Honeyflow.com | FAQ's | Community |

Do I paint the top/bottom edges of the box?


I’m just about to paint my boxes and I’m not sure if I should paint the top and bottom edges to help them last or leave them raw wood.

Also, my top cover is very snug in the roof and comes off all in one - I presume this is not a good idea.



Don’t think it matters ! I painted mine but guessing it’s optional. Maybe I just like painting MORE ! Gerald ! :+1:


Cedar has its own preservatives so doesn’t need painting but if you are going to, the mating surfaces will stick to each other if you paint them…in my experience …how about yours Gerald?

Not good


I’ve got the hoop pine version so it needs painting.

Thanks for confirming the top cover will need sanding so it doesn’t stay attached to the roof.


Thanks for that, I’ve ended up painting the edges, myself, my clothes… :grinning:


Morning Mint,

You sound like me … Paint everywhere except where it needs to be… My wife’s sways saying, did you get snything on the boxes ! At least you got that done n can mark done on your list. I’ve got 5 or 6 five frame Nuc boxes to build this winter so going to have to use the old paint bush more too.

Have a great weekend … Cheers ! :tada:



yes- I sanded down the edges of the inner cover and roof as the fit is very tight on the hoop pine flow hive. Because the fit is so tight it is important to clamp the hoop pine roof parts when you screw them up so they are completely square. Otherwise it is even tighter…


I painted the bottom and top edges of all pieces, as moisture can still get through (and yes I forgot to sand back the inner cover :blush:)

If the paint is good quality and is dried fully before stacking, then the paint should not stick pieces together anymore than wax or propolis do.

I am a distributor of water based timber coatings so when I get a moment soon I will make a more comprehensive post on this topic from a paint/timber industry perspective.

But in short, unless you want to be constantly maintaining your hives:

Use only high quality water based exterior paint (why anyone would paint their hives in harsh solvent/oil based paint is beyond me). If you choose transparent paint (varnish), then a little bit of colour tint will provide additional UV protection from the sun - so go for a “honey” or “walnut” etc… shade if the option is available to you, but “clear” will do the job too.

High quality water based paint should last between 7 to 10 years or more before any maintenance is due (depending on the severity of the climate) If you “go cheap” then expect the above time frame to become much shorter

Even if you have cedar hives I would still use water based paint instead of tung oil. Simply because you will need to be frequently reapplying the tung oil, when there are other pleasurable things to do in life…

There may be experienced beekeepers who disagree with this, yet the advice I get from the laboratories of paint companies is that it is best to create an impenetrable/hard film on the timber in order to protect it fully.

Remember you have just paid around $600 US Dollars for a full Flow Hive, so this asset is about 3 or 4 times more valuable than common hives which are what previous painting/oiling advice has been based on. Therefore, I would not go cheap on whatever timber protection you choose (this is not a $100 dog kennel either)

So avoid that dented tin of latex paint that has been rotting away in your garage. If you decide to go down the quality pathway, then seek out what professionals use- these products tend to be superior to those which are found in retail hardware stores at a similar price.

Also, most hardware store exterior paints may contain toxic anti-fungal additives - if you wish to avoid these, then it pays to do a bit of research to find a product that has not been designed to kill or repel organisms

Lastly, if you are going for the “natural vibe” then regardless of your choice for timber protection, I would avoid anything which involves thinners, turpentine, solvents, etc…

Happy Beekeeping


Don’t use Cabotts exterior clear. I had an old tin laying around and started to apply it to the outside of the box before reading the instructions and now have to wait 3 weeks before i can start using it as it is 24 hours between coats at temperatures above 25 degrees c and then 14 days full cure time. I also went looking for a water based clear that i could put on over the top but everything i encountered said the oil base had to be striped off, so now its just a waiting game till i can put my bee’s in it.
@Tom_Timber could you recommend a good quality clear as i like natural timber color that is available in Australia for pine boxes


I used Solarguard which is about the best I could acquire from the limited suppliers in my area.

Although I think it dried enough (approx 4 days), I rubbed the edges with cornflour to try to ensure they don’t stick.

So excited, my bees arrived this morning and they already look like they’re making themselves at home.