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What is Bee Venom

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What is Bee Venom?
Bee venom is a complex combination of chemical substances produced by the worker and queen honeys bees. The venom is used together with parts of the bee’s anatomy (called the “sting apparatus”) to sting intruders in defence of the honey bee colony. Drone (male) honey bees do not produce venom and do not have a sting apparatus.

Bee venom is produced in the venom (or acid) gland of the bee, and is stored in an adjacent sac in the bee’s abdomen. The amount of venom a bee has depends on its age. Newly hatched bees don’t have any venom at all, but the amount increases rapidly for the first two weeks of a worker bee’s life, reaching a plateau of about 0.3mg (dry weight).

If a bee stings tough skin (eg a human’s) the whole apparatus pulls out the abdomen of the bee. The venom sac is pulled out with it and it keeps pumping venom until it runs out. Because the removal of the sting apparatus ruptures the bee’s abdomen, the bee dies within a short period of time VENZ™ (Venom New Zealand) has invented a collection device for venom that doesn’t kill the bees. The device consists of a glass sheet that is put on the bottom of the beehive. The glass sheet conducts a gentle electric current. When the current is turned on, bees that are on the sheet automatically stick out their stingers, and the action of the muscles pushing the stinger also pumps a small amount of venom out the end of the sting. This venom falls on the glass where it is collected and purified for storage, it is freeze-dried it to ensure the venom’s bioactive materials don’t oxidise and decompose. It takes one million sting deposits on a collector board to make 1g of dry venom. This is the reason the cost of bee venom skin care products is so high.


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