As a newbee painting or oiling your new hive?

Hello, as a beginner I have just received our new hive in Western red cedar .I have sourced pure Tung oil and was going to oil it up before assembly.
My question is do I oil the inside as well?

You really don’t need to - it won’t be exposed to weather. You can if you want to, pure Tung oil is non-toxic and food-safe. However, it is expensive, so I only oil the outside of my hives.

Your choice in that, and also in when to do it - I assemble first and oil afterwards. It doesn’t matter really, but for convenience, it uses less space if the hive is assembled, rather than laying all those pieces out flat! :slightly_smiling:


Adrian. The bees like to line their box with wax and propolis which is antiseptic and makes it smell of home. Don’t paint it is my advice

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I have read some beekeepers use 1/4 beeswax to 3/4 oil, olive oil or coconut oil, does anyone have experience with this and how would it compare to tung oil? I’m not sure I can buy the pure tung oil in New Zealand, thanks

I don’t have any experience of using beeswax with food oils, but I can tell you that Tung Oil works in a different way. Although it is the edible oil of a nut, rather than leaving a wet layer, it actually “cures” or sets hard by oxidizing, when it comes into contact with air. Olive oil would go rancid rather than setting. Not sure about coconut oil.

Michael Bush, among others, dips his hives in molten beeswax/rosin (3:1 ratio respectively, if I recall correctly), but that requires special equipment and great care. If you know somebody locally who can do it, it is a fabulous method.

However, I think you can buy pure Tung Oil in NZ. Here is one source:
250ml should be enough for one hive and two coats.

Hope that helps :wink:

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Coconut oil may attract rodents and they will eat the wood I fear