Today I’m writing all about that sweet gooey golden goodness that we all have in our kitchen, and the little buzzing friends that make it. I never realized just how much bees do for our environment! In past years, I heard that bees were dying and that it would have a great impact on us, but never truly understood why. Well, I was researching about honey and found out a lot about bees.
Bees are vital to sooooo many crops around the world and plants that we grow in our yards. Apples, Avocadoes, Oranges, Pumpkins, Onions, Almonds, coffee, cotton, alfalfa, etc (Fox News). Bees are helpful to “30% of the world’s food crops and 90% of wild plants [that] grow” (The Ecology Center). These little creatures do so much more than I ever thought that they did. They help pollinate your food, AND they help pollinate most of the beautiful things in your yard and neighborhood. They also help livestock by pollinating the wild plants that they eat (New AG) Crazy!
In researching why bees are dying, it seemed that there is no one reason why this is happening. The main culprits look to be neonicotinoid pesticides/ insecticides, Colony Collapse Disorder, parasites and mites, and changes in habitat. Neonicotinoids are agricultural insecticides that resemble nicotine; they are water-soluble and can be absorbed into plants and the soil (which the bees are exposed to). “Although these low level exposures do not normally kill bees directly, they may impact some bees’ ability to foraging for nectar, learn and remember where flowers are located, and possibly impair their ability to find their way home to nest or hive” (Texas A&M). Colony Collapse Disorder is when the majority of worker bees disappear, but the queen, food, and nurse bees are left. This is said to reduce the bee hive population by 30% every winter (EPA). Parasites and mites are apparently becoming more and more of a problem. Some mites can drain body fluids and weaken the immune system of the bees, they also leave bees vulnerable to viruses through an open wound they leave (Reveal News). However, if you treat your hives the miticides can build up in your beeswax. Lastly, habitat change of farming, lack of wildflowers, and drought are all affecting the lives and health of bee hives (Reveal News).
Now about the golden goodness that these little guys produce! Honey is such a great natural sweetener. According to organicfacts.net, honey is 69% glucose and fructose which makes it easily digested into usable energy by our bodies. They also say that honey is naturally full of vitamins and minerals such as: Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, and much much more. Another great benefit is that it is full of antioxidants and it also has antibacterial properties (Organic Facts).
When I have heard about honey and what is healthiest for you, I have heard “organic raw” is healthiest. So I decided to research what that meant. Organic honey means that the hives are not contaminated with pesticides and insecticides, also that these buzzing little guys have not been treated with antibiotics (Organic Facts). I thought that if you had a hive and your yard was pesticide and insecticide free, that your honey would be organic. I was totally wrong. The plants within about a 4 mile radius of the hive are all accessible to the bees. So all those plants would have to be untreated to be able to say honey is organic (Scientific American). Raw honey means that you haven’t filtered or heated it. There is an initial filtering to extract the honey from the comb but that is it.
I want to say congratulations to my in-laws for getting a second place ribbon at the Washington State Fair for their honey! 🙂 They have hives in their backyard and create such a great environment for the bees. Their plants are never treated with pesticides or insecticides. I cannot say their honey is organic because the bees could pollinate plants off of their property, but their honey is raw. They do not heat their honey at all, and is minimally filtered. This honey tastes AMAZING! It tastes different than any honey I have bought at a store, and I would honestly describe it as “more wild”. It is thick and has a rich honey flavor. I would definitely recommend for anyone to support local bee keepers and look for organic raw wildflower honey. So so yummy!
What is your favorite honey? Comment and share your favorite. Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog with your email to receive updates! Like and share 🙂