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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i have a few propolis traps i'd like to try. the directions say that i should replace the inner cover with the trap and then prop open the top of the hive.

but, if i'm away and it rains... then what?

any advise in this area would help (best time of year, best kind of bee etc.).

one more thing, can propolis traps be in place when supers cannot be (i.e. during medications)?

thanks.
 

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I would use a small piece of wood on top of the trap to prop the top cover. As far as having it in place during medicating. It depends on what you are harvesting the propolis for. If it is for human use, than I would remove it prior to medicating the hive. (Just place and remove as you would a super.) If you are using the propolis for varnish etc. than I would think you could leave it on during medicating.

Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
thanks.

i've heard propolis and pollen are pretty good for you. does that mean i could just pop the stuff in my mouth and not worry about getting sick?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
somebody told me recently that it's not good to eat propolis straight off the trap because it may have lead in it. does anybody have thoughts about this (or does anybody even care)?

one other question. i've also heard that the peak time for collecting propolis is in autumn, but will it stress the bees if i keep replacing the traps all through the season?
 

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The only way I can think of that lead could get into propolis would be if the hives that the traps are set upon are very old and at one time were painted with led paint.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
i put this question to a lady at beehive botanicals and she said that it was safer to consume the propolis tablets which they sell rather than eat raw propolis from the trap (because of the possibility of lead).

but, it's my guess that this was said more for legal reasons than anything else. if she were to recommend raw propolis and someone got sick, i guess they could sue (if they were mean spirited).

i just wanted to know what other beekeepers thought of this.
 

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Propolis is made up at least primarily from tree resigns of evergreens, poplars and similar type plants, I don't know how lead would get into this in any amount that would be detectable. I would not harvest any hive product that was on during any possible harmful chemical treatment. I'm of course sure botanicals would rather I buy their product as opposed to use my own! The other items is that the purpose of raising the hive lid is to let in light which the bees will block out by propolising the trap. It shouldn't be high enough any rain can get in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
i have some more questions about propolis traps.

the best time to use these is in the fall, but that's also when most medications go in the hive. is it a toss up between medicating or collecting propolis?

also, when the bees fill these, do they fill them COMPLETELY or only in the spaces between the frames? so far mine have only filled the space between the frames.
 

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We put ours on in July after the basswood flow. The bees do not necessarily fill the traps and it is dependant on race. Some breeds, such as Carnolians, tend to propolize more as a genetic trait. In good years they will be plugged! We pull them off with the last honey the end of Sept. before we do any fall treatments. Freeze then and flex them while frozen (carefully because they break easy), then scrape the rest of with a hive tool being careful not to scrape off any plastic. We charge $20.00/lb for it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
now here's a problem i didn't think i'd have (but i guess it makes sense)... PROPOLIS ROBBERS!!

i have some propolis traps on right now (with the top cracked so the light will come in), but i bow have bees stealing the propolis from on top! what can i do about this (if anything).

right now i'm thinking that i could put an inner cover over the trap, but that would block our the light as well as the bees.

also, you mentioned that you sell propolis for $20 a pound. how do you find buyers for this stuff? do you sell it raw?
 

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I expect the behavior you are seeing is related to robber bees (smelling honey) with and "unprotected entrance" being the pollen trap. They should not be a problem. As far as customers we market in one of the largest cities in the world and find the Russian and Polish Customers (literally from the 1st. generation) know it well and purchase it for medical use. You may have an ethnic area near you which has a neighborhood store or Famers Market. Those ethnic groups also buy large amounts of honey and bee pollen. If not, get in contact with Beehive Botanicals, they will buy all the clean propoplis you have to sell at a pretty fair price.
 

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I expect the behavior you are seeing is related to robber bees (smelling honey) with an "unprotected entrance" being the propolis trap. They should not be a problem. As far as customers we market in one of the largest cities in the world and find the Russian and Polish Customers (literally from the 1st. generation) know it well and purchase it for medical use. You may have an ethnic area near you which has a neighborhood store or Famers Market. Those ethnic groups also buy large amounts of honey and bee pollen. If not, get in contact with Beehive Botanicals, they will buy all the clean propoplis you have to sell at a pretty fair price. Incidentally when you plan to harvest and have frozen the trap be careful not to bend to much as it will snap easily. We bend both ways and flip it to do it again over newspaper. Then we scrape the balance off with the hive tool. You'll get around a 1/2 - 3/4 lb per trap depending on the breed of bees and the area.
 

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i think she was talking about air borne lead. but, as i mentioned, just wanted to ask y'all.

wow, that would pretty much rule out apples, peaches, and a bunch of other things...air born lead? where do you live?!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
thanks. beehive botanicals will buy propolis for as much as $6 a pound and they won't buy pollen.

i'm a small (very small) time beekeeper and my ears stuck up when said how much this stuff is going for. i guess i just need to now how to LOOK for buyers.

how clean does the propolis or pollen need to be for these ethnic groups.
 

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If you are using it from the traps it will be free of debris. We wash it and air dry it in a colander and sell it in ziplock bags. We would not sell hive scrapings direct to customers, although you can get a ton, due to the risk of wood slivers and often it is used to cover something else in a hive to isolated it. (dead insects, mice, cacoons etc)
 

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OK...I give, I have known that people collect propolis but now the obvious question...why? Apparently for ingestion. What is the history behind eating propolis? What does it taste like? Isn't it a bit chewy, leave your teeth stained like your fingers?
 
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