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The pros and cons of natural log hives

Log hives are easy once you have them in the correct position. They need to be put in the right spot just like other hives; preferably facing the north east in a spot not too hot or cold. Ensure the log ends are properly sealed to prevent ants and water getting in. Logs can be mounted off the ground on blocks or in stirrups to prevent wood rot. Stirrups will need the odd coat of oil to prevent ant trails.

Generally the main difficulty with log hives is their size and transporting them; this bumps up their cost getting them to you. Log hives can also be large – up to 3 metres in length and some girths more than a metre.

The environmental questions to ask with logs hives are how and where were they obtained: Was the tree cut down to get the hive? If not, why was the tree felled?

With natural log hives you cannot get any honey out without damaging the hive, unless the supplier can add a honey super.
Old time bushmen report drilling holes into the tree near the hive, inserting a pipe into the hole and corking the end; when honey was wanted, wire was poked into the pipe and a billycan placed under the pipe to collect the honey. This undoubtedly caused damage to the hive every time wire was inserted.

Log hive entrances can be difficult to protect from small hive beetle due to their irregular shape.

Wood will perish over time, especially untreated wood left to the elements. The condition of the log will decline over time. I recommend seeing the condition of the wood before buying a log.

The appearance of the natural log hive is also important; some are just blocks of wood while others can be naturally beautiful.

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