The Importance of Honey Bees

May 31, 2013 § Leave a comment

My mum is a hobby beekeeper in Door County Wisconsin.  As one of her children I am lucky to be annually gifted several amber jars of delicious, slightly crystalized honey. I love honey, and it is my preferred sweetener for just about everything. I love honey in my coffee with cream, and on chicken and in salad dressing, and on fruit. Raw unprocessed honey is anti-fungal, anti-bacteriall and anti-viral. It contains antioxidants as well. Bee propolis and bee pollen are substances created by bees which possess medicinal properties, and are used to cure many ailments from endometriosis to skin disorders.

The importance of bees goes way beyond their delicious and health providing products.  Worker bees pollinate 80 percent of our flowering crops which constitute 1/3 of everything we eat. Foods such as blueberries, apples, peppers, aubergines, broccoli, strawberries,  asparagus, nuts, and cucumbers require bee pollination. It is for this reason, that US bee disappearance has caused major alarm. Bee disappearance has been attributed to Colony Collapse Disorder. The main culprit is thought to be modern agricultural practices. Insecticides and pesticides kill bees, and and are thought to disrupt chemical signaling in bee brains, causing them to cease normal life sustaining activities. If bees continue to disappear, it will severely impact the world’s food supply. To give an example of the far reaching implications, think of the beef and dairy industries. Both rely on alfalfa, a bee pollinated crop.

What Can I do to help?

There are three easy things everyone can do to help.

1. Dont use chemical fertilizer and pesticides on your lawn. Bees get much of their nutrition from dandelions and clover, so let these wild beauties populate anywhere they may spring up!

2. Eat and buy organic foods. This will help a lot. Big corporations use tons of chemicals in non-organic farming, which kills the bees and disrupts chemical signaling.

3. Buy and eat local honey. If honey is valued, it will encourage more people to keep bees. Also buy and use beeswax candles which purify the air.

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