One out of every three bites of food you eat comes to you courtesy of bees all over the world.
That’s according to Nicholas Weaver, honeybee expert and research technician for the University of Georgia Honey Bee Program, who spoke to our Primrose Garden Club Tuesday at the Ashford Farm in Watkinsville, Georgia.
Honey bees are responsible for $14 billion added value to American food production annually1 and more than $215 billion worldwide2.
No one really knows why bees are declining worldwide.
Last season, 37 million bees died on a single North American farm. Some research believes that deadly pesticides called “neonics” are killing the bees. You can sign a petition to ask major retailers to stop selling these pesticides by visiting this link.
Socioeconomic and political pressures on honey production over the past few decades has caused a long-term reduction in the number of colonies in production in the USA, Europe and many other countries. However, more recently honey bee managers have reported increased losses in their stocks each year (so-called ‘annual colony losses’), and the new research shows that pests, pathogens and management issues likely play a major role in this, and are under researched and poorly understood drivers.
Harvard scientist Chensheng (Alex) Lu thinks a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids could be responsible for collapsing bee populations. The Center for Food Safety is suing the FDA over their approval of neonicotinoids. You can read more about that at this link.
However, you can be part of the solution!
- Consider raising your own bees! In Georgia, you can attend the Young Harris Beekeeping Institute in May. You could even become a Master Beekeeper. Nicholas began tending bees at age 13. He said that scientific studies have found that beekeepers tend to live a longer life. Bee stings are actually a boost for your immune system – he said it’s like acupuncture with a kick!
- Plant sunflowers in your garden and clover and buckwheat in your meadows. Nicholas Weaver says these are the best plants for nurturing bees.
- Avoid using pesticides and chemicals in your garden. I have written other blog articles showing that many common pesticides are proven to cause breast cancer, so you can improve your own health and save the bees by having an all-organic garden. Dust and wettable powder pesticides tend to be more hazardous to bees than solutions or emulsifiable concentrates for contact pesticides. For a list of pesticides known to kill bees, go to this link.
- Leave water in your garden. Nicholas Weaver said that bees like to drink water! I have a blue jar fountain in my garden. Even a dog bowl filled with water can do the trick.
- Buy local organic food. When we buy organic, we are supporting farmers who are doing the hard work of keeping not only our food free of chemicals but also the land, which protects not just bees but also hummingbirds and all wildlife.
Honey is one of the greatest natural healing remedies there is.
- Honey was used to dress gunshot wounds during the Civil War, according to Nicholas. It is a great natural healing remedy for killing bad bacteria.
- It is rich in niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.
- Externally, honey is great for acne, scrapes, minor cuts and eczema.
- Internally, honey is helpful for healing sore throats, gastritis and ulcers.
- Eating local honey regularly is a great way to build up your immune system and heal allergies.
What is healing? Healing happens when we recognize our connection to all that is, taking the steps necessary to keep the entire planet healthy.