Apitoxin Obtaining Methods
The methods to obtain the bee venum have developed greatly in the last years. At the beginning the insect was sacrificed to obtain its venom. It was necessary to sacrifice between 8.000 and 9.000 bees to obtain one gram of bee venom. Besides being a bloody and contradictory method, it was extremely difficult.
Later, many methods were devised trying to obtain the product without sacrificing the insect. In this way, in one of these methods, an important number of bees was placed in a square glass container covered with a gauze with ether in order to anesthetize the bees. Before the bees fell anesthetized, they stang the walls of the container. These bees were then returned to the beehive and the glass of the tar was scraped off to obtain the product. It was quite a complicated method and only a little quantity of bee venum was obtained every time.
There were some other systems that conceived the form of obtaining bee venum from bees of a certain age, believing that in this way a more homogeneous product would be obtained.
All these methods have a historical value, but from the industrial point of view, where important quantities of bee venom are needed, they lack practical value.
Nowadays it is generalized that the Apisinum is obtained by means of stimulating the bees through an electrical current that incites them to sting, putting a drop of venom in a glass where it can be extracted from, allowing the insect to continue alive.
The electric stimulus that bees receive has precise and special characteristics. The development of these stimulators - which were adapted to our environment (climate, flowering and bee breed)-, as well as the use of highly improved traps, lead to obtain a sufficiently pure substance and in important quantities. It must be taken into account that to obtain a gram of Apitoxin are necessary about 15.000 stings.
After obtaining the venom, it is subjected to a process of drying and removal of the grease.
The venom is later stored in optimal conditions inside amber bottles and at 3 - 4 Celsius degrees.
Although the electronic machine should not have many varieties, as for the type and current intensity, there is an infinite variety with regards to the design of the traps (place where the bee drops the venom).
The gathering of venom consists of two parts: 1) field work or its harvest and 2) extraction. As for the harvest work, two elements are needed: a stimulator and a certain number of traps - one stimulator can usually serve from 20 to 40 traps.
The stimulator should have a very precise construction, reading elements and appropriate controls. We have to think that we are working with living beings that are in different states of spirit, according to the day and the time of the year, so we can not always manage with the same stimulus.
The stimulators should have measurements for the amperage and the voltage and they should have controls to modify the voltage, the intensity, the frequency and the time of stimulation.
All these values should be adjusted every working day according to the state of the beehives and very often during the same harvest.
As for traps, there may be a variety of designs according to the preferences of the manufacturer. Today we use a fixed trap, top with 3 glasses, permanently connected to the overall electrical system, which is isolated by a sliding door from the rest of the hive, acting as in-between cap, below the ceiling. This trap has a very good performance, uses the bees are inside the hive and it is practical to use. The inconvenient is its cost, since you need a trap per hive, but it saves a lot of time in the harvest. With this system we obtain about 150 mgs per hive per harvest.
After about 30 minutes of stimulation, we move all sliding doors, giving us a great comfort of use, and extract the crystallized glasses with poison. We refurbished them in wooden boxes, well protected from the sun and humidity, and take them as soon as possible to the place of removal. There should not spend more than eight hours between harvest and extraction. The extraction operator must be adequately protected with dust mask, goggles, disposable gown and gloves, or else preferably do the extraction in an airtight glass bell, as the venom, handled in such amounts may be extremely dangerous. The glasses are scraped , and the contents are weighed and packaged in amber glass bottles in refrigerators. The product conditioned in this way can be suitable for 4 or 5 years.
Apifarma conducts regular quality controls of the apitoxine obtained (in crystals), such as quantitative analysis (HPLC) and qualitative ones (chemical and biological). After this verification, giving us certainty of purity and homogeneity,the product is taken to the laboratory, where the solutions of different concentrations are prepared, to then prepare the finished products, which again have quality controls before being released to the market.