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Tung oil treatment for Flow Hives


Hi Dawn_SD

Thanks for expressing your appreciation etc. My pleasure. :slightly_smiling:

ok, I intend to upload a photo of the finished hive soon. I have made modifications (etc) to the bottom board as discussed in the following post: Hive Base & Screened Bottom Board Modification Idea

So you might see the back door with the non standard (non Flow) handle in the pic. Fortunately the scorching is on the side which does not have the viewing window. :slight_smile:

I have learnt in life that simpler and more natural ways, often require more effort. Convenience (short term pleasure) often has some very serious (long-term) down sides…

best wishes


I am the lucky owner of a new Western Red Cedar flow hive. Just finished assembling it today! I plan to leave mine completely untreated with no tung oil, no stain, no nothing. It should age to a beautiful gray color and blend in with the environment. Homes on the west coast of the USA use cedar for house siding and roof shingles, so cedar is fine with the elements on its own. And whatever is applied to the cedar beehive now, will have to be re-applied every couple years, a chore I would like to avoid. :slightly_smiling:


Here’s what I was able to get done a few weeks ago, just now posting the video on YouTube. Hot dipping the flow hive boxes.


Pure Tung Oil in the USA http://www.realmilkpaint.com/products/oils/tung-oil-wood-finishes/
Also Dark Raw Tung Oil as well if you want a darker stained finish


Marty, I’d certainly like to get this contact info. I just signed up on this site and haven’t quite figured out how to message you directly (or maybe I don’t have that privilege yet) but if you can get back in touch with me here, maybe we can work something out. Thanks for the video… I was just researching Tung oil applications and stumbled upon your post so I’d like to see if the dip is an option before I do any treatment of my own. Thanks again!



Hi @Dawn_SD. Just a question about the inner cover. Does that get a coating of Tung oil also? First coat is done! Oh by the way just got a note saying the flows frames are on the way.


@Fireran I just did the outside of the inner cover, but as its mostly protected by the roof cover, it probably isn’t required.


Hi Randy,

You don’t really need to do anything to the inner cover, as the telescoping roof covers it. However, mine were sitting in a stack as I put the Tung Oil on, so they did get a coating on the outside edges. I didn’t put any on the large flat surface. Would I do it again, when my complete Flow hive arrives? Probably yes, because I like to be consistent! :blush:

Love your photo - hive in the Fire Station! :smile: Nice looking job on the hive.

It was fun meeting you at the Beekeeping Society, David enjoyed it too.



So I put my hive together this week. My bees are expected in the next two weeks. I have not put anything on the wood at all. I was going to do the tung oil but after reading posts I’m concerned. Most say you should wait a few weeks before putting the bees in. I don’t have that!

I think I’m reading you correctly, that many of your hives don’t have anything on them?

Please advice! Thanks


You need a couple of weeks for pure Tung Oil to dry fully. However, it is not toxic, so you could put bees in it straight away. It is just that the wood will not be fully sealed.


As long as you do as you should by not sealing the interior portions I would personally have no problem putting them in pretty quickly. I think most of the citrus terpene smell faded after a day or two. If you can give them that your golden.


Hi, I just received a flow hive super. I went to get tung oil for it, but the guy who worked in the store told me that tung oil was just for interiors and wouldn’t weather very well. He suggested using a clear oil based exterior timber finish. Would this be harmful to the bees?Cheers :slight_smile:


The guy in the store is wrong. The folks at Bee Thinking (who make the wood parts of the hive) have been using Tung Oil on their cedar hives for years. They do need resealing every year or so, but otherwise it works well. I would not buy Tung Oil from a local store, unless you are sure it is pure. Minwax and some others are blended with toxic chemicals. Do not use an oil based exterior timber finish, for the same reason - toxic chemicals. You only need to seal the outside of the hive - the bees will do the inside the way they like it.

I bought this Pure Tung Oil:

You can also get it from the hive manufacturer, but it is a bit more expensive:



Thank you so much, Dawn.


Yeah I got 2 coats on (just 2nd one today) and my bees come in on the 21st, so if next weekend is good I’ll toss on a 3rd coat, but otherwise 2 is all I will get.

Also I think there is a 32oz version of Hope from Amazon for around $19.


I just want to respond to this thread as this is where I found the link for Tung Oil in Australia and decided to buy from the wood works. To be completely honest, the process was extremely slow from end to end, with the item taking days to even be shipped from their side even though express postage was utilised (at a $20 expense). Even then, the courier/postage used was slow.

My recommendation would be not to bother with the additional postage expense for express if ordering from here.


I talked with the technical line @ Feast & Watson and they would not recommend their product called tung oil as it is cut with >70% VoCs



I know it’s a while ago you posted about a difficulty in getting tung oil but Carbatec carry pure tung oil. It is reasonably priced too



For anyone in Canada Lee Valley carries a nice selection of both pure and polymerized tung oils. They also have a nice polymerized linseed oil with beeswax in it that may work as well.

For my first hives I’m going to use Waterlox Marine finish; probably my favorite outdoor finish right now.



I’m selling it the cheapest tung oil in australia, 0490523255. After finding bunnings had none or crap mixed with tung, i found some 100% tung. i ship to anywhere in australia free