Cedar Flow Hive - exterior protection options

I just ordered my 1st hive (and 1st Flow Hive). Very excited. I’m in Texas, lots of heat, mild winter and mostly dry (2 hours west of Ft. Worth)

I’ve looked into how to protect the wood on my new Cedar Flow Hive until I’m fairly convinced I want to use Vermont Natural Coatings PolyWhey Exterior Penetrating Stain (in clear). I’ve seen a lot of people using this but haven’t discovered how often people are having to recoat it? Also, wondered if there is a sealer or any coating that has to go on top of this? I assume the hive has to be unoccupied to reseal it and so I wondered how people deal with that when the time comes?

If I decided I wanted to stencil or paint just an embellishment on it I wonder if I should do that under or over this product?

I also wondered about rub on transfers that you see on furniture these days. I know they are not for exterior use but wondered if I put them under this if they would last awhile. Something similar to these -

Thank you!

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Hi Linda, welcome! That’s so pretty :cherry_blossom:

If the product you’re going to use is suited for exterior use you’ll probably be okay to put those decals on under several coats. I bet you will have to recoat more often than it might say on the product info with the kind of dry heat you’ll have. What kind of winter do you have?

Here in the Philly, PA area it’s hot but more humid in summer, then cold & dry and cold & damp in winter, a little of everything! I used tung oil on my whole cedar Flow kit at first and saw that the Flow roof lids were getting more of a beating, plus the natural wood tone absorbed too much heat in the sun. I switched to an exterior poly coat for the super box and a light colored ext paint for the lid and brood box. I hated to paint the cedar but the brood box just gets more weathering…the paint on it is holding up better now. After three years the poly coat on the super is fine, since it gets stored over winter, but the paint on the lid is peeling just from the sun exposure all summer. I’ll be repainting it this winter once I swap a standard Lang lid for it.

I love your decal idea and I hope others who’ve used them can tell you more about how to make them last!

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I think @VinoFarm had a plug on his YouTube channel about this. Not sure how well his is holding up.

I am guessing that this is in the Abilene-area. Probably similar to what I experienced in Fort Worth when I lived there - quite dry and hot in the summer, pretty mild except for a week or two in January and February when there might be a couple of freezing nights and a little dusting of snow. Hail/thunderstorm/tornado season in the spring. But as we know from last winter, it does occasionally get into the single digits and teens - which we know the bees with their fancy HVAC can tolerate better than the average Texan, (especially for short spells), without any additional preparation. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

The advantage of paint that I can see in that sort of climate is to keep things cooler. But I think the polywhey could work just fine. You can probably also sand and reapply while the bees are inside. More than likely this will be needed on the roof, which you could just take off and bring inside if you don’t give the bees access to the space.

Your bees may benefit from some midday to afternoon shade in your climate, which will also slow the deterioration of the finish.


Yes the weather is similar to Ft. Worth. Slightly less rain. Mild winters (usually only a few days scattered throughout the winter that are below freezing, 20 is usually the lowest (can be lower though). Lots of mild days 50s and 60s even up to 90 on a rare ocassion.

I am planning on painting the roof and also my hive will be in shade as the local beekeepers tell me that is a requirement here.

What exterior poly coat products do you guys recommend (and how long do they last before needing recoating?)

Does anyone here have experience with shou shugi ban? I wonder how that would do on the cedar, how it would look and how long it would last? I watched a few videos but didn’t find those answers.

Thank you again!

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I don’t know if this is any different than charring the surface - should last a long time, as long as there’s no abrasion on the surface, which there wouldn’t be… it would be very heat absorbing though.

I hot wax dipped/fried my cedar FH, holding up well so far including the color, even in the roof. But might need higher proportion of microcrystalline wax to paraffin because of the sun/heat.

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