Bees are small insects extremely organized, clean and effective with extraordinary capability of defense. In case an intruder threatens their habitat, a multitude of bee stings might change the mind of the intruder altogether. But sometimes, small insects such as
lizards or rodents enters a hive of bees. In no time, the intruder is killed by the bees with their famous weapon- bee stings. But the body of the rodent will rot and that could potentially kill the bee hive altogether. So bees develop a unique way of dealing with unwanted dead intruders by mummifying them. They accomplish this by wrapping the potential contaminant- in this case a dead mouse_ in a substance called propolis. This is a substance that bees harvest from saps from different trees and they do add enzymes . Some trees such as pine do make a special sap like amber that might trap insects for thousands of years, acting very much in the same way as the propolis does. Actually we can still isolate the DNA from those insects trapped in amber after many thousands of years. Once the intruder is wrapped in propolis, it stays like this indefinitely, without contaminating the hive with any pathogens from decomposing body. This is the ultimate mummification method and absolutely effective.
If this substance has the ability to prevent the body from decomposing than the benefits of propolis could be explored and used by us for our benefit. The benefits of propolis will be discussed in another blog.