Bjorn Apiaries

Honey Bees and Allergies


There are two main topics on this page.


1) The public's misconceptions about being allergic to honey bees.


2) The beneficial products that bees produce that can alleviate allergy symptoms.

Misconceptions of Honey Bee Stings

Lets start by saying that everyone....EVERYONE is allergic to honey bee stings. What it comes down to is at what level are you allergic.

We hear all the time from visitors and folks at various public events when chatting about bees... "I'm allergic to bees!". And our reply as beekeepers is.."That's funny...because so am I"  


A couple things about bees and allergic reactions:

1) Most people refer to allergic reactions they had in regards to wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, and  other stinging insects. The allergic reaction to different types of stinging insects is usually very drastic for most individuals. A person may be allergic to yellow jackets, yet have no major symptoms when stung by a honey bee.

2) There are techniques and processes that allow individuals to de-sensitize themselves to most major allergic reactions.

3) A beekeeper may develop anaphylactic shock and serious complications to honey bee stings even after many years of keeping bees and being stung thousands of times.

Anyone considering bees must understand that some type allergic reaction will be experienced. No beekeeper is totally immune to bee stings. Most who claim to be "allergic" to bees, fall into the first three categories on the chart. This is normal and is to be expected.


Allergies and Beneficial Products from the Bee Hive

If you have allergies from pollen based triggers, please consider purchasing local raw honey from a well known beekeeper in your area. Many have found allergy relief from taking a teaspoon of honey everyday. And this is better than some alternatives, including for some, weekly or monthly trips to the doctor for shots.

Keys to the best honey for your allergies:

1) It must be raw. This means it must not be finely filtered or, heated. You want honey that retains it's beneficial pollen, enzymes, and natural properties.

2) It should be produced within a reasonable distance to allow it to be called "local". For honey, that distance is about 50 miles. While plants species are the same over many states, the plants producing the pollen (which is what causes the allergies in the first place), may produce slightly different pollen. Pollen from aster collected in Tennessee will be different from pollen produced in New York, even with the same plants.

3) To be effective, the honey must contain the pollen that is causing the allergies. Buying local honey produced out of season to which your allergies are based, is not effective. The best honey is a blended honey found by such labels as "Spring Time Blossom" or "Wild-Flower Honey".

4) The relief of allergies by taking locally produced honey usually takes at least 30 days. What you are doing is slowly desensitizing your reactions to the pollen causing the problems. So do not expect to see major relief in just a few days.

As with all such endeavors, proceed with caution. And seeking medical advice is sometimes best. Below is a handout that is worth reading. Please note...about 20% of allergy sufferers see major relief of their allergies just by taking local honey.