Beekeepers constantly battle disease and pests to keep our bees alive and healthy. The wild or “feral” colonies must fend for themselves and, as a result, a large number have succumbed to the parasitic mites that were discovered in the United States in the early 80’s. If you would like to learn more about the pests and diseases that are hurting our wild and kept bee populations, we suggest visiting the USDA Bee Lab webpage.
Enough of the “doom and gloom” as we call it, the following are just a few bee facts that we find interesting and we think you will too…
- European settlers introduced honeybees to North America during the 1600’s. The Native Americans called them the “White Man’s Flies.”
- There are 3 different types of bees that are found within a colony: the queen, workers and drones.
- A queen bee, the mother of all bees in the hive, will lay an average of 1500 eggs in a day!
- The worker bee, which is always a female, will live from 6 to 8 weeks and only produce 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime, so don’t forget to lick the spoon!
- A drone bee, which is always a male, has no father but does have a grandfather since he is produced from an unfertilized egg!
- It takes 2 million flower visits and 55,000 miles of flying for the bees to make just 1 pound of honey!
- Man has been collecting honey from the honeybee for at least 9,000 years.
- Cave paintings that have been found in Spain from 7,000 BC are the earliest records of beekeeping.
- Romans used honey, instead of gold, to pay their taxes.
- Ancient Chinese completely covered small pox sufferers with honey to speed healing and prevent scarring.
- Ancient Egyptians used honey to treat a variety of ailments such as cataracts, cuts and burns.
- A honeybee’s top-flight speed is 15 miles per hour.
- Bees are more important to us in their role as crop pollinators than as honey producers. Honeybees perform approximately 80% of all crop pollination.
- One third of our food is the product of pollination.
- The value of crop pollination is estimated to be $19 billion!
- Honeybees never sleep!
- The venom from honeybees is used to treat a multitude of body ailments from cancer to multiple sclerosis!
- Other products of the beehive that are important to us are pollen, royal jelly, propolis and beeswax. The demand for these products within the health food and cosmetic industries continues to grow.
Some Honey Facts
There are over 300 different varieties of honey produced in the United States, each having its own distinct color and flavor. The characteristics of honey are determined by the different floral sources from which the honeybees gather their nectar.
You may think of honey as just a natural sweetener, but there are many more redeeming qualities than just great taste! Unprocessed honey is loaded with good stuff such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants. No wonder honey is known as the “ancient healer”!
Did you know…?
- Honey is antimicrobial due to it’s high sugar content, low pH and the presence of organic acids (Use it to treat cuts, scrapes and burns as well as to prevent scarring!)
- Honey is high in carbohydrates and is therefore a great energy source.
- Honey contains the vitamins B6, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin and pantothenic acid.
- Honey contains the minerals calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, sodium and zinc.
- The natural antioxidants found in honey are chrysin, pinobanskin, vitamin C, catalase and pinocembrin.
- Unprocessed honey contains enzymes that are considered essential for good health! We do not subject our honey to high heat nor do we force it through micro filters – our honey is pure and natural which assures you that you are getting a “healthy” product!
- Generally, darker honeys and those with higher water content have stronger antioxidant potential. The antioxidants identified thus far in honey are pinocembrin, pinobanksin, chrysin and galagin. Pinocembrin is unique to honey and found in the highest amount relative to the others. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C), catalase and selenium are also present.
- Diabetics must control their total intake of carbohydrates, not the type. Therefore, honey may be included in a diabetic diet. They must, however, comply with the medical regime and diet instructions prescribed by their individual healthcare providers to keep blood sugar levels under control.
- Honey is used as a hair and facial treatment due to the fact that it attracts and retains moisture.
- Using honey in your baked goods will keep them moist for a longer period of time. (See the “Helpful Hints” section on our recipe page for cooking tips!)
- Honey never goes “bad”. It is slightly acidic and, therefore, not conducive for bacterial growth.
- Honey is the only food produced by insects that is eaten by man!
- Honey is good and it is good for you – it belongs in your medicine cabinet as well as your cupboard!