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  • Should you paint your beehives?

    25 / Apr / 2020

    Should you paint your beehives?

    When you walk past a beekeeper's haven, you'll notice brightly and multi-coloured painted beehives. Is it useful to paint your beehive? What should you think about? And are other treatments important? All your questions are answered in this blog.

    When you walk past a beekeeper's haven, you'll notice brightly and multi-coloured painted beehives. Is it useful to paint your beehive? What should  you think about? And are other treatments important? All your questions are answered in this blog. 

    The regular commercially available hives are usually untreated hives made of spruce wood. These are outside all year round and can therefore best be treated. Even when they are under shelter, we recommend painting your beehives with a stain or paint. In this way, the lifespan of your hives will experience a sharp increase. 

     

    What is pickling? 

    Pickling stands for applying a layer of (natural) pigments to protect the fibers of the wood. This provides good coverage and ensures that your beehive is protected against wind and weather. A stain that is suitable for outside ensures that the humidity cannot penetrate the wood. 

     

    Exterior of the hive 

    Before you start painting, you need to choose the right paint or stain. Remember you are dealing with bees, so opt for a natural stain or paint that doesn't contain a chemical solvent that causes faster drying. The solvent in a natural stain is water so it takes a little longer to dry out. Please note the importance of ventilating the beehive while painting. 

     

    Inside of the hive 

    Opinions differ about treating the inside of the hive. The bees protect the hive from the inside with propolis so a treatment seems unnecessary. 

    However, making the inside 'waterproof' is highly labour-intesive for the bees. Smaller bee colonies can't even work that out. Therefore, we believe it is helpful for your bees to execute a thorough treatment of the inside of your beehive, especially if the inner walls have porous and water-absorbing properties. 

     

    A bee nest is quite warm and humid. This moist air easily penetrates the inner walls of the hive. Untreated beehives turn damp on the inside. They deform and even become mouldy. 

    The inner walls are best treated with a propolis stain. If you don't have that, there are alternative products on the market that protect the wood against moisture and mold, such as Woodbliss: https://www.nectarist.be/nl/wood-bliss-1l.html 

    Do you have any suggestions about protecting the hive against the (sometimes harsh) weather elements? Be sure to let us know! 

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