Want To Get Buzzed? Try Bee Pollen Honey

There is a lot of buzz going around about bee products’ benefits, like bee venom therapy, so we spoke with Caroline Essaunce of Corbicula to talk about her Buzzed bee pollen honey.

by | Mar 27, 2021 | Food + Drink

Dan Van Netten tests beer at Howl Brewing

Photo | Abby Wiseman

What is Buzzed Honey and the benefits of bee pollen? 

Most of the nutritional value of honey is in the trace amounts of pollen in it. For bees, the honey is the carbohydrate fuel, and the pollen is its protein, vitamins, minerals – all its nutrition. What we do is harvest bee pollen, like you would harvest honey. We dry it and put it through a flour mill, then blend it into the honey. So it’s regular honey, but it has a high ratio of pollen, which makes it really nutritious.

How do you harvest bee pollen at Corbicula?

The orange sack on a honey bee’s leg is called the corbicula. What they do is mix pollen with nectar and make it into a ball and stick it to their hairy little legs. When they come back to the hive, they go through a mesh, and If we get lucky, the pollen gets knocked off into a tray. 

What do bees do with the pollen once they get to the hive?

So the pollen turns into royal jelly, which is the bee’s version of breast milk, and they feed it to their larvae.

That’s crazy.

It’s so interesting. There is so much going on in nature that we don’t know about. The only processing we do is dry it out. When it’s dry, we put it through a seed cleaner to knock out anything that’s not the right size, and that’s about it. It’s super nutritious for humans, like a non-synthetic multivitamin.

Photo | Abby Wiseman

I feel like there is more interest in bee products these days. There was even a Netflix show about bee venom therapy. From a beekeeping standpoint, how do you feel about that?

I think it’s great. In Europe, apitherapy is huge. Some of the best stuff comes out of Croatia. I think there is just a boomerang happening where everything just became so processed, and now, with the internet, people are more aware and learning how it’s affecting our health. I think people are moving towards more natural ways of managing these problems. I’ve used bee venom therapy to great success. 

 The con is that people think if you get honey bees, then you are saving the planet, which is a complete myth. Honey bees are imported. They are not native to here. They struggle to survive here. They are a farming activity, no different than broccoli or beef. Feral honey bees do exist in certain countries, but Canada is not one of them. We see the trend towards beekeeping in urban areas, where forests have been torn down and replaced with townhouses, and the problem is that they don’t have the forage available to support them. Like what we’ve experienced with COVID-19, when you put too many in one area, diseases run through them. As long as people understand that we are farming them, then I think it’s okay, but many people think they are saving bees.

Dan Van Netten with a beer

Photo | Abby Wiseman

So, are there native bees we should be concerned about?

BC alone has over 500 bee species. Honey bees are one of them, but only because we bring them here. There are native bees like mason bees, bumblebees, and leafcutter bees, and those ones are really effective pollinators, but they are usually quite specific. 

Honey bees will pollinate everything. They are not as efficient as other species, but they are excellent pollinators. In areas like the Fraser Valley, where there are these huge farms, you can’t have native bees there. They won’t survive. 

It’s interesting to think that the more foreign plants we bring in, the more invasive species we need to bring in too.

I’m such a nerd about this that I could talk forever about it, but it’s a tricky balance. Honey bees are vital to our food supply. We could not have a third of our food without honey bees or by changing the way we farm, which I don’t think would be the worst thing in the world, but we do need them. They are an essential part of our food supply.

Back to the Buzzed Honey. I’m a little nervous about having it because I have terrible seasonal allergies. What are some of the potential dangers of bee pollen?

That’s a really good point. We do have allergy warnings on our products. I haven’t heard of someone having an anaphylactic reaction, although it could be possible. If so, that person wouldn’t be able to go outside in the spring. What you will likely get if you are allergic is a tingly feeling in your mouth and throat, which is a really scary feeling for people. 

On our website, we talk about pollen as a way to treat seasonal allergies. So, if you start with just tiny granules in the fall and consume it all winter, your body can start building up an immunity to it. The buzzed honey is really nice because it’s not as dense as just taking a spoonful of pollen, so just start with a tiny amount and increase. If you get that tingle, then just stay at that amount until you don’t and then increase. If you can do a spoonful of it without a reaction, but your allergies still exist, then start taking the plain pollen for a bigger dose. 

Learn more about Corbicula bee products here.

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Excellent work. Well done you. Bravo.

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