Assembling my first hive

Hi all :). I’m finally putting my hive together. It has been fun but a Little’s daunting as I didn’t really know what I expected, but it was a little more involved than I thought. I haven’t started the roof yet, but that the plan for tonight when the kids are in bed.

Waiting on my tung oil to arrive. I finally called today after having bought it 10 days ago and the courier still hasn’t picked it up from Sydney which is annoying. Will probably still take a further week to get here since they only deliver on tuesdays and thursdays. Anyway, it’s all a bit exciting. Just hoping I can get it all sorted and still be able to get bees before winter, otherwise perhaps I have to wait till spring which would be annoying.


-nice grain on the front of the brood box. That will look really nice when oiled.

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Oh yeah, I hadn’t noticed that. Was all task focused so far. I know I don’t need to do the tung oil, but I do think it will bring out all of those colors when it is done and look pretty.

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Does anyone know if there is supposed to be a gap in the roof, where the front panel meets the side panels? I’ll put up a couple of pictures to try to illustrate.

…this looks odd…perhaps more photos from other angles needed. I can’t figure out what has happened from the photos posted…

  • Ok , sorry…I see what you are saying now. Here are a few photos of mine in case it helps.

to be honest, now that I have it all together, I don’t think it will be a problem. But yeah, it has left little gaps at each of the four joins. And it looks like they have changed the design of the roof as well. I watched a few to try to work out assembly, but I couldn’t find a roof the same as mine.

Also @Dan2 , I notice that you have sealant on the inside of the roof. Is that recommended? Hubby is concerned that where the screws go in on top could create a problem as well. I don’t know if the tung oil will help seal it, or if I really need to get some other form of sealant to help this withstand what can be really rainy times here in qld.

  • they leak if not “sealed” on the joints in some way. One cause is the lack of lapping overhang between the joints in the top. In the old days in Australia, the roofs were shingled generally, and each shingle over the other one really covered a good portion of the one under it- if you get what I am saying. Water will blow under a joint a certain distance. The overhang between joints on the Flow roof is minimal. I used an expensive silicon adhesive - after all the oil had cured and after it had leaked a few times. What many are now doing as I understand it, with good results (@JeffH) , is using multiple coats of exterior paint - basically using the paint as a gap filler between the joints. I assume there needs to be a small gap between the joints for this method to work.
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The tung oil won’t seal the gaps at all. I now paint the tops of even the cedar roofs with sealer/undercoat and then a couple of layers of water based house paint. The sealer/undercoat will seal the gaps well. I usually do the gaps twice with it.
Those little gaps you have inside your roof, I have them too. The bees will chase the SHB in there. You could fill the space with wood glue if you don’t like it.

The flow hive roofs get exposed to weather a lot obviously. At first I really wanted to maintain the wooden look, but now I quite like the look of my colored roofs in the apiary. I just paint the very tops and leave the rest tung oiled.

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I just got off the phone to @JeffH, and he told me that if I paint I should probably do white, but I’m thinking a light blue or turquoise to look pretty :joy:. Should be able to get my bees in a few weeks assuming my tung oil ever arrives and it has a chance to dry before then :roll_eyes:

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Yes lighter colour paint is best and will prevent leaks. We also attached stainless mesh to the top board hole, which the bees promptly propolised, but it means you can take the roof off without bees escaping, and you can place ant baits there also. I originally neglected to check the roof was square before screwing the roof shingles on and it wouldn’t fit on.Think I should’ve known better being a tradesman😀
Good luck.


Hi Belinda,

One thing to keep in mind with the Tung oil is that it is not so suitable for wet weather - it can develop black mold.
There is quite a long faq on what to paint your hive with here:

Many beekeepers use oils such as Tung oil or Linseed oil, however we have found when finishing with oils in wet climates, that mildew (black mould) can grow on the surface of your hive. While this will not affect the structural integrity of your hive and should not have any impact on your bees, this may not be the look you were anticipating.

It can be a challenge keeping wood outdoors looking like new, especially in wetter climates. If you wish for your hive to stay mould free and to maintain the natural timber look for as long as possible, we suggest you go to your local paint store and ask for a finish that will last outdoors.

When choosing a finish you will be faced with the choice of natural or non natural finishes. If you go with a less natural finish we recommend you leave the inside of the timber boxes unfinished to keep the internal wood natural for the bees. However, it is advisable to coat the inside of the window covers to stop these from expanding excessively in wet weather. If the finish has a strong smell it is recommended to leave it a few days before installing your bees.

Aside from mildew, wood outdoors will naturally turn to grey. If you want to prevent your hive from greying, paint stores will recommend a finish with a tint. The tint helps shield the wood from UV which is what turns the wood to grey.

If you want to paint your hive with an outdoor paint, this is a great option for protecting your hive from the weather. This will also give you the opportunity to get creative with your designs.

Some commercial beekeepers recommend dipping your hive boxes in copper Naphthalate, then painting inside and out with several coats. While this has proven to make bee boxes last a long time, we like to recommend you use a more natural finish.

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My roof had similar gaps in the side joints. It’s not a load joint so isn’t a structural issue. Just make sure everything is square when you tighten the screws. I also added a quality outdoor sealant to the joints and screw threads before assembly to ensure everything is weatherproof. I painted my first pine hive with four coats of white paint, it looked pretty ordinary after six months. To start this season, I sanded back the pine hive and hot wax dipped along with my new WRC hive. I’m very happy with the result. I made my own wax dipper, but you could get it done by a local commercial beekeeper. Most opinions seem to suggest up to 15years out of a waxed hive.

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Damn, have spend over $100 for tung oil that I am still waiting for. :roll_eyes:. The plan is to paint the roof with exterior paint, but I might risk it and pain the rest with tung oil.

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Thanks for that mike. I love the idea for the wax dip, that sounds quite cool. I have finished the roof, and placed it on top of the box and it sits on nicely so I’m assuming it is square. I’ll make sure I use sealant on it before I paint tho. Thanks for the advice.

Make sure to screen the flow logo on the inside with mesh to stop SHB getting in. I didnt seal it off as its good for ventilation. I have found you have to seal any small gaps with a sealant so the bees can chase the SHB out of the hive. They even hide in the inside corners of the brood frames.

My flow logo isn’t open? It’s carved in, but it doesn’t go from the outside to the inside. Is that what you mean?

-some go right through, and some don’t. I’m not sure on the percentages of each or why Flow does it like that.

Mine has been laser cut through the front roof panel only. I have none at the back. At first i thought it looked great and allowed airflow but then i noticed SHB were using it as an entrance… the roof section was always full of bees chasing SHB . A strong colony should keep them under control but if we design the hive with no place for them to hide it will make their job much easier. :grin:

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Ok…so there are three types of roof. 1. No hole through the logo 2. Holes through one logo only and 3. holes through both.