Method of obtaining apitoxin
The methods of obtaining apitoxin have evolved greatly in recent years. At first the animal was sacrificed to obtain its poison. You had to sacrifice between 8,000 and 9,000 bees to get a gram of apitoxin. In addition to being a cruel and counterproductive method, it was extremely laborious.
Then there were many methods that were devised to try to obtain the product without sacrificing the animal. Thus, in one of the methods an important number of bees were placed in a square glass vessel covered with gauze. Then ether was placed on the gauze to anesthetize the bees, which before falling anesthetized, stung on the walls of the vessel. These bees were returned to the hive and then scraped the glass from the jar to get the product. It was a rather complicated method, and a small amount of apitoxin was obtained for each time.
There were some systems that even devised the way to obtain apitoxin from bees of a certain age, believing that in this way a more homogeneous product was obtained.
All these methods have their historical value, but from an industrial point of view, where significant amounts of apitoxin are needed, they lack practical value.
Nowadays it is widespread to obtain apitoxin by stimulating the bee by an electric current, which prompts it to sting, depositing a drop of poison in a glass from where it can be extracted, allowing the animal to continue alive. The bee receives an electrical stimulus of very special and precise characteristics. The development of these stimulators, were adapted in our design to our environment (climate, flowering and race of bees), as well as the use of highly improved traps, which result in obtaining a sufficiently pure substance and in significant quantities. It should be noted that to obtain one gram of apitoxin, approximately 15,000 stingers are needed.
The poison thus obtained goes through a drying and degreasing process, to be then stored under optimal conditions in amber bottles and at 3-4 degrees Celsius temperature. Although the electronic device should not have many variants, since the type and intensity of current must be unique, there can be an infinite variety in regards to the design of the traps (place where the bee deposits the apitoxin).
The collection of poison consists of two parts 1) field or harvest work and 2) extraction.
For the field work 2 elements are needed: a stimulator and a certain number of traps (normally a stimulator can serve between 20 and 40 traps).
The stimulator must have a very precise construction and adequate reading elements and controls. We have to think that we are working with living beings, who are in different moods, depending on the day and the time of the year, therefore we cannot handle always equal stimuli. Stimulators must have meters for amperage and voltage, and must have controls to modify voltage, intensity, frequency and stimulation time. All these values must be adjusted every work day, according to the state of the hives, and very often during the same harvest.
As for the traps, there can be an infinite number of designs, according to the preference of the producer. Today we use a fixed trap, upper with 3 glasses, permanently connected to the general electrical installation, which is isolated by a sliding door from the rest of the hive, acting as an interlayer, under the roof. It is a very good performance trap, which uses bees that are inside the hive and very practical to use. The inconvenience is its cost, since a hive trap is needed, but it saves a lot of time in the harvest. With this system we obtain approximately 150 mgs per hive per harvest. After about 30 minutes of stimulation, we run all the sliding doors, which gives us great peace of mind, and we extract the glasses with the crystallized poison. We put it in wooden boxes, well protected from sun and moisture, and take them as soon as possible to the place of extraction. No more than 8 hours must pass between harvest and extraction. The operator in the extraction must be adequately protected with a dust mask, protective lenses, disposable tunic and gloves, or if not, preferably, the extraction is done in an airtight glass hood, since the apitoxin, handled in these quantities can be extremely dangerous The glasses are scraped, and the content is weighed and conditioned in amber glass bottles, in a refrigerator. The product thus conditioned can be suitable for 4 or 5 years.
Apifarma permanently performs quality controls of the obtained apitoxin (in crystals), such as quantitative (HPLC) and qualitative (chemical and biological) analyzes. After this verification, which gives us the peace of mind of purity and homogeneity, is taken to the laboratory, where solutions of different concentrations are prepared, then prepare the finished products, which go through quality control again, before leaving for market.