Packin’ propolis

I am pleased to share another photo from Louisiana beekeeper Robert Lunsford who, earlier this year, sent awesome images of chimney bees. Today’s photo shows a honey bee fanning in front of her hive while carrying a full load of propolis. I love the way the light glows through the big, gooey drops. Better still is the shadow cast by her fast moving wings. The shadow takes on a surreal shape, probably the result of the figure-eight pattern of her wing movement. All in all, a great shot. Thanks, Robert!


Honey bee with a load of propolis. Photo © Robert Lunsford.


  • I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bee packing propolis, not that I’ve recognized as such at least. There’s not a doubt the DOFT are getting it somewhere though!

    I wonder if propolis is an opportunistic harvest item or a signaled shopping item? As well, how do they clean up after the run?

    Great action and shadow shot. 🙂

    Kent WA

  • I’m looking for an eco friendly propolis. Usa harvested. I want to support us bee keepers. Unfortunately the ones on the internet either come from china or are usa made but will not tell me how they care for their bees.

    Any suggestions? You would be surprised how many come from china …even the ones that say eco friendly like y.s. honey brand. Heard that a lot of Chinese company’s are buying up smaller company’s in new Zealand and sending product back to China to be cut with their honey and resold. Even the Manuka rating system is a sham. I need the propolis for my lymes disease.

    Would love some help. Not very good at the internet or technology.
    Thank you .

  • Hi Cricket,

    Look for a mid-size local beekeeper. Maybe at the local farmers market. Google local beekeeper or local honey. Offer to help get supers cleaned and ready for the next year or help clean up dead-outs in the spring.

    Tell them you would like to take some of the propolis home for your needs. I would bite on that offer, nice to have help for some of the more repetitive tasks. Don’t overlook the next most logical answer, “become a beekeeper.” There are propolis traps you could put on 2 or 3 smaller hives to accommodate your needs OR if you were able to develop a relationship with a beekeeper maybe you could provide cost relief for the propolis trap to use on one of the beekeeper’s hives and just occasionally go pick it up to remove the propolis at your leisure.

  • I’m selling a purified propolis right now at $0.50 per gram. I don’t have a huge supply. I’ve just started collecting and purifying it by dissolving it in alcohol and dewaxing it.

  • This morning I heard BEES, which have been a bit scarce lately. I tracked them to a tall West Indian Almond tree on a neighbouring property. It is not in flower. Definitely honey bees, and they are flying into the terminal end of the branches from where the large leaves grow in a rosette. Their upper sides are glossy, but the undersides and stems are densely coated in soft short hairs. I tasted a leaf for sweetness or any noticeable exudate, but it was totally dry and furry. I managed to get a couple of in-focus photos of a bee ‘licking’ the hairy underside of a leaf. I just read that that species of tree is high in tannins. Don’t know if that could be an attraction, or what other reason so many bees would be there. I didn’t see any aphids, either, nor their sticky residue. Maybe you’ve already posted about this?

    • Wendy,

      Could they be collecting plant resins? Resins are what honey bees use to make propolis. Certain plants exude lots of them, other plants hardly any. I don’t thick the resins need to be wet, they could be more dry and waxy. I’m just guessing here. The other thing they could collect is water that is captured amoung the plant hairs.

      • I wish I knew more! We’ve had very little rain, so maybe there’s water trapped in them thar hairs. There’s a long pittosporum hedge full of flowers and aphids just yards away from the tree, but only about 3 bees visiting it, whereas the gigantic tree is vibrating with them. Each bee alights for only a second or two before carrying on to the next bunch of leaves. I’ll return and look more closely.

        Thanks as always, Rusty.

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