Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Injectable Bee Venom

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you probably know that I get my bees from my friend Earl, who lives right up the street.  But winter is coming on, and that means cold, wind, and rain.  In turn, that means bees clustering in the bottom of the hive, not near the top where I get them from.  It's already hard enough for me to get my own bees.  I have to go to the bee yard at least twice a week, and psychologically it's a bit like having to pick my own switch. Don't get me wrong--I like going out to the bee yard.  But sometimes I don't feel like it, and then I don't sting within my 72 hour window, and the BVT isn't as effective as it should be.

So to secure an additional source of bees I mail ordered some from a place called Allen's Bee Ranch in Redding, CA. They should arrive today! This will be a good option for me as well if I need to travel, because I can just have the bees sent to my destination, and they will be waiting for me!

I also want to give injectable bee venom a try.  My source says that live bee venom is 100% potent in the spring and summer (when the weather is warm and they can forage from good pollen sources) but only 25%-35% potent in the winter.  Injectable bee venom, also called Apitoxin, is around 85%-90% potentcy.  Of course, these numbers are approximate, because some bees have more potent venom than others for various reasons--even bees in the same hive.  But the point is that in the winter, injectable venom might be preferable to live venom.  It also will be much more convenient.

In any case, I would like to have different options available to me so that I don't have an excuse not to sting.  I try to be committed to it, but sometimes it is really difficult, especially now that I do so many stings per session.  

Here's a video showing how bee venom is harvested using an electronic venom collector.  I have to warn you though--the music will really get you going.  As in, you'll want to adventure on the high seas like a pirate or something after watching this video.  Additionally, if you have a coke problem, you probably shouldn't watch it.  You'll see what I'm talking about. 

The thing is, for me to procure ampules of bee venom, I need a doctor.  I don't necessarily need a prescription, but here's what the website states as their requirement:

"Powdered and liquid bee venom orders must be received in writing on the letterhead of a medical practitioner, pharmacist, researcher or a laboratory that is certified to work with chemicals."
My rheumatologist might be willing to help me with this, but I don't know.  I'm kind of afraid to ask her.  I'm thinking about putting something a request up on Craigslist.  Or possibly one of the doctors who I met at the AAS conference in New Orleans would lend a hand.  Or maybe one of you, my dear and faithful readers, has a doctor or a researcher friend...   

Hook a girl up.  In the name of science and adventure. 

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