HELP! DROWNING IN Propolis!!
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Lynn, MA
    Posts
    329

    Exclamation HELP! DROWNING IN Propolis!!

    OK, FINALLY, I may get honey this year! Maybe even a decent chunk (for me, a 3 hiver)!!! But, I just went out to put in my bee escape and had a ***** of a time getting the inner covers off on 2 out of 3 of my hives. I had to pry and pry and pry all around the edges. When it started to lift, I noticed the frames had been glued to the inner cover! It was lifting the frames as I took off the cover. So, I slowly, one by one with my hive tool freed the frames (just the ends were so heavily glued). I finally for the cover off and saw soooooo much Propolis!! I had never seen so much.

    So, I tried to separate my two honey supers but they were heavily glued AND weighed a TON (a good thing). This time, however, as I got the top honey (medium) super broken free on the edges, I started lifting the box from one end. Guess What!? They glued the bottoms of the top medium frames to the lower honey super (medium) frame tops! So, lifting the top box ended up ripping off the bottom bar on at least 3 of my frames from the top medium. So, I assumed the frames with the bottoms ripped off are unextractable? Or, should I nail the bottom piece back on when I'm going to extract?

    With this much Propolis, should I try saving it to sell? The local bee supplier says it's a waste of time because he can never find anyone who wants to buy it. Same thing goes for pollen collection. No one wants to buy it.

    Any replies, answers, suggestions, ideas or whatever are highly appreciated.

    Bob
    Lynn, MA

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Blue Ridge, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    138

    Default Re: HELP! DROWNING IN Propolis!!

    You could probably bottle it and find some hippie or health nut that would pay top dollar at a street booth in the city somewhere. Other than that, I doubt many people would buy what one person could salvage from a few hives. From what I've heard it takes a lot of it to be worthwhile.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Lynn, MA
    Posts
    329

    Default Re: HELP! DROWNING IN Propolis!!

    How odd. A few years ago they went on and on in Bee School about how much Propolis and Pollen is worth. Did it used to be worth something?
    Lynn, MA

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Lynn, MA
    Posts
    329

    Default Re: HELP! DROWNING IN Propolis!!

    PS: Hi! Thanks for the reply. I haven't been on here in quite some time. But, over the years when I do come up to brag (though usually this is followed by) or whine about problems, you've always been one of the few places/people that consistently offer your input and help. I thank you for that!

    Bob
    Lynn, MA

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    5,536

    Default Re: HELP! DROWNING IN Propolis!!

    Bob,

    It sounds more like ladder combs rather than propolis was connecting the combs to the underside of the inner cover, and from box to box. You get that when you are short of space and you aren't opening the stacks very often. Same fix, though, scrape it off (in really bad cases scrape both the top surface and the bottom edge of the frame where it would get connected to the one below.)

    The glue between the box edges, is propolis - if it's really stuck together I will scrape off one of the meeting surfaces, usually the top edge of one box, and then leave the scraped-off propolis on the top of the nearest frame so they can re-work the joint without the foraging cost of gathering more. I find it's nearly impossible to get the boxes back so that the propolis seal matches up perfectly, so this is the best I can do for them. Otherwise the joint just keeps getting more gooped-up and wider as time goes by.

    Nancy

  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Lynn, MA
    Posts
    329

    Default Re: HELP! DROWNING IN Propolis!!

    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post
    Bob,

    It sounds more like ladder combs rather than propolis was connecting the combs to the underside of the inner cover, and from box to box. You get that when you are short of space and you aren't opening the stacks very often. Same fix, though, scrape it off (in really bad cases scrape both the top surface and the bottom edge of the frame where it would get connected to the one below.)

    The glue between the box edges, is propolis - if it's really stuck together I will scrape off one of the meeting surfaces, usually the top edge of one box, and then leave the scraped-off propolis on the top of the nearest frame so they can re-work the joint without the foraging cost of gathering more. I find it's nearly impossible to get the boxes back so that the propolis seal matches up perfectly, so this is the best I can do for them. Otherwise the joint just keeps getting more gooped-up and wider as time goes by.

    Nancy


    Thank you Nancy! I will try this.

    Bob
    Lynn, MA

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Murphy, TX
    Posts
    445

    Default Re: HELP! DROWNING IN Propolis!!

    If stacks are glued tight with bridge combs then you can use a guitar wire to cut through the seal.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Posts
    873

    Default Re: HELP! DROWNING IN Propolis!!

    Bob,'

    Nancy's reference to ladder comb is most likely the correct explanation for the problem that you described. I keep an inexpensive long bladed serrated bread knife in my apiary and when faced with your situations I separate the two supers at adjacent corners with a pair of hive tools and slip the bread knife in and work my way around the hive cutting the attaching burr comb. Then I rotate and lift off, or tilt upward the upper super and scrape the residual comb (and honey) off. In my version of "pjigr's" guitar string trick, I use a four foot length of 1/16 inch diameter "wire rope" with a toggle-like handle on each end. I open up a crack between the two supers on the side of the hive away from me with a pair of hive tools, and slip the wire rope in the crack. Then I go back to the first side of the hive and ust the wire to "saw" between the supers while drawing it toward me. (Sounds more complicated than it is.) Yes, in both approaches there is risk to the queen but sometimes there is no alternative.

    As Nancy mentions, the best solution is more frequent inspections and keeping the burr comb to a minimum.

    Steve

  10. #9
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Gainesboro, Tennessee
    Posts
    1,467

    Default Re: HELP! DROWNING IN Propolis!!

    I am sure location and strength of colony make a significant difference also. My hands stay stained from propolis from the end of the honey flow to October. If bee space is violated the big colonies lock it down BIG TIME.
    Feeding early patties. https://youtu.be/bUDd3vk7bgY

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    4,600

    Default Re: HELP! DROWNING IN Propolis!!

    I had a a few hives that had glued the top of the frames to the inner cover. Each of the ends had a half dollar sized circle of propolis where the bees had corralled SHB. Jail break.
    Played a game of squish the beetle, cleaned up the frames, and put it all back together.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Pueblo, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    1,527

    Default Re: HELP! DROWNING IN Propolis!!

    Send me your bees Bob D. I like bees that over propolize. Sounds like they attached top bar to bottom bar with wax.
    Zone 5 @ 4700 ft. High Desert

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Scott county, Arkansas, Usa
    Posts
    1,607

    Default Re: HELP! DROWNING IN Propolis!!

    I have some colonies that control beetles better than others. I believe propolis jail is one of the positive factors. It's hard to see them, but these are beetle carcasses entombed in propolis. Each time I inspect I scrape them away so the bees can start over.

    049 (640x480).jpg

    Alex
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

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