Painting/Protecting the bee hives

I’m not sure where to begin.

I’ve seen videos of painted hives, some coated in Wax and Paraffin, I want to protect the boxes but to be bee friendly.

Is there anything I should avoid?
Does the bee box from Flow come made of treated wood?
What is the wood - probably mentioned somewhere but I can’t remember
I saw one place treated the boxes with heated wax in a boiler?
Can you use creosote?
Do I paint it like a fence or whatever for out doors?
I was thinking to camouflage my hive in case it is placed in a field or orchard - concerned about the hive being nicked?
How do you protect your hives against marauders?

I want to protect my investment in all sense of the meaning

Any takers for ideas?

Just found this on the BBKA site.

would still be useful to know what the Flow boxes are made from?

This topic was discussed on this thread .

Do we know what wood the Flow boxes are made from?

It looks like pine in the pics, but I didn’t see it mentioned anywhere specifically on their website.

More than likely it be pine, as nearly all the wood for hives in Australia is plantation. Every beekeeper has a different method of painting and preserving. The traditional method is to paint or soak the timber in copper napthenate and then leave to cure for a month or two and then paint the outside only with water or oil based paint, its your choice. Don’t paint the edges top and bottom this will cause the hive boxes to stick together. The copper napthenate prevents wood rot which will eat away your boxes in only a few years. Otherwise you should get at least 20 years if you keep sealing the external parts and the bees will seal the internals. I was originally concerned about the napthenate, but after a couple of months the smell is gone and you could always paint with an undercoat on the inside if you want to seal it.


There is some info here about painting and maintenance and I wrote an article a few months back on how to treat, paint and assemble a basic langstroth hive, the file is available for download in the link below.

Yes pine for the timber, though we are looking at some nice Cedar’s too… the first early birds go out in a few weeks, very exciting!


Hi Valli,

I painted my hives with non-toxic paint and was careful to not paint anywhere inside or near the entrance. My bees are doing great. If you would like to see them, I have a picture on this link, scroll down to #12: Bee Photographs

I was hoping for cedar, here in Oregon it’s so damp I think the cedar would last a lot longer if there is a choice cedar is my prefrance

We are currently trialling an Eco-Safe Wood Treatment. Will keep you posted on what we think of the finished product. Stay tuned.


I can’t find that [quote=“Rodderick, post:7, topic:1400”]
copper napthenate
[/quote] in the UK I don’t think we have it??

[quote=“DextersShed, post:4, topic:1400”]
[/quote] The only problem with Cuprinol I wondered if it was toxic to Bees??

I was little unsure when I used it on my hives so I ended up painting them with a water based acrylic primer over the copper napthenate treatment inside and out. A number of beekeepers have since assured me it doesn’t affect the bees and my painting was overkill, you just need to leave it to cure for a month or two.


@andrea This is really interesting.

This is both interesting and good news.There are already several eco-safe products on the market. Are you able to say what you are testing, with the understanding that this is NOT a recommendation of any specific product? From my understanding most of these are punted as being safe for people, but have not heard of much that is safe for insects. Most of them are to deter insects. Use Borax - get rid of them there pesky insects!

Also, how long has this been on trial? I know the Flow took 10 years to become market-worthy - have you been testing several products for several years?

I suspect that there is another market out there to be tapped. :smiling_imp:

ECO Wood treatment is manufactured in Canada. It is used throughout State and National parks as it is safe for nature. It is a one time application! I have used it for a year now on my hives without a problem. I personally like the natural wood grain look. It would be a turn off for those who love to highly decorate their hives. Originally I was going to go crazy painting my hives (retired Art teacher :)) but wanted a long lasting option and something more natural. I don’t know why some of the boxes appear white in the photo as they are all shades of grey as I used a mixture of pine and cypress wood. The front stoops are painted and I had to add decorations. LOL Long story short: I love the ECO wood treatment because it is easy to apply (water base) and lasts forever.


So it is a particular brand, ECO SAFE wood guard. Thanks!

Why the black plastic around the hives? I see water pooled in the depressions, is this your way of collecting rain water for the bees? or is there another reason you do it?

My husband is nervous mowing near the hives. He is my “beekeeper from afar” :wink: So I decided to kill that part of the lawn and turn it into a wildflower meadow with his joyful blessing. Roundup would kill the bees so black plastic is the safest option to kill grass. I will leave the plastic down for a month to ensure a total kill. I have 5 pounds of nectar and pollen wildflower seeds that will be more than enough to get a good meadow growing.