Brisbane Amateur Beekeepers' Society Inc.

The Bee Venom Book

 

Eros, stung by a bee, Ran away and cried for plea:

Venus, mother, I cry , Please help me or I‘ll die

What a terrible disgrace – A dragon bit me on my face

Venus comforting her son

Speaking with a mocking fun -

The little bee's tiny sting

Is for you an earnest thing

But more painful and real hard

Are your stings in human’s heart 

 

Anacreontean songs, 6 BC

 

 

Venus, Eros and the bees 

By A. Dürer, 1514

 

 


 

 

Bee Venom:

Production

Composition

Quality

 

Stefan Bogdanov

  


BEE VENOM PRODUCTION

 

 


 



Bees produce their venom in their venom glands, schematically described in the figure left. The BV is secreted in a branched acid gland (above) and in the alkaline Dufour’s gland (below), in the whole BV both secretions are mixed.

New born bees do not sting. Venom synthesis begins after two or three days, while the maximal production rate is reached when bees are two to three weeks old. Older worker bees produce less venom. One sting contains about 100 µg of dry BV.

Drones do not have stings, while bee queens have BV, its maximum quantity being that of newly emerged queens, in order to facilitate their fight for survival against competing queens.

 

  





The sting consists of three parts: a stylus and two barbed slides (or lancets), one on either side of the stylus. The bee does not push the sting in but it is drawn in by the barbed slides. The slides move alternately up and down the stylus so when the barb of one slide has caught and retracts it pulls the stylus and the other barbed slide into the wound. When the other barb has caught it also retracts up the stylus pulling the sting further in. This process is repeated until the sting is fully in and even continues after the sting and its mechanism is detached from the bee's abdomen.