BEE BREAD: Sustainability

By Dan Corrigan   ∙   July 01, 2021   ∙   0 Comments

Where is bee bread harvested?

In India’s remote lush green forests and the awe-inspiring Himalayan Mountains resides the world’s largest honey bee, Apis dorsata, that builds its nest out in the open on vertical cliffs and tall trees to avoid predators and increase its exposure to direct sunlight. Each wild beehive contains the purest honey and bee bread, packed with phytonutrients and free of contaminants and pollutants.*

Rosita® wild Bee Bread is carefully and sustainably harvested from these naturally occurring wild hives to protect the wild bee colonies. Harvesting also supports the indigenous communities and helps protect the wild forests of India and their rich biodiversity. 

Our mission is to educate people about the potential of pure, wild and raw Bee Bread (and other bee products) and to nourish our bodies the way nature intended. 

How are the bees and environment protected during the bee bread harvesting?

Honey hunters use sustainable and bee-friendly collecting methods to harvest the wild honeycombs. This stimulates the growth of wild beehives. The free-range wild bees in these hives constantly contribute to the environment, pollinating plants to foster biodiversity. Bees are directly responsible for pollinating one-third of the food we eat. 

We’re passionate about showcasing how important the honeybee is for the environment and the myriad health benefits derived from high-quality bee derived products.* 

Some of the sustainable methods used to procure Rosita® Bee Bread include:  

  • Tribal honey hunters are trained with the government forest departments to ethically harvest bee products from wild bees.

  • Honey hunters protect and support the wild bee population using sustainable and non-intrusive methods.

  • Bee bread and honey are always collected during times when there is plenty of flora. This way the colony is not affected and continues to multiply naturally.

  • Unethical practices, including removing the whole hive from the branch or chopping down an entire tree to access the hive, are strictly prohibited, as these practices destroy the whole colony. Instead, the honey hunters are trained to cut out only the part of the honeycomb, which contains honey and bee bread, and leave the rest of the hive intact. This is also done without killing or harming the bees.

  • Our harvesters only collect excess honey from the hive. Honey is always left in the hive so there is food for the bees. The bees are quick to rebuild the hive, which helps sustain the bee population in the wild.

  • Honey hunters take special precautions to protect the forests from wildfires.

  • Wild bees pollinate the surrounding flowers and create more honey. Pollination allows plants to reproduce, contributing to the surrounding ecosystem.

  • We ensure that the honey hunters are paid well for their labor, expertise and vast knowledge of the forest lands. We honor, understand and compensate for extremely challenging work. We also adhere to Fair Trade practices.

  • Extraction of bee bread is done in the most hygienic way to ensure our customers get the very best quality raw Bee Bread.

  • Packaging is environmentally friendly by reducing the use of plastic to the bare minimum.

  • Every jar of Bee Bread purchased indirectly improves the life of a tribal honey hunter community. 

How is the bee bread harvested?

Rosita® wild bee bread is produced by the largest and most aggressive bee species known, Apis dorsata, which are typically more than twice as long as their European cousins. This species exists only in the wild and cannot be kept inside manufactured hives. Apis dorsata colonies build huge nests in the open air (high on cliffs or in high trees) consisting of a big, single comb that can be up to two meters in length. The comb is permanently covered by a curtain of up to 100,000 worker bees, several layers thick, forming a protective barrier. 

Specialized native honey hunters harvest the wild honeycombs. These hunters are village tribal members with exceptional skills including: tracing the nests by carefully observing foraging bees, climbing trees or rocks, opening nests and calming the bees. Traditional honey gathering is usually done on a moonless night to minimize flying bees once the colony is disturbed. 

The honey hunters that harvest bee bread for Rosita® have a “honey season” that lasts from March until July. During this season, they move deep into the forest in search of wild honeycombs. Honeycomb is their most prized and highly ranked food source. 

Once the honey hunters spot the giant honeycombs in the branches of the tall trees, they hike into the dense forest to get to the bases of the trees. They then quickly ascend the trees by either climbing or making their way up a makeshift rope ladder, through a dense cloud of swarming bees. When the forager reaches the honeycomb, he typically uses smoke to scatter the honey bees from their hives, using a bundle of smoldering grass between thumb and forefinger. A trail of smoke drifts upwards toward the agitated bees. The smoke engulfs the bees and dulls the response of the guard bees, who would otherwise sound the alarm in response to a threat. The bees become disorientated and dramatically less aggressive, a desirable effect considering the aggressive nature of these wild bees. It also drives thousands of bees out of their nests, exposing the cream-colored honeycomb.

The exposed honeycomb is cut and placed in a bucket and carefully lowered to the ground using a rope. 

How is bee bread extracted from the honeycomb?

The acquisition of bee bread in sustainable quantities is difficult and involves its extraction from the honeycomb cells. This is because the bee bread is strongly compacted and firmly embedded in the honeycomb cells. It’s therefore necessary to collect bee bread by hand, a cumbersome job and one that assures the highest microbiological purity. 

There are a variety of methods for extracting bee bread from a honeycomb, and a great deal of them have many disadvantages. Some of the methods result in considerable loss of nutrients and vitamins present in bee bread – proteins, amino acids, B vitamins, folic acid and vitamin C. Others are inefficient and cannot be applied to obtain significant quantities of bee bread.

That’s why the extraction method should preserve the nutritional properties and vitamins in bee bread and allow for a sufficient yield. Rosita® wild Bee Bread is obtained using a natural, proprietary method — one that completely preserves all of the nutrients present in wild bee bread and ensures the highest quality product. No heat, chemicals or water are ever used to remove the bee bread from the honeycomb cells.