PROPOLIS is & resinous gum, gathered by the bees from the buds and leaves of trees and plants. The principal time of gathering it is during the months of July, August and September.
It is used by the bees to plaster the inside walls of their habitation, and stop cracks or crevices in it which they cannot pass through ; also, to coat over anything offensive which they cannot remove from their hive. Some authors assert that it is used to strengthen their combs ; this is more fanciful than real; it is true, there are occasionally some combs found having it on them, but this is apparently accidental. During some seasons there are large quantities of it gathered, while in others there is but little. Its accumulation indicates a favorable season both for honey and swarms, as well as prosperity within the hive. In the spring of the year, bees will sometimes use for the same purpose grafting wax, varnish, and even white lead (if free from the spirits of turpentine) from partially dried work. The number found carrying these substitutes is, however, very small, yet enough to show that even bees try experiments.