Bee Venom

Bee Venom

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Similarly, Bee Venom is also a wonderdrug. More specifically Bee Venom Therapy  is the therapeutic application of honeybee venom, through live bee stings and topical creams, which bring relief and healing for various spinal, neural, joint, or musculo-skeletal ailments. From circulation issues and high blood pressure to arthritis and rheumatism, bee venom stimulates the adrenal glands to produce cortisol, a natural human hormone that has anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, Bee venom jump starts the immune system to produce a healing response through the pituitary, and adrenal glands, and activates the production of endorphins, the body’s natural pain killer.

I recently read a book by Fred Malone titled “Bees don’t get Arthritis”, where after a road trip across the United States interviewing as many beekeepers as possible the author concluded that the low percentage of beekeepers facing chronic health issues can be attributed to their frequent ingestion of bee venom. He also notes the overall vitality and longevity of beekeepers in general and directly correlates it to the commonness of sting on the job.

Just as in all bee products, allergic reactions are possible with the treatment of bee venom and therefor its important to take precaution in their administration. If further interested in Bee Venom Therapy, seek out your local apitherapist for a consultation!

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Help Bring Bee Free Apiaries To Ethiopia!

Help Bring Bee Free Apiaries To Ethiopia!

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 The practice of beekeeping has intrinsic health benefits through providing a food source of great nutritional value, and furthermore beekeeping requires few inputs and capitalizes on a ready supply of pollen. In rural areas there is almost an unlimited source of pollen, and bees’ aid greatly in the natural cross pollination of local crops. The introduction of a BeeFree apiary  in the villages within the Kembata-Tembaro region in Southwest Ethiopia will demonstrate how beekeeping based on the principles of bee health and nutrition, will carry forward the same benefits to the communities involved.

Summary: Due to the physical demands of traditional beekeeping in Ethiopia, and women’s household responsibilities, the work is traditionally practiced by men.   The products of beekeeping are usually focused on the sale of honey for supplementary income. Introducing modern forms of beekeeping through the creation of therapeutic apiaries will allow for more women to take part in the practice as well as generate a higher yield of product.  In addition these new methodologies will improve the health of bees, and thus the flora they service. Beekeepers can then diversify their investment by using a large portion of their harvests for community health issues.  Integrating these practices into the community’s agriculture approach will have a much greater affect than merely increasing yields in bee products and crops.  If this program is managed effectively pollination will be increased, the community will have direct access to the nutritional and health benefits of honey, pollen, propolis and wax, jobs will be created for women, and the disabled, artisan work will be sourced to local wood and metal workers, and surplus honey and wax can be sold to local markets to generate a cash income for local women and their families. 

Our goals at Bee Free Apiaries encompass a holistic three phase approach.

1. Youth Engagement- Beginning with a week long education unit taking place in region’s school we engage community youth through our interactive hands on curriculum in the creation of a unique and personalized shadow puppet theater. Daily lessons and activities are  paralleled to the lessons of the stories main characters encompassing such themes as collaboration and teamwork. Our overall goal for this phase is for students to become animated and educated about the  the benefits of integrating beehives into their community.

Resources needed to implement phase one include international travel for Bee Free Teachers, in country transportation to and from project site, stipend for local assistant working 13 hours across 5 days aiding in day to day tasks including translation, 10 hours at 2 hours a day of classroom time, materials including projector, white screen, cardboard, cutters and paints. Costs estimated at 4,000 US

2. Apiary Preparation and construction of 25 Community Hives- Community land will be assessed and bee free apiary will be placed in close proximity to plants and trees providing the richest annual forage possible. The area should provide adequate shade by nearby trees and shrubs, and apiary placement will be located at safe distance from regular village livelihoods.

After initial placement of the BeeFree apiary our objectives for phase two
I.    Construction of closed roof work space for honey harvest and storage equipment  built by available local resources and placed in close proximity to apiary.

II. Working in collaboration with local artisans, our beehives, tools, and protective clothing are designed and built to fit the community’s needs. After fabrication, beehive pieces are brought to the community for assembly and then painted by community youth.

III. Depending on local population of bees, colonies will either be transferred from preexisting traditional beehives, or bought from local beekeepers association.

