Globally there are more honey bees than other types of bee and pollinating insects, so it is the world’s most important pollinator of food crops. It is estimated that one third of the food that we consume each day relies on pollination mainly by bees, but also by other insects, birds and bats.
The global honey bee population is in dramatic decline. The effects of the demise of this tiny creature extend far beyond the shortage of a few jars of honey. It could have a devastating impact on global food security; since it has been estimated that honey bees are responsible for pollinating over 90 of our food crops worldwide.
Many domestic and imported fruits and vegetables require pollination. Examples include avocados, soybeans, asparagus, broccoli, celery, squash, and sunflowers for oil, cucumbers, citrus fruit, peaches, kiwis, cherries, cranberries and melons. For crops such as blueberries and almonds, the honey bee plays an essential role in pollination of commercial crops, with around 80% of the US crop said to be dependent on honey bees. Honey bees can also pollinate clover and alfalfa, which are fed to cattle, so there are implications for the meat and dairy industry too. And that is not to mention the huge range of manufactured food products made from all these ingredients.
In addition, honey bees play a significant role in the pollination of other important crops such as cotton and flax. And there are also a number of valuable non-food products produced by the honey bee, such as beeswax used in cleaning and beauty products.
Many believe that the decline of the honey bee is an alarm bell alerting our attention to problems in our wider environment and the unsustainable nature of our food and farming systems. Climate change, intensive agricultural practices, such as monoculture (growing the same crop year after year), and using pesticides, are damaging wildlife and the environment, including bees. Meanwhile, too few systems are in place to help protect bees and control disease outbreaks. And all this with a growing global population.
One cannot discuss bees without mentioning honey. Honey is a sweet, thick liquid made by honeybees. The bees collect sugar — mainly the sugar-rich nectar of flowers — from their environment. Once inside the beehive, they repeatedly consume, digest and regurgitate the nectar.
The end product is honey, a liquid that serves as stored food for bees. The smell, color and taste depend on the types of flowers visited. Nutritionally, 1 tablespoon of honey (21 grams) contains 64 calories and 17 grams of sugar, including fructose, glucose, maltose and sucrose. It contains virtually no fiber, fat or protein. It also contains trace amounts of several vitamins and minerals, but you would have to eat many pounds to fulfill your daily requirements.
Where honey shines is in its content of bioactive plant compounds and antioxidants. Darker types tend to be even higher in these compounds than lighter types. the past, honey was only considered a sweetener, whereas today we know that it contains many beneficial substances. It is an excellent nutrient and calmative. Owing to its antibacterial and antioxidant properties, it is widely used in traditional medicine.
Honey is also great for hair and skin, from providing deep conditioning to boosting hair growth, regular application of honey on the scalp and hair can give you great results. Being a great emollient, it nourishes the scalp from deep within to stimulate growth of soft, silky hair. It is also rich in antioxidants, which means it aids in hair conditioning, breaking or damaging.
Honey is naturally antibacterial, so it is great for acne treatment and prevention.
Full of antioxidants that will slow down aging, it is extremely moisturizing and soothing, so it helps create a glow. It is also considered to be clarifying because it opens up pores making them easy to unclog.
Several Addi Naturals products including deep conditioners, shampoos, bar soaps and hair creams are made using organic raw honey, manuka honey and/or raw unbleached beeswax. In addition to the countless herbs that are used which require pollination from bees.
I personally consume honey and bee pollen daily. Bee pollen is a mixture of flower pollen, nectar, enzymes, honey, wax and bee secretions. Foraging honey bees collect pollen from plants and transport it to the beehive, where it’s stored and used as food for the colony. Recently, bee pollen has gained traction in the health community because it’s loaded with nutrients, amino acids, vitamins, lipids and over 250 active substances. In fact, the Federal Ministry of Health in Germany recognizes bee pollen as a medicine.
Although some people regard bees as pests, Albert Einstein famously said: “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.”