I hear some say "the bees do not care whether their
hives are good, bad or indifferent", but properly treated hives
are easier for the beekeeper to manipulate. This means less
disruptions to the bees and I believe this can have a noticeable
effect (lack of stress... better wellbeing... more productive).
The philosophy behind my approach is simple...
Roofs and Stands do not need to 'breath' and are painted with
exterior grade gloss paint.
Floors and Coverboards have their upper and lower rims treated with
Petroleum jelly (with white spirit added as a solvent/thinner). This
soaks in and no propolis will then stick making cleaning a pleasure
rather than a chore. All non contact surfaces on these items are
treated with Raw Linseed Oil.
Brood Boxes, Supers and Ekes have petroleum jelly applied to upper and
lower mating surfaces as well as the rebate that takes the frame lugs.
The outer surface is treated with Raw Linseed Oil and the inner
surfaces are left untreated.
Frame Lugs are not coated to avoid slippage when handling, but I apply
a thin coat of petroleum jelly to the top surface of the top bar and
a generous dab onto the end grain on the tips of the frame lugs.
I have been accused of "wasting time" by doing all
of this, but I find that the time spent is well repayed in time saved
manipulating the bees.
Originated... Summer 2000, Revised... 30 Sept 2002