Another advantage to top bar hive beekeeping. There's very little propolis in the tbh hive. And none on the ends of the top bars which is where I usually hold them. I can work several tbhs and come away with clean hand and hive equipment.
That's not the case with my lang hives. The bees pack propolis around the ends of the frames. And that's where I hold them, getting my fingers, hivetool and smoker covered in propolis.
The difference was very obvious when I worked both sets of hives today.
Thinking a tbh is a clean machine :> )
Too bad, you are missing the health benefits of getting propolis on your skin and under your fingertips.
There are not so many places to put propolis in a TBH, true.
I got a chuckle a few days back when someone suggested that there would be "ventilation" between the top bars. Ha! The bees seal those top bars together so tightly that nothing can get thru. They have to do that to keep moths from breeding in the cracks.
I put in a large detergent bottle with a screen core to feed one of my TBH's last week. When it was empty I took it out and found a dozen or more wax moth larvae under it, from large to small. Fortunately none of them had "dug in" yet. I HATE having equipent eaten up by wax worms.
Actually, I've been worrying about the amount of propolis mine use to seal themselves in and put on the topbar where there isn't comb.
I've not experienced this stuff when its cold (I take it that it'll be a LOT less viscous), but currently, to open my hive, I have the gently lever them apart with a breadknife, and it pulls long, sticky threads.
Is this all as it should be?
That's normal. More so with darker bees it seems. Less with Italians, but still they glue everything together and coat everything. http://www.beesource.com/ubb/smile.gif
My Itialian mongrels like their glue. They are working toward coating the whole hive. Not a bad thing though in the TB. I don't worry about it, it's just sticky. Smells nice too.
The bees in my tbh give everything a vanish like coating of propolis. That's normal. What I don't miss are the globs that stick to fingers, tools, steering wheels, kitchen floors, etc.
I can work a tbh or two and still catch, clip and mark a queen. All without a trip to the truck to clean up the hands like would be required with my langs.
A health note for propolis producers. If you are eating it, make sure your propolis producing hive is in a very rural and clean situation. Propolis produced in a urban/suburban environment can be very polluted. When hives are tested for environmental pollution, the propolis is usually the most contaiminated element in the hive.
The bees will pick up almost any sticky substance and use it.