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Propolis is of plant origin

Propolis is harvested by bees from the buds of certain trees such as alders, birches, willows, elms, oaks, etc. but especially from poplars. You can also find propolis on the bark of resinous trees such as pines, firs or even spruces.

Once harvested, the bees modify it by adding some of their salivary secretions. Thus its composition varies according to the plant species present but also according to the season, the climate and the geographical environment.

The role of propolis in the hive

The resin thus transformed is transported by the worker bee on its hind legs and brought back to the hive.

Unlike pollen, resin is not stored. It serves as a coating with which the bees line the walls of the entire hive. This allows them to guarantee its asepsis. Indeed, propolis has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties.

It can also be used for the development of the hive. The workers use it to seal the cracks and repair the cells.

Finally, to avoid infections due to the presence of corpses in the hive (intruders), propolis is used to mummify the bodies. For example, it is possible to find the mummified body of rodents that have had the misfortune to venture into the hive.

The composition, quality and appearance of propolis are specific to its collection area, it presents, whatever its origin, constant and lasting substances: 

  • 50-55% resins and balms;

  • 25 to 35% wax (30% on average)

  • 10% volatile or essential oils;

  • 5% pollen

  • 5% of various organic and mineral materials.

Brazil is one of the biggest producers of propolis; a green propolis reputed to be rich in multiple properties. 

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