Propolis is a set of resinous, gummy and balsamic substances collected by bees on the buds of certain trees, in particular poplars for France and Europe.
The propolis which in Greek means "in front of the city" is erected in front of the entrance to the hive as a natural barrier to protect the colony from microbiological attacks and predators.
A unique material in nature
The richness of propolis lies in the multitude of active substances it contains. We find among them: flavonoids, phenolic acids, aromatic acids and many trace elements that make it a unique material in nature. In recent years, the scientific community has looked more seriously at propolis, highlighting an important potential for the well-being of human beings, naturally unique.
With a pretty amber color and viscous consistency, the bees modify the composition of the resin collected by bringing some of their secretions and wax. There are also certain impurities linked to the use of hives by the beekeeper and to the activity of the bees themselves.
The smell and taste of propolis are very characteristic. Its smell is that of the beehive and of nature, reminiscent of coniferous forests, with scents of vanilla and hyacinth! Its stinging taste in the mouth, it is the witness of its activity.
A precious harvest
A certain number of forager bees, specialized in this difficult work, collect resin from the buds using their tongue and mandibles and then their hind legs. It is there in the form of large drops that the bee brings back to the hive for various uses: varnishing the walls of the hive, repair and sterilization of combs and cells, coating and embalming foreign bodies. All these actions ensure the sanitization of the hive.
It is then sufficient for the beekeeper to take this propolis from the hive without harming the colony:
- by annual scraping of the frames of the hive supers
- by the use of perforated grids: the bee mouths the holes.
The quantity harvested is between 100 and 300g on average per hive and per year.
This shows how propolis is a rare and noble material for the health of all.