The hospital is trying to take the sting out of patients’ fears of bees


A hospital has set up beehives to ease the anxiety of children who have suffered life-threatening reactions to bee and wasp stings.

ork University Hospital has become home to tens of thousands of honey bees in a unique beekeeping project.

Patients will soon be able to watch the insects from waiting rooms via a CCTV system installed at the entrances to the hives.

The €15,000 project, funded by CUH Charity, will last three years and will also produce the hospital’s own brand CUHoney.

The Wilton campus is the national center for the treatment of children who have experienced life-threatening allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) to bee and wasp stings.

Treatment requires immunotherapy—intense, long-term injections of venom doses—that help the immune system build tolerance to the venom.

Although they are very successful in reducing the risk of future reactions, many patients keep their distance from bees and wasps even though they may have had a family connection to beekeeping.

Pediatric allergy consultant Dr. Juan Trujillo said the project would give patients peace of mind that they could go on with their lives the same way – with less chance of a life-threatening sting.

“They need to know that allergies are everywhere, but with this type of treatment, they’ll be less scared in the future,” he said.

The introduction of the hives will also boost biodiversity across campus while helping to reverse Ireland’s declining bee population. The CUH, which treats up to 20 patients with anaphylaxis each year, has established pollination gardens and two beehives with 40,000 bees.

The Cork facility, which has already been awarded the An Taisce Green Flag, doesn’t have to go far to find someone to look after their little guests – several hospital staff are also beekeepers.

One of them is dr. Anda Dumitrescu of the Department of Pediatrics at UCC, who said the project would allow all children attending CUH as inpatients to learn about bees and their ecosystems at CUH’s school. The hospital is trying to take the sting out of patients’ fears of bees

Fry Electronics Team

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