The New International Encyclopædia/Propolis

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PRO'POLIS (Lat., from Gk. πρόπολις, bee glue, suburbs, from πρό, pro, before + πόλις, polis, city). A substance commonly known as ‘bee glue,’ which is obtained by the domestic honeybee from the buds and crevices of trees, and is carried by the workers to the hive in the basket-like cavities on the tibial joints of the hind legs. It is resinous in its chemical composition, and differs with the tree from which it is collected. It is used at once to stop up crevices in the hives, and to varnish the whole interior surface as well as to glue movable portions fast; also in strengthening the attachments of combs, and if the latter are designed exclusively for honey the edges of the completed cells receive a thin coating. The flight-hole is often made smaller by filling a part of it with masses of propolis, sometimes mixed with old wax. Bees of the Carniolan race gather the smallest quantities of propolis and those of the Tunisian race the greatest amount; on this account the former are better suited to the production of white-comb honey.