Honeyflow.com | FAQ's | Community |

Drying time for CN treated pine flow hives


I live in Queensland and the weather is always high 20’s. I was going to dry for two weeks, but I was curious to see what drying times other people use.


I have never used copper naphthenate myself, but my understanding is that the drying time depends on the weight of the solvent used. Several beekeepers that I have heard mention it recommend one to two months of drying time, even in warmer climates. The drying will obviously be somewhat affected by local humidity too.

I think @Rodderick may have used it. He is a bit cooler than you climatewise, but perhaps he can comment if I remembered correctly. :blush:


When its dry go for it. It took mine about a week for it to be noticeably dry on the surface. I would think another 2 weeks to dry thoroughly… but only a guess.
I do not treat the inside as there is no need to, however I see you have.


It’s hard not to treat the inside of the box when you have to soak it in the liquid for 8 hours. I grew up with bees 40 years ago and all we did was paint the outside of the box with silver frost paint! The CN treatment preserves the timber and I hope prolongs my investment with the Flow Hive. I must paint the whole box with a good quality oil based sealer/ primer to lock in the treatment and create a barrier from it and the bees. I will top coat the complete box with also a good quality exterior paint as well.


You do not have to do this if you don’t want to. It will not preserve the box any better or longer than if you leave it as it is, unless of course you don’t like green
I also did not soak it. I painted the CA on(quite lavishly) on the outside (there were of course runs on the inside surfaces in places) and did 3 coates. The first was thinned quite a bit with mineral turpentine to get best penetration. Two further coaters were applied at hour intervals.


I love the stain color! I was going to try the rit dye to get a cool color. What did you uses? It’s beautiful! I love the wood grains coming through it. :smiley:


It’s called Copper Naphthenate . Here, most bee supply shops either stock it or can get it for you. It is safe for bees. Not only is a great green colour it a great wood treatment and used by professionals. It is what a lot of farmers use now on posts in-ground instead of creosote to stop rotting. Creosote being deemed carcinogenic.
The only thing I don’t like about it is it is harmful to frogs if used in-ground where frogs live. Above ground like beehives no problem.
It is quite expensive.


I live around a lot of farmers and next to a stream. Thanks for the information as I’ll check with our local extension to see if it’s used in our area. Thank you! :grinning:


Thanks Busso, knowing that the CN treatment won’t harm the bees, as in your experience, is good to know. I was only going to paint the box after being told to do that from the bee supply shop! Same with soaking it for 8 hours! The CN treatment must be good stuff if painting is unnecessary! Especially using plain pine! One last question,
How long after you used the treatment, did you introduce the bees?


Yeah, I use when time permits. Napthenate really extends the life of your boxes if you live in a moist or humid climate. I only paint the edges and ends of the timber before assembling, leave to dry for 3-4 weeks then re-paint with undercoat and 2 coats of water based acrylic… The insides of my boxes are mostly not napthenated and to get rid of any residual odour I give it a rub down with methylated spirits. Its a good winter job.


From memory about one month but that was just when it happened, not any particular quarantine time.
I actually did paint mine, because (unlike @Martha) I don’t particularly like that green colour.


Did you sand it after it dried to show the wood grain? How does it look now? Is it as green or not?


Hi Martha,
No not green, I had some left over “Aqua” from the last computer I built and used that up.

Looks a lot bluer than aqua but my phone not real good as a camera.
You can see the green CN on the inside where I have been sloppy or it has leached through. I just thought the green was a bit sickly for the bees.
No need for anything inside as the bees will wax it

I am just making a few laying box’s for the chooks and painting them with CN.

You can see the colour not all that nice although thats the first coat heavily diluted with turps th get penetration. Next coat will be undiluted (although I think its diluted by the maker with turps a bit anyway) but only the bottom and a bit up the sides. Chooks will love that colour as they see differently than bees. :sunglasses:
And no comments on the build quality either please. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: Rush job from recycled plywood and bits from the Bunnings rubbish bin.


Nice job on the bee super, it will last a lifetime with the CN.
I won’t comment on the chook laying boxes build as you have asked us not to. BUT it wasn’t up to your usual high standard of being 3 times stronger than needed, and you didn’t use a tree pole or a 4by2 in the construction, but as you say it was a rushed job. I love the color, it makes me feel kinda green too. :thinking::face_with_hand_over_mouth::face_vomiting::sunglasses:

Cheers mate


Hah, funny you should say that. I built one as a model for 3 others and asked SWMBO what she thought. “beautiful job but I can’t lift them” :cry: So I changed the solid wood for ply and the 60mm X 45mm framing with 30 X 25 or 30 X 30 pine, what was on hand. Also reduced the frame members. So they became much smaller and lighter and Wife happy.:sunglasses:


Never used CN and our chicken boxes still look as new after 35 years, totally untreated and even unpainted. But then, they are nice and dry in the chookhouse.
Just wonder if CN could be overrated and isn’t really needed?
If good house paint protects our house for over 30 years, it would do the job on looked after bee boxes.
There is no evidence out there that it’s safe for bees and honey, at least I haven’t found it.
I remember, when we built our house and had a pile of green looking poles delivered. I made the builders exchange them for untreated timber, which caused quite an uproar. But our contract was to use untreated natural materials only, so they had to replace it. With hardwood.
I don’t mind the green, just the uncertainty of treatments that may be banned in a few years.


CN if applied to timber properly excels in two ways, it penetrates the cells of the wood and seals it against the timber soaking up water which will then swell the timber and begin the rotting process. The only timber that resists water in its natural state is the turpentine timber. Timber that is treated with CN is impervious to white ant attack, that is the reason that electricity power poles are treated with CN for 25cm above the ground level. Power companies wouldn’t go to that expense if there was a better option.

There is also no evidence out there that CN used properly isn’t safe to bees and as it is soaked into timber then dries there I can’t see how you could get it into honey.
CN is not new, it has been mandatory on the uprights of pole homes for many decades to protect against the wood rotting and white ant attack and hardwood is susceptible to both.
Decades earlier the accepted practice was to soak engine sump oil into the timbers that were to be fixed into the ground or even into concrete, it was cheap but obviously not as effective as CN.


Peter got in before me.

There is heaps out there to say CN is not detrimental to bees or honey. Just need to search.

This is one of many I found in this publication: https://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/pdf1984/kalni84a.pdf
This is quite a lengthy doc and I am always reticent to quote parts but in the conclusion is the following quote “Protection of wooden beehive parts without detrimental effects on bees, honey, and wax should result from treatment
with copper naphthenate, ACC, and copper 8-
Think it is quite pertinent also that the only source of CN I could find in WA was at bee keeping equipment suppliers.
There is also no need to paint the internal surfaces with CN as the bees will wax over it anyway.

It is a personal choice to treat pine bee boxs and if people choose not to treat then good on them. I have all sorts of boxs. Some of natural ceder that really don’t need treatment, some of Sheoak which will last 100 years untreated in the wet, some pine under coated and painted with 3 coats of paint and some with an under coat of CN and painted. And I have all the above in use.