When one stands before a hive of bees, one should say quite solemnly to oneself, ‘By way of the hive the whole cosmos enters man and makes him strong and able’
What is Happening to Our Honey Bees?
I have been fortunate enough to make friends with my local ‘bee lady’, Landi Simone of Gooserock Farm in Montville, NJ. Her place is magical and represents to me a sustainable lifestyle that is in harmony with nature. The flowers all around are of course amazing. She has helped to educate me and countless others about what is happening with the honey bees.
There has been a lot of concern for continued decline in honey bee populations. The Apiary Inspectors of America (AIA) Survey found the colony losses continue and the effects of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) have not abated. There was a 14% loss over the last year and this represents an unsustainable trend.
A little perspective on how important honey bees are: According to the AIA, Honey bees in the US are responsible for pollinating more than 100 different crops worth $15 billion annually.
“It’s disheartening to have to report that the honey bee colonies continue to die at unsustainable levels,” said AIA president and Häagen-Dazs® Ice Cream Bee Board member Dennis vanEngelsdorp. “At least 70 percent of all colony deaths can be attributed to non-CCD causes, underlying the need for research, not only into CCD, but into pollinator health in general.”
AHHHHHH – don’t mess with my Haagen-Daz!!!!
What We Can Do to Help Honey Bees
I’m loving my Haagen-Daz even more now, because they are getting very involved in supporting research and assisting in various ways to help promote growth among the honey bee population. They have a very cool website dedicated to helping the honey bees that is a wonderful tool for learning more about how you can help, but most importantly, it is a fun site that has a marvelous audio component that sounds as if you are in a meadow with the bees. I have been leaving it on in my office during the day and it has an amazing soothing quality.
One of the things Haagen-Daz among others are suggesting we can do is to start planting bee-friendly plants. Landi said that while it does help if we plant some additional flowers in our gardens and let the dandelions grow freely (bees aparently love these), the bees need help on a much larger scale. She suggests that we need to get more bee-friendly trees, such as Linden or Black Locust trees, planted and that landscape architects and city planners needed to start to use more of these and less of some of the more popular ones, such as Bradford Pear, which are lovely, but don’t help the honey bees at all. The DailyGreen has a wonderful list of bee-friendly flowers, shrubs and trees for anyone interested.
Honey: Important Health & Healing Aid
Aside from being a vital part of our agricultural system, honey bees are the producers of one of the original wonderful tasty, nutritional and healing products ever discovered – honey, of course.
These industrious and productive little fellows work hard to bring us a substance that has been touted for its healing qualities for centuries. The ancient Egyptians used honey as an embalming material and treated cuts and burns with it. The Greek physician Hippocrates cured skin disorders with honey, and the Romans cleaned wounds with it. Even as recently as World War I, doctors treated wounds with honey. With the advent of antibiotics, honey fell out of use for its healing properties, but scientific research is now rediscovering honey’s natural healing power.
Medical science is coming back around and there are numerous studies now showing how effective honey is in wound care in particular. Once ScienceDaily report, Healing Honey: The Sweet Evidence Revealed is worth a quick read.
Another great article on NaturalNews.com has an extensive list of the various ailments and health problems honey has been known to help with, including: anemia, osteoperosis, stress, conjunctivitis, burns and quite a few others.
A Case of Mistaken Identity
It is important to learn to recognize a honey bee and be able to distinguish her from a yellow jacket, bumblebee or other insect. People frequently refer to yellow jackets as ‘bees’ when they’re actually a species of wasp. This particular case of mistaken identity causes a lot of problems. Yellow jackets are highly defensive insects and are involved in a multitude of unpleasant human-bug encounters. Honey bees get blamed for the stings of their ornery cousins. In truth, unless a person lives near a beekeeper, there’s a good chance they’ve never even seen a honey bee; they’ve become that rare. Here’s the wikipedia page on honey bees.
Ah, the Sweet Nectar of the Gods
Of course, one cannot talk (or write) about honey and not discuss its delicious qualities. There are so many wonderful recipes out there. As it turns out the the National Honey Board has a section of their website devoted to honey recipes!
I learned that local honey can help in combating pollen-related allergies, so I drink raw honey from Landi’s bees every morning with hot lemon water and it seems to keep the allergies away!
Please send along any great honey recipes, honey bee stories, or honey healing stories.
And, don’t forget to be grateful to our busy little friends, educate yourself about the crisis and do what you can to help – hey, having a great excuse to not fight with the deandelions or plant more flowers isn’t so hard!