Of Birds and Bees
Nidhi Nath Srinivas, Zikkir, 2/15/2010
…the real gravy is no more in honey. Other products of a bee’s miniature world are more valuable now that we have the technology to extract them. Protein-rich pollen clinging a bee’s legs is dusted off and collected. Bees create propolis, a natural resin, to build their hives that can ward of disease. Propolis extract is key in luxury cosmetics, and fetches Rs 1,000/kg abroad.
Royal jelly is the special food that bees feed their next queen. Royal jelly helps the queen bee become super fertile and live five times longer than other bees. Scientists believe royal jelly can cure everything from eczema and impotency to Parkinson’s disease. An entire system of alternative medicine – apitherapy – is centred on royal jelly.
Bee venom is another best-seller. It dilutes the blood, making it ideal for treating heart ailments. “10 gm venom is worth $1000. It’s more expensive than gold,” says Bandeep Singh of Kashmir Apiaries, India’s largest honey producer and exporter. Even bees wax has found new demand in cosmetics and preserving fruit…