Pamela Frost

Honey nasal spray: to bee or not to bee?

BEES and honey have been exhibited at the Ekka since the show began in 1875, but you can bet products like honey nasal spray weren't on display back then.

The exhibit at this year's Ekka has been buzzing with excitement and beekeepers say it's a sign that honey is making a comeback.

Former beekeeper and Peak Crossing man Trevor Weatherhead said honey was once only used as a spread and as a sweetener in cakes.

Popularity for the sweet sticky substance had started dropping off.

Mr Weatherhead said food manufacturers often chose sugar over honey because it was cheaper.

But because honey has started being used for more medicinal purposes, it was making a comeback.

These days, honeybee outputs have so many uses - products for sale at the Brisbane Ekka including spreads, candles, nasal spray and soaps just to name a few.

Mr Weatherhead and Warwick beekeeper Trevor Sorenson were talking all things honey and bees at the exhibit at the Ekka's agricultural hall on Wednesday.

Next to them was a hive full of bees. Luckily, they were contained safely in a large glass cabinet that a beekeeper walked into every few hours and demonstrated to the public how to extract honey.

Mr Sorenson didn't need a suit when he did the demonstration - he was as cool as a cucumber in while in the glass box with all the bees.

He said he had been involved in bees for most of his life, as part of the family business.

They have 1200 hives on his farm.

He says he still feels it when he gets stung but he usually wears a hat and a veil.

The Royal National Association established in 1875 and held the first "inter-colonial exhibition" in 1876. The first "royal show" was held in 1921.

In the early days, those entering the honey competition used to have to enter about 25kg of honey. But now competitors enter only a couple of bottles, weighing 1kg.

Mr Weatherhead used to keep bees but he gave it up four years ago for health reasons.

He used to breed queen bees to sell.

He may not be in the honey making business anymore but he is a member of the Queensland Beekeepers Association and executive director of the Australian Honeybee Industry Council.

He also still loves honey.

"The taste is what you go for," Mr Weatherhead said.

"It gives you energy and gets absorbed straight into your bloodstream." - ARM NEWSDESK