Resources needed to implement phase 2 include the material and labor of a closed roof work space,  25 bee hives and bee colonies, 12 sets of protective clothing and boots, 12 metal hive tools, 6 smokers, product harvesting materials, packaging containers, and 2 days of car rental including petrol costs for equipment transportation. Costs estimated at $4,000 US

3. Beekeeper Training and Beneficial Bee Product Use Education. In collaboration with local beekeeping association,  basic beekeeping principles are taught to participating community members and are provided with the tools and know-how to become healthy and happy beekeepers. Our goal in the Kembata-Tembora region of Ethiopia is to vitalize women with skills in Beekeeping as a way of addressing general health issues and rural poverty.  Health benefits of beehive products will be specifically addressed in affiliation with local health care practitioners in respect to traditional care practices.

Once community Apiary is set up and group of village members are educated, its time for nature to do its work.

Resources needed for phase three include time, transportation and lodging of local beekeeper for the duration of the week long unit, Bee Free teacher stipend for time and preparation of course curriculum, class materials of notebooks, writing utensils and beekeeper log books. Estimated cost for phase 3 $2,500 US

Estimated Total Cost for the 3 Phase Implementation Plan= $10,500

In order to make this project possible in the Kembata-Temboro region of Ethiopia we need your help in fulfilling the necessary resources. Whether it be moral or monetary, all assistance is appreciated!

Bee Pollen

Pollen7

Thanks to the visits made by bees to the flowers around them, our fruits and vegetables are made possible. Roughly 90% of the fresh foods we eat everyday, to give you a better idea.

Supplying their hive mates with the necessary protein they need for development, designated pollen collecting bees make countless trips to the flowers around them in pursuit of this golden dust. Once they reach their destination, they mix their saliva with the fine yellow particles and adhere the newly clumped mix to the sticky hairs on their hind legs. This protein rich element also happens to be the reproductive element of the plant. So when the bee brushes its body through the pollen carrying tentacles in order to collect the fine  powder, the removal and transfer of pollen send the flowers’ eggs into motion and the flower can begin to put on its fruits.

Whether or not the Bee realizes the life giving results of its actions, they gracefully make their way back to the hive where they once again transfer the pollen towards their mouth, mix it with more saliva and back it into pollen specific cells.

They then use this pollen do develop their young. As freshly laid eggs turn into larva, designated worker bees are responsible for filling their cells with the proper nutrients they need for development. Before being capped off for their final stage of metamorphosis this protein filled substance is pack tightly into their cell. After 21 days or 24 days within the cell, depending if the bees is female of male, the young bee will have consumed all of the nutrients within the cell before emerging and joining their new bee family.

Not only is pollen life giving to the beehive, but it’s moderate and minfull consumption by humans can be life changing. Because of its scientifically proven composition of enzymes and amino acids, making it one of natures most complete foods, bee pollen corrects deficient or unbalanced nutrition, restoring overall vitality. Its complex composition helps to extend longevity, aids recovery from chronic illnesses, helps to add weight in situations of malnutrition, reduces cravings and addictions, regulates the intestines, helps to build new blood, prevents infectious diseases such as colds and the flu due to its antibiotic properties, and also helps to overcome retardation and other development problems in children. Some studies have even shown bee pollen to carry anti-cancer qualities as well as help to protect against radiation. These truly are just a few of the health benefits. Directly derived from nature by nature before given to us, bee pollen is truly life giving.

 

Propolis

Propolis

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Collected from the saps excreted from budding trees and shrubs, Propolis is pasty dark colored resin collected by the Bees and used in the hive to close off openings and keep all outsiders out. Mixed with saliva and nectar  to achieve its malleable consistency it’s one of natures most complete antibiotics and is used as the beehives’ natural immune system. Bees also coat the entrance of their hive with this sappy substance to clean and disinfect them when they enter. Studies have even shown that the immune system of an individual honey bee is reflective of the amount of propolis within the hive.  They even use it to coat, cover and eventually kill off through suffocation uninvited guests such as beetles and mice. It truly is amazing stuff.

Scraped from the hive or collected by humans through the installation and scrapping of a gaped false roof placed on top of the beehive, propolis is a  complex natural mixture of compounds which together offer a range of therapeutic benefits.

Since the beginning of human kind, propolis has been used in its raw form for the treatment of deep burns and wounds in order to keep infections out  and to aid in healing. A small portion of the sticky sap like matter can also be kept in the mouth to ease the symptoms of a sore throat. Its antibacterial qualities have also been shown to help in cases of oral health. Its direct application helps in the healing of canker sores, while the application in paste like form helps to regenerate healthy tissue in cases of gingivitis. It’s anti fungal properties also help in cases of chronic bad breath. Propolis tinctures, where the resin has been diluted and distilled in alcohol, is also used to promote heart health and strengthen the immune system. Not bad right?

