These are the steps I take to prep a new hive for the first honey bee colony to use it.
1. I collect detritus from a fallen, rotting tree and fill the eco-floor with it:
2. I take the sealed jar in which I had been saving pieces of broken comb and fill it with boiling water. This leaches the scents of the comb, and everything that was stored in it, into the water:
3. I use a funnel and pour the liquid into a spray bottle:
4. I spray this liquid all over the inside of my Bee Tree Hive hive bodies. Because the hives are built of Western Red Cedar, which is highly hygroscopic, the liquid soaks right in. I do this right over the eco-floor so that any overspray soaks into that material as well:
5. I add whatever frames are required, and then add the insulated, ventilated hive cover/feeder and the hive is ready for its first colony:
The photo above also illustrates that, for the Bee Tree hive bodies I build for myself, I like to use knot holes in the wood as natural entrances for the bees.