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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    North Bend, OH, USA
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    272

    Default Trying New Methods to Trap Propolis

    New, at least for me. I was dissatisfied witht he rigid plastic screens sold by all American bee supply companies. You throw them in the freezer and when you take them out to pop the proplis out you have to scrape them and is time consuming and if you flex the screens a bit too hard they break.

    My goal is to do something that is flexible. It can be rolled flexed and beaten against the sidewall of a deep freezer (as per the French video I posted showing larger scale propolis harvest).

    So, I am conducting the first test. Goals were:

    Select flexible material. Have bees apply propolis to seal mesh/voids.

    I selected a synthetic plastic screen door material. It is very durable, UV tolerant, and very flexible. It was applied 14 days ago to the top of what I consider to be one of my better propolis producing colonies.

    I selected by viewing how much propolis was added to the top most bars of the of the colony. This was the same colony I used last year in the discussion and photos.

    I stapled the screen material to a shim and placed it on the top of the colony. I placed the inner cover with a 3/4" lift on it (using standard entrance reducers) between it and the shim. The screen is on the bottom of the shim allowing almost no bee space between the tops of the frames and the bottom of the screen. A traditional telescoping outer cover is then placed on top.

    The void created by the 3/4" spacers, I think, encourages the propolis use. More light and more air flow. The bees want to regulate all that so they apply propolis.

    After 14 days exposed mesh between the frames and the corners of the super were heavily embedded with propolis of various types (a little wax too but not much). Spaces directly above the tops of the frames did not receive propolis.

    Here are the photos:

    Outer telescoping cover off showing spacing and shim with screen.


    Postion of shim and screen


    Holding the frame up to show propolis covering in terms of area of screen. Open areas were positioned directly above the top of the frames


    Detail shot up close of the mesh and propolis


    Next test is removal, roll up of mesh and reloval of propolis from mesh.

    If successful I will simply cut slightly larger pieces of mesh and place without shim into the colony. I'll put thm on all of my colonies.
    Richard
    Carriage House Farm, North Bend, Ohio

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Seattle, Washington State
    Posts
    4,398

    Default Re: Trying New Methods to Trap Propolis

    I just had a thought...... you might consider using a silpat that we use in cooking and baking. It is made out of flexable material and NOTHING sticks to it.
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    North Bend, OH, USA
    Posts
    272

    Default Re: Trying New Methods to Trap Propolis

    Pouring my own silicone is an option, but its an expensive one. Right now I just want to see if an off the shelf mesh will work. I would probably use a larger mesh and dip it into silicone.

    Right now this looks promising.

    I rotated the frame yesterday so I could 100% coverage (the gaps where the tops of the frames come close enough that the bees do not or cannot fill is now over the gaps between the frames).

    I'll pull it in a week and report how easy...or difficult it was to harvest.

    I am up to 28 colonies now...hopefuly 30 in another month. If this works I plan to put screens on all the colonies for late season, which seems to be the heaviest propolis gathering time.
    Richard
    Carriage House Farm, North Bend, Ohio

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
    Posts
    259

    Default Re: Trying New Methods to Trap Propolis

    Very interesting!

    what is the screen material made of? Is the propolis ultimately for human consumption? I would REALLY look into how the screen is made and with what materials. Those health food types (um...me) are really particular about the trace bits of things that are in their food. If your goal is to market this propolis to them (um...me) you will want to be sure there is no heavy metals, non food safe plastics, bpa etc used in the screens.

    silpat does work really well. what about the silicone shelf liner rolls that are screen like to allow air circulation? they may cost more but might be more "pure".

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    North Bend, OH, USA
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    272

    Default Re: Trying New Methods to Trap Propolis

    All good questions.

    Most I do not have an answer for.

    I have tried the shelf liners. Very few are actually silicone but a two part resin that turns into a foam of sorts rather than a hard material.

    Most do not have the strength to be repeatedly used for propolis production and will tear when trying to remove.

    I'll have to check up on the whole BPA thing. I had not thought of that initially.

    The other question then is, does it leach out while in contact with the propolis IF there is BPA in it. If it does is the amount large enough to matter.

    Then the next question is, are current proplis traps made with BPA in them?

    None of which I have answers for.
    Richard
    Carriage House Farm, North Bend, Ohio

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
    Posts
    259

    Default Re: Trying New Methods to Trap Propolis

    I know what you mean - the whole bpa thing is a little out of control and confusing. It seems that the science is there but the claims may be overblown? who really knows.

    I find your plan very intriguing - wish you very good fortune with it.


    BTW - I was shocked this past spring when I went to buy a string of lights for my porch for a party and there was a warning label on the package announcing that LEAD was used in the manufacturing of the wiring and that I should wash my hands after handling them. what? all those Christmases wrestling with the strings of lights and never thinking about it at all. Now I am more aware that there is all kinds of stuff in all kinds of things that I never really thought about. i guess we just have to be careful using non food related items for food related items.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Bowling Green, Kentucky
    Posts
    419

    Default Re: Trying New Methods to Trap Propolis

    what about the mesh that they use for latch hook rugs would it be to big

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    North Bend, OH, USA
    Posts
    272

    Default Re: Trying New Methods to Trap Propolis

    There's an idea.

    I have a couple hives where I have drilled holes in the boxes and the bees have no problems reducing that down to 1/10th the original diameter with propolis.

