Natural honey and beeswax products could develop a new medical branch to help with skin problems and allergies.
Certified beemaster and local beekeeper, Harold Ludditt has owned bees for 23 or 24 years and has harvested and sold honey, made candles and just recently started making hand cream with beeswax and honey, he said.
He got into beekeeping through a friend who raised bees as a boy and he gained his expertise through books, experience, a six-week beemaster certification course at Simon Fraser University and talking with experienced beekeepers, said Ludditt.
Through the course and his attendance at the 1999 Vancouver Apimondia, the world council of beekeepers, Ludditt met experienced beekeepers that he has kept in contact with, he said.
For the first few years he lost 40 per cent of his bees each winter, said Ludditt, which is on the higher end of the average expected loss, which Ludditt says is 25 to 40 per cent.
But now he averages only five per cent loss each winter, because he stopped buying bees and instead raised new colonies from the bees that had survived the winter, he said.
Ludditt has not bought bees for 15 years and he doesn’t use any antibiotics, he says, which is one of the reasons he believes his honey helps with allergies.
Ludditt believes that the honey has medical value for people with allergies to airborne pollen and the like.
“About a tablespoon a day will reduce your allergic reactions,” he says.
And natural honey also tastes great.
At the world council of beekeepers in 1999, Ludditt’s honey was requested by the ton, showing the quality of his produce, but Ludditt says that he doesn’t eat the stuff.
“I’d rather have peanut butter and jam,” he says.
Last October, Ludditt also started making and selling his own hand creams at $3 per container, he said.
He said the lotions are made with beeswax, honey, natural oils, glycerine, water and a little Borax, sometimes adding bath oil to give a scent.
Ludditt reports that people have found his creams help with skin rashes such as eczema, and he is sending six containers to family friends on Vancouver Island who asked for more after seeing the affect on their grandson’s eczema.
Ludditt also makes a lotion with lanolin that helps heal cracked and dry feet or hands, he said, adding that several people reported that the beeswax cream worked wonders, when all the prescription ointments they’d tried hadn’t done much good at all.
“I think part of the reason is that the beeswax has no chemicals, nothing is in there that doesn’t belong there,” said Ludditt.
Ludditt hopes to make a cream with wintergreen, because wintergreen causes the skin to warm up which could be good for arthritis, he said.
Besides hand cream and honey, Ludditt has also sold beeswax candles, made by melting down honey combs and pouring the wax into moulds, he said.
He has never turned a profit for his products, but makes the candles and lotions for his own enjoyment, he said.
But Ludditt says that he has sold his bees this spring because of medical reasons and plans to be a consultant for Dana Giesbrecht and Michael Rourke, the two amateur Houston beekeepers who bought his bees.
Giesbrecht and Rourke will carry on the Houston beekeeping along with John Siebenga and Devon McKilligan, two other local beekeepers, said Ludditt.