly queen!. One frame of full 14x12 isnt THAT heavy- and is less disturbance to the bees-
 

oliver90owner 

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Better tell the supplier then

You're right. They are obviously unaware of it! Or the just ignore it anyway, hoping the vast majority of poeple out there will be impressed with their product and believe whatever they spout.

Let us know their response.

I'm sure you are much more diplomatic than we are!

If you need to know the difference between soft and hard woods, the hard ones lose their leaves at regular intervals. That is what makes it a pretty stupid system. Growth rate might be better, but balsa grows umpteen metres each year (six to ten IIRC) so that system would be flawed too.

I carefully selected the term 'at regular intervals', Not much in the way of winter in the equatorial rainforests.

Regards, RAB
 
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Paynes catalogue

We offer 2 types of national Hive - Cedar wood & Softwood.
Agree that cedar is a softwood, but I've noticed, as Heather points out that Deal etc is often confusingly referred to by suppliers as softwood.

Suppose that all cedars are softwood, but not all softwood is cedar!

I believe Deal is OK to use as long as its treated properly, whereas cedar only requires treatment to stop its looks from fading.
 

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As has been stated Cedar is softwood, and is pine - which is what most other hives are made from. Deal is just a generic term for pine.

The rate a which a tree grows determines the density of its wood. The rate is determined by environmental conditions, water, light, and more importantly temperature...

Thus a Norvegian Spruce (softwood) growing in Nothern Scandinavia (above the artic circle) grows considerably less in any year than an Ash (hardwood), Alder (Hardwood), Beech (Hardwood) growing in southern England, or for that matter teak (hardwood), Mahogany (Hardwood), Purple Heart (hardwood) growing in the equatorial belt.

Even Western Red Cedar comes in various grades, and the best grade is mountain grown, and in Eurpoean terms comes from the Balkans.
 

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Ordinary spruce and pine board are splended material for hives. I cannot see why it should be cedar.
Plywood is not a good material because it is heavy and its structure does not stand flame cleaning very long time. Plywood absorbs guite much moisture.

Hard wood are easy to rotten.

Outer painting is needed to protect wood structure against weather.

My pine boxes are 45 years old. They stand whole my life even if i made them at the age of 18.
Compared to polybox they are heavy.. Polybox is 1 kg and wood boxes 9 kg.
 

Finman 

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As has been stated Cedar is softwood, and is pine - which is what most other hives are made from. Deal is just a generic term for pine.


Thus a Norvegian Spruce (softwood) growing in Nothern Scandinavia (above the artic circle) grows considerabl.
i think that no one use cedar in scandinavia.
Spruce board has plenty of twig knots nd it s not good material. A pine or less spruce bord above polar circle is not posible material.

Scotch pine board is suitable material.

When you look at pfhysical properties of wood, notice that material is quite much filled with moisture in winter.
 

Vortex 

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i think that no one use cedar in scandinavia.
Spruce board has plenty of twig knots nd it s not good material. A pine or less spruce bord above polar circle is not posible material.

Scotch pine board is suitable material.

When you look at pfhysical properties of wood, notice that material is quite much filled with moisture in winter.
I wasn't agruing that it would nake good hives (makes good skis though) just that you cannot make arbitrary statements about rates of growth between softwood and hard wood.
As to Scotts pine - again it depends on where it's grown.
And Elm (hardwood) is traditionally used for river pilings specifically because it doesn't rot when imersed in water. Neither do larch planks used for boat hulls or oak used for keels and ribs. To make wood rot it needs to be damp/wet in a warm oxygen prevalent environment, otherwise the fungal mycelium cannot grow.
And lastly all trees reduce their moisture content in winter, even those durable spruces and pines. The advantage the spruces and pines have is they manufacture their own antifreeze - the residue of which we see as resin, and can be made into pitch or varnish.
This is one of the reasons western red cedar is prefered as hive material, it has a high residual amount of resin which acts as a moisture retardant, hence retards the rate at which the wood rots. It's other advantage is that it grows to a large size hence you can extract wide knot free timber from the mature tree.
But we're deviating a little from the topic here...
 

Finman 

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Hivebox wood does not reduce its moisture content in winter. Hive box and growing tree are not the same.what is the price of cedar compared to pine board when you make the box by yourself.
Nonsence, if cedar is only good hive material. what about you ply? Why it is so good? Short living and very heavy.


Too much emotion in these talkings.
 

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