Person County Beekeepers Association had a guest speaker, Dr. Mike Simone-Finstrom, who conducted a research on the benefits of propolis to the honeybee colonies. Here’s a quick summary:
- Bees collect propolis on their hind legs and deposit it in the nest as a form of cement to seal cracks and to line the nest entrance and cavity. Seen more in feral hives than human managed Langstroth hives.
- Honeybees use of propolis may be a unique example of self-medication, since resin collection increases after they are challenged with a fungal parasite (some pests too).
- In petri dish experimentation Varroa treated with propolis were killed or slowed down, it was shown to kill the fungus that causes Chalkbrood and it has been seen as a prevention for American Foul Brood. Propolis controls and lessens the presence of bacteria which lets the bees immune system relax. If they have to focus on keeping their immune system on high alert this keeps their system taxed and at greater risk for disease.
- There are 70-150 chemical compounds in a single resin source
- Poplar trees are a main source, but leaves can be a source too
- Propolis is related only to the honeybee
- Valued as a medicine for humans due to its antimicrobial properties
- Resin collected by a forager bee must be removed by another bee in the hive
- Less than 10% of the foragers collect resin