Coming into autumn here in Southern Ontario which means it is almost time to put the bees to bed for the winter. Of the three hives we started this year one went to double brood boxes with surplus, and the other two, although we tried to get double brood boxes, have reduced them back to one. We had the inspector visit a month ago to confirm a wax moth infestation and varrora mites. We’ve treated with formic acid, an organic treatment, and things are looking a little better. Soon we will need to wrap and insulate as the temperatures drop below 5C.
Snapped this photo of our home bees. You can see the resineous propolis, the glue which holds the hive together. It is made from tree bud and sap and acts as a sealant for unwanted open spaces.
Propolis as it turns out, contains many minerals, including magnesium, calcium, phosphorus and potassium, as well as beta carotene, bioflavonoids, vitamins B1 and B2. Bioflavonoids may help strengthen capillary walls and connective tissue, enhance absorption of vitamin C, and play a supportive role in reducing respiratory infections, bleeding gums, varicose veins, and many other ailments. Many who take propolis regularly report fewer colds, flus, infections along with greater stamina and energy. It is occasionally made into a tincture, or throat spray or mouthwash.
If applied topically, bee propolis may be helpful for minor burns, cuts, scrapes, and bruises. Rumour has it it works well on bee stings. Well, I was stung about a dozen times this year, so perhaps I will wait until next year to try it.