Did You Know?

Winterizing Your Hive:
Did you know that you need to start your winterizing plans in August of each year? Make sure that your mite load is low and that the queen has plenty of room to lay eggs. The August bees will take care of the bees that then take care of the wintering bees. Kim Flottom says, “take care of the bees that take care of the bees that go into winter.” You need healthy bees in August and September to ensure the bees going into winter are healthy.
Bee Hive Windbreaks:

Placing a windbreak around the North and West sides of your hives offers less fluctuations in temperature, inside the hive. Reducing the effects of cold winds allow the bees to remain in cluster with less outside influences. This also assists the bees in potentially eating their honey stores too rapidly. Windbreaks also reduce the amount of horizontal wind blown snow as well as reducing the chances of hives tipping due to excessive wind speeds.

Mice can cause problems in your hives:

Mice can cause problems in hives as Fall and the colder temperature approach.
As the temperatures get cooler the bees are beginning to cluster so they may not defend the hive as they would in the hot temperatures.
It’s wise to begin to add your mouse excluders or guards at the beginning of October, or if the day or most commonly night temperatures get colder. The mice love the inside of the beehive with a warm and cozy place as well as plenty of food.
The bee supply stores will have a variety of choices but the stainless steel one that offers 2 sides is multi purpose. One side the bees can get through but a mouse can’t, the other side the bees can’t get through, for use to transport them as necessary. Depending on the one you buy, you may need tin snips in order to make it fit as some from England or other countries and are a little long.

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. 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:

  • lSpread 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.

-Beekeeper Charlotte

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