☯ Beekeeping Tip #6

To Paint or not to paint, that is the question.
Hives do not have to bee painted white! Look around and you’ll see keepers using all colors of the rainbow. Beautiful as these hive are, is it necessary. Many will say yes, to preserve the wood and give longer life to the box. But what about the alternative…..
How about linseed oil?
Linseed is used in fine furniture finishing. It will protect your investment. It is cheap or comparative to paint in dollars. It contains NO petroleum distillates, NO volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and NO heavy metal driers. For us this is best. I do not want to leave the bees in an environment where VOCs are unavoidable.
Wait! The paint is on the outside you say.
Yes, however, bees smell at a rate of parts per trillion! If VOCs take 2-3 months to dissipate in your house, how long can these smellers smell it?
We also don’t like the idea of paint peeling into the environment nor when we might want to clean up the hive. You can also reapply linseed in the field.
Another thought on using linseed. It allows the hives to fade into the background of the environment. If you want to keep hives safe from prying eyes this is the way to go.


  1. Last year I made up a 1 part beeswax to 4 part boiled Linseed oil mixture. You do have to heat the Linseed oil to have the wax liquefy but then you can spread it with a cloth and rub it into the wood. I haven't used it yet but I'm going to use it on all surfaces, inside and out.


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