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Building a Hive of 2x4's - will gaps be a problem

 
Posts: 45
Location: Lynnwood, WA. USA
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Hi beeks!

I am a new/aspiring bee keeper and am building my first two hives myself out of untreated 2x4's left over from another building site.

My carpentry skills are not very strong - 7th grade woodshop class and a new saw and drill are all I have going for me...

I can see that there are going to be some "gaps" in my hives... between the warping of the wood, and nailed together pieces. Is this going to be something that the bee's can "fill in" themselves with propolis, or do I need to take steps to make sure that my hive is more "air tight?"

Also - do you have a recommendation for reducing water into the hive - I live in rainy Seattle, WA.

I have heard that painting the hive is not a great idea because it can't breathe.

I was thinking of either

1) scorching the hive (a la parone method) with some kind of torch that I don't have yet.
2) Putting the hive inside my 60 sf chicken run to have it be under roof (can they fly through hardware cloth?
3) Sealing it with some sort of "natural" wood preservative.

Any suggestions there?

Thank you,

Emily
 
steward
Posts: 3601
Location: woodland, washington
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you can build a roof for it with generous eaves to shed water well away from the walls of the hive.

I use kakishibu (fermented bitter persimmon juice) to treat my hives, but that isn't the easiest stuff to get one's hands on.
 
pollinator
Posts: 240
Location: Northern New Mexico, Zone 5b
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You could help the bees seal the gaps by pouring some molten wax in the cracks. Or find a friend with a table saw or jointer that could help you make the boxes tighter from the start.

I would not put the hive in with the chickens. Some chickens will eat a disturbing number of bees.
 
pollinator
Posts: 3646
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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They can seal huge holes with propolis, but anything you can do to reduce the gaps gives the bees more time to work on making honey.

For rain, build a mini bee hut as tel suggested.
 
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