I think I made a mistake with painting my hive - Ignorance strikes before I even put the hive together

Overly keen to get on with the job and do it thoroughly, I went ahead and starting treating the timber. Now I have a couple of regrets. I hope this information is helpful to others. Regrets already!

Your thoughts on these decisions would be very welcome.

Moderators, please delete if inappropriate and let me know so I don’t repeat it.

1 Like

Well I’m in the middle of painting my newest 8 frame Langstroth and its migratory top and individually designed base. A few weeks ago I painted it inside and out with copper naphthanate and now the various bits are getting primer and plastic paint inside and out. Disclaimer: I am an absolute novice. Virtually everything I am doing with my bees is done in ignorance. I’m very grateful for the help I get on this forum.

Hi, I’m grateful for your prior-experience - I’m new to this too.
My question is - where did you find out that the Tung oil isn’t just Tung Oil? It doesn’t say so anywhere on the bottle…

Hey pmawhinney,

Takes a brave constitution to admit regrets online - respect buddy. I salute you.

I don’t think this will be an unmitigated disaster long term, BUT the residual fume build up internally (especially on hot days) will certainly be an issue in the immediate future. I’d think that a concerted airing will be in order - with the possibility/probability of not using these boxes for quite a while (THAT part will suck)… Think many, many months.

I’d be interested to read other folks opinions…

I found a link to the MSDS (material safety and data sheet) on the Feast Watson web site. After I’d bought and used the product. :frowning:

1 Like

I think that’s good advice @Dragonfly Thanks. We put the boxes and roof together yesterday and they’re outside airing now. If a swarm turns up this season we may not wait to get them in but if not it’ll probably be next spring (September 2016 for us) before we get any in.

Thanks for your advice.

wow, yuck. 30-60% !!! Thanks for the link. :frowning:

Here is a study on the effects of various wood treatments on bees, wax etc.


Thanks @Michael_Bush that’s a great link. I’ve got assessment due this Friday so I wont be able to read it before then but there are some interesting results that I’ve skimmed off it already. It’s pretty clear that products used to treat the timber end up in the honey. This is outside my knowledge but I’m guessing that “Naptha (petroleum), hydrotreated heavy” is a fuel oil, in which case that study suggests it “will kill bees unless the treated hive parts are aired for 3-6 months […] Wood impregnated with fuel oil emits odor for a long time.” This is not good news for my hive boxes. I might have to wait until next spring before introducing any bees. :frowning:

Thanks again.

ADDENDUM: I think I should add that my comment is probably a bit alarmist. Many operations use these products to treat beehive timber and we don’t die as a result but it does add to the body burden of unwanted chemicals. Will the bees die if I put them in the boxes I have painted inside and out? I don’t know but possibly not. Certainly, the longer I leave the boxes to air the better. I’m hoping someone who has done the same in the past will be able to let us know the result. Did the bees die? Did the butler do it?


Can I just say that you painting the pieces and then assembling was right way to go in my opinion. You could have left the internal walls untreated but I think you’ll find it doesn’t matter. There are some fumes to begin however this fades over time just make sure you leave it a few weeks to cure and paint over with water based paint. The BIG advantage with getting the paint, The use of copper napthenate or oil treatment into the joints is to keep the moisture out. Once rot sets in to your beautiful timber boxes the damage will creep and this will quickly become unrepairable without you noticing until its too late. Untreated boxes will be lucky to last a year, maybe two years at the latest if you live in a region where there is regular rainfall. I have seen it happen.

Haha, thanks Roderick. We live wedged between the Southern Ocean and rain forest in the highest rainfall region of the state. So, yeah, a bit of rain. :smile:

1 Like

This has been excellent information…thank you pmawhinney for sharing that information/experience.

1 Like

full text of Bush Link


Uh huh. If I wouldn’t let it touch my skin I wouldn’t put it on my hive… Thanks for that link jengineer.

Thanks @sweetnature, I hope it helps.

Thanks for the link, @jengineer.

pmawhinney couldn’t thank you more for sharing your experiences I almost applied the same product to my up and coming flow hive. For anyone looking for PURE TUNG OIL google it and you should be able to order online easily (CHECK THE MSDS prior to order lots of phoney products out there). I imagine it would be against forum rules to plug any products but they are easy to find and I know of two trustworthy brands that I would go and use. Mine is on the way.

Excellent. So glad I was able to save someone from making the same mistake. All the best @farmerrhino.

Thanks from me too.
So many things to learn.
You saved me on that one.
I will have to share the mistakes I make just as freely.

Jaydub posted this and i had a look and it seems to be the pure oil

Here is a good information page about tung oil for anyone interested. http://www.tungoil.com.au/