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How long do Warre hives last?


Hi Matt,

I’m doing a business plan to start a small bee and honey business. I’m hoping to get it started in Spring of 2014 and use primarily Warre hives. Since I’ve not got access to power tools (and even less experience woodworking) it’s most likely I’ll purchase the hives from Bee Thinking.

I’m trying to figure out how much a hive will cost - broken down over the cost of it’s lifetime. What would you estimate the average life-span of the Bee Thinking Warre hives are? I’ll coat them with Tung Oil and it will (most likely) be in the Ashland Oregon area - so a climate that does get warm summers and cold winters but not too extreme a climate. I know you’ve only had this business a few years so can’t say for sure but please if you can give an estimate.

Thanks so much!




Thanks for your post. If maintained with tung oil or paint, they can probably last 50+ years. There are many Langstroth beekeepers using pine equipment at least that long, so I think cedar hives could last even longer. I’ve had cedar Warre hives in my apiary since 2008 and they are still going strong.



Matt, you mention if maintained with tung oil or paint

Does that mean we should re-coat with tung oil each year?

Is it fine if the bee’s are in the hive? The smell won’t bother them. Would there be an ideal time/temperature. Maybe when they will not be flying around but it will dry for a few days to soak in?

Thank you, JoBeth



Tung oil (or any sealant/paint) should be re-applied as needed. Tung oil I think you should apply every couple years to restore the wood to its original lustre and increase the life of the wood. Paint would be less frequent for sure.

I’ve applied tung oil while bees were in the hive and they didn’t seem to mind at all. To be safe you could remove the roof in the summer and apply it away from the bees. I like to do it when it’s warm and dry out so that it doesn’t take as long to dry.