Choice of bee hive material.
Light weight, low density timber is preferable not only for the ease of use for the beekeeper but also, more importantly, because it has lower thermal conductivity providing better insulation for the bees. Heavy or dense timber or board should therefore be avoided as should any preservative dipped or pressure treated timber, the chemicals used are not insect friendly. The interior of plastic or polystyrene bee hives are not absorbent (the inside of a bee hive should be absorbent) and their persistence and adverse effects on nature and the environment are well known - plastic or polystyrene bee hives should therefore also be avoided.
Protect bee hives from damp.
Bee hives must be kept off the ground, the same as any external timber structure e.g. a shed. Blocks or bricks can be used which also bring the hive to a more convenient working height.
No matter what timber is used in construction, the exterior surfaces of a bee hive (not the interior surfaces, the bees look after that) must have a water repellent treatment. A wet bee hive is a severe disadvantage to the bees, they will use their energy to dry it out - stand outside in wet clothes and you will quickly understand the adverse effect. Repeated cycles of becoming wet and then drying out can also cause timber to warp or crack.
Bee hive wood treatments.
Choice of treatment is largely a matter of personal taste - see our range here Bee Hive Wood Treatments
Wood Stain & Protect is a multi-purpose, water-repellent coating available in many colours. It is a water-based wood stain to create a quick-drying micro-porous coating that contains a mould inhibitor to protect the coating. Once dry it is not harmful to plants, children or animals making it the ideal choice not only for fencing and sheds, but playhouses and animal housing. High-build formulation - it has a matt finish with the colour and sheen being intensified with the application of further coats. The nature of a wood stain is to allow some of the grain and colour of the timber to show through so from a wash to a solid opaque finish if you are painting over other colours or dark timber it may take a few coats to get the effect you require.
Wood Stain & Protect Clear Tough Coat can be used by itself or for areas subjected to high levels of exposure or wear & tear a top coat can be applied for extra protection. A lighter stain effect can be produced by applying a single coat of a colour with Clear Tough Coat on top.
Apply 2-3 coats - easy water clean up. Coverage at 8-12 m2 per litre
Petroleum jelly or liquid paraffin can be used on any components that would not otherwise be treated such as floor inspection trays and crown boards for example to prevent the ingress of damp and also prevent the adhesion of propolis and beeswax.
Timber beehives correctly treated and regularly maintained should last years although we have hives in our apiaries that are decades old.