How to collect propolis: 3 ways to extract from bees, storage and processing

How to collect propolis: 3 ways to extract from bees, storage and processing

An important job for a beekeeper is the collection and harvesting of propolis. A product called bee glue is highly valued by adherents of traditional medicine. On the one hand, its assembly is not so difficult, but on the other hand, you have to work carefully. In order to understand how to properly collect propolis without harming the bees, you will have to take into account a number of important rules and expert advice.

Collection Methods

The substance is removed mechanically from the honeycombs. It has to be scraped off from all surfaces of the hive: canvases, frames, body walls. Most of the product is on the racks.Despite the laborious task, the end result is very small - this is normal. There are several ways to collect propolis.

Using a shield

Actively used by owners of a large number of hives. In each of them, a special lattice is pre-installed where the insects store the material.

  1. First you need to make a shield from the available material: plastic, wood. There should be a small distance between each of the slats - about 3 mm.
  2. The result is set on top of the frames. It must be covered with canvas of a similar size so that it does not stick to the lid of the hive. The distance between the top cover and the shield should also be present - about 8-10 mm.
  3. Do not remove the shield until its grate is covered with propolis.
  4. It remains only to collect the material - scrape off with a suitable tool.

Important! Carrying out the above manipulations does not provide for the need to smoke out the bees.

Using a bee chisel

Another tool designed to collect propolis. The chisel is sold in specialized stores for beekeepers. It is smaller and lighter than construction. With its help, it is easy not only to clean the frames from bee glue, but also to push them apart without damage.

Outwardly it is a solid iron plate. One of its ends is pointed on both sides, and the other - only on one side, bent at a right angle. The exact size of the chisel doesn't really matter. It all depends on the personal preferences of the beekeeper.

Fact! The owners of a small apiary usually collect propolis with a chisel.

Brazilian way

The basis of the next collection option is to create a hole in the hive body. A pair of slats of small length is attached to it from the inside - up to 1.5 cm. This helps to create an additional draft, which will not please the bees very much. They will use all their strength to actively patch it with propolis. All that remains for the beekeeper is to periodically change the slats with the collected material.

When to collect?

The ideal time for harvesting bee glue is the end of the collection season (last decade of August, mid-September). Some experienced beekeepers postpone the procedure until spring, motivating their decision by the fact that during this period the bees do not need glue, and its disappearance from the hive will not be critical for them.

Before the procedure, you need to assess the situation in the hive, the state of the family. If the insects are lethargic, weak and inactive, it is better to postpone the collection to another time.

Important! It is forbidden to perform the procedure in late autumn, winter or immediately after the snow melts.

How to properly collect propolis

The quality of bee glue directly depends on how it was assembled. Beekeepers extract the product with their hands, scraping it off the frames with a chisel or devices with similar pointed details.

In the hot summer, for a more accurate collection of propolis, gauze covering the frames is used. After extraction, it is placed in the freezer, and after a day the entire product is easily scraped off.

Attention! So that in the process of work the bees do not have serious stress from what is happening, the procedure is carried out in the early morning or late evening.

Before harvesting bee glue for storage, it must be thoroughly cleaned. First, a large litter is removed from the material, after which the propolis is passed through a sieve. Next - cleaning the bonds from wax. The work can be done in several ways.

  1. Water. You will need parchment for baking, a fine sieve, a grater. Rub the ouza through a sieve, place the resulting crumb in warm water and mix thoroughly. Anything that pops up is trash to throw away. Strain the remaining composition, spread the propolis on gauze and let dry. After rolling into a roll, wrap in parchment.
  2. Warm. Grind the product on a grater, pour into a saucepan, put it on a water bath, stirring vigorously. Soon all the wax will float to the surface, and the bee glue will settle to the bottom. Before harvesting, it will have to be filtered through a fine sieve.
  3. Cold. Place propolis in the freezer for 12 hours, then grate, then sift through a sieve. Wax will turn to dust, and the necessary material will be taken in a lump.

Product storage and processing

For long-term storage of propolis after cleaning, it must be rolled into a ball or left in the form of dust.For packaging, cellophane bags, food foil or parchment for baking are used. If you follow the storage conditions, the product can remain good for up to 10 years. To do this, the temperature in the room should not exceed +25 degrees, and air humidity - 60%. It is best to place the ouza in the refrigerator, rolling it into small balls.

Attention! Packaged propolis should not be exposed to direct sunlight, otherwise it will quickly deteriorate.

How can I tell if propolis has been purified?

Those who want to buy propolis or understand how well it has been purified, just remember a few simple signs.

  1. The color of a good product is golden, slightly greenish. Dark shades indicate long storage, and too light tone indicates poor cleaning.
  2. The taste of the bond is bitter, with a tart aftertaste.
  3. Cleaned bond sticks to teeth.
Propolis is a valuable product. Despite the difficulties in the process of collecting it, the benefits of the product fully pays off the effort. It is only important to properly collect, clean and prepare bee glue for subsequent storage.
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