A blog originally for keeping track of my hobby of being a Beekeeper which has evolved to include Home Brewing and even more recently to follow me and my families approach to "The Good Life". Eventually I hope to include baking recipes and stories of our flock of chickens also reporting on the success and failure at the allotments.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Wakefield and Pontefract Beekeepers: January Meeting

The first meeting of the new year was held by a doctor from Halifax, a town about a half hour drive west of where I live. The subject of the meeting was to give a better idea of the relationship between Bee products (including stings) and health, also dispelling a few myths about honey.

The start of his presentation was a video, I think it was set somewhere in India, showing someone who holds a surgery where the treatment is Bee stings; patients will come to him with different ailments and the "doctor" would administer the stings. In the video there was a claim that 80% of patients felt benefits from the treatment. The guy holding the presentation was, like me, a little sceptical of the claims, however it could have been the placebo effect that was making the patients feel relief. I will not be trying this form of pain relief!

From there the presentation went into allergic reactions to Bee stings and what can be done to lessen the effect. There was a fair bit of medical terminology used that I don't remember but the basics were that the more you get stung the more of a resistance you can build up but on the other hand you can have a severe reaction and develop hypersensitivity at any time. To better prepare yourself for your inspection a single anti histamine tablet was recommended; this taken prior to the inspection will help if you are stung but won't totally stop the effects, especially if you are hypersensitive. If you have a known allergy then maybe it's worth seeing your GP and enquiring about an epipen so if you have a severe reaction you can have something you can administer while waiting for an ambulance. As with all forms of medication you should consult your doctor prior to using them anyway.

This was followed with another video, this time of the survivalist Bear Grylls. Below is the youtube video. I think it speaks for itself!

After we had finished laughing at Bear Grylls expense the presentation went into dispelling a few so called facts about honey and it's healing properties. He did state that people would probably disagree with what he was about to say but he was basing his views on scientific experiment, or the lack of.
I think one of the big ones was that local honey has no proven benefit to people suffering from hay fever; as the pollen is ingested and destroyed in the process there is no real benefit gained from it. He said that no scientific experiment of any credit has shown any reduction in symptoms from using honey. He did however say that in just believing that it'll work may give you benefit from the placebo effect.

There was mention of other anecdotes that show how good honey is for various things but with little scientific proof but one product has been tested scientifically and shown to have the properties that it say it has but not as fully expected! This product is the manuka honey; there is proof that it has above normal antibacterial properties but not if it is ingested. The main use for this honey would be to apply to the skin where you are healing from a wound or similar. Eating it had no extra benefit and apparently doesn't taste very good anyway.

To round his presentation off he mentioned propolis, wax, royal jelly and even Bee larva, all of which are used with no real scientific proof of having medical properties. I think something that has to be taken into account is that his views are based on the lack of scientific evidence to prove the medical benefits, there is also very little evidence to disprove any of this! Basically you can believe it or not and if you do believe it works then there is a good chance you'll notice a difference so why not try it!

There was a lot covered in his presentation and I don't think I have done it justice, however I think I have covered the subject in enough detail for today, if anyone has any further questions please ask me and I'll try to answer them.

As per usual there was a raffle after the presentation but I didn't win anything. It is a good place to go to and discuss how your hives are doing and other topics that interest me. One guy who I talk to regularly has mentioned he has an apple press and would be willing to lend me it if my dads allotment produces a large amount of apples again this year, so home made cider may be on the cards later in the year!