Of all God’s creatures, honeybees are among the more important.
I’ve always loved honey, more so now than ever, and after some misadventures with insects as a kid I’ve come to appreciate honeybees as an essential “bee-loved” part of creation. I enjoy watching them work, flower to flower, as I walk in neighboring areas or explore our own property. And I now realize just how critical honeybees are to agriculture.
Honeybees produces more than 157 million pounds of honey every year in the United States. That’s from about 50-65 lbs. per colony.
Meanwhile, approximately 400 million pounds of honey are consumed in the US each year. Obviously, that’s considerably more than our bees produce so we import 70% of the honey consumed in the US.
Honey is good for you
Raw and regular honey are differently processed. Raw means the honey is much as it was from the hive. It contains pollen and has no added sugars or sweetners. Regular or commercial honey is processed, pasteurized, and thus while it gets that beautiful amber look that American consumers want and it tends not to crystalize as quickly, it’s lost much of its original nutrient value.
Raw honey contains many nutrients, including sugars, vitamins, calcium, magnesium, and protein, and approximately 22 amino acids, 31 different minerals, vitamins, and enzymes. Raw honey also contains some 30 types of bioactive plant compounds called polyphenols, which act as antioxidants.
Numerous studies have connected antioxidants with reduced inflammation and lower risk of heart disease and some cancers. Honey also helps gastrointestinal disorders and diabetes, reduces coughs, increases athletic performance, heals wounds and fight bacteria.
I eat raw, pure, unfiltered honey. It's worth the extra cost and I highly recommend it.
Bee pollen is good for you too
Bee pollen is another honeybee product with food value. It’s low in calories while rich in proteins, enzymes, vitamins, beneficial carbohydrates, amino acids and bioflavonoids. Bee pollen contains over 250 substances, including vitamins, amino acids, essential fatty acids, micronutrients and antioxidants.
Bee pollen is a natural allergy relief and is responsible for the many health benefits of raw honey. Bee pollen contains more protein than any animal source and more amino acids than an equal weight of eggs or beef. Bee pollen’s health benefits include, fights inflammation, improves liver function, helps stabilize cholesterol, stimulate organs, accelerate rate of recovery, strengthens capillaries, helps fight heart disease and stroke.
And then there’s beeswax
Beeswax is also a valuable honeybee product, often worth more per ounce than honey. Beeswax is used in skin care products, candles, and furniture polish, along with what one organization listed as 101 uses for beeswax.
Honeybees pollinate food crops
Honeybees are also important for their work pollinating about one-sixth of flowering plant species worldwide and approximately 400 different agricultural types of plant.
“More than a third of all crop species in the United States including avocados, almonds, and apples, depend on honeybees for pollination.“ Other examples of crops which depend on bees for pollination: macadamia nuts, Brazilian nuts, the kiwifruit, avocados, mangoes, almonds, apples, watermelons, passion fruits, and the rowanberry.
What makes bees so important for pollination is that honeybees and bumble bees typically practice “flower fidelity,” meaning that on a given foraging flight they tend to visit the same type of flower. This enhances pollination by moving pollen between the same type of flower.
According to the US Department of Agriculture, there are about 212,000 beekeepers in the country. Honeybee farms or hive locations are called apiaries and a beekeeper is otherwise known as an apiarist. These people may employ up to four workers to manage the colonies. More people work as honeybee pollination services providers while others are employed in organizations that deal directly with bee products. About 1.5 million people whose employment is connected to honeybees.
Honey is gold. Honeybees are better than goldminers. They’re gold producers of what is one of the creation’s best sustainable foods.
© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020
*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.
I've always loved animals. Always will.
Here are some thoughts about what role animals play in our lives and what role we should play in theirs:
© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2012
This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.
Michigan has lifted its ban on deer baiting. Too bad. This relatively new hunting habit should be banned for good in Michigan and in every other state. Currently, 28 states ban deer baiting, 8 others limit the practice.
Baiting is the practice of placing carrots or sugar beets or some other food product in piles in the woods to attract deer (or bear) to the food source. Hunters set up nearby and wait for deer, conditioned after a few days of finding food in this spot, walk into range of hunters’ firepower.
Deer baiting seems to me to remove much of the challenge or sport of hunting deer. Unsuspecting deer become ducks in a barrel. The hunter doesn’t have to take time learning deer’s habits, tracking them, or finding the place to stand that most probably will offer a shot opportunity later in the day. Apparently my view is shared by some who support baiting because one of their arguments is that they “don’t have time” to do “real hunting.” No, with baiting, hunters simply bait-and-wait. Doesn’t seem like much of a sport to me.
Banning deer baiting helps reduce the possibility of the spread of disease like bovine TB or chronic wasting disease, which is why Michigan banned the practice for the past few years. Baiting increases likelihood of disease because animals are eating in one place rather than multiple places across the landscape. Now, though, because of political pressure, baiting is back.
Deer baiting is generally not supported by natural resource scientists or their scientific studies. It’s not supported by environmentalists or conservationists. It’s not even supported by most hunters, just a minority who apparently believe they cannot hunt deer in any other way.
I’m not against hunting. Actually, I think baiting harms hunting because it removes much of the need for hunters to spend time in the craft and improve their hunting skills. To put it bluntly, about anyone can sit with a gun and shoot when a target comes in view. That’s not hunting. It’s a carnival shooting gallery.
Baiting should be banned for hunting of any and all animals in all states. Banning baiting for good would be better for not just the animals, or for the sensibilities of the modern public, but for hunters and hunting too. What’s not to like about that?
© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2011
*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.