Flow Hive and Tung Oil

Hi guys, have just received my Complete Flow Hive, have put it to together and now need to seal and protect the wood, The only tung oil I was able to get is Organoil Danish Oil. It’s 100% natural and is made up of tung nut, super refined linseed, pinewood and citrus oils as well as dipentine (pinewood oil) and gum turpentine oil. It does have quite a strong smell (and I haven’t even open the container yet). Is this safe to use on the Flow Hive?

Yep, A few thin coats are better than a thick one. ; -)

i have never had good experience with using just oils on wood that is outside exposed to the elements.

Great topic of discussion. As much as I wish to preserve the Flow Hive I’m to receive, I don’t want to ward off any potential honey bees with strong chemical odors. Thanks for sharing.

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It wouldn’t work on Pine, but the flow hives are cedar. Cedar withstands weather differently than pine and I think would be fine with just tung oil. Pine needs more protective coating to prevent deterioration from weather exposure. I wouldn’t do it myself, but have read of people leaving the cedar bare and letting it weather naturally.

I have just oiled my Flow hives with Tung oil - It is so much like honey in thickness - not difficult to put on either

Hey Valli, which tung oil did you use?


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Valli, if you are using 100% tung oil it will be thick like honey. The application notes Ive read recommend thinning. The Tung Oil product I used was already thinned and ready for application and more like olive oil than honey.

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I didn’t mind and the wood soaked it up so no problems, But I did go through it quickly - need to buy another tin


cedar that i have tried just using oil on got all moldy in the wet florida weather. personaly id rather leave cedar untreated vs just using oil.

@fivekai we are quite damp here in the UK - without treatment the wood will rot.

If your wood is going mouldy I would question the type of oil used and what additives it has. Tung oil will not go mouldy - did you let all the oil soak into the wood?

By oils very nature it doesn’t support mould, it can go rancid - smell off - but in itself will not go mouldy

Something mixed into the oil may have gone mouldy or there may have been mould spores in the wood before it was oiled. The Oil covering may not have been complete; something was on or in the oil or wood to cause this problem not the oil on its own

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Let’s perform a little experiment. I’ve done it before but not documented

I dipped my hive in microcrystalline wax. I’m going to build the hive stand for the flow out of Western Red Cedar also. But I will treat the stand with tung oil. I will dip the bottom 3 inches of the feet in the wax just to prevent rot at the ground level. In a couple of months we should start seeing the differences.

I wish I could dip the hive stand but my wax tank won’t hold pieces that large unfortunately.

Let’s see how tung oil holds up.

Like I said in my experience oils are food for molds especially black…

I have not used Tung oil in hive applications, but I have been messing aroung on boat my whole life.

Tung oil does not mold.

This article is pretty comprehensive; http://www.realmilkpaint.com/products/oils/tung-oil-wood-finishes/

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@Fivekai Looks like you may have mixed the tung with linseed which does mould

I was getting ready to buy tung oil and then read on the can itself that it was for interior use only. So I bought teak oil instead, which is meant for harder woods, but designed for exterior applications. I’m hoping to treat the wood, assemble it and let it air over the winter. Maybe by spring the smell will be gone and not affect the bees. Any thoughts on teak oil???

Possibly (probably) you were looking at a ‘Tung Oil Product’ that was formulated for indoor use and had numerous additional products in it…

Natural Tung Oil, thinned with Mineral Spirits is perfectly suited to outdoor applications.

teak oil is generally a formula of linseed oil, tung oil and resin and not particularly suited to the hive application.

I would go back to the drawing board and get Tung Oil, that is actually Tung Oil, not Tung Oil and other stuff. Apply that, thinned down with the spirits.

I believe this is the data sheet for the Tung Oil sold at Bunnings. As you will see, it has several additives.

@BeeHiveYourself Not sure you wan to use that - there is no tung oil in it!!!

My tung oil is 100% Tung

Limonine is as far as I know derivative of Citrus oils? Virgin Queens smell similar - Citrus-y - to us but probably completely different to bees

http://tungoil.co.uk/what-is-tungoil/ unless you see this - Tung Oil is a drying oil obtained by pressing the seed from the nut of the tung tree (Vernicia fordii) it is not tung oil but a “copy”

I thought cedar didn’t need protecting?
I have ten year old cedar boxes and they have weathered to a lovely silver with no sign of deterioration. I have one that was treated with walnut oil (like you use for stir fry) and it is admittedly a darker colour…but I prefer the natural silver.