Honeyflow.com | FAQ's |

Tung oil treatment for Flow Hives

Terms such as ’ contains tung oil’ and a classification as a schedule 3 flammable good on the MSDS suggest it is not suited to coating beehives. True Pure Tung oil is an organic,bio degradeable product (and yes I also have seen these descriptors a million times - but in this case true)

I’ve contacted Feast Watson to ask them what percentage of actual tung oil is in the one I bought.
It is listed as flammable, but the only other thing mentioned is that d-Limonene stuff - which is listed as less that 10%. But I’m guessing labelling laws don’t require that they say anything else.
So I’ve asked, and we’ll see. :slight_smile:
If it contains an unsuitable amount of the drying agents, I’ll reserve this one for my new outdoor setting, and buy some of the stuff from thewoodworks instead, but if I can get away with this, I’d rather not buy it twice :wink:

Hi @thewoodworks, I went to buy the Tung Oil (delivery Brisbane) and it only gave me a courier option, totalling $44.94. How do I access the flat rate for $35 you mentioned?

Hi all

Another safe, organic, possibly cheaper and possibly low carbon miles is using bees wax to treat your new hives. As you might know, bees wax was (and still is?) used to treat furniture and maybe wooden floors.

I’ve just finished melting down all the black wax I’ve been removing from the three run down hives I purchased in April from a retiring bee keeper. I have 10 kg and have the last six frames being cleaned of the remainders of honey by the bees as I write. This is in time for my Flow Hive arrival scheduled for mid December (Summer in Australia).

My local bee equipment supplier suggested I use an old electric frying pan to heat the wax and dip the wood into it. I thought it was a good idea and intend to do so.

Best wishes

1 Like

That will be a big frying pan Brother Joe

Hi Valli

It’s not clear to me from how he was talking, if he meant treating the parts disassembled or assembled. As I read in other posts, treating parts disassembled would mean the glue would not work.

He said to dip one half in, then turn it around and dip for the other half.

The electric fry pan my brother has is 33cm x 33cm x 6cm. There is also a solid stainless steal roasting tray 30 x 37 x 6. The dimensions for the Flow Hive Langstroth 8 Deep are: standard size box width – 35cm, box height – 24.5cm, box length – 50.5cm, base length – 57.5cm. So looks like I’ll try the roasting tray over a gas flame.

best wishes

1 Like

I have an “industrial” Sauce pan holds about 50 lt - that would work - You could always ask a local pub if you could borrow a large pan?

Hi B. Joe, I heard that a method of getting wax to soak further into wood is to mix it with turps, I don’t know what % turps to wax. A customer who bought wax from me to treat the ends of logs with wax told me this. He told me that turps draws the wax into the timber.

Jeff that is the basic mixture for furniture polish 50% each White spirit/Turpentine and bees wax melted

1 Like

I have had several conversations with hive owners about using tung oil with a solvent. The majority, if not all, solvents including citric terpene, which we sell for wood finishing, are schedule 3 flammables and I would think are not good to use around bees because of the off gassing. Citric Terpene off gases are the same as nature releases over orange orchards so are comparatively benign but, regardless of this, there is no need to use any thinners or oil concoctions based on a drying oil which contain volatile solvents.Pure tung oil reacts with oxygen to cure to a very tough maintainable seal and is quite usable neat and un-thinned.


Have to disagree here. Seen lots of tung oil performance in the marine environment. Thinner coats create a smoother more durable finish, with out any gumminess, which I have see occur when the oils was applied neat. The solvent aids the oil in soaking into the grain and establishing a deeper layer of protection.

You can of course do heavier coats but it won’t look as nice, or wear as well in my experience.

The citrus turpentine solvent does off-gas, but is relatively harmless. You could drink it if you really wanted to. You do drink it when you have a glass of orange juice. Go stand in an orange grove and take a deep breath, especially during harvest ; -)

1 Like

I did 3 thick coats of tun - My stuff looks brill and has been sitting in the rain pretty much since I did it - it looks fine

We recommend, when finishing general woodwork projects, exactly what sara suggests, cut the oil about 50:50 with an appropriate thinner and apply thin wiped off coats. By wiped off we mean a generous initial application and after 30 minutes or so wiping the excess off to leave a thin film of oil. This technique is counterintuitive, wasteful and expensive but essential technique for a natural oil with no added toxic chemical driers.
When it comes to hives though, I was leery about the use of any volatile solvent around bees (or horse stables for that matter - another use for tung oil). Tung oil can be used neat but particular care needs to be taken to cure only thin coats or a sticky mess can eventuate so a vigorous wipe ‘dry’ is essential .
A customer asks about applying Tung Oil to Western Red Cedar.
WRC is a notoriously thirsty and naturally highly durable wood species which is, I would think, perfect for hives. Be mindful that an initial oiling may require 3 or more coats and again I assume only treat the external wood?

A final note on Citric Terpene (D-limonene) - it is a food flavouring when more highly refined and a very powerful household cleaner.

1 Like

My hive will have aired for 3-4 months before the bees go in

Wow, after reading all the blogs on this topic (tung Oil) I think I have done alright as I purchased a 1 1/2 litre plastic container of pure tung oil for $30 from my local Mitre10 store in Emerald Ozland. Have oiled my FH with great results. :)kissing_heart:

1 Like

@Goatie7333 there are a couple of other beeks round here from the 'Nongs Monbulk, the 'Gully
see here Beekeepers in the Dandenongs

1 Like

Hi JeffH

Thanks. Yes, I heard about thinning the beeswax with turpentine and am considering it. I heard about 50:50.

Best wishes

1 Like

I have a couple of issues with this. First turpentine is toxic, and while a lot of it might evaporate, I would worry about it continuing to leach into the hive over time. I know you didn’t propose this, but secondly, if you are going to heat the wax/turps mixture, turpentine has a very low flash point, and an open flame sounds like a recipe for a potential conflagration! Do it outside, and have a fire extinguisher to hand.

I know that Michael Bush dips his hives in a molten beeswax/rosin mixture. You can read details on his web site:

Personally I used Tung Oil diluted 1:1 with citrus solvent (pure food grade D-limonene) for the first coat on my western red cedar boxes, then I put two more coats of neat Tung oil on top of that. Looks nice.

Here is the link for Michael’s method, including where he gets his rosin:


If you have trouble finding rosin, it is worth remembering that it is used by violinists, and for making cosmetics, soaps and paints, so it should be available in Australia. In the US, there are suppliers on Amazon and eBay too.

Rosin is pretty much what bees make propolis from. Resin from pine type trees