Honey and money: invention has beekeepers abuzz

10 May 2019

Bee venom that can be used for cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and research into dementia, HIV and arthritis can now be easily and profitably harvested thanks to a University of Queensland student’s invention.

UQ Master of Biotechnology student James Watts and his team have invented a venom collector that is notably safer for bees than previous harvesting techniques, and can provide significant additional income for beekeepers.

“Research has suggested that beekeepers using existing venom collectors located on the inside of a hive can kill up to 60 per cent of bees in a colony,” Mr Watts said.

“This is due to stress-inducing alarm pheromones, which are volatile and can stay in the hives well past the time that the harvester has been used.”

His new invention, the Mk1 Bee Venom Collector, is low-impact and external to the hive, saving bees’ lives and making collection easier than ever.

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