- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
He alerted UC Davis scientists to an article in sciencedirect.com that indicated this anecdotal information: beekeepers living in the epicenter of the COVID-19 virus in China did not contract the virus, and neither did a group of patients receiving apitherapy.
"These people have one thing in common: they develop a tolerance to bee sting," wrote lead author Wei Yang, an oncologist from China and two associates. The trio pointed out that "It reminds us the story of the discovery of cowpox and the eventual victory of humans over this disease (Bennett and Baxby)
"In the Hubei province, the epicenter of COVID-19 in China, 5,115 beekeepers were surveyed from February 23 to March 8," Gary said, quoting the article. "This survey included 723 who lived in Wuhan, the outbreak epicenter of Hubei. Amazingly, none of these beekeepers developed symptoms associated with Covid-19. Their health was totally normal. Additional studies at apitherapy clinics, where bee venom treatments were made on patients from October to December 2019, revealed that none of the 121 patients, or the apitherapists that treated them, became infected, even though some were exposed to relatives or contacts infected with Covid-19."
"Bee venom therapy is successfully used for treating some forms of arthritis and rheumatism," said Gary, who at 86 has worked with bees for more than seven decades. "I think that the use of bee venom vs.COVID-19 should be investigated. Maybe our UC Davis Primate Center (California National Primate Research Center) will consider appropriate experiments with primates to test bee venom therapy for COVID-19. I have received thousands of bee stings during my 70 years of working and playing with bees. Maybe that's why I'm 86 and COVID-19 free!"
Norm began keeping bees at age 15 in Florida. His career includes hobby beekeeper, commercial beekeeper, deputy apiary inspector in New York, honey bee research scientist, entomology professor, author, bee wrangler and Guinness World record holder.
During his professional bee wrangler career spanning four decades, “The Bee Man” served as a consultant and bee stunt coordinator for 17 movies, 70 TV shows and six TV commercials. Among his credits: “Fried Green Tomatoes” and appearances with Johnny Carson and Jay Leno on Tonight Shows.
He launched the Thriller Bee Shows, performing more than 100 times in three western states, with venues that included the California State Fair. He drew widespread acclaim for wearing a head-to-toe suit of clustered bees while "Buzzin' with His Bee-Flat Clarinet."
Gary once trained bees to fly into his mouth to collect food from a small sponge saturated with artificial nectar. His holds the Guinness World record (109 bees inside his closed mouth for 10 seconds) for the stunt. He's also the person behind the "bee suit" record in the Guinness World Records; Gary clustered more than 87 pounds of bees on a friend.
As a musician, Gary plays the clarinet (B-flat clarinet), alto sax, tenor sax, and flute with several groups.
Benefits of Bee Venom Therapy
Page remembers helping his friend and mentor, the late Harry Hyde Laidlaw Jr.,(1907-2003) of UC Davis, "the father of honey bee genetics," receive bee stings to alleviate his arthritis. (The bee research facility on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis, bears the name of the "Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Center").
"I used to take the bees and put them on his neck and have them stinging so that he would get his certain number of stings a week," Page told interviewee Leal, adding that this was "not standard medical practice" but "he believed in it."
Laidlaw's daughter, Barbara Laidlaw Murphy, now of Washingrton state, remembers the bee sting therapy well. "He put bee stings on his knee and he put them on my mom's hands--for (treatment of) arthritis," she said. "They used to get the bees out of the hive in the lab sign."
"He seemed to believe in it," Murphy said. "My mom was quite enthusiastic about it for her. He would have the bee sting her on her knuckles. Her hand would swell up quite a lot. After the swelling went down she was sure that her arthritis was better and she could get back to her knitting."
See the COVID-19 Symposium, primarily on vaccines, here: https://youtu.be/O4L0OHcZ5Mk.