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Styrofoam - Safe in Hives?


Hi All.

Just chasing some feed back on a situation. I picked up a hive from a broken tree limb on a neighbours place and I have taken as much of the comb as I could and a large amount of bees and transferred them into a full sized box (I have no small boxes on hand atm). I am just feeding them sugar syrup for the short term.

To help the bees manage the space and heat better (its cold and rainy here atm) as they don’t take up the full box atm I was wondering if I could fill the gaps with thick sheets of styrofoam / insulation material I have on hand. I have cut them to size and they are about the same width as normal frame. Basically I want to reduce the internal space in the hive.

My main question is will it make the bees sick at all? They are plastic products but not food grade. I also put some duct tape on the edges to stop them falling apart but that does smell a bit.

Any advice welcome at this point before I put them in.



Please don’t do that. The bees will chew it into a mess within a day or two. If you want a follower/dummy board (that is the official name- follower in the US, dummy in the UK and you don’t tell us where you are, so I can’t translate further), it should be made out of wood, preferably solid wood, not fibreboard/chipboard/sawdust composite as that can off-gas toxic levels of formaldehyde. Life is full of poisons and tricky stuff! :blush:

Good luck.


Hi Dawn. Thanks I did a bit of reading based off what you suggested and looks like it wouldn’t be a bad way to go as alot of that stuff off-gasses indeed (although pine apparently does too?!); https://diy.stackexchange.com/questions/15335/are-there-any-dangers-associated-with-rigid-foam-insulation

I am based in Australia so we will go with the UK spelling ;]

Poking around further this way be the way to go as it has no glue, its made by pressure. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masonite


Good old masonite. Bed bases, Walls, it was used everywhere where chipboard seems to be used today.
One advantage it has over chipboard is it is much more resistant to water. Tends to buckle a bit but not disintegrate if soaked in water.


Bees will chew Styrofoam as Dawn says, and they will leave you a mess to clean up. I have used both Masonite, (which is compressed sawdust with no bonding agent at all), and plywood as internal top covers over the years, as untreated top boards in hives with no ill effects. So I guess if they do give off any gases it is very minimal from my experience. Even solid wood will give off gas if the conditions are right. As plywood and Masonite is approved in house construction here in Australia I assume any formaldehyde content is really insignificant.