AnitaPainting a beehive is simple if you remember this basic principle.  Paint the outside and leave the inside where the bees live unpainted. While it is not necessary to paint your hive and some people choose not to do it at all, painting a hive will help it stand up to the elements and last longer.  Paint helps protect wooden hive parts from the rain, snow, sun and other weather elements.

Hive parts primed and drying in the sun
Hive parts primed and drying in the sun. Once dry they will be painted with a final topcoat in a different color.  

Before painting you hive, you will need to coat the hive in an exterior primer first before putting on the final coat of paint.  I recommend an oil based exterior primer for better weather protection, but any type of exterior house primer will work.  For the pictures here I used a gray oil based primer left over from another project.  The color of the primer is not important.  But primer is important to seal and protect the wood, it helps the final coat of paint adhere better, and helps the surface paint resist moisture and mildew.

Painting a hive body with primer
I used a gray colored primer left over from another project to paint the hive bodies. 

When choosing a topcoat color, white is the classic color to pick for a hive, but almost any color will work.  It is best to avoid black or another very dark color because these colors may cause the hive to get too hot in the summer sun, depending on the location of your hive.  Any leftover exterior house paint you have lying around will work to paint a beehive.  If you’re not picky about the color, you can save a few dollars by getting quarts or gallons of discounted “oops” paint on clearance at the hardware store.  As long as the color is not too dark and the paint is exterior house paint you can use it to paint your hive.

One thing to consider when choosing the color to paint a beehive is whether or not you want the hive to blend into its surroundings or stand out and be noticed.   If you have neighbors close by who may not be happy living near a beekeeper, or your hive is in a place where it can be vandalized, it is probably best to paint the hive in muted colors or a color to blend into the apiary.  This slight camouflage will help the hive remain unnoticed to most passerby's.  If this is not important to you then go ahead and have fun with it, get creative with colors and patterns, the bees won’t mind and it will make for an interesting conversation piece. This is also a fun project to do with children, who can come up with some amazing designs!

10/13/2013 1:25:06 AM

Hey...pressure treated wood is 'poisonous'. I would never use it for close exposure to any living creature.

1/29/2013 10:20:14 PM

Suzanne, farm life rarely comes out of our mind the way we think it should. Since I started life on the farm, I didn't have any notions about what it was. Even after knowing the life, I longed to return to that life but it wasn't to be. Now I live the life of an Urban farmer but without the animals. Yup, farm life is the only life to live, don't you think? Have a great day on the farm.

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