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.