easy bee hive painting ideas
Beekeeping for Beginners

Beehive Paint:  What’s the Best Paint for Bee Hives and How to Paint Them

Choosing the right type of paint for your beehive(s) is crucial. The paint needs to withstand extreme temperatures, moisture and other environmental conditions, while also being safe for the bees. It is important to note that paints all have different properties so it’s a good idea to examine if they’re compatible with beehives.

In this blog post we’ll explore the best paint options available, how to prepare your hive before painting, and detailed steps on how to paint your beehive.

This post is all about beehive paint.

The Different Types of Paints for Beehives

Let’s start by discussing the different types of paints available along with their pros and cons. There are a number of options, but each one has its own unique properties that should be taken into consideration when choosing the right one. 

Honey bees are very sensitive to smells. Try to find an odorless paint. The odors from paint can cause bees to abscond. Absconding means bees leave their hive to find another home. We don’t want that to happen! Many of these odors in paints come from chemicals that are added to paints so look for ones that are low in volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. The VOC level should be 50 or lower. Low VOC paints have less off-gassing in comparison to higher VOC paints. Off-gassing is the release of harmful gasses, chemicals, and VOCs.

Oil-Based Paint

Oil-based paint is often used for beehives because it is durable and resistant to extreme temperatures. Oil-based paints should not be used on wood that has already been stained or treated as it may cause discoloration and chipping. These types of paints are high in VOCs, which doesn’t make them suitable for painting beehives.

Latex Paint

Latex paint is a popular option for painting beehives because of its ease of use and versatility. It is less likely to chip or fade over time, making it a great choice for those looking for long-lasting results. It cleans up easily with soap and water and is a good option for low maintenance projects.

An example of latex paint is Farrow & Ball. Their paints contain minimal or low VOCs. Check out their sustainability statement.

Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint is another popular option for beehive painting because of its ability to adhere well to most surfaces and provide good color coverage. Unfortunately, acrylic paints are known to fade more quickly than other types and may require frequent touch-ups.

An example of an acrylic paint is Behr’s Premium Plus Exterior Paint. It’s 100% acrylic and low-VOC. It resists moisture, fading, stains and has a resistant finish to mildew and corrosion.

A second example is Benjamin Moore’s Eco Spec paint. It’s 100% acrylic with no VOCs or emissions, green seal certified and certified allergy and asthma friendly.

Spray Paint

Spray paint is a great option for those looking for quick results since it can be applied quickly and provides good coverage. Spray paint should not be used near open flames or areas with high temperatures, as the paint may ignite or melt.

An example spray paint is PintyPlus Chalk finish which has low VOC and low odor.

Chalk Paint

Chalk paint is a great option for those looking to achieve a distressed look. It’s available in a wide range of colors and textures. Chalk paint paint can be difficult to clean up, so it may not be the best choice for long-term projects or areas that come in contact with food or drink.

An option for chalk paint is Renaissance Retique It. They’re water-based, low VOC, low odor and easy to clean up.

Milk Paint

Milk paint is made from natural ingredients like casein (protein in cow’s milk), calcium carbonate (lime or limestone, pigment, and sodium borate.  It’s biodegradable and non-toxic. It comes in a powder form that’s mixed at home with water. Milk paint is a very durable option and easy to clean.

What’s the best paint for bee hives?

Best Paint for Bee Hives

The best paint for bee hives is latex paint. It’s the most popular, the cheapest, and the most widely available.

How to Paint Beehive

Now that we know what is the best paint for bee hives, let’s discuss some pointers for how to paint a beehive.

  1. Using a roller is an easy quick way to paint a beehive and use a paint brush for any touch ups on the edges and corners.
  2. Paint only the exterior of the hive; anything that’s exposed to the sun and rain. Do not paint the interior of the beehive. This includes the frames, inner cover, etc. Any chemicals the paint contains interferes with the bees’ communications. 
  3. Don’t paint the top and bottom edges of the hive. When the hive is assembled, the paint will cause them to stick together. Don’t paint the bottom board to the entrance, or what I like to call, the landing pad.
  4. Try to paint the hive before you have bees in them. If you must paint the hive while there are bees in it (for touch ups for example), paint early in the morning. Bees aren’t super active in the morning and there is minimal activity on the outside. Once the hive starts to warm up throughout the day, there will be more activity outside. Start painting from the back of the hive to the front and paint quickly.

Beehive Painting Ideas

If you really want to go all out and decorate your hives, get inspiration from Pinterest. There are lots of beehive painting ideas that you can find. Consider using light colors in warmer or hot climates. Such colors reflect the heat and sun. If you live in cooler or colder climates, use darker colors to absorb light. 

Be careful which colors you choose to use because bees don’t see colors the way we do. Certain colors (like red) discourage bees so try to avoid red hues. They can’t see the color red but can see reddish wavelengths like orange and yellow. Honey bees are attracted to bright colors and scientists believe that the colors they are most attracted to are blue, purple, and violet. 


  • Choosing the right type of paint for beehives is essential as different paints have properties that may be harmful to bees.
  • Latex paint is a popular choice because of its versatility and durability. It’s widely available and a cheap option to fit in all budgets. 
  • The best option for bee hives is latex paint which should be low in VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds).
  • When painting a hive it’s important to only paint the exterior surface.  The inside of the hive (frames, inner cover, etc should not be painted as chemicals from the paint can interfere with communication between bees in their hive. The paint can always leech into the honey, making it toxic.
  • Check out beehive painting ideas on Pinterest. When choosing colors be careful of which colors you get. Avoid colors like red since honey bees cannot see this color and it discourages them. 
  • It’s believed that some of their favorite colors are blue, purple or violet.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *