Bee Propolis Collecting Scrapings from Equipment
The honey bee hive is a treasure trove of useful substances. In addition to honey and bee pollen, bee propolis is another valuable product that can be harvested from the hive.
Worker honey bees are well named. They collect everything needed for colony survival. Foraging worker bees collect pollen from blooming flowers.
This bee pollen is used to raise young bees. It is the only protein source available to honey bees. No pollen would mean no new bees for the colony.
They also visit flowers to collect plant nectar. This nectar is made into honey. Nectar is watery and would spoil quickly. Honey stores well and is used as a long term food source.
The honey bee colony does not store water. However, water is needed for daily hive activities. First, scout bees find good water sources.
Then, workers collect water and return to the hive. The water is used where needed by colony members.
However, bees collect more than just nectar, pollen and water. They also collect plant resins. Resins are sticky secretions from various plants and trees.
What is Propolis?
Worker honey bees gather plant resins and bring them back to the hive on their hind legs (pollen baskets). Saliva is mixed with the resins to create the substance called propolis.
Another word for propolis is “bee glue”. If you have ever experienced propolis inside a hive, you understand why it is called glue.
Bees coat the inside of the hive with propolis. This is done to polish and clean the surfaces inside the hive. It also seals cracks to keep out cold wind.
Unfortunately for us beekeepers, they stick down every frame. This makes hive inspections more difficult. Some colonies produce more propolis than others.
In addition to sealing cracks and stopping drafts, bee glue also promotes colony health. Propolis has antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties.
Propolis is Sold by Beekeepers
The demand for propolis is very high. It is used in many types of products for humans such as: medicines, tinctures and tonics.
Gathering and selling collected propolis can provide a small-scale beekeeper with extra money. But first, the product must be gathered from the hive.
There are several ways to collect propolis. This includes scrapings, propolis traps etc. None of the methods are hard to do but they require time.
Gathering Bee Propolis Scrapings
One easy way to collect propolis is to scrape it from your equipment. After extracting honey, the super boxes can contain some propolis.
A beehive that has failed and is empty is another place to look for bee glue.
Try to avoid getting wood scrapings in your collected propolis. After scraping the wooden surfaces, store it in a jar or plastic bag in the freezer.
Once you have enough to bother with, you can clean the propolis and prepare it for use.
Propolis Scraping- How to Do It
- Spread a sheet or plastic tarp on the floor to catch the scrapings
- Inspect each wooden hive part – looking for sticky propolis
- use your hive tool to gently scrape off the bee glue
- avoid getting wood shavings in the product as much as possible
- when finished – gather your tarp and pour propolis bits into a jar
- store in freezer until ready to clean
Use or Sell Propolis
Raw propolis can be sold to several online companies. Do a search for them and make a bit of extra money from your hives.
Or, learn how to make your own propolis tinctures, creams etc.- after cleaning and preparing.
Scrapping propolis off used beekeeping equipment is only one way to gather this precious hive product.
Whether you choose to sell raw propolis or use it yourself, this is another value-added product from the hive.