Exterior finish- Tung oil safe for bees?
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  1. #1
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    May 2010
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    Default Exterior finish- Tung oil safe for bees?

    Hello, I'm a first year bee keeper and, after getting my first langstroth hive well underway in late April, have just completed a KTBH.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ezrahug...7624181259474/

    I'd like to keep the exterior a natural wood finish and i've read up on linseed oil/bees wax but I really want to use Tung oil (made by Minwax so i believe it's not 100% tung oil) as i've had great results in other wood working projects. Does anyone know how bees would react to an exterior treated tung oil finished hive provided i let the finish air for a few days before hiving the new bees?

    Open to suggestions,

    thanks,

    EMH
    Last edited by ezrahug; 06-01-2010 at 08:40 AM. Reason: add pix

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Rigby, Idaho
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    Default Re: Exterior finish- Tung oil safe for bees?

    I was thinking of using tung on mine also, don't see why it wouldn't work.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Exterior finish- Tung oil safe for bees?

    I'm concerned that the offgassing of the tungoil may screw with the bees pheramone communication. I know it makes me light headed

    perhaps a few days between finish and inserting new bees would be enough. Thoughts?

  5. #4
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    owensboro,ky
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    Default Re: Exterior finish- Tung oil safe for bees?

    couple days airing, it'll be fine. whats on the outside only matters to the beekeeper. good luck,mike
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Exterior finish- Tung oil safe for bees?

    That was the validation I was looking for. Thanks, mike!

  7. #6
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    Alachua County, FL, USA
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    Default Re: Exterior finish- Tung oil safe for bees?

    Let the sun bake all the volatiles out for a day. Tung oil finish at Home Depot and Lowes has chemicals not in original tung oil. If it was pure it would be food safe and it says on what I read "do not swallow or use near food." I make cutting boards and the discount store finishes are not usable in the kitchen. It will be fine for the outside of your hive.

  8. #7
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    Mar 2010
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    Greensburg, Ky.
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    Default Re: Exterior finish- Tung oil safe for bees?

    I use tung oil, i just got done applying Tung oil on 2 deep hive bodies and 3 supers. It keeps the natural look for sure, makes the hive look good!!

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Exterior finish- Tung oil safe for bees?

    Success! As of day 3 the bees are happy with their home:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBM0sNuStFc
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVbCdvEp8Qc

    Thanks for all the advice!

    EMH

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Exterior finish- Tung oil safe for bees?

    Thats a pretty nice cluster of bees you got there ezrahug!!!

  11. #10
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    Apr 2018
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    Galien Michigan USA
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    Default

    There’s a company called realmilkpaint.com that sells pure tung oil. (China wood oil). I’ve read that sometimes a citrus solvent is added to make the oil absorb better. They sell that as well. I purchased the regular oil, not the dark. I’m not going to varnish or polyurethane my hives; I’ll just refresh with the tung oil as needed as the oil won’t absorb if it’s put on top of the poly. I love the look of the hives with this finish

  12. #11
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    Mar 2017
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    Greencastle, IN
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    Default

    How many coats did you use? And did you do use other sealer after?

    Do I need to put anything on the interior of the hive? Please say no... 😂

  13. #12
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    Mar 2017
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    Greencastle, IN
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    Default

    Nevermind, I've decided upon another product. Thanks!

  14. #13
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    Mar 2018
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    George County, MS
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    Default Re: Exterior finish- Tung oil safe for bees?

    Ezrahug,
    As mentioned above, RealMilkPaint has pure tung oil for sale. It is the only company that I have found with quality tung oil. It is totally organic and food safe.

    Tung oil does not "dry" through evaporation. It cures through a process of polymerization which hardens the wood after it penetrates. The Chinese have been using it for a couple thousand years for long term preservation of wood. There have been suggestions that portions of the Great Wall are made with stones boiled in tung oil for increased hardness.

    I've been using tung oil for many years for fine woodworking, food-contact wood items and weather proofing of outdoor wood. I thin it with citrus solvent 1:1 for the first coat. Second coat is 2 parts tung:1 part solvent. Third coat is a thin coat of straight tung. RealMilkPaint also has a new product that thins the tung with pine oil because citrus solvent is is short supply. I have not tried that yet but it ought to be ok for organic uses. You could ask them.

  15. #14
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    Shickshinny, Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: Exterior finish- Tung oil safe for bees?

    Does tung oil hold up to UV rays and can it peal I've used it for interior wood work but didn't think it wood hold up to the moisture and uv , I've have seen some beautiful polyurethane wood really turn ugly in a couple years from the uv rays hitting it .

  16. #15
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    San Mateo
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    Default Re: Exterior finish- Tung oil safe for bees?

    Quote Originally Posted by ezrahug View Post
    ...
    I'd like to keep the exterior a natural wood finish and i've read up on linseed oil/bees wax but I really want to use Tung oil (made by Minwax so i believe it's not 100% tung oil) as i've had great results in other wood working projects.
    ..
    When applying Minwax Tung Oil Finish one doesn't have to worry about whether bees like the smell of tung oil or not -- because this product contains no tung oil, just linseed oil. Another example of misleading marketing.

    Tung oil, or China wood oil, takes days to cure. Minwax Tung Oil Finish is a different kind of finish and is a mixture of mostly solvents, cheap linseed oil, cheap polymerizing resin, and Cobalt 2-Ethylhexanoate as chemical dryer.

    From what I've heard, tung oil, while not the best exterior finish, not even a good one, still outperforms Minwax Tung Oil Finish by far.

  17. #16
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    Mar 2018
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    George County, MS
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    Default Re: Exterior finish- Tung oil safe for bees?

    Quote Originally Posted by laketrout View Post
    Does tung oil hold up to UV rays and can it peal I've used it for interior wood work but didn't think it wood hold up to the moisture and UV, I've have seen some beautiful polyurethane wood really turn ugly in a couple years from the uv rays hitting it .
    I have been using tung oil for several years on external surfaces but mostly as an end grain sealer. Since it soaks in and polymerizes, it provides a very effective resistance against moisture penetration and concrete contact. In most cases I have followed up by finishing the vertical surfaces with paint so have not noticed any darkening or sun damage.
    I am doing some more building so I will test the UV resistance this summer and report back on my results.

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