We all know honey is amazing, but don’t sleep on the incredible benefits of propolis. This sticky, resinous substance is a powerhouse in the hive, which the bees use like caulk to seal and repair the hive in preparation for winter. Additionally, propolis has antimicrobial properties that the bees use to sterilize their hive, which ultimately helps manage disease loads in the colony. This second property is of value to you; you can harvest, freeze, and grind the propolis to use for medicinal tinctures, salves, and more.
Before you can use this incredible substance in all of your DIY preparations, you have to know how to harvest it from your hive.
When you inspect your hive, you can identify propolis as the sticky, amber-like substance that the bees place in-between bars and along any junctures in the hive. However, keep in mind that as the weather cools, propolis cools with it and will become hard and brittle. You may need to tweak your harvesting protocols or choose a warmer fall day to gather the goods.
Plan to harvest when the bees are using propolis in abundance. There are specialist foraging bees that go straight for the trees and plants to gather resin when the colony needs propolis. The following variables trigger this specialized behavior:
If you notice these signs upon inspection, keep your eyes open for propolis. Then, you can harvest the excess. Remember, we are beekeepers for the bees and you don’t want to undo all of their hard work. In fact, you can acquire a propolis trap to harvest this valuable resource, but it’s not completely necessary.
When you notice propolis in your hive, and you want to collect it, get your Beepods Hive Tool ready to go; it’s great for scraping. You can also have your Standard Hive Tool on hand since it’s excellent for prying bars apart. Or, you can use your bare hands, if that’s your style. Once you’re suited up and ready to go, follow these steps:
Now that you have your propolis, you might be wondering how you separate out any debris, wax, or dead bees (heaven forbid).
We have a great trick for separating the propolis from the hive debris. Listen up. Here are your steps:
Once you have your propolis ready to process, you’re only a few steps away from being able to craft and create your own healing products. Here’s what to do:
One of the best ways to show your respect and appreciation for bees is to not squander the hive products they spend so much time and energy creating. Honey is delicious for all of your cooking and baking needs, but propolis is an excellent ingredient to have on hand for skin healing, soothing, and protection. If you follow these simple processes, you’re sure to appreciate your bees even more.