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Aussie Pine Hive Well Made - Paint or Stain?


I received my second flow hive this week, on time and the box of hive parts arrived a day after the box of flow frames, can’t complain about any of that…well done to Flow Team.

My first hive was WRC and I decided to get an Aussie Pine Hive for second one, simply because its locally made and was a bit cheaper.

I’ve only dry assembled it so far, but I was keen to compare with the WRC and I’m pleased to say that it fits together perfectly, no chisels or sandpaper required on any part, great workmanship to whoever made them.

I had a bit of a doh! moment when I noticed the edges all had what I thought to be dark stain on them, which was a bit odd, particularly if I wanted a lightly stained hive, but on closer inspection discovered that the stain was in fact the burnt timber from being laser cut. Even the Flow trademark was laser cut right through the timber which fascinates me how fine and accurate the laser cutting must be. I wonder if the bees will try and seal it up and stop light getting in…although its above the top lid.

Now my dilemma is whether to paint or stain the hive and with what? I’ve got a lot of tung oil left from the WRC hive, but will that be sufficient to protect the pine or should I use something like decking oil or will it have to be painted regardless?

If I’m staining or painting it, will there be any issues using the same stuff on the landing board?


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Hi Redneck,

I’ve Tung Oiled my cedar ones n painted my pine. But I am guessing a clear oil on pine would look nice but the pine woods would be more subject to discolor n rot in most wet climates. Good luck n post pix’s when your finished. Love to see them ! Gerald near Seattle.


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I would also paint the pine. I would use an oil base paint for the end grains so that it can soak in nicely. Then I would use a water base outdoor paint like Wattyl SolarGuard etc for the complete exterior paint job including the landing board. The reason for the water base exterior paint over an oil base paint is that the water base paint is flexible and will move with the flexing timber and not crack like an oil base. You’ll see that all the major paint brands are water base and this is why - told to me by an expert.


I was planning on getting the pine version but hesitated and the price went up so missed out.
The problem I see with painting is that you need a few coats and this will add thickness to the wood which is fine for a standard box however with the windows, especially the finger jointed one on the Flowhive I’m guessing they would get tight and possibly stuck which was the reason I hesitated. Perhaps the tolerances are greater to solve the problem.
Hopefully someone has painted theirs and proves me wrong.
I have a pine hive that has been heat treated and is a chocolate colour which, the supplier stated, does not need painting as it will not rot. I painted it anyway, it’s now my pot brood box but I digress…


TELL ME MORE ABOUT THE POT COLONY!!! Sorry to shout/yell, but I am incredibly curious about what is going on there. You did so well with moving them, I NEED to know what happened next! It is like Harry Potter and the Incredible Pot Spell! :smile:


As the song goes " You took the words right out of my mouth"! Thank you…


Hi Rod, if I was you, I’d be seriously thinking about treating the pine with copper naphthenate & then let it dry thoroughly before painting. I have hoop pine boxes I didn’t treat. I thought I was ok painting the end grains with pink primer before assembling & then paint the whole box with pink primer, they still got dry rot in them. I’m constantly repairing & treating boxes. I just wish I treated them all at the start.


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Hi @skeggley the access window for the flow frames did concern me with painting, so when I put the metal strap on I allowed a bit more than usual tolerance for paint thickness.


Thanks for the feedback and ideas guys, I’m in North Queensland, a tropical climate, so either warm and sunny in winter or stinking hot and humid in summer, so condensation and wood rot would prob be the issues to contend with.

Looks like I’ll be exploring treating it with copper napthenate and then painting…probably with Solarguard because local Bunnings sell the range.

BTW I’ve no idea how to attach pics to forum posts and can’t seem to find any guidance on it…any clues?

I hope its a complicated process so I’m not so embarrassed by the solution! :flushed:



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I would just be painting them with a UV resistant paint. Put a couple of good layers on the maintain as necessary. Forget the copper preservatives, they muck around with your bees. You will get years out of your boxes.



Deck Stain. This was what we call “oops” stain in that a customer was not pleased with the color so they returned it to the store. I buy these any chance I get for $7 per gallon.
I just picked up 30 more boxes and will assemble and stain those this week :slight_smile:


Wait what??? Here I was think my astounding, amazingly ill prepared incompetent, clumsy and amateur colony capture had faded into the solar melting pot…
I am actually surprised I haven’t updated that thread. Still a fire ban here so during inspections I’m in and out quickly without smoke.
It’s raining now so hopefully this weekend I can slyly smoke and share some photos of how they are progressing providing it fines up.
Back to topic…
Has anyone used the heat treated pine hives?


g’day mate
what did you mean "muck around with the bees’


Hi wayno It wasnt me who suggested the copper would muck around with the bees, but for your interest, I didn’t treat my boxes with copper anyway, I simply put a couple of coats of an exterior house paint (solarguard) on them and it is holding up OK… Although the tolerances with the pine flow boxes is so small that before painting I had to sand and chisel the gaps wider where window and other moveable pieces are because they are too tight in raw form let alone with a coat of paint on the edges.


The copper preservatives are not good for your bee’s health, after all its a type of poison which is why it preserves things. I would rather just paint the outside of the boxes and replace them when needed than use toxic chemicals on them.



cheers Rob, thanks for that