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Should I Clean Propolis Out Of The Hive Every Inspection?

6509 Views 7 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Michael Bush
To scrape or not to scrape, that is the question I propose to you. Is it a bad idea to NOT scrape off the propolis from the hives and frames during inspections?

Last year I cleaned up the hives and frames every time I opened the hives. In hind sight, this may not have been such a good idea. The bees will just have to bring more in. So this year I have not scraped the stuff off every time I dive into the hive. If I do my inspections while the hive body is warm, it’s not that hard to open. Is this practice going to be a problem later on?
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No. however do scrape the ears of the end bars on any frames you remove so that you can push them tightly back together.
I scrape primarily when frames get hard to slide around. Also if the side bars get too build up then the comb will get too far spaced and makes it harder to work 10 frames in 10 frame equipment. If there are totally empty boxes in the spring I will take extra time to clean them up before returning to service. I usually do not take time to clean parts during routine inspections.
Thanks, That's what I was looking to find out. If I can still work the frames, then everyting is ok, if not, clean things up a bit.

On the spring cleaning issue. Last year when my hive died out, I cleaned things up then someone suggested torching the inside of the hive boxes to get rid of mold and any bugs in the nooks and crannies. I noticed that the propolis just melted into the wood. I was thinking of doing that again this year but with a little more propolis on the boards it may act as a preservative and a way of fighting the funk that can build up in hives. Is this a good or bad idea?
Torching the inside of the boxes sounds like a great idea... but, do the bees smell the "burn" and then avoid the box?
If not, a good coat of wax, some left over propolis - sounds like an all natural wood preservative!
not sure if this helps, but i stain all of my hives inside and out with a propolis stain cut about 1:1 with grain alcohol (everclear) this is my first year doing it, so we"ll see how long it far as cleaning propolis, i would not, keeps the girls healthy...its just a PITA for us...
Presidential, all the old boxes I am using this year have been torched and the bees don't seem to mind. I don't know if it has anything to do with it, but I don't seem to be having the problem with earwigs this year that I had last year. I don't torch the wood till it burns; I just brush the flame over the wood and singing off the splinters and bee goo. Maybe a little brownish, that’s all.
I would only move it if it's in your way...

"Propolis rarely creates problems for a beekeeper. Certainly any effort to keep a hive free of it by systematic and frequent scraping, is time wasted." --The How-To-Do-It book of Beekeeping, Richard Taylor
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