Working With Beekeepers

Defender of the City

Propolis is collected to protect the colony of bees itself, hence its name Pro-Polis meaning 'Before the City' or 'Defender of the City'.

Bees invariably produce more than they need. In commercial hives the bees 'warehouse' this additional material sometimes (from the beekeeper's point of view) in the most inconvenient places. As well as using it to sterilise the hive and protect the brood cells, they gum the frames to the hive side and fill up any gaps where potential intruders might enter.

Commercial collection of propolis

Each colony of bees will only produce a relatively small quantity of extra propolis per year, perhaps half a kilo, although they can be encouraged to produce more - without harm to themselves - with the use of special propolis collecting traps.

Commercial producers of propolis require large quantities (tonnes) of raw material. Major world producers include China, Russia, South America and USA. Traditionally there has always been propolis collection in certain European countries (Spain, France, Italy) as well as the old Eastern European countries: Romania, Poland, the old Yugoslavia, Bulgaria.

In all these countries it is collected using a variety of methods, from scraping to the use of propolis traps.

Not all countries collect propolis commercially

Not all beekeeping countries collect propolis. Many countries in Africa, Asia and even the UK itself have no tradition of collecting. Usually this is because there is no recognition of the medicinal value of propolis or because it is not thought to be commercially viable.

Understanding how propolis differs around the world

Not all propolis is the same. Propolis contains upwards of 180 different chemicals which vary depending on the local flora, climate and type of bees collecting. BeeVital, in it's major research programme, is setting out to map the chemical and biological properties of propolis from every part of the world. The reason for this is that although propolis may differ chemically from country to country, we believe it fulfils a similar role in the hive and therefore is likely to have the same biological or pharmacological properties i.e. it is antibacterial or anti fungal etc.

Propolis testing and purchase

Whether it is commercially viable for you to collect propolis (wherever you are in the world) will depend on whether your propolis has the necessary biological properties. BeeVital will test your propolis and if it is shown to have the necessary properties, may purchase it from you at a fair price.

The BeeVital Collection Scheme

BeeVital is developing a number of schemes to encourage beekeepers to collect propolis including schemes involving the loan of propolis traps. If you are interested in any of these schemes then please contact us now to find out more. If you would like to send us a sample of your raw propolis please fill in the form and send it to us with the sample. Contact us now.

Propolis & Beekeeping

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