&   SEARCH
David A. Cushman logo
Propolis Screen or Trap

A simple device for harvesting propolis

There has been a market for good clean propolis for many years, but beekeepers have largely ignored it. If they have tried to collect propolis, it's by scraping it off the hive with a hive tool, often as an afterthought, when they see a reasonably large build-up and they don't know what to do with it. This often results in beeswax, bits of bee, wood, etc, being mixed in with the propolis, which greatly reduces the price.

The propolis screen is a simple way of harvesting clean propolis, that is worth a premium price. The majority of them are made of plastic and are the same size as the footprint of the hive. They are injection moulded and look a little like a flexible plastic queen excluder, with smaller slots. Most of them are made Langstroth size, both 8 and 10 frame. There is another type that is like a plastic net, that isn't so rigid, making it easier to roll up to remove the propolis. This type can be cut to fit any hive.

The screen is placed above a box on a strong colony, without the crown board. The net type will probably need spacers placed around the edges to hold the screen down and to avoid the roof sticking down. The bees presumably feel they can't defend the top of the hive, so fill up the slots with propolis. When full, the beekeeper removes the screen to harvest the propolis. One method is to place the screen in a tough plastic bag and put it in a freezer for 12-24 hours for the propolis to become brittle, when it can be removed and quickly rolled up, twisted, or hit with a hammer to release the propolis from the slots. The screen can be placed on another hive to repeat and the propolis bagged up for sale.

These screens are often called a "trap", but I think screen is a better word.

Roger Patterson.

Page created 11/12/2022