Should You Paint Or Stain Beehives?

When cared for correctly, a beehive can last for several years. One of the most important things when it comes to preserving a beehive is to protect it from harsh elements. This is done by either painting or staining your beehive. Should you stain or paint your beehive?

Using paint to coat beehives is the best way to protect the wooden surfaces from the elements. Paint will not only make your hives waterproof, but it has several other benefits as well. As long as you consider some crucial factors and dangers, your bees likely will not mind you painting their homes.

Are you thinking of giving your beehives a coat to protect them from the harsh sun or the heavy rain? Continue reading with me as I discuss how paint and staining beehives can impact your stinger friends’ homes and how to do it correctly!

Why Should You Coat Your Beehives?

One of the most important things you as a beekeeper can do to protect your hives from the elements is to coat them. This is can easily be done by adding a protective layer on the outside of your beehives.

Applying a coating to your beehives will give the wood extra protection from the elements. Because beehives are outdoors, they are continuously exposed to rain, wind, sun, and even snow all year round.

Without a proper protective layer, the wood can deteriorate much faster than a coated beehive would. If you want your beehives to last for many years, it would be best to apply a suitable coating to your hives.

Using Paint And Stain For Your Beehives

Although it is your best option to use paint to coat your beehives, let us take a look at each paint and staining so that you can have a better understanding of each of these materials and how they impact your beehives:

Painting Beehives

The most common coating for beehives is paint. However, when it comes to painting your beehives, you have to remember that not all paints are created equal. This is why it is crucial that you check the paint’s VOC levels before using them on your beehives. VOC stands for volatile organic compounds.

VOC levels refer to the amounts of chemicals that will evaporate from the type of paint as it dries. VOCs are known as that new paint smell that you may have smelled before. The process of this chemical evaporation process is called off-gassing.

When painting your beehives, you need to make 100% sure only to paint the outsides and give the paint at least one week to off-gas. If you can wait longer than a week, it would be even better!

This is because the chemicals from paint are not safe for your bees, and it could kill them. If you are thinking of painting your beehive, it would be best to choose paint with a VOC level of 50 or below.

The best kind of paint for beehives would be paint with a VOC level of 0. This is why natural types of paint, such as milk paint, are the ideal type of paint for beehives.

Staining Beehives

Applying stain to your beehives will give the wood a well-rounded finish and will also seal the wood. Stained wood is the best choice if you are looking to protect the wood, along with it looking beautiful.

Instead of covering your beehives with paint, you will be embracing the beautiful, simple look of natural wood. However, the stain will not last for quite as long as paint would, and it is not as durable as paint either.

You can still expect the stain to last for several years. Wood stain works by soaking the pigment directly into the wood, whereas paint works by completely covering the surface of the wood. Stain offers very good protection against the harsh sun, especially in the warmer months.

Stain reflects UV light exceptionally well. The stain will also leave the wood semi-water resistant because it has completely soaked and bonded with the wood. On top of staining the wood, some beekeepers also choose to apply a coat of sealant for extra protection.

What Is The Best Paint To Use For Beehives?

There may be what seems like endless opinions of what brands or types of paint will be best for painting your beehives.

Where some beekeepers will use whatever types of paint are on sale or in the discounted section in their local hardware shops, other beekeepers tend to take it a bit more seriously.

Other beekeepers prefer to pay premium prices for the best-rated bee-friendly brands in just the perfect shade to match their existing hives or homes.

What things do you need to look out for when choosing paint for your hives?

Choose A Paint With Low VOCs

to prevent these harmful chemicals from affecting your bees and their pheromones, it would be best to look for paints with VOCs under 100. Paints labeled as 50 or lower will probably be even safer.

Some beekeepers prefer to use clear coats of paint to protect their hives, but without hiding the natural beauty of the wood. The main rule is to purchase paint with as low VOCs as possible, as you only want the best for your stinger friends!

Give The Paint Enough Time To Off-Gas

Even if you used a low VOC paint, it would be best to leave enough time for the off-gassing process to take place and complete before you can introduce a new colony to your hive.

Ensure that you read the label thoroughly for the manufacturer’s estimated curing time. It would be best to add a few days or even weeks to the preferred curing time just for incase. The curing time depends on your area’s relative humidity and temperature.

Remember, this process can’t be rushed, and your stinger friends will definitely thank you if you planned ahead and let enough time to make their homes as comfortable and welcoming as possible!

Reasons Why You Should Paint Your Beehives

Many of the chores surrounding beekeeping are done to accommodate your bees and make them feel as comfortable as possible.

After all, it is a beekeeper’s primary task to make the best possible shelter for their bees so they can lead productive, healthy lives. However, when it comes to painting beehives, it’s more about making life easier for you as the beekeeper.

Below are some of the main reasons why you should paint your beehives:

Paint Beehives To Protect The Wood

The outer surfaces of your beehives are constantly exposed to the sun, rain, differences in temperatures, along with anything else the weather circumstances can possibly throw their way.

When beehives are left unprotected, the wood will begin to break down under all the stress, and fast too! The joints will start to crack, moist areas will rot, and surfaces that were once flat will warp.

By adding a protective layer of paint, you will work against these issues for much longer than the bare wood would have managed to.

Paint Beehives To Help Them Blend In

Some beekeepers do not want to draw unwanted attention to their beehives. They are concerned about curious kids, complaining neighbors, or even potential thieves.

Painting a hive to blend into its surroundings would be a great idea!

Paint Beehives To Regulate The Temperatures

Depending on your area, the colors you choose for painting your hives can help significantly to keep the temperature comfortable for your bees.

In hotter areas, painting your beehives white or a lighter color can keep them much cooler during the warm summer months.

If you live in a colder area, painting your beehives a darker color may help to absorb more of the sun’s warmth during the coldest months.

Conclusion

Now that you know that painting your beehives is the best option for you as a beekeeper, you can start picking out colors! Always remember to check the VOC level of your paint, and make sure you give it enough time to off-gas before moving in a colony.

Only paint the outside of your hives, and never the inside. By painting your beehives correctly, you will be saving money in the long run!

Jaco Stander

My name is Jaco Stander. I’m from Cape Town, South Africa. I’m a registered beekeeper with the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform & Rural Development in South Africa. Registration number WC808. I live on a small holding where I keep my 16 beehives. Taking care of bees is a very rewarding feeling, contributing to keep our bee colonies growing and thriving, and as a bonus, enjoying that sweet pure raw honey!

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