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Eco Wood - non-toxic wood treatment solution

Fred Dunn posted a great video on his Youtube channel this week about his current favourite wood treatment for his hives - suitable for Flow Hive, Langstroth, araucaria/pine and cedar timbers.

The product is Eco Wood and it’s really interesting how it’s applied to the timber. It’s sold in powder form that is dissolved in water and the hive dunked in. It’s a natural product made from natural minerals.

Has anyone on the forum had experience with Eco Wood? I’m certainly interested in giving it a go.

(NB: Fred was not sponsored by Eco Wood to make this video)

I like the fact that you don’t have to continually touch it up. To my eye, the green tint destroys the beauty of the cedar, although the pine looks pretty good.

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Yes, that almost sounds too good to be true though, for any timber product.

I would still paint the araucaria/pine timber with an outdoor paint as it’s not as durable as the cedar.

Its not 100% clear what is in the product but it appears likely to be based on disodium octoborate tetrahydrate, boron, and/or boric acid.
These are certainly ‘Organic’ and ‘Natural’ but they seem to have an insecticidal action. Therefore I would never place them on the inside of a bee hive.
And I would never use a product on my bees or inside the hive where the ingredients are unknown.

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Thanks for your input. V interesting :slight_smile:

I wonder more about this comment and how you believe this or got this information from, if you’d like to share? “seem to have an insecticidal action”

Hi, I’m curious about these things so I went to the manufacturers web site to see what was the active ingredient in this product. Now, maybe I missed something but I looked at a lot of pages, found lots of statements that it is organic, natural, non toxic but nowhere did they say what was in the product or even the family of product that it belonged to. The statement about non toxicity was also vague, referring to ‘independent laboratory testing’, and of course it didn’t clarify what it was non toxic to.
I don’t know about rules in the US or Australia, but in the EU I dont believe that it would be possible to market a product like this without stating what it contained.
I did see a post on another web site referencing the manufacturers safety data sheet for this product, referencing that the active ingredients were disodium octoborate tetrahydrate, boron, and/or boric acid.
This fits well with their claims as these substances are minerals and naturally occurring and qualify as 'organic ’ and ‘natural’. Of course we all know that organic and natural do not mean safe as some of the most toxic substances are natural.
Now if you google Disodium octaborate tetrahydrate, you will see that it is described on wikipedia as an insecticide and if you google it and “wood preserver”, you will see it described as a non toxic wood preserver, active against termites etc.
So the description non toxic applies to mammals and not to insects (including bees).

I queried the safety of this product for bees on the youtube site and in his response Fred Dunn indicated that he had received assistance from the company to promote the product (lists of bee farms that used it etc). I asked him to clarify from his contacts with the company what the active ingredients were and so far he has not responded.

My concern with this product, apart from the principle that we don’t know what it contains, is that it is being recommended for use on the INSIDE of the hive. In my view even a very low level of insecticidal action inside a hive cannot be good for the bees and should be avoided.

Bottom line as far as I am concerned; never put anything inside a beehive unless you know what it is, and treat all claims of natural, organic, non toxic etc with caution, unless backed up with hard information.

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He @FrederickDunn posts on here occasionally, so maybe he’ll chime in. He also may be investigating your findings before responding.

It sounds like a useful product. Let’s hope it’s safe for bees.

Thanks Jim. I appreciate your intentions and work on investigating this product, and for sharing your findings.

I treat all of my pine boxes with copper naphthenate which works really well at stopping the pine from rotting in close to 20 years. I paint over it inside & out with sometimes 3 coats with no ill effects to the bees. Some boxes had been treated & well aired for 12 months before I painted them. In that case I only painted the outside & edges, with also no ill effects to the bees.

I tell anyone that will listen to treat pine bee boxes with copper naphthenate. Mostly I’m too late with the information. Besides that, folks are keen to get bees into their boxes & are not prepared to wait the extra few weeks while the treatment dries out.

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Hi Jim,

I apologize, I thought I did respond to your question.

I am in the process of evaluating the eco-wood treatments on various un-finished wood stock and will be sharing the preservative results as the months and even years pass.

I also did my treatments and then dried the hive materials for days prior to installing them with honey bees. Others were installed “wet” and fresh-dipped inside and out to see any obvious impact on the bees. Just because there were no dead bees in the hive or on the landing board wouldn’t present any meaningful conclusions, however, if there was indeed a die-off I’d certainly sound the alarm bells.

I also don’t want anyone to misunderstand your comment here “received assistance from the company to promote the product” I have no collaboration with anyone selling or manufacturing Eco-Wood, and there is no encouragement for me to “promote” the product. I am completely independent in my review of this wood preservative. They responded to my questions and assure me that beehives are one of the many uses for Eco-Wood inside and out.

As I mentioned to you before, please share evidence you have that this formula harms honey bees when used on or in hive equipment. If you or anyone else is concerned, then it’s something you’ll want to avoid just for peace of mind.

Material Safety Data Sheets are directed at the product in its dry/concentrated form, as in the packet prior to mixing. There are many natural and organic materials that are dangerous when concentrated. I encourage everyone to do homework and seek scientific sources for further information.

It’s not surprising that a company won’t disclose its complete material list and components which results in a preservative that works. They often have proprietary methods or ratios that if disclosed would just result in other companies making and marketing their own versions of the same product.

That seems understandable to me anyway. So the key for me was the other beekeepers who use it and have been doing so for many years without negative results. Meaning that their hives with and hives without the Eco-Wood treatments are producing equally with all other factors remaining the same. So it basically comes down to if you like the appearance and if it indeed does preserve the wood.

My plan is simply to observe how long the wood lasts here in my high rain, high snow, rapid temp fluctuation environment, and share the results. There are no goals for me other than to wait and see how it works.

I have no current information that would make me cautious about Eco-Wood, yet my mind remains open to any scientific studies or findings. If I discover that it’s harmful to honey bees when used as directed, I’ll absolutely share that as well.

Thanks for inviting me to comment :slight_smile: Fred

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