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

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