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what finishes to use OUTSIDE and INSIDE the hives ?

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Guard Bee

Joined: 27 Mar 2015
Posts: 54
Location: chester, england, uk

PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 7:57 am    Post subject: what finishes to use OUTSIDE and INSIDE the hives ? Reply with quote

now I am not very interested in the INSIDE finish as i want bees to make propolis a gogo ! but the OUTSIDE of the hive finish puzzles me still

the thing about FINISHES for the outside and inside of hive puzzle me. Now i know this SHELLAC is suggested for INSIDE the hive but...that is to prevent propolis making and propolis is exactly what i would like ! so it is the OUTSIDE of the hive that bothers me. What to do on outside of the hive ? now these normal paints are said to be fine. any colour but BLACK as that is too much a heat attractor. but ! surely ! in all this cold uk climate, up in the cold often welsh hills, black is to me good idea ? ouff ! brown or black ? green even ! i like green colour idea personally. ok ok facing a hedge for wind protection understood. butt ! back to my concern about the nature of the outside ! paint type !

what do people use ? any views on the tesco beeswax furniture polish ? i think maybe not that for outside hive but what about fence paints ?
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Guard Bee

Joined: 27 Mar 2015
Posts: 54
Location: chester, england, uk

PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 8:02 am    Post subject: house bee ? Reply with quote

i just noticed I am described as a HOUSE BEE on this forum.

THat brings me to another idea !

beehive in the attic !

now of course the negatives are ?
bees could get into neighbours attics and even houses unless netted off. that can be sorted by separator net.

advantage to me seems...

protection from nasty elements like wind and rain and easier for bees to stay warm in

Up high so easy to fly out high out of room exits

i did a google search on this and all it came up with were ways to get RID of such nests of bees !

I was just thinking of the advantages ! making sure bees dont go wandering into attics of neighbouring houses

what do others think about this idea ?
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Golden Bee

Joined: 30 Nov 2009
Posts: 1137
Location: UK, North Yorkshire, Bentham

PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 11:19 am    Post subject: Re: house bee ? Reply with quote

obcarskas wrote:

beehive in the attic !

Have a look at

For outside of hive I use raw linseed oil (500ml) with a little beeswax (15g) melted in it (in a baine-marie), brushed on while hot. Just enriches the natural colour of the wood. If you wanted designs / identifying marks on the hive, paint them on first. Even Welsh hills get sun, so I'd avoid black!

I'd avoid furniture polish as there is almost certainly chemical additives that could affect the bees.
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Site Admin

Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1857
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of our most experienced members has hives in his attic but I would not really recommend it for a novice beek.

Attics can get very hot in summer, which may lead to comb collapse.

If you need to move them for whatever reason, it is difficult enough out in the open but having to lower them, perhaps through a trap door and through the house would be challenging. Hives full of bees and honey are heavy.

There needs to be a means of allowing the bees out of the attic space after an inspection (skylight etc) so that they can return to the hive via the external entrance (tube) which is the route they will recognise.... attics are usually quite cobwebby places so there may be some losses trying to find a way out.

You need to be able to ensure that their access route to the outside (usually a tube) doesn't get clogged up with dead bees or other debris effectively suffocating/starving the hive.... not easy to check regularly without a ladder.

Using a smoker (if you need to) in an attic would not be comfortable or advisable.

Queens are difficult to see at the best of times but working in artificial light would make it much more difficult to see her and eggs etc.

Doing any sort of swarm prevention/management may be very difficult in an attic.... doing a split for example..... and since you have near neighbours, allowing them to swarm naturally may cause aggravation and conflict.

Those are just a few that I can think of, off the top of my head.

I hope this doesn't come across as patronising but I really think it is important to gain an understanding of what you are working with before trying to push the boundaries with it, much as I appreciate you are thinking it would be beneficial for the bees.

