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How to waterproof your Flow Hive roof


In preparation for the bees that will arrive in a couple of weeks, I put my completed hive outside this weekend to test it durig rain. Prior to this I applied tung oil and did my best to put the hive together with as much care as i could. I had issues from the start with the roof as some of the segments were warped and did not layer well. I had to drill new screw holes and patched what I could with wood filler. When I looked at the hive earlier today i notIced that there was some water on the top cover under a he roof, in a few spots. It looks like the bulk of it came from a few knots in the roof. I applied more wood filler here and there and tried to press it in the knots, but I am not certain that this will do it. How should I go about fixing these water leaks? Is there some other product i should use other than that his wood filler i have? I am not very confident in it. Is there some coating that i should apply over the tung oil to make the roof water proof? Something that wouldn’t be toxic to me or the bees…

On the same note, because it rains a fair amount here in Washington State, what about all these spaces I see on the corners of the boxes, where those wood fingers come together? Wouldn’t a side rain/wind get the rain water in? Someone said the bees will fix them from the inside… Is that so or should I find a way to fill them in somehow? They arent big gaps, but they are definitely there.

I should also state that it is disappointing that i have to spend time fixing roof holes on a kit like this that costed me quite a bit of money… I guess it is what it is… I was expecting better build quality.

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Hi Phlojo

It’s true ! We do get a lot of rain during our long fall/winter/spring. I’ve used C.A. Glue to the inside of all my knot holes to keep them secure. That also should stop rain from taking that path inside. My cedar fingers are pretty darn tight so with the bee propolis there isn’t going to be any water leaks on the corners. The bees usually seal hive together between boxes so corners are a piece of cake for them anytime. Hmm, on roofing I know we need a certain pitch. Could the wind or pitch allow the moisture to crawl up n in ? Just thinking here … I have flat melt roofs on all mine so have no experience with roof leaks but mine are built by Beethinking same maker as The Flow too.
Not sure I’m much help !



I vote for flat roof as well. The simpiler the better IMO. I don’t bother with any pitch, the water just runs off the metal sheeting.


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Thanks for the response. This C. A. Glue you apply from the inside or the outside, or both? Straight on top of the knot or do you drill the knots a bit?

Last bu not least, the flat roofs you mentioned, which I might have to order too, does it have a bit of a pitch or did you have to adjust it to be so?

I guess i shouldnt worry about the corners then… Sounds like the bees will fix those :).

I too had an issue with warped roof panels. I took a picture and sent it to faults@honeyflow.com. They have responded and have told me that they are sending replacements. May want to look into that…

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Propolis @phlojo The bees will seal the hive for you from any cracks.

Hi again,

I added several applications to the inside only on my hive bodies. When turning wood in my wood lathe I also apply this glue to hold attractive knotts n features solidly together so the wood doesn’t fly apart or explore as I turn it ! I apply to the inside only so the Tung Oil would look more even on the outer wood but the glue would hold the knotts securely in place as the wood expands n contracts in out damp to dry Seattle/Puget Sound weather.

. . Hope this explains what n how I did it. And maybe you could pursue a replacement top. I’d personally keep it if the roof looks great.

Good luck. Looking forward to seeing your results n Flow-hive too :+1:


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Oh … No drilling neccessary at all. I use the thin but quicker drying if you have a choice. The thinner glue easily penetrates down thru the cracks n seems to deeply hold the knotts in the wood. This is extremely important when spinning wood. Not fun if/when it flies apart. I learned my lesson on that ! :wink:. That’s why I wear visor, safety glasses n good thick wood turning vest turning woods. I’ve seen pieces fly out of the wood jaws a few times. Gets your adrenaline pumping ! :blush:. Never been hit yet but usually turn my woods standing a bit to one side or another n check the wood careful for problems n keep jaws tight. Gerald

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That looks pretty darn good seal. That was my thoughts that the overlap vs the pitch of the roof wouldn’t hold rain out in wet/chilly winter climates. Your sealing job looks awesome. That possible leaking has kept me from pitched roofs. I like the look but we deal with condensate n damp issues enough here in Western Washington without roof leaks. The clear stuff seems to be holding even with the Tung Oil !

Great job n thanks for sharing,

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thank you for those details Gerald! Much appreciated. What is the exact name of the product you use? I’ll try to order it on amazon. I ordered a similar one, but might as well get the ones that the pros (you) use. I ordered this one, what do you think?

Very helpful, thanks for sharing. What kind of silicone sealer did you use?

Hi Phlojo. Here is the C.A. GLUE I use for gluing n holding knotts in place. Mine is made for Rochler Woodworking.

That clear bathtub poly sealant should be available at most hardware stores n outlets. Cowgirl used the clear sealant. Maybe she’ll see this note n add the product type n brand name. Hope this helps. Gerald

Go to hardware store of sheet metal person for heating who bend sheet metal and have them make a galv. metal cover. Ever two years one has to make repairs paint and general do maintenance on hive. We don’t have much old lumber any more which was great wood to wook with, tree now are smaller and knots bigger and we must learn to live with it, repairs and patches just do as the bees do go with the flow.

I’m sorry to hear your hive has arrived in poor condition. Can you please email us some photos and we will get you the replacement parts asap - http://www.honeyflow.com/contact/p/3

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Got to agree with Jape on this one. That is why we use metal sheet. Not as asthetic but much simpiler and it just works.

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People use wooden shingles as a roof. Most of my early beehive roofs were made with marine ply & then painted. So were my bottom boards made with marine ply. Time has taken it’s toll on most of them.

A lot of my current lids are made from free wood out of skips. I treat the wood with copper naphthenate. Then all you need is a bit of tin nailed down to that. Old white goods work well, just cut the size of the lids, all you need then is a good bead of silicone & 4 gal flat head nails. Put a good bead of silicone around where you cut the tin & Bob’s your uncle.