9 June 2013

Propolised, mummified, bumble bee

I found this dead insect on the floor of one of my hives a couple of weeks ago. I think it's a de-haired (except for the punk topknot) and heavily propolised bumble bee.

I think it's likely to be a female - they're the ones that overwinter and search for suitable nesting sites in the Spring.

Mummified Bumble Bee
Honey bees cover everything they can't move with a layer of propolis - it's their antiseptic, antibiotic, house cleaner and draught excluder.

To make propolis, honey bees collect sap and resin from trees such as Birch, Pine, Sycamore. They process and combine this with pollen and wax.

According to pbeeproducts: "Raw propolis is composed of 50-70% resins and balsams, 30-50% wax, 5-10% pollen and 10% essential oils."

Amazing stuff!

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