Sunday, June 16, 2024
Home Farming Tips Bee Venom, Lucrative Product From Bees That Farmers Rarely Tap

Bee Venom, Lucrative Product From Bees That Farmers Rarely Tap

by Jacquiline Nakandi
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By Joshua Kato

A few bee stings may after all offer significant health benefits, thanks to their venom. During the 2024 Harvest Money expo, bee farmer and trainer Stephen Kunihira explained that bee venom, though poisonous, has positive effects, such as stabilising HIV and diabetes, enhancing sexual desire and strengthening immunity when used in moderation. It is also used in skin care lotions.

“Bee venom is poison from bees. People don’t know this because all they know is that bees provide honey. But the venom is good because it stabilises those living with HIV and diabetes, it raises sexual appetite among men and women and it boosts immunity,” Kunihira explained.

However, he warned against excessive exposure to bee stings for those who may want to receive it ‘live’ from bees.

Commercial extraction of venom involves using an electric device that attracts bees to sting it.

“Do not go looking for bees to sting you because of the benefits from venom,” Kunihira says.

He adds: “There is an overdose, which can be fatal. This is why when one is stung by bees, they hurt or die without immediate medical attention.”

How to extract bee venom According to Angel Moses Kuteesa, another member of the Bee Farmers Crib, bee venom is harvested using an electric venom extractor that vibrates, catching the attention of the bees.

A bee venom collector costs between $1,500 and $2,000 or sh5m and sh7m. A set of 10 hives can produce at least one gram of venom every month.

On the local market, a gram of bee venom costs between sh150,000 and sh200,000. However, on the international market, each gram costs between $50 and $100.

“Once the venom extractor is turned on, it vibrates, which makes the bees curious and protective of their territory. The vibration makes them think that there are other bees outside and when they land on it, they get shocked. This makes them sting the extractor, leaving the venom on the surface,” Kuteesa explained.

However, unlike incidences when they sting soft surfaces and lose their stings before eventually dying, the extractor has a hard surface, which means that their stings cannot penetrate through, hence they don’t die.

According to Kuteesa and Kunihira, there are different ways of collecting bee venom:

  • Placing the venom collector panel on the entrance of the hive: This is the most efficient way of collecting bee venom. This method ensures that the collecting panels will be attacked by the bees that leave and return, as well as the bees that are protecting the hive.
  • Placing the panel on the top of honey frames is the least efficient way of collecting bee venom because the smallest amount of bees will attack the collector.
  • At the bottom of the brood chamber: This method isn’t good because by doing so, you will definitely have the highest amount of foreign material mixed with bee venom (pollen, nectar, honey, dead bees, other impurities). These foreign materials change the composition of bee venom, degrading the physiological activity of the venom.
  • In the hive, as a frame replacement, this could potentially be an efficient way of collecting bee venom if one collects it by night and closes the hive to trap all the bees inside. However, collecting during the night might be tricky since the bees are more agitated during the night. So, they are more likely to sting you to death.
  • You could set up everything the day before and turn on the collectors during the night, but if you leave the collected venom overnight in the hive, it might oxidate and lose quality, which means a lower price if you want to sell bee venom. Bee venom is a colourless fluid, but it becomes white powder after drying. Remove it from the glass plate with a scraper as soon as possible and store it in a dark glass jar or else it will oxidate, and the colour will change to dark yellow. A good way to store it would be putting the venom in a freezer. Freeze-drying is probably the most effective method of preserving it. The better and sooner it is stored properly, the more active ingredients it will have and a better price for the market. The pharmaceutical industry prefers high quality bee venom, while the beauty industry usually goes for cheaper bee venom.

By Joshua Kato

A few bee stings may after all offer significant health benefits, thanks to their venom. During the 2024 Harvest Money expo, bee farmer and trainer Stephen Kunihira explained that bee venom, though poisonous, has positive effects, such as stabilising HIV and diabetes, enhancing sexual desire and strengthening immunity when used in moderation. It is also used in skin care lotions.

“Bee venom is poison from bees. People don’t know this because all they know is that bees provide honey. But the venom is good because it stabilises those living with HIV and diabetes, it raises sexual appetite among men and women and it boosts immunity,” Kunihira explained.

However, he warned against excessive exposure to bee stings for those who may want to receive it ‘live’ from bees.

Commercial extraction of venom involves using an electric device that attracts bees to sting it.

“Do not go looking for bees to sting you because of the benefits from venom,” Kunihira says.

He adds: “There is an overdose, which can be fatal. This is why when one is stung by bees, they hurt or die without immediate medical attention.”

How to extract bee venom According to Angel Moses Kuteesa, another member of the Bee Farmers Crib, bee venom is harvested using an electric venom extractor that vibrates, catching the attention of the bees.

A bee venom collector costs between $1,500 and $2,000 or sh5m and sh7m. A set of 10 hives can produce at least one gram of venom every month.

On the local market, a gram of bee venom costs between sh150,000 and sh200,000. However, on the international market, each gram costs between $50 and $100.

“Once the venom extractor is turned on, it vibrates, which makes the bees curious and protective of their territory. The vibration makes them think that there are other bees outside and when they land on it, they get shocked. This makes them sting the extractor, leaving the venom on the surface,” Kuteesa explained.

However, unlike incidences when they sting soft surfaces and lose their stings before eventually dying, the extractor has a hard surface, which means that their stings cannot penetrate through, hence they don’t die.

According to Kuteesa and Kunihira, there are different ways of collecting bee venom:

  • Placing the venom collector panel on the entrance of the hive: This is the most efficient way of collecting bee venom. This method ensures that the collecting panels will be attacked by the bees that leave and return, as well as the bees that are protecting the hive.
  • Placing the panel on the top of honey frames is the least efficient way of collecting bee venom because the smallest amount of bees will attack the collector.
  • At the bottom of the brood chamber: This method isn’t good because by doing so, you will definitely have the highest amount of foreign material mixed with bee venom (pollen, nectar, honey, dead bees, other impurities). These foreign materials change the composition of bee venom, degrading the physiological activity of the venom.
  • In the hive, as a frame replacement, this could potentially be an efficient way of collecting bee venom if one collects it by night and closes the hive to trap all the bees inside. However, collecting during the night might be tricky since the bees are more agitated during the night. So, they are more likely to sting you to death.
  • You could set up everything the day before and turn on the collectors during the night, but if you leave the collected venom overnight in the hive, it might oxidate and lose quality, which means a lower price if you want to sell bee venom. Bee venom is a colourless fluid, but it becomes white powder after drying. Remove it from the glass plate with a scraper as soon as possible and store it in a dark glass jar or else it will oxidate, and the colour will change to dark yellow. A good way to store it would be putting the venom in a freezer. Freeze-drying is probably the most effective method of preserving it. The better and sooner it is stored properly, the more active ingredients it will have and a better price for the market. The pharmaceutical industry prefers high quality bee venom, while the beauty industry usually goes for cheaper bee venom.

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