Beekeeping supplies can be a bit of an investment, but they usually do not need to be replaced very often. If you want your beehive to last a long time, it’s important that you properly maintain them. That includes protecting them from the elements, such as sun, rain, and snow.
Waterproofing beehives provides a protective layer to seal the wood to stop moisture from seeping in. This strengthens the wood and increases it’s longevity.
Benefits of Waterproofing Beehives
Beehives that have been waterproofed last a lot longer than hives that are not. That’s not surprising because beehives are made out of wood and are exposed to a lot of sun, rain, wind, and snow.
Beehives that have been waterproofed last a lot longer than hives that are not.
When a beehive gets wet and moisture penetrates the hive, mold and fungus have an opportunity to grow. This can be disastrous for both the hive and the bee colony inside.
Beehives that have been waterproofed have some sort of sealant applied to the wood. This prevents moisture from saturating the wood, which would cause the wood to warp and rot. However, if the wood is protected, you can be sure that your beehive will last for many years to come.
Do I Need to Waterproof my Beehive?
If you live in a very dry area that does not get much rain, then you can possibly get away without waterproofing your beehives. However, it is usually best to have some type of sealant on the wood. In any case, it is recommended to always waterproof your beehive because it will help your hive last longer.
How to Waterproof Beehives
Waterproofing beehives is a simple process. You can buy a hive that has already been waterproofed, or do it yourself. Beekeepers waterproof their hives by sealing the wood with one of the following – paint, stain, wax, or tung oil.
Many people enjoy painting their beehives for the aesthetic effect, but there is also another reason. Paint is an easy and effective way to waterproof beehives.
When painting a beehive, it is best to use an exterior paint so it lasts a long time. Also, choose an oil based or latex paint for the most waterproofing qualities. The inside of a beehive should not be painted at all.
Upkeep for painted hives includes repainting them every few years, as needed.
Staining a beehive is very similar to paint, but this method allows the natural beauty of the wood to show through. Another difference between paint and stain is that while paint coats the surface of the wood, stain soaks into the wood.
The stain bonds with the wood, creating a waterproof surface. Another benefit of stain is that is also provides protection against the sun and UV light.
Wax coated beehives have become very popular lately because they are natural, sustainable, and offer great waterproofing abilities. Many beekeepers tend to prefer wax coated hives because they are coated in beeswax. This is important for new colonies, as they will more readily accept the new hive.
These hives are made by dipping the hive parts in a large vat of hot beeswax. This allows the wax to impregnate the wood, replacing any moisture in the wood with the wax. Because of this, wax coated beehives last for a very long time.
Most people do not have the ability to wax dip their beehives at home, so most beekeepers buy beehives that have already been wax dipped. Some apiaries and beekeeping supply stores also offer wax dipping as a service to those nearby.
The most popular wax dipped beehives are the Hoover Hives beehives from Galena Farms. These hives have 2 coats of wax – the first is an organic blend of paraffin and Ozokerite. The second coating is 100% beeswax.
Tung oil is a natural, chemical free way to waterproof beehives. Similar to stain, tung oil bonds with the wood in order to make it waterproof. Just be sure to use 100% tung oil with no additives.
To apply tung oil to the beehive, simply apply it to the surface of the hive with a rag. Allow it to dry for at least 3 hours before wiping off any excess oil. In 24 hours, a second coat should be added. Once the hive is fully dry it is ready for use.
Can Beehives Get Wet?
A properly maintained and waterproofed beehive should have no problem getting wet from rain or snow. However, it is important that the inside of the hive stays dry.
Excess moisture in the hive can cause mold and fungi to grow, causing disease and death of the bees. Furthermore, when condensation builds up, water droplets will fall directly on the bees, which can also kill them.
Other than waterproofing the outside of the beehive, the best way to combat this is by providing proper ventilation. Beehives should have one opening at the top of the hive, as well as one at the bottom. You can achieve this by utilizing both upper and lower entrances or a screened bottom board. This setup allows for air to enter the bottom entrance and flow out of the hive through the top.
Additional preparations may need to be made in the winter, where condensation from the cold weather can be particularly dangerous. Absorption blankets, wood shavings, or newspaper can be placed underneath the inner cover helps to absorb moisture and prevent condensation.
Waterproofing beehives is important because it protect the wood and allows your hive to last longer. The methods usually used to waterproof hives are paint, stain, wax, and tung oil. A waterproofed beehive is able to get wet, however it is important to keep the inside of the hive dry.