Daily Herald (Canada), 8/4/2014
Although his mentor can help with the bees, the one thing he can’t help Hradecki with is the specialty products from bees, such as venom, royal jelly and propolis.
“One day I was sitting there thinking, ‘How do I get venom from a bee?’” he said. “I thought you would have to milk it similar to a rattlesnake or something.”
He started researching it and discovered a way to create a device that would collect the venom but not kill the bees.
“Once I started researching into the venom, you start figuring out that all these products that the bees also produce that no one really collects are actually more sought after because of their health benefits and they are more valuable,” Hradecki said. “Of course, it takes more work to get them.
“It is definitely a learning curve for sure. It is hard, especially since I work during the week in Saskatoon and then I have to come out here on Friday.”
In order to collect propolis, he uses a propolis mat. Propolis is used instead of wax in smaller spaces in the hive. It is now being sought after for medical uses, such as an antimicrobacterial.
Another interesting product is the royal jelly, which is fed to queens instead of honey.
“You have got to take the queen out the colony -- otherwise, unless there is some specific reason, the bees won’t generate queens,” Hradecki said. “You take the queen out and they no longer have that hormone in the hive that the bee produces and then they think they don’t have a queen, so they start feeding these cells we have already made for them and filling them with royal jelly.”
Royal jelly is being used as a dietary supplement for people, due to high levels of B-complex vitamins. It is also used in some skincare and beauty products.
He will collect pollen as well, which is marketed as a food product.
“Pollen, you collect through a device that when the bee goes through it it knocks the pollen, because they have it in these pollen baskets on their legs,” Hradecki said. “As they crawl through the colony, it falls into the basket. On a rainy day, you can’t do it because moisture will get into it.”…