I read a very interesting book a couple of months ago about the health benefits of propolis. I am usually slightly skeptical about amazing health claims but these are well researched. The problem with propolis is you can’t patent it, so the drug companies are not interested….and it’s the drug companies that fund the vast majority of research in the western health care sector. I teach nursing, and medical ethics among other things at Uni, and I found the book well documented. This prompted me to look into producing my own. For those of you who don’t know what propolis is, it’s a kind of glue bees use in the hive and it has antiseptic and antifungal properties among others. In a world moving towards the post-antibiotic era I really don’t feel this sort of thing should be overlooked because of commercial interests.
Consequently I bought some propolis screens for a couple of my hives. The bees take one look at the mesh and start filling all the gaps (bees dont like gaps!) At this time of year I use Apistan to reduce the number of varroa mite and I suddenly realised that perhaps I shouldn’t be leaving the propolis screens in there while chemicals were being used. So today I removed them, you simply put them in the freezer for 24 hours and remove the propolis when it gets brittle. I will clean off the propolis and use it, I thought it quite interesting to see how much the bees had produced in a couple of months. Not a lot, but then it’s a value added crop to honey production.
After I have finished the varroa treatment I will return the screens and leave them there for the winter. I don’t think my bees need an autumn feed but if they do I will put it on afterwards.