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Is wood putty safe to use in a hive?


I’ve screwed the roof together and there are two cracks in the wood (from lack of predrilling)

And was wondering if its safe to use a wood putty to fill the cracks?


The British Beekeepers’ Association says it is OK to use wood filler for hive repairs in this article:

I would choose an exterior use product with as low toxicity as possible. I can’t tell which country you are in, but I know beekeepers who have used these 2 methods in the US:

  1. Mix sawdust with an exterior grade PVA wood glue such as http://tinyurl.com/zy2gvje to make a paste, then fill the hole and sand when dried for 24 hours.
  2. Wood filler such as http://tinyurl.com/h6oshx9

I am normally extremely fussy about what chemicals I use on my hives, and I would certainly hesitate to use filler inside the boxes. However, with the Langstroth, you have an inner cover below the roof, and the bees really should not have much contact with the inside of the roof at all, so I think it is perfectly OK in this situation.



I’m in Australia. And yeah I’m really hesitant about using chemicals in the hive as well. Thanks for your input



I’ve always used Durham’s Rock Hard Water Putty. It doesn’t shrink, is sandable, paintable/stainable, very durable and easy to work with. It’s water based so its pretty easy to clean up too. You can adjust the consistency for your application by adding less or more water.


Why not just use beeswax? I build Warre hives and I have switched over to using wax to fill in any small gaps. My hives have observation windows that I always need to seal down the side of.

Just get a piece of old comb or rendered beeswax, hold it in your palm until it softens and then work it with your fingers until you have something like play-dough. If you want more stiffness and tack add some propolis. Then just jam it into the gaps using a screwdriver or chisel head.


It seems like this would be less effective on the exterior of the hive where weather will be an issue and bees will not be maintaining the filler. For cracks in the roof I would go with something long term and permanent like a wood filler or epoxy. Certainly for issues on the inside of the hive filling with wax/propolis is just giving the bees a head start on something they would likely do on their own.