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Resealing an established hive

So I had my flow hive wax dipped before I installed bees nearly 2 years ago but now the timber is looking very weathered. I was wondering if it’s safe to reseal it with linseed oil with the bees still in the hive or is that not the done thing? Unfortunately I’m not able to relocate the bees so I’m curious as to what others do.
Thanks.

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Not sure you can treat with oils after it’s been wax dipped. What kind of wax did they dip it in? Do you know what temperature and for how long?

Do you have a cedar hive? If so, you could just let it be weathered…

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Hey Leigh,
Wax dipping preserves the wood for up to 20 years, assuming it was done correctly. It doesn’t preserve the new wood colour, though. Some of mine look a bit grungy after five years, but they’re still completely waterproof. Post some pictures of yours so we can see the condition. It’s unlikely oiling will do much good as the wax will stop the oil penetrating the wood fibres.

No harm trying though. Obviously, the trickiest part is oiling the front, so do it in the dark after sunset using a red headlamp to see. Don’t use white light, you’ll be hammered by guards. The other problem is oil stinks, so your bees might be titchy for a while. Good luck.

Mike

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Hi.
I’m not sure on the details of the wax dipping. I was a complete newbie when it was done and just assumed it was dipped properly. It’s a cedar hive.

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Hi Mike.
That was my impression too…that it would last many years before it would need doing again. Good point on the oil maybe not penetrative the waxed timber. Maybe I’ll just leave it be for now.
Newb question. How do I post a pic?:smiley:

Hey Leigh,
I’ve heard of some dippers only dipping for five minutes at less than 120degC. In my opinion that’s not enough to boil out the water from the wood. I generally do mine above 140degC for at least 10minutes. More if the water is still foaming out. Treating hives after AFB minimum 150degC, minimum 10 minutes. Hives can be redipped.

To post a picture, press the up arrow symbol in the “Reply” box. Follow the prompts from there.

Cheers,
Mike

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Looks normal to me. As I said, the colour isn’t protected by waxing, so it will continue to fade. Cedar tends to grey over time. You could try sanding through the weathered surface to expose the colour. The wax may clog your sandpaper. I may try it as an experiment.

One option to change the look is to re-dip and paint immediately after removing from the hot wax. The paint will be drawn into the grain of the wood as it cools. After that, you’re stuck with painting. It’s only for aesthetics, though. I prefer wood finish and absolutely detest painting.

Mike

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Thanks again Mike. The timber still has that waxy feel so I think I’ll let it be for now. Looking forward to my first honey harvest this year😃

I’ve wax dipped a lot of hives and they are also hloidng up well- after a few years they look a little as yours. They need to be properly dipped for at least 8 minutes or so in wax well over 100C to boil out the water and penetrate the wood fully. Also cedar reacts quite differently than pine when dipped- more wax is left at the surface with a slick feeling. Pine absorbs wax very well and the wood feels almost dry to the touch on the surface but if you cut a piece you see wax has penetrated 100%.

I think- if you were inclined- rubbing a small amount of tung oil on the outside of that hive will not bother the bees. I do that periodically with my mums non-wax dipped cedar flow hive and it’s holding up nicely 6 years in. I think the surface on a dipped hive can absorb a little oil after some time.

also I put small globs of bees wax on my flow roofs in summer and it melts into the wood.

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