Painting Woodenware

Beginners often wonder how much of their woodenware should be painted. In general, only the parts that will be exposed to weather need to be painted. Painting the interior sections is unnecessary and will likely end up causing problems if the paint begins to flake off after a few years, since the flakes will contaminate your honey. As far as paint goes, any exterior paint is suitable, but latex paints are easier to clean up and the excess paint is easier to dispose of. Inexpensive paints can work well, but more expensive brands are often more durable and cover with fewer coats. Regardless of the brand be sure to prepare your surface, removing any sawdust or dirt. When painting my own woodenware, I usually use opaque stains such as those used on decks and fences. They have the advantage of not requiring a primed surface, they cover well, fade rather than flake over time, and when purchased in 5-gallon pails, are relatively inexpensive.

Reversible bottom board – Paint all sides, the top and bottom edge of the sides, as well as the landing board up to a few inches inside the entrance. If the bottom board is not reversible, paint the bottom.

All boxes (deep brood chambers, medium supers, shallow supers, etc.) – Paint the outside of the box, being sure to cover the handle areas. Paint the tops and bottoms of the sides. Do not paint the interior.

Inner cover – Since this is not exposed to the weather, there is no need to paint it.

Outer cover (telescoping top) – If the outer cover has a metal covering, paint the sides and the bottom of the sides. Do not paint the metal or the underside of the cover. If the cover is all wood, paint the entire top.

Wooden queen excluder – Paint the sides, as well as the top and bottom edge of the sides. Metal or plastic queen excluders do not need to be painted.

Shims – Paint the sides, as well as the top and bottom edge of the sides.

Wooden pollen traps (hive top style) – Paint the sides, as well as the top and bottom edge of the sides.

Finally, it’s a good idea to have some unused woodenware on hand. This allows you to temporarily replace and woodenware that you are actively using so that it may be repainted or otherwise repaired, with minimal disturbance to your colonies.