Anyone Anywhere Can Be a Beekeeper

Honey Gatherer in las Cuevas de Araña, Andalusia, Spain

Anyone, anywhere can be a beekeeper.

Bees can be kept in urban backyard gardens, lush open hillsides overlooking the ocean, remote tropical forests, and even seasonally cold inner city roof tops.

The race of honeybee changes depending on the local environment and how it needs to behave in order to survive, the style of hive differs according to local knowledge as well as readily available resources for building, and the relationship that the beekeeper has with their bees reflects their overall goal for keeping them.

However, what doesn’t change are the benefits that we as individuals and as communities receive through keeping them. They pollinate our crops, carrying the pollen to and from their budding flowers making our fruits and vegetable possible. The consumption of their products provide us with unparalleled nutrition, while the application of their products provide us with readily available and practical medicine. Not only can we stimulate our health through bees presence, but our economy as well. Honey is one of histories oldest commodities, it has maintained it’s value over thousands of years.

Honey

honeyHumans have been using honey as medicine for thousands of years. Its good for just about everything. It’s calming qualities help to soothes coughs and throat irritations, its’ curative qualities help to regenerate skin growth for wounds and burns, and its’ absorptive qualities kill off bacteria in skin outbreaks and infections. It is a readily available and compact form of complex carbohydrates, ideal for circumstances of malnutrition as well as for athletes. Because it is already broken down by the bees, in the process of making it, honey helps with digestion as well as to stimulate the appetite. It truly can be considered nature’s miracle drug.

It is also important to keep in mind how much bees work to generate this stuff. Bees fly over 55,000 miles visiting 2 million flowers to produce 1 pound of honey. That’s equivalent to flying around the world 4 times. They of course, do this for themselves.

Upon completing all other roles, within the hive, the honey bee takes on the role of a forager and leaves the hives in pursuit of the life giving nectar produced by nearby flowers. Honey bees will fly up to 6 miles from the hive in order to fill their mouths with this sweet life giving substance. Once they return to the hive, the forager passes the nectar off to a receiving bee by way of a kiss. Through this transaction the flower nectar is mixed with stomach enzymes and begins to breakdown and condense into the final honey state. The receiving bee then makes it’s way through the hive before regurgitating the nectar enzyme mix into previously built honey cells where it will further condense. Once that cell is filled by at least 9 foraging trips and the remaining moisture content is reduced below 18% ,  it is capped off by a thin layer of wax, (yes, produced by bees as well) where it will be stored indefinitely until future use.

They do of course have a reason. All this work provides them with the food and nutrients they need to pass through flowerless winters.

Knowing how much energy Bees put into producing this commodity, its important and even advantageous to keep in mind its value when consuming and applying.

Beekeeping Basics and Beneficial Use of Beehive Products

Beekeeping Basics and Beneficial Use of Beehive Products

 

©2012 Julien L. Balmer, all rights reservedVISUALSPECTRUM photography | Bangkok & Zürich

©2012 Julien L. Balmer, all rights reserved
VISUALSPECTRUM photography | Bangkok & Zürich

You don’t need a whole lot to become a beekeeper. More than anything you need motivation. Remember the bees do most of the work! In the third phase of our implementation plan we provide new beekeepers with the confidence to immerse themselves into their new hives. After the basic biology is understood, the hive becomes pretty self explanatory. Bees don’t tend to complicate things, they collaborate with the other 50,000 members of the hive in order to achieve what they need to in order to survive.

Once this is understood we can then look at the products of the hive and why and how they are created.  We then as beekeepers, implement appropriate collection methods in order to collect the bee products for our personal consumption and application. Propolis, and pollen are both full of nutrient rich properties that are of interest for human consumption.

It’s also important for us to understand the agricultural benefits of integrating beehives into our communities. Pollination will increase the flowers and plants we have around us, which means that the local crop yield will increase accordingly as well.

For sustainability sake, and also for what some people might consider the most attractive element of beekeeping, its nice to look at  the economic benefits of beekeeping. A strong working hive can produce close to 200 pounds or 90 kilos of honey during a strong season. Its important to leave the bees with a fair share, as they need it to survive through winter. If you were to take half of that and multiply it by 10 dollars per pound you get 1000$ dollars. Factor in packing costs and maybe your down to 800$, on just one hive. Not bad right?