Honey bees are widely known for their importance in sustaining floral life through pollination, but that is just the start in realizing how much they protect and enrich life. In recent years it has also been found that the bee population has shrunk considerably in the first two decades of our current century, with dramatic effects on the environment and ecosystems. With this revelation, it is ever more important to highlight some of the many ways bees and their production of honey provide humans and our environment with a wealth of opportunity. It is just as important to find out what we can do in our everyday lives to help our bees out, just as they have always done for us.
Honey and Health
The many benefits of honey as a healing and antibacterial property, as well as a nutritious ingredient, have been known since ancient times. Honey is used in countless recipes, for cosmetic reasons, and even medical applications. probably present in your facial cream, in your food ingredients, and some of your medicines.
Honey soothes the throat, stomach, and more
If you have had the flu before you have likely been told to drink tea with honey. Honey has antimicrobial properties, meaning it can help your body fight off some bacteria and viruses. Honey also soothes the throat, which can help a great deal if your cold comes with a cough. Lozenges often contain honey for this very reason; honey is highly effective at reducing inflammation of the throat and the irritation caused by excessive coughing.
Honey Helps With Skin and Haircare
If you sort through your facial and skin creams and ointments, honey is probably listed as an ingredient in more skincare products than you realize. Honey can be found in acne clearing products, scar-healing treatments, face-masks, and anti-aging creams. Honey contains a mild antiseptic that can make it an effective remedy for acne sufferers, and is also a natural exfoliator, helping to shed dead skin cells and keep your skin glowing and refreshed.
Honeycomb, the waxy hexagonal honey bee product which is used for storing honey, contains raw honey, which is unprocessed and contains unique compounds to boost wellness. Raw honey contains upwards of 4 times the amount of antioxidants as regular
honey, meaning the anti-inflammatory and
bacteria-fighting benefits are far greater.
Honeycomb also contains beeswax, which may
lower cholesterol levels. Raw honey can also be used as a natural substitute for processed sugar, which is a healthier alternative.
Pollination is the main activity bees undertake which has the greatest consequence on our overall health. Pollen is the fine, yellow grains produced by male plants that fertilize plant cells in female plants. Seed-bearing plants can reproduce from natural factors such as wind and rain, which can blow pollen between plants, but most commonly rely on organic pollination through pollinators; including honey bees, bumblebees, and butterflies.
Bees play an enormous role in this process since they rely on pollen as their protein source to feed their entire colony.
Honey bees are even more preoccupied with pollination since in the process they often collect nectar from many flowering plants that produce it naturally. While the bees are collecting sweet nectar inside of flowers they are brushing up against pollen and then transfer it to the next flower they fly to. This is how bees, seed-producing, and flowering plants help each other thrive.
Without pollination, many flowers and plants simply would not grow, therefore depriving our ecosystems of essential oxygen levels many organisms including humans need to survive.
70-80% of flowering plants rely on organic pollination to spread and survive. This means some of our favorite fruits and plants (apples, berries, avocados, almonds, and more) would struggle to exist if the bee population is endangered any further.
Everyday Ways to Help Sustain Our Bee Population
Plant a Bee Garden
If you have the yard space, one of the best ways to support bees directly is to plant your very own bee garden. Add features such as a flower garden; with single bloom flowers, which provide more nectar, a water source; such as a small fountain or birdbath to hydrate the bees, bee houses made of untreated wood to provide temporary shelter for bees. The Honey Bee Conservancy is a great resource for home conservation of bees and tips on how to grow your very own bee garden. Find out more at https://thehoneybeeconservancy.org/2015/08/29/build-a-bee-friendly-garden/.
Find community green space to make bee corridors
Community green spaces are places of great opportunities for bees to pollinate, collect nectar and encourage plant and floral growth. Contact your neighborhood associations and park officials to see about increasing the number of conservation areas and preserved lands in your locality to give bees natural settings even within cities.
Another excellent way to protect bees is to increase their food supply directly through the planting of nectar-rich flowering plants. Research which plants are suitable for your home garden and climate as well as which carry a good source of nectar, to make sure bees will get the most out of your efforts. Some such plants are honeysuckle, sweet pea, rhododendron, and the yellow water iris.
Happy planting and thank you for caring for our bees!