With an anticipated 1,500 pounds, yes I said 1,500 pounds of honey that we are expecting this summer, I am excited about what we will do with the precious bounty! But honey is not the only thing that I am waiting for with bated breath! I’m actually slightly more excited to collect the propolis that these wonderful creatures produce. The possibilities for the propolis are endless, including using it in my skincare. Propolis has proven antibiotic and antiseptic properties and may also have anti-inflammatory effects. It’s interesting, the bees use the propolis as a glue, to glue or fill holes in their hive to keep insects and other animals from getting in.
Occasionally a larger animal will find its way into the hive, an animal that is too large for the bees to carry out. The bees will kill the animal in the hive and then coat or wrap the dead animal in propolis. This propolis, being so highly antibacterial, will prevent bacteria from the decaying animal from entering the hive and contaminating it! Pretty interesting I’d say! Our hives will be fitted with a propolis trap which is actually a flexible plastic tray type thing that is inserted under the lid of the hive box. This tray is not smooth but rather has many, many nooks and crannies. The bees use the propolis to fill holes in their hive right? Well, they see these nooks and crannies as uneven areas in their hive that need to be filled and made into a smooth surface, so that’s exactly what they do. After a time, the holes are all filled with a nice thick coating of propolis. After the propolis is on the underneath of the tray, the tray is removed and there you have propolis . . . to do with as you will!
But for now they will sleep, and eat, and sleep, occasionally peeking to see if it’s warm enough to venture out. Not quite yet my little friends! I’ll see you in the summer!