    I would imagine that would be possible. I'll try that this maybe.....if I have time. I am pulling off the one screen tomorrow. I'll try to remove propolis from screen via freezing and beating and measure before and after weight AND total harvested weight.
    Richard
    Carriage House Farm, North Bend, Ohio

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Bowling Green, Kentucky
    Posts
    419

    Default Re: Trying New Methods to Trap Propolis

    let me know if it works

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    lake geneva wi
    Posts
    458

    Default Re: Trying New Methods to Trap Propolis

    I brought a plastic propolis trap to Brazil and it was a joke.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MI1PePqrzqs
    Very simple wooden design. The only disadv. is wood bits in the propolis.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    North Bend, OH, USA
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    272

    Default Re: Trying New Methods to Trap Propolis

    It seems to work fine. I have not measured amount yet. I full time farm in addition to beekeeping (which I simply consider part of my farming) and right now I have been mowing baling and storing hay and between that and my new daughter I have been slammed.

    My first test post freezing was to simply roll it up place it in a trash bag and beat it on the ground violently. Which turned up a very nice amount of propolis the size of each screen (call it 2 millimeter to sub-millimeter pieces).

    I also tried a rolling method, refreezing the panel and rolling it up and twisting it around method. Also seemed to work well.

    Ideally I'd be using a dedicated deep freezer to act as a surface and container to beat against. What I have right now looks like micro-pellets and fine propolis particles.

    I have yet to hear back from the manufacturer as to whether the screen contains BPA or not.

    I'll try to post photos and weight soon.

    So far I am happy with the test. Until I find a better material, these method works FAR better than the heavy plastic traps from US manufacturers.

    Around here in the Cincinnati area it seems that propolis production seems the heaviest in the late summer and early fall and I plan to usee the screens on several colonies and do a more detailed weight - time - colony study and how long it takes me to harvest once collected.
    Richard
    Carriage House Farm, North Bend, Ohio

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
    Posts
    259

    Default Re: Trying New Methods to Trap Propolis

    thanks for posting all this info. it is really interesting. I hope the screen manufacturer gets back to you so you can find out all you need to market this propolis well.

    keep us posted - and good luck!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Newport, New Hampshire, USA
    Posts
    241

    Default Bisphenol

    Bisphenol A (BPA) is used as building block of some plastics and plastic additives. It is used in the production of polycarbonate.

    Suspected of being hazardous to humans since the 1930s, concerns about the use of bisphenol A in consumer products was news in 2008 when several reports were issued questioning its safety.

    Bisphenol A is an endocrine disruptor. Small doses of bisphenol A can mimic the body's own hormones, possibly causing negative health effects.

    Bisphenol A has been known to leach from the plastic lining of canned foods and from polycarbonate plastics that are cleaned with detergents or exposed acidic liquids or when heated.

    Studies by the CDC found bisphenol A in the urine of 95% of adults sampled in 19881994 and in 93% of children and adults tested in 200304. Infants fed with liquid formula (from plastic baby bottles) are at the higest rist of exposure.

    Type 3 plastic "polycarbonate" contains bisphenol. Type 7 "other" may or may not contain bisphenol. Plastics types 1 Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE), 2 High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), 3 Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE), 5 Polypropylene (PP) and 6 polystyrene (PS) do not contain bisphenol.

    Plastic window screen is probably made of polyethylene, but is could be just about anything.

    McMaster sells plastic mesh. The polypropylene and PTFE mesh are FDA compliant for food contact.
    http://www.mcmaster.com/#plastic-mesh/=356o94

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
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    259

    Default Re: Trying New Methods to Trap Propolis

    BOBN,
    great info! thanks!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Leeds, UK
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Trying New Methods to Trap Propolis

    Brilliant thread. What do people/consumers actually do with the propolis once harvested?

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    North Bend, OH, USA
    Posts
    272

    Default Re: Trying New Methods to Trap Propolis

    OK, its been a while since I posted in the forum at all much less in regards to this experiment.

    Here is how my trap tests went. Every three weeks I pulled the screens off. I was running five colonies. I was able to harvest between .09 and .1 pounds per screen. It mattered little of I was trapping pollen or how many boxes where in the stack.

    They all produced around 1/10th of a pound.

    Because these are not scrapings it is SUPER clean and extremely fine. If you run no chemicals in your hives and are not surrounded by fruit, vine crop, or sweet corn producers, you should have some very nice propolis indeed.

    I highly recommended getting a small deep freezer specifically for this if you are using, say 30 colonies or more to produce propolis. A new one costs right around 200.00 or less. This way you can use the entire freezer for a collection and freezing point. Considering what you can get for clean propolis on Ebay you may even end up paying it off fairly quickly.

    I'll be happy to answer any questions, but there is not much more to tell.
    Richard
    Carriage House Farm, North Bend, Ohio

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Dexter, Maine
    Posts
    1,037

    Default Re: Trying New Methods to Trap Propolis

    Have you found collection of propolis to have any impact on honey production?
    Great thread BTW

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,104

    Default Re: Trying New Methods to Trap Propolis

    I've always rolled the warm trap up tightly, rubber banded it and then froze it. Then I just unroll it to get it to pop off. This has been pretty effective. It's also pretty effective with the screen wire.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    OPP, Al USA
    Posts
    415

    Default Re: Trying New Methods to Trap Propolis

    Quote Originally Posted by JBG View Post
    I brought a plastic propolis trap to Brazil and it was a joke.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MI1PePqrzqs
    Very simple wooden design. The only disadv. is wood bits in the propolis.
    That was a very interesting video. What is the red propolis specifically use for verses regular popolis?

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
    Posts
    259

    Default Re: Trying New Methods to Trap Propolis

    Durandal,

    what if anything did you ever find out about the screen and the chemical make up? I hope it was great news. it sounds like you are getting really great results.

    best,
    Noelle

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