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Inner Cover - to paint or not paint/seal

I feel it would look a lot better painted. Does the Inner cover need to painted ?


Cindy you’ll get lots of conflicting advice on this. From my point of view for sure. It will assist it lasting longer and being easier to maintain. I also paint all corners and the frame rests. It is these spots that moisture will gather and sit and first cause rot in he wood. A couple of coats of paints will see it last longer and be easier to maintain.

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No. Please don’t paint the inner cover. The bees will just chew the paint off in any case


Hi Cindy,
I would just paint the outer edges and perhaps 20mm in around each side of the inner cover side. It gives a bit more protection.
The rest is either well protected under the roof or exposed to the bees.

Thanks so much for speedy replies… This has helped :slightly_smiling_face:

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It would depend on whether your hive is Araucaria or WRC. WRC wont need painting, Araucaria, on the other hand, based on personal observations, does need painting.

I inspected a clients Araucaria hive after only 12 months of use & the inner cover was starting to rot on account of moisture issues.

Maybe araucaria does, but in humid warm San Diego, US-sold pine inner covers definitely do not need painting. Mine are about 6+ years old, and absolutely fine. Most of them have been waxed by the bees on the inside surfaces now. :wink:

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What part of San Diego is humid and warm??

Cindy is in NSW, therefore if her hive is Araucaria, it would be the same pine as in the hive I was referring to. The front of another hive’s bottom board just rotted away after just 3 years, & the roof that had been painted was starting to rot in places. The bottom board had obviously been painted, however not well enough to prevent water from seeping in under the paint.

You can see on the photo that the bottom board had been painted.


PS, I overlooked that wire that is attached to the piece of coreflute. That piece of coreflute is a hive beetle trap. This hive came to me because it had been completely slimed out several months earlier. So much for the hive beetle trap.

Hi Jeff,

Yes the Hive is Australian Araucaria…

So it may rot or the bees eat it if I paint it. Tricky choice.

Thx, Cindy

Thx Jeff. That certainly isnt a good looking hive is it.

During summer and early fall, the coastal area frequently has temps in the mid 80s and humidity of 60%+. My hives constantly have humidity of 50–60% inside, sometime higher during a strong nectar flow. July to September is typically “muggy” weather:

Just to clarify for @BKQ, I think that @JeffH very rarely uses an inner cover. He prefers a hive mat and a non-telescoping flat roof on his traditional hives. I totally agree with him that you have to paint the roof of a Flow hive, but I have never painted the inner cover. Ever. :blush:

The bees moderate the moisture inside the hive, and largely control any mould. Yes, you can sometimes see some mildew, but it happens more often in weak colonies which have too much space. Generally it is minimal and doesn’t cause a problem.

I am yet to have an inner cover get distorted from moisture or fall apart from mould. I suppose it helps that the Flow hive roof is “telescoping” and slides down over the outside of the inner cover, protecting it from the worst of the elements.

Just my 2 cents’ worth, your mileage mary vary… :wink:

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I guess it is relative to what you’re accustomed to. When I think of wood-rotting warmth and humidity, in the US, the gulf coast, the general southeast and Florida come to mind…

San Diego is significantly more moderate in temperature and drier than most of the US in the summer.

And places like Singapore:

But to the point, I don’t think that inner cover rot is an issue even in significantly warmer and more humid climates, especially if the roof/outer cover sheds water appropriately.

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Hi Cindy,

The inner cover does not need to be painted (best not to paint the inner cover).

The inside of the hive, including the inner cover, is best left natural for the bees.

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Hi Cindy, no, it’s not a good looking hive. It’s much better now after a few hours work, along with a new bottom board & a fresh colony. Sadly the owner is likely to be heading down the same track, because all he wants to do is harvest honey, with no hive maintenance.

I see a recent post, co-incidentally where someone’s top cover rotted in one area.

I treat all of my pine boxes, bottom boards & lids with copper naphthenate before painting inside & out, after learning my lesson the hard way. Everything that I didn’t treat started to rot after about 5 or 6 years. Some boxes faster than others, that’s despite using pink primer inside & out, painting the joins before assembly, before painting inside & out with exterior house paint. Nothing that I have treated over the last 20+ years has rotted.

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