For centuries, abbeys and monasteries during the European Middle Ages brewed mead and created flavoured drinks from bees' honey. Today, beekeepers breed and house bees in man-made beehives to harvest their natural product: honey. Whether you are beekeeping as a hobby or as an occupation, preserving and maintaining your beehives are important tasks to ensure thriving bee colonies and honey production.
Plan the construction of your beehives. Use wood that will not require extensive maintenance and painting. Invest in a durable type of wood such as red cedar, which can be expensive initially but is long-lasting and low maintenance. Avoid building with spruce or larch wood, which deteriorate under severe rain and sunny weather conditions.
Place the beehives on sturdy wooden or metal stands. Raising them improves ventilation of the hives. Drill holes or build a criss-cross design in the stands to allow moisture to escape from the wood.
Apply a wood stain. Use a stain that does not contain insecticide or other substances such as Dichlofuanid and arsenic. Insecticides, Dichlofuanid and arsenic will harm the bees, causing side effects such as loss of directional sense and pollination patterns.
Use paint and preservative coatings on the outside of the beehives. Clear the bees from the hive before applying the paint or preservative and allow the coating to dry for two to three weeks before allowing the bees back into their hive.