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Help! Is this propolis or something i need to worry about?

Hi everyone. I have had my bees since June. It is now super hot and dry, sometimes 40 degrees C for days and days. I am in thr Rome, Italy area.

My last hive inspection was fine. Spotted the queen, no varroa.

I saw a little of this brown stuff at the entrance. I removed it.

But this morning the entire front is covered in it. And on the right hand side it looks like a tomb of a large insect.

I have noticed hornets and wasps have been coming around the hive and I know they close up the hive with propolis for winter, but this is August. I know they use propolis to close the hive to prevent invaders, so that makes sensenas well considering all the huge hornets and the wasps I see trying to enter.

Is there something wrong here or is this normal?

For me it doesn’t look like propolis in photos i have seen. It is brown and sticky.




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Hi Sarah, it looks like propolis to me. Could be browner than you’ve seen before due to the type of tree the bees are gathering it from. That IS a lot of it though, so I can see why you’re surprised! But it makes sense with the invaders and the heat - aside from wanting smaller entrances to guard, the bees will also do a better job of convecting air into and out of their hive when the openings are not so wide.

Since learning about this from the forum I use a central entrance reducer that leaves an opening on either side. On hot days you can see groups of bees clustered at and below each, all fanning to direct the air!

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the bees clearly don’t want such a big entrance. I always reduce long entrances down to no more than 3 inches long- all year round. I will make it even smaller over winter if its a small colony. Just 4 bee widths or so. Ypou could help your bees out by putting a piece of wood in that slot. On some of my flow hives I have two small entrances one at either side. bees seem to like that too.

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The bees seem to want a smaller entrance, so go with that. If the hive is weak and under intense attack from wasps and hornets you should intervene. They can sense a weak hive and will attack it until they destroy it. However I guess it is quite strong given that they have been able to collect all this propolis.
But you do have varroa. Its endemic in Italy and by the time you actually see varroa, the hive is probably heavily infested.

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Thank you! I opened it a month ago because it has been over 40 for most days where I live.

Over 40 - I always have to do a double-take when folks note temps in C, because here in the US this sounds pretty chilly :laughing: Believe it or not, the bees can cool it more efficiently with the smaller openings. Better ways to help them would be making sure the roof and hive bodies are a light color, and providing or locating the hives where they’ll have shade in the afternoon.

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