Swapping hives for painting

When I bought the Flow Hive as soon as they came out, I foolishly painted it with marine varnish. Looked great for a few months, but now it is all flaking and peeling compromising the wood.

I need to re paint it.

I now bought another Flow hive form someone that bought one too but never used it and I painted externally with several coats of paint, aired for a few weeks for all VOCs to dissipate.

I’m thinking that I will just swap the hives, then repaint the old one and set that up with a new nuc next spring.

Is there something I should be aware of before I swap the hives? They won’t mind a new hive do they? I guess it will have a different smell, will they be bothered?

I would doubt that the girls would be overly concerned. within minutes the queens pheromones will be whizzing around inside the new home.


That’s what I suspect too, but I thought I’ll ask just in case I’m missing something as I have zero experience with swapping hives like that.

Thank you.

1 Like

I painted a pine hive once with the wrong stuff and moisture started to get into the finger joins.
I transferred the brood frames into a new brood box first and a few months later did the same with the flow super.
The bees are just fine. It’s a good chance to give them a very thorough inspection. In fact, I did a split at the same time.


I filled the finger joins with filler to minimise moisture creep. The lid is really bad though. It was warped out of the box and leaks water badly through the shingles. I had to use No More Gaps caulk to seal the gaps.

1 Like

All my lids are under coated and house painted. The undercoat seals the gaps real well, so I didn’t have a problem with that.
Totally love the cedar hives. Apart from the top of the roof, I just tung oil them. They all look good still. If they start looking a bit dry or dirty, I just wipe a cloth with tung oil over them.
I don’t like the pine much. Too heavy too. Sort of inelegant.

1 Like

After a while I stopped worrying about what a hive looks like on the outside. It’s what they look like on the inside that matters the most.


The pine is heavy- but I like it- I like how thick it is (21mm as opposed to 19mm), and it’s very robust and dense. Also it wax dips very well- it really absorbs the wax right to the core but stays dry feeling on the surface. But I like the cedar too- Mum’s hive is weathering nicely after 4 years - we reapply some tung oil once a year.

@jeffH yep- its the brood frames that make a hive- not the shell. However if you only have a few backyard hives it’s nice when they look swell.

1 Like

Maybe it depends on where are you located. Here in Perth the sun just destroys everything. I just want it to last, and I like caring for things, it’s good for the environment.

The roof is warping and leaking already. And although it looks cute, I have to say it is a bad design.

I agree, I’m not a fan of the flow roof design either. I like a flat roof. It can act like a mini work table while working on other hives. Also I like to piggyback nuc hives on top of hives, something you can’t do with a gable roof.

The best thing to do in sun that destroys everything is paint the final coats on the hives with ‘weather shield’ semi gloss white. That will keep the hives cooler (better for the bees), also easy to clean.

A nicely painted white beehive with a flat lid in a backyard still has a lot of ‘wow factor’, in my opinion.

1 Like

When putting a fresh paint of tung oil on hive how do you do it?

On an unpainted hive, or on one that needs refreshing?

If the latter- I have just re-applied the tung oil to a hive full of bees. Only takes ten minutes- very easy. I like to recoat them once a year ideally.

I love the cedar- but I also love the hoop pine. The three hoop pine hives I had were perfectly made- perfect tight joints- and the wood is very solid. Hot wax dipped they look great and are holding up perfectly after 3 seasons! But they are a bit heavy.

I have other standard hives made of pine that has been wax dipped and painted and they are also super hives- very solid.

as for the flow roofs- I like them- for the looks. I dipped mine- and insulated them- and they are standing up well. There are a few issues with them- at times I have foud the inner cover gets stuck in the roof and lifts off when you remove the roof- this has only happend on the hoop pine hives where the fit is very tight. I also like my migratory lids.

Basically I like everything :wink:


On one that needs refreshing. I have cedar on it’s first season outside and it looks fine now but was just curious about re-coating. Are the bees not bothered by the smell If I re-coat with them in the hive?

I have some jarrah hardwood outdoor furniture exposed to full weather and I have to oil them several times a year.

That’s why I stayed away from oiling the hive, as it wood need constant oiling, at least at my location.

Mind you, I marine varnished the hive which was an even bigger mistake. Now I am giving them three coats of exterior grade paint which should last a very long time.


Not at all if you use neat Tung Oil. I still suit up to do it, but they really don’t care. The only place you can’t really do is the landing board. I like to rub the surface off with some wire wool first, and they are not even bothered by that if you are gentle. :blush:

Thank you @Dawn_SD. I had to put my second brood box on sooner than I thought ( to put the sugar water) and then it become my second brood box and that box is raw. My landing board is painted (I thought it would clean better -not sure if that matters) as is the roof.

1 Like

One thing to keep in mind is that as the Tung Oil cures, it will stick the boxes together if you have overspill (which I always do). Best way to handle that is to wipe off the excess after an hour or so. However, you will still need a hive tool to separate the boxes. Not a big deal, just don’t be surprised.

The other thing is, don’t seal outside if rain or dew is likely. It can make the finish develop some odd blemishes. :wink:

1 Like