Propolis is a type of resin produced by specific species of tree. Honey bees forage for this substance and use it within their hives. Propolis is a powerful antiseptic and bees coat all of the surfaces in the hive with it, helping to keep it free from bacteria, fungus and disease.

Bees also use propolis to block small gaps in the hive and sometimes even to embalm animals! If an animal too large for the bees to carry, such as a mouse or lizard, breaks into the hive and is stung to death, the bees will cover it with propolis to stop it from rotting in the hive. Humans collect propolis from hives and use it in medicine, for example as a lotion to treat skin problems.

A photograph of propolis on a bee hive.

A photograph of propolis on a bee hive.
Photograph by Abalg.

Other names for (or types of) Propolis include:

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