“The flower doesn’t dream of the bee. It blossoms, and the bee comes.” – Mark Nepo

Gardens need honeybees, and we need gardens; its as simple as that. Yes, bees are a menace when they are buzzing in your ear when you are trying to enjoy dinner outside. Yes, they hurt like a bi*@! when they sting. BUT, bees are vital for our survival, and unfortunately, every year honeybees are dying at an alarming rate. So what do honeybees do for us, and why should we try to save them?

Honeybees Feed Us

We all know that bees pollinate flowers, but did you know that because of pollination, we are able to enjoy such foods as:

  • apples
  • peaches
  • pears
  • onions
  • cashews
  • avocados
  • beans
  • coffee
  • lemons
  • limes
  • carrots
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • cocoa
  • vanilla
  • tomatoes
  • grapes

The list goes on from there. One third of our global food supply is pollinated by bees. ONE THIRD. That is crazy! Without bees, we would lose a large portion of our crops. This is especially concerning as hunger is already a serious problem in both the United States and abroad. Entomologist Maria Spivak is quoted by CNN as saying:

Pollen aside, honeybees also produce wax, propolis, and royal jelly.

Beeswax

Beeswax is actually a natural secretion that comes from the wax glands located on the sides of the honeybee. To speed up the production of the wax, the bees eat the honey they produce and then huddle together to raise the temperature of the bee cluster! Beeswax is found in many common skin care products such as:

  • toner
  • moisturizer
  • cleanser
  • perfume
  • lip balm
  • acne cream
  • soap

And for my fellow candle lovers, imagine a life without your favorite scented candles! It seems like a small sacrifice in the grand scheme of things, but both essential oils and candles have become important products that contribute relaxation and stress relief. Without bees, both of those products would cease to exist.

Propolis

When bees land on trees and other plants, they may pick up resins that those plants produce naturally. When the bees consume these resins, they mix with their saliva and produce propolis, a natural antioxidant. Propolis has healing effects for both bees and people! Propolis can help us in the following ways:

  • an alternative to penicillin
  • heals cuts and burns
  • can prevent skin infections
  • can treat acne
  • can combat cancer cells (Brazilian Bee Propolis)
  • a natural anti-inflammatory
  • helps tame gastrointestinal issues

Propolis contains high concentrations of vitamins A and B, as well as calcium, magnesium and potassium.

Royal Jelly

Royal jelly is created by worker bees when pollen and honey mix together. Bee larvae consume this substance in the first few days of their lives. The queen bee also eats royal jelly for most of her adult life. This substance is rare and can only be produced in nature. That’s right — man cannot create this “bee food” in a lab. Royal jelly is used as:

  • an anti-inflammatory
  • a dietary supplement
  • a remedy for poor digestion
  • an antioxidant
  • a remedy for colds, menopause and fatigue

Why are honeybees dying?

Colony Collapse Disorder or CCD is an epidemic in the United States. Forty percent of bee colonies suffer from CCD which is ultimately a death-sentence. The bees become disoriented and cannot find their way back to the hive, often leading them to die far from home. It is believed that pesticides are a leading cause of CCD.

Many of the pesticides linked to CCD have been banned in countries throughout Europe. Shockingly, the U.S uses these same pesticides extensively. For example, honeylove.org reports that the U.S has used one deadly pesticide, Monsanto, on nearly 143 million acres of crops. CNN reports that since 2007, approximately 30% of all colonies have died every winter in the U.S. Our economy depends on the bees. Our crops depend on the bees. We depend on the bees, and we need them for our future survival.

Useful Resources:

http://www.canceractive.com/cancer-active-page-link.aspx?n=2028

http://www.benefits-of-honey.com/royal-jelly.html

List of Foods We Will Lose if We Don’t Save the Bees

http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/17/opinion/spivak-loss-of-bees/

EliteDaily.com

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