I hope you never come across a strongly defensive colony, but having dealt with a few over the years, I can assure you, it can be intimidating if not downright scary, even fully suited. Being confined to an attic space with such a colony is not something that I would relish. And no matter how placid bees are when you first get them, they can turn nasty either by requeening after swarming/splitting or even just when they get big and strong.


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Guard Bee

Joined: 27 Mar 2015
Posts: 54
Location: chester, england, uk

PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 1:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

oh thank you both for the replies ! yes yes raw linseed oil heated with beewax sounds great ! i shall do that

now the attic issue i loved the pics of the experienced beekeeper with one ! and i appreciate issues about access to the bees...and neighbours attics eeek ja

but ! the idea is to not collect honey just provide place for endangered species that do good to our flowers !

albeit even the disused golf course nearby had notice about spraying some nasties on it a few days ago and i am sure local farmers use all sorts of nasties around here which means bees dont have much chances...

i am still tempted ! there is huge population of nasty wasps every year due to apples on apple tree nearby not being cleared off the carpark groud...neighbour said she got stung by them i thought but kept thoughts to myself ...rake the apples up then ! her house is right next to it ! instead of driving and parking car on squashed apples the wasps love lol

but then i am the only one who rakes the carparks here of leaves etc and dump them on the borders ...even against the gate to field for football that has NO DOGS EVEN IF ON LEADS sign up so i covered up that unused by humans gate with the leaves this year lol !

good for bumble bees all those leaves etc ! and i plant flowers there also

now back to the attic

i am close off an area where there is a good outlet to outside of house with beeprooof netting around where i put the hive ! jaja ! that way the bees dont get into rest of my attic or neighbours attics !

i will never go collect any of the bees honey there of course ! i agree too risky ! there are no cobwebs etc in my attic i am very tidy up there but it isnt an attic you can stand up in except for a few square meters in the central part of course

ah ja the heat issue...could be a melting pot...ouff...there is some black sheet insulation ? on the inside of the roof tiles i notice...maybe that keeps heat in or out ? ouff

well i am persistant

and since i like the idea and have seen someone else has done it...i am going to do it jaja !

oh i will never go collect honey for sure in such a difficult access place but just think of the benefit to the bees ! if they survive local pesticides of course ! they could be a reason to monitor effects of it even ! lady walking her dog on ex golf course said this stuff gives humans cancer ! with all the wind lately bet we are breathing that rubbish in hey !

dont walk my dogs there now of course

and ok ja not black hives too hot even in welsh hills lol ok ok then GREEN it is !

thx for advice and will let you know my progress !

finding NETTING to section off the bees in attic priority lol !

as well as finding lemon grass essential that is used for bait hives....

oh and i faced once a horrible experience after spending night off to collect 3 hives full of bees in LT last year...was tired so didnt get them out at once thought have a sleep and coffee...then ! eeek ! saw my car FULL OF LOOSE BEES ! idiot must not have sealed the hives up properly ! AND MY BEE SUIT WAS IN THE CAR !

i was hopping mad ! chap with me who had the muscles to lift the hvies said to me...hey calm down bees dont like bad tempers ! THAT made me even more annoyed !

i did venture of course to open the car and get the hives and angry bees out of course without my suit and got a few or so stings jaja which added to my temper but it was over fast

jaja and i once found wasps nest in my attic and got stung horrible creatures but i watch out for wasps nests they are easy to spot
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Quality Top Bar Hives by Andrew Vidler

Conserving wild bees

Research suggests that bumble bee boxes have a very low success rate in actually attracting bees into them. We find that if you create an environment where first of all you can attract mice inside, such as a pile of stones, a drystone wall, paving slabs with intentionally made cavities underneath, this will increase the success rate.

Most bumble bee species need a dry space about the size a football, with a narrow entrance tunnel approximately 2cm in diameter and 20 cm long. Most species nest underground along the base of a linear feature such as a hedge or wall. Sites need to be sheltered and out of direct sunlight.

There is a spectacular display of wild bee hotels here

More about bumblebees and solitary bees here

Information about the Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum)

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