Beekeeping and seasonal pollen allergies

by Brenda
(Vancouver BC)

I am interested in learning to be a beekeeper but suffer from seasonal pollen allergies. Will bee keeping make my allergies worse because of the pollen the bees bring back to the hive on their feet??

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Hi Brenda,

That's rather an intriguing question!

I can't answer the question definitively; it would probably depend upon a variety of factors, including the type of pollen(s) that causes your allergies.

But my best guess would be that just working your bees would NOT aggravate your allergies.

Pollen that bees bring into the hive is substantially different from the airborne grains that likely cause your allergies. It's tightly packed and mixed with honey or nectar before its brought into the hive. I don't think you'd breathe in a significantly increased amount of pollen just by working your hives.

So unless you intentionally ingest the pollen (by consuming pollen or honey), then I wouldn't think you'd have a problem.

The only time of the year that I have an allergy problem is in the fall, when I have a MAJOR ragweed problem. And though I've worked hives many times during the fall when they were industrially bringing in lots of ragweed pollen, I've never noticed it exacerbating my symptoms.

Your experiences, of course, could differ. But my guess is that you'd probably be OK.

Best of luck with your beekeeping if you decide to go ahead with it.

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