Beekeeping: Lucrative potential of bee venom

Beekeepers from Svrljig, a village that has the highest number of bee hives in Serbia, have started to collect the most expensive bee product – bee venom – which is used for treating numerous diseases, and which market price can go up to $70,000 per kilogramme.

Biology professor, Momcilo Bogdanovic explains how is venom collected: “A plate is installed on a bee hive which is then connected to a device that generates electricity of certain frequency which, in turn, irritates bees to the point that they start stinging the plate and releasing the venom. The venom crystals are then kept in a jar at a temperature between -80 and +115 degrees Celsius”.

Collecting venom does not harm bees in any way, Bogdanovic adds. “One bee produces around 0.3 milligrams of venom, and 0.1mg is released in one sting. When a bee stings a human, it loses its sting and dies. However, when it stings the aforementioned plate, it only releases venom, but does not lose the sting”, Bogdanovic adds.

Bee venom has important medicinal properties and is given as a shot for rheumatoid arthritis, nerve pain (neuralgia), multiple sclerosis (MS), reducing the reaction to bee stings in people who are allergic (desensitization) to them (venom immunotherapy), swollen tendons (tendonitis), and muscle conditions such as fibromyositis and enthesitis.

“The venom collection season lasts only three months, from April to early August. In order to collect one gram of venom, we need at least 90,000 bees to sting the plate. So, 130 bee hives can produce around 150 grams of venom”, Bogdanovic explains.

President of the Beekeeping Association from Svrljig, Toplica Djordjevic says that collecting bee venom can be a very lucrative business because 100 grams can be sold for up to $7,000.

(Srbija Danas, 14.01.2018)

This post is also available in: Italiano

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