Painting Bee Hives – Color to be determined

April 7th, 2011

It doesn’t matter that much what color you paint a hive. Bees hive limited color vision. They do remember patterns, though, so they find the hive by its shape and the pattern of the trees or bushes and other things near it. I might be a good idea to paint high contrast lines on the front of the box that the bees can remember it and see it from a distance.

As to what kind of paint to use, well cheap is a good choice. I think latex is better than oil because it has fewer “smells” and does not out-gas as much. Bees are sensitive to smells. Oil paints are fine if you can wait a few weeks for them to completely dry.

Color is not an issue. High contrast is probably good to help the bees find the hive. Remember, bees naturally live in hollow trees so they are predisposed to gray/green/brown earth tones. White hives are traditional, but there is nothing about a bee that prefers white paint.

I have been stopping at home depot and Lowe’s looking for paint mistakes. They sell the gallons for $5 when they make a mistake. So far nobody has been screwing up exterior paint, but when they do, no matter what color it is, that’s the color of my new hive boxes.