Linseed vs Tung on a Flow Hive 2 Araucaria?


Let me start by saying total noob here …so apologies if this is a pedantic question! We’re the proud new owners of a Flow Hive 2 in Araucaria and live in Phoenix Arizona. We love the natural wood grain and don’t want to cover our hive in primer / paint. We’re considering either boiled linseed oil or tung oil. We realize neither is as durable as a primer / paint combination …but we’d like to retain the visibility of the hive’s wood …and cover it in something less toxic than primer / paint. Given that, would you recommend boiled linseed or tung oil? We’re leaning towards boiled linseed oil (cures faster than tung and requires less coats), but I can’t find much about it’s use when I search this forum. Any advise would be appreciated!

BTW …I do see the following article:

that includes “We recommend painting Araucaria hives and all roofs with at least two coats of good quality exterior paint for the longest and most effective protection.”

I appreciate the best practice recommendation from the Flow Team, but practically speaking …for those that want to use natural finishes with pine …what’s your recommendation?

Thank you,

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Hello there,


personally I 100% recommend that at the least you paint the roof and base. they cop the weather and won’t hold up well with oil only. I also recommend you paint the hive body- but you seem keen not too. It may be impossible but your best option for a natural finish is to have the hive hot wax dipped. I have two araucaria hives wax dipped and they are standing up well. It is nothing liek treating with oil as the hot wax 100% penetrates the wood- and also drives out water replacing it with wax. the dipping is done over 100 C temps- meaning the water inside the wood boils - turns to steam and is driven from the wood.

If you only treat with oil the life of your hive will be reduced significantly.

This place in the Pennsylvania offers wax dipping as a service- at frankly amazing prices. Unfortunately that’s almost as far from you as you can get in the USA :wink:


As @Semaphore said, the best choice would be a wax dip. Somebody in your local bee club would probably know how to get that done in your area. I would suggest building the boxes before dipping, as the process can affect the size of the wood sufficiently to make the hive difficult to construct from dipped parts.

Another possibility is to paint with a high quality marine varnish. Marine varnish is a lot more resilient and UV resistant than standard exterior varnish. You don’t need to paint the inside of the hive, so the contact that bees will have with the varnish is minimal. If you do it now, you will have around 2 months for it to finish off-gassing before the bees go in. Some people in your bee club won’t like the idea, but honestly, it is safe enough as long as it has fully cured before the bees start using the boxes.

Please let us know what you choose to do, and post photos of your pride and joy! :blush:


I’ll preface this with the fact that I’m an absolute newbee.

@Semaphore When I first looked at getting my flow hive 2 cedar, I wanted to keep wood grain and saw this post from you talking about Sikkens Stain.

So, I have Sikkens Cetol HLSe as a base of 3 coats using the colour code 77 for pine which brought out the cedar. And topped that off with the Sikkens Filter 7 top coat in the same colour (77 - Pine) for the roof and base which adds more protection.

Looks great, bit too early to tell the weathering of it. Any reason you’ve changed your recommendation?

@ClimberClint pending Semaphore’s answer, I see similar products available in the US.

The hive after 2 months in Sydney’s summer sun and a fair amount of rain.


I’m confused- i didn’t recommend that did I? I am unfamiliar with it. I think some kinds of varnish may work- but I don’t think they will ever last as long as painted- or wax dipped. But I don’t know for sure.

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Hi Clint,

Flow doesn’t really recommend tung or linseed oil on Araucaria because it isn’t suitable for this type of wood, unfortunately (in our experience).

You will find a lot of discussions and other peoples discoveries here:

I used a waterproof sealer with a tint to protect my hive. It kept the hive looking natural and also protected it from the rain and sun.

If you decide to try tung or linseed please post your story and photos here so we can compare them over time (it will help others).

You may be able to contact a local supplier of non-toxic wood paint/sealers and tell them what you want and see if they have any recommendations for protecting your hive as well as keeping the natural look of your hive.
Any information you find will be welcome here :slight_smile: :paintbrush: :paintbrush:

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As per the link… I think you did!? Well… It’s working well so far

hmm, that was Rodderick- i suggested wax dipping.

Doh. Sorry @Semaphore mixed up the author. Thanks @Rodderick

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Hi ClimberClint !
im in the same sit as you right now ! I’m waiting for my Araucaria hive but would really like to keep the wooden surface !
How did you end up treating your hive ?
all the best from Denmark

Hi @Faroe -

I was wondering how the tinted-sealer has been working on your araucaria hive so far?

I just assembled my flow hive 2 and I’m planning to use this tinted-sealer to treat the wood: Tinted Waterproofers In 4 Colors - Rainguard Water Sealers

Thanks for the info!