I’ll be applying Tung oil this week to the outside of my hive, how long do you need to leave it for till you put the bees in?
Best to apply two coats 24 hours apart and then leave it to dry for a week then check the job with a Kleenex tissue held onto the timber to see if leaves a wet mark, if you see anything at all then leave it another week. Don’t use the hive if it isn’t dry, but actual drying time varies a lot but a week is about the right time to begin to check.
Out of interest, what timber is your hive? If it isn’t WRC than Tung oil might not be the best surface treatment.
As @Peter48 says, you should apply at least 2 coats. I use 3 coats and sometimes a 4th if it doesn’t look even. In my climate, it takes 2 to 4 weeks to “cure” and ideally I would wait that long before putting bees in the hive. However, the beauty of Pure Tung Oil is that is not toxic or repellant to bees. So theoretically, you could put them in the next day. I wouldn’t advise it, but it won’t hurt them.
I have recoated hives with bees inside the hive, and the bees don’t care at all. Not the easiest thing to do in a bee suit, but easier than taking the hive apart. However, you must be sure that you have Pure Tung Oil, not something with any chemicals or solvents in it. Bees certainly do not like the smell of many solvents, and they can be toxic too.
The hive is made from cedar
Thanks Dawn that’s exactly what I wanted to know