LOL, hey we all have our own opinions when it comes to politics. I’m probably considered a moderate, maybe even a conservative, in any other forum except for beekeeping :)
Thanks for the compliment with regards to the foam shell idea. I’m sure I wasn’t the first to try it, but I have used it for a few years now. It sure insulates the hives well and works well but there are a few minor problems I have encountered. First if you set the thing on the ground, the ants will likely start tunneling in the foam. Since there are no bees to protect the inside of the foam, the ants can make a real mess. However it turns out that spiders also like to hang out in the gap between the wood hive and the foam shell and they tend to eat the various bugs that try to make that area a home. We don’t have Black Widows up here, so I don’t have to worry about them moving into that gap like you might in the south.
Another problem with the foam shell concept occurs when working the bees. You obviously have to take off some of the foam to get to the wood hive. I don’t normally take it all off. When I work the bees, some of the bees invariably crawl into the space between the wood hive and the foam. I brush them off the exterior of the wood hive before putting the foam back on, but I still don’t get them all. I may lose a half dozen bees at a time when inspecting, but the hives tend to be packed with bees.
As for paint, I use a latex primer on the foam and then top coat with latex or enamel. Nothing special. I usually use latex top coat, but I have been using more enamel lately since it doesn't have as much “blocking” issues as latex. By blocking, I’m referring to the technical paint term for stickiness of the “cured” paint and not it’s hiding ability.