Propolis solutions

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Propolis solutions

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How does it work?

Propolis has been suggested to have narcotic and even lethal effect on the varroa mite and other pests.[1]

To obtain a solution, frozen propolis is crushed and extracted in 70% ethanol in a rotary evaporator at 60°C for 2 hours. The obtained suspension is cooled at room temperature for approx. 1 h and filtered by suction. The filtrate is then dried in an incubator at 40°C for 2 weeks until a stable weight has been reached. Finally, the extract is mixed with 55% ethanol.[1]

Efficiency

The solution resulted in 100% mite mortality within 5 seconds in laboratory conditions, that is, the mites were placed directly on a tissue wetted with the solution.[1]

Nevertheless, in the experience conducted by Garedew A. et al., it does not appear clearly if the mite death is due to the propolis or the ethanol used to make the solution.

Risks

Propolis solutions are already produced in human medicine for e.g. local disinfection and in beekeeping for the cleaning of hives. The propolis content of the solution is therefore unlikely to affect the user and its bees. Nevertheless, the experiment by Garedew A. et al. neither has been performed in the 'live' environment of a beehive nor been assessed for possible adverse effects of direct application in a beehive or of the ethanol content of the solution on bees and brood.

Propolis solutions for the disinfection of beehives are applied on the beehive construction material and not the bees themselves. The possible susceptibility of bees and broods to direct application of a propolis solution in such concentration still needs to be investigated.

Practicability

The report by Garedew A. et al. does not suggest any application method.

The manufacture of the solution as proposed by Garedew A. et al. cannot be performed with the normal equipment of a beekeeper and is, according to the description, rather energy-intensive.

Further advices

The method used in Garedew A. et al.'s experiment (mites isolated and put directly in contact with the substance) does not reflect how the solution will behave if sprayed in a beehive where the quantity of solution reaching the mites (and bees) and the contact time is much more difficult to control. The current data are insufficient to allow judging if propolis solutions are actually efficient in a live environment and harmless to bees. The method needs more extended investigation.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Garedew A. et al., 2001: The varroacidal action of propolis: a laboratory assay. Free University of Berlin, Institute of Zoology & Institute of Animal Physiology. http://www.apidologie.org/index.php?option=article&access=standard&Itemid=129&url=/articles/apido/pdf/2002/01/Garedew.pdf




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