Which is the best beehive paint?  It can be confusing, right!! No need to be confused – we’ve got you covered.  In this article, we’ve listed the best beehive paint with hints and tips to paint your beehive.  So let’s get started.

Either you’re looking at a brand new beehive that’s just arrived or you’re giving your existing hive/s a freshening up.  Either way, you are headed in the right direction. Keep the finished product in mind throughout your beehive painting journey. This is the image that should inspire you. I find that this image increases my attention to detail when prepping my boxes.

Whether you’re looking at a newly delivered flat pack hive or bee boxes that are starting to show their age, some basic principles apply.  Some pre-planning can really pay dividends in seasons to come. In addition to this, you definitely do not want to be contaminating your beehive or honey.  Right now, you are at the junction. Which way you go is up to you.  Destination – Beautiful Beehives!

Whether you’re looking at a newly delivered hive, or boxes and gear that is starting to show their age, some basic principles

A word of warning before we get started, deciding to go all out here and look for an exterior, marine-grade finish, has its pitfalls. Yes, you get a ‘military grade’ level of weather protection but steer clear of products with a high VOC (volatile organic compound). If used, these products require considerable ‘off gas’ time. Even still, the flow on effects in terms of bee health and honey purity in your hive are not really worth the risk. I’d rather re-apply a low VOC product every few years myself. As a rule of thumb here, opt for products near a 100 VOC count.

Option One – Prime and Paint Your Beehive

As the name suggests, this journey requires priming then painting. The temptation to skip the priming stage is real – don’t do it. Your future self will thank you later. Give your surfaces a quick sand with some fine sandpaper – around 200 grit. Start with a high quality primer.

If we’re going for the best beehive paint here, we’re going for the best primer paint and Rust-Oleum has it: 


Rust-oleum Primer

If you’re looking for a lower VOC option (100 count), Rust-oleum Advanced Synthetic Shella is a great choice: 

Rust-oleum Advanced Synthetic Shellac

Sand again (re-coat the primer if you’re being extra pedantic) and you’re ready for the paint. In terms of color, your environment will dictate which way you go here. By all means get creative but keep a few basic principles in mind. Dark boxes will get very warm in summer. If you’re in the cooler climates then go for it. If you need a bit of camouflage, make your color choices based on your surroundings. The jellybean idea of individually colored hives to give personality to your colony can be exciting and fun. You want an exterior paint that will last.

This Perma-White from Rust-Oleum is the best beehive paint. It has a 15 year warranty and is able to be tinted if that’s your preference

Rust-Oleum Zinsser 1-Qt. PermaWhite Exterior Satin

If you’re looking for a more environmentally favored product, you can’t go past Montage Signature Eco-Friendly Paint: 

Montage Signature Eco-Friendly Paint 

Option Two – Stain and Seal Your Beehive

The natural grain of your wooden boxes has a classic appeal. You’ll need to seal your hives after staining to give the long-lasting quality you’re looking for. Choosing a stain is a personal choice. Remember that the darker stains will make your hives warmer in the summer. A lighter stain is recommended for this reason. Personal opinion here, the lighter stains give a cleaner and more natural feel to your apiary. If you want the best painted beehive on the block, then applying a pre-stain conditioner gives your finished product an even coat of stain, our choice is MinWax Pre-Stain or, for a low VOC stain, antique oak stain from General Finishes gives the classic hive color you’re looking for:

Minwax Clear Pre Stain Wood Conditioner, 1 Quart

General Finishes Water Based Wood Stain, 1 Gallon, Antique Oak

So your beehive is painted, it’s looking great – color is perfect, time to relax, you think. No, you’re not finished yet!! If you want that perfectly painted beehive to look great for a while to come, you’re going to need to seal it.  Sealing your painted beehive is an important part of the process. This Minwax Polycrylic is water-based and walks the fine line between durability and sustainability, and the VOC count is relatively low.

Minwaxc Polycrylic Water Based Protective Finishes, 1/2 Pint, Gloss

Option Three – Use Natural Oils on Your Beehive

We’ll deal with the two most common oils here: linseed and tung oil. These preserve the ‘fresh out of the box’ look for a few seasons. Application is the easiest of the options though the finish requires re-coating more often. Stay with the most natural product possible to get the best result for your beehive.  If you live in a particularly humid or damp setting then these oils are not for you as the threat of mildew is high. Look elsewhere if this is you.

Linseed oil has its fans but in terms of bang for your buck and the best finish, tung oil has it. Quicker to apply, faster drying and longer-lasting, and easy to re-apply (when you have to) – all the attributes you’re looking for. There are a few different brands out there for you to test.  We like this one from Wood River.  It’s 100% pure tung oil – you can’t get much better than that!

WoodRiver Pure Tung Oil Quart

Pro-Grade Paint Brush Set

This Pro Grade paint brush set of 5 brushes is made with hardwood handles for comfort and SRT filament for holding more paint in the brush.

Perfect for outdoor use, this set contains 5 x different size brushes (different angles too!) which is great value and perfect for those “hard to get at” places while painting your beehive.


Bates Paint Roller Set

This roller set, with easy to clean tray, 2 x different size roller frames and 4 x matching roller covers, 1 x wooden-handled filament brush and 1 x wooden-handled foam brush, is fantastic value and great for painting your beehives.

When you’ve got more than one beehive, this roller set will save you heaps of time. It’s got everything you need for painting your beehives and for all the small nooks and crannies.




That’s a Wrap!

The best beehive paint comes in one of three forms – primed then painted, stained then sealed, or with natural oils. You’ll need to take into consideration two things – your preference and your environment. The best beehive paint is the one that makes you and your bees the happiest.

So don’t wait, get Beehive Painting!!


Happy Beehive Painting!