One of the many reasons for losses of hives after a swarm is the newly hatched virgin queen returning to the wrong hive after her mating flight, and being killed. A multi-colored painted hive body can solve this. This is why you should alternate the color of your beehive boxes.

The queen can also be killed by returning to the bee yard and not being able to find the exact box she emerged from. Queens raised from NUCs or from eggs inside a hive that have swarmed must make a mating flight to a DCA (drone congregation area). This can be several miles from your apiary. Then she must return to her hive. She may even make several flights to the DCA over the first few days after she emerges to make sure she has enough sperm to carry on her duties for the next couple of years. If she returns and enters the wrong painted hive body she will be promptly killed by either the workers of that hive or the queen herself. Unless she manages to kill the queen and then is killed by the workers. Then you may be faced with the loss of both hives! If you alternate the color of your beehive boxes, you solve this problem.

There are easy means to prevent this. Don't paint all your hives the same color, choosing instead to alternate the color of your beehive boxes. This includes multiple boxes in the same hive. Such as two hive bodies and a super. Use multi-colored a painted hive body and honey super instead. Bees see much differently than we do. I liken it to old 8-bit computer graphics from the 1980's. Bees are good at making out patterns, blocks of color, but not very good at seeing the detail of any kind. It is for this reason that we recommend you paint each of your boxes in different colors. Especially if you have hives next to each other. hive 1 should be painted dark first box, light second box. Then hive number 2 should be painted light first box, dark second box. This alternating paint scheme enables your queens and in fact worker bees to more quickly find their home and prevents them from going into the wrong hive on accident.

This is the reason here at funny bug bees and wood works we alternate colors each time we buy paint from our supplier. Every time you order a hive body, honey super, top feeder, etc, and select the painted option it will be painted with a random pastel color. From white to yellow to blue to pink. Over time this means if you buy your boxes from us painted, you will have a very colorful apiary first, but also will be assisting your queens and workers in finding the correct home!