Honeyflow.com | FAQ's |

Treatment options for Western Red Cedar

Just got my 1st Flow Hive this week. Yay!

I bought the WRC and am trying to decide whether to treat or not. I live in West of Ft. Worth, Texas. Hot and dry, mild winters with some cold. Putting in the hive in a semi-shady area.

I’m trying to decide whether to treat and with what. I would love to see pics of hives and what you have done. I haven’t found a pic anywhere of this hive after it weathers and would love to see that. Also, I would love any treatment ideas, products and pics. I do prefer to not paint the cedar and hope to see some of the beauty of the wood (transparent stain might be ok).

Thanks for ideas!

1 Like

This is my hive, boxes purchased in 2016-2018. I sealed them with about 3-5 coats of Tung Oil. The first 2 coats were diluted 1:1 with Citrus Solvent (D-Limonene, food grade), and the remaining coats were Pure Tung Oil. I occasionally sand and retreat, but the photo here is from 2021.


Love the way it looks. Is the Tung Oil sticky after it dries? I wonder how often it has to be retreated and what about the bees inside?

Also, I love your plastic tubing and lid idea. Did you alter the lid or are the available to purchase?

Slightly for a month or two, but not enough to be a problem for the bees. Once well-dried, it is like any other wood finish or varnish.

Retreating will depend on your climate and the location of the hive. I am in San Diego, coastal, but not too humid - 40-70% most of the year. I do the boxes once every 2 years or so. The roof doesn’t hold up well (it cracks and gets mildew), so I am using traditional Langstroth flat roofs, as you can see.

As far as “what about the bees inside”, wherever possible, I take the boxes off the hive. I have extras, so I just rotate them in and out during an inspection. If that is not possible then I suit up and do all of the sanding and pretreatment in a bee suit, with nitrile gloves over my bee gloves to protect them from the oil. I don’t do the landing board though - that would possibly trap bees in the oil, and it would certainly annoy the guards while I did it.


Hot wax dipped:
Before bees:

First season

Second season:

So the citrus solvent is safe to use on the hive?

Is dark tung oil safe or does it have to be the regular tung oil?

Looking at the MSDS sheet (secret sauce recipe), they have a proprietary ingredient in that formulation. Therefore, I can’t tell you. If a product is food-safe, it would be safe on the hive. In other words, if you could use it for a wooden chopping board (once cured), you can use it on a hive. I have never come across the “dark” variety, so I am afraid that I can’t advise you on this product.

I think that they have quite good customer service at the manufacturer, so you might be able to get hold of somebody who could tell you. Don’t mention bee hives though, they may be less cautious if you say that. Best to say that it is for use on wood that will be in contact with food for human consumption! That is true, but it also makes them think carefully. :blush:

I think it says somewhere I read that the “dark” is food safe. Certainly some of the Amazon reviews and customer service replies involves use on food surfaces…