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The specialist international beekeeping organisation

Honey bee products

Apiculture provides some of the world's poorest people with the opportunity to enhance their income from the practical and often indigenous skills of beekeeping. The best known products harvested from bees are honey and beeswax  and selling honey and beeswax offers the best business opportunities for small scale beekeepers in developing countries. However, other bee products such as propolis, pollen, bee venom and royal jelly are also harvested in some countries.  With an increasing interest in natural ingredients and a growing understanding of the medicinal value and uses of bee products, the demand for these products is expanding. There is new interest worldwide in the therapeutic values of honey and propolis.

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There are many ways to add greater value to bee products, such as producing candles or cosmetics, so it is possible to develop opportunities for small business enterprises. Adding value to bee products also leads to diversified incomes and more sustainable livelihoods for vulnerable people in developing countries, while increasing the availability of natural, healthy and medicinal products for local and international consumers. Value added items can be made by people who are not beekeepers, and may create a special opportunity for women to profit from their traditional skills.

Beekeeping can also generate associated industries such as the manufacture of beekeeping equipment, including bee hives, smokers and protective clothing. Bees and/or pollination services are also traded and may be very valuable.

It is mainly bees of the genus Apis that produce significant quantities of honey and beeswax. Some stingless bees, from the subfamily Meliponini, are also exploited for honey.  This honey is highly valued for its medicinal properties.


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