Getting started in beekeeping can be a bit of an investment with all of the supplies you need to buy. The cost of beehives, bee suits, and tools can all add up. However, if you take care of your equipment, it can last you for several years.
That’s why it’s important to use a good wood preservative for beehives to expand the longevity of your hives. A well preserved beehive can last for many years, especially if it is kept on a hive stand. There are a few different things used to protect wood, so what is the best wood preservative for beehives?
Why Preserve Your Beehives?
Because beehives are outside year round, they endure a bit of wear and tear from the elements. Sun, wind, rain, and snow can all take a toll on the wood of the hive. Using a good wood preservative helps offer some protection from the elements and really expands the lifespan of a beehive.
Preserving your beehives will also save you money in the long run. If your hives are well preserved, you won’t have to buy new hives often and can instead focus on the bees.
How to Preserve Your Beehives
To preserve your beehive you need to apply a protective coating to it. The 3 different types of coatings used for beehives are paint, stain, and wax. Having one of these coatings will help to keep the wood from deteriorating from the elements.
Paint is a popular way to preserve beehives because it looks great. Many beekeepers like to paint their beehives different colors or designs. There are many painted beehives that look like works of art.
The issue with paint is that you need to choose one that has low VOC levels. VOC levels are the amount of chemicals that evaporate out of the paint as it dries. High VOC levels are toxic to bees and could kill them. Choose a paint with a VOC level below 50 if you are going to paint a beehive.
Stain is another option for preserving beehives, especially if you like the look of stained wood. It soaks into the wood’s surface and creates a somewhat water resistant bond. While stain is not as durable as paint, a coat of sealant can also be added for more protection.
Many beekeepers like to coat their beehives with beeswax to preserve the wood. It’s natural, sustainable, and the bees like it. Some beehive manufacturers dip their hive parts in wax so it is completely coated and offers optimal protection.
Wax coated hives have a similar look to stained hives. The natural beauty of the wood grain is highlighted. Because beeswax is used to coat the hives, it gives them a nice, sweet scent as well.
The use of a hive stand is necessary to preserve a beehive. The beehive needs to be elevated off of the ground and away from ground moisture to be kept in good shape. A beehive that is left on the ground is susceptible to wood rot and mold, both of which are very damaging to a hive.
Hive stands can be bought or made. Some beekeepers even use bricks or pallets to elevate their hives.
Best Wood Preservative for Beehives
In my opinion, the best wood preservative for beehives is wax. As much as I love the look of a beautifully painted beehive, I still prefer a natural coating, like wax. And what better to protect a beehive than beeswax?
Another thing about wax coated beehives is that the bees take to it much faster than painted or stained hives. That’s because they will be more accepting of the familiar scent of the beeswax.
With wax coated hives, you don’t have to worry about VOCs and off-gassing like you do with paint and stain. When painting or staining a hive you need to do it weeks ahead of time to give it ample time to off-gas. But wax coated hives are ready to go right away.
Where to Get Wax Coated Beehives
Wax Dipping Tank
To coat a beehive with wax yourself, you need a wax dipping tank. This is a large tank with burners on the bottom. The burners are needed to bring the wax to the correct temperature. The wax needs to be melted, then the hive parts are completely submerged.
See how to dip a beehive in wax in the video below:
Since most people do not have a wax dipping tank at home, another option is to buy a hive that is already coated in wax. In that case, my favorite wax coated beehive is from Hoover Hives.
Hoover Hives Wax Coated Beehives
All beehives from Hoover Hives are coated in 2 layers of wax. The first layer is an organic blend of paraffin and a mineral called Ozokerite. This wax soaks into the wood for extra durability. The second coating of wax is 100% beeswax. The result is a beautiful beehive that is protected from sun, wind, rain,and snow.
Beehives become worn down from exposure to sun, wind, rain, and snow. You can expand the life of your beehive by taking good care of it. Paint, stain, and wax are used to protect the wood of the beehive. The best wood preservative for beehives is wax because it’s natural and waterproof.