beekeeping equipment propolis

Propolis is easy to remove in cold weather

If you are a new beekeeper you might not realize that propolis is very easy to scrape from your equipment once it gets cold. I don’t even try to remove the stuff in summer because it strings out like bubble gum and refuses to release from whatever it’s stuck to—which is first your bee equipment, then your hive tool, then your hands, then your pants.

As soon as it gets cold, however, it breaks like glass. It actually shatters. So now is the time to start removing it—at least up here in the north.

Although I’m not compulsive about removing it from everything, I do try to get it off my section honey equipment simply because I want my section boxes to look as nice as possible when they are complete. Since there is forest all around my apiary, my bees collect a fair bit of propolis in a very short time.

Today I worked on veneer separators and section holders. It was going pretty well until the day warmed up enough for the bees to fly, then they decided to see what I was doing. They lurked around for a while licking the separators before and after I scraped them, then ducked back home when the shadows started to stretch.


Veneer separators ready to scrape. Photo by the author.

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