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Oct 2012 - Chemists on Wings - To Bee or not to Bee

The apiary is a treasure-throve of products – from honey, to beeswax, royal jelly, bee venom and propolis. For centuries, people have been using bee products to cure a variety of ailments; now scientific research is unlocking the door to the secrets of their properties. It’s a fascinating journey understanding how the social structure of the honeybee colony allows for the production of all these products.

The talk, delivered by Simone Cutajar, took the audience through the multilayered life of a honeybee and its products. How and why do the bees produce them? And why are they of interest to us? The talk was buzzing with fun anecdotes of what it is like to be a bee (have you ever heard of bees ‘dancing’ or of bees who mummify unwanted intruders?) together with a short overview of recent apicultural breakthroughs.