(*This article has been updated 2019.)
Some bee facts:
- Some famous beekeepers include Sherlock Holmes, Virgil, Thomas Jefferson, Martha Stewart, Pythagoras, Maria Von Trapp, Leo Tolstoy, Henry Fonda and Aristotle.
- A bee colony can contain 75,000 bees, with a hundred or more leaders and one queen.
- Bees gather nectar from flowers and bring it back to the hive where they turn it into honey.
- Bees travel about 15mph and a hive travels more than 50,000 miles to collect enough nectar for one pound of honey!
- Honey’s flavor comes from the specific flowers that were the source of its nectar. The darker the honey, the bolder the flavor.
- Bees play an indispensible pollination role for much of the world’s seed crops. Almond, broccoli, lemon, cantaloupe, onion, carrot, and avocado are among many seed crops which depend on bees for pollination.
- Since 2006, 20 to 40 percent of bee colonies in the United States have suffered ‘Colony Collapse Disorder’ resulting in the death of billions of bees and putting survival of honey bees in jeopardy.
- While this may not ‘bee’ a fact, we think for flavor and texture, honey trumps sugar!
The cause of the collapse of honey bee colonies is a combination of a fungus and a virus, but no solution has been found to stop its spread. Nothing on this scale has ever happened to honey bees and researchers are scrambling to fix the problem. The reduction of honey bees threatens our food supply.
What we can do:
- An immediate solution is to increase the number of beekeepers and bee colonies. That could be you! Bee-keeping courses are suddenly over-sold and many citizens are becoming backyard beekeepers. Make sure you check the law in your municipality as some cities still have a ban on beekeeping.
- Think of bees as a new domestic pet! To become a backyard beekeeper, go to www.beginningbeekeeping.com or www.wikihow.com/Become-a-Beekeeper
- Want to involve the kids? Here’s the Guide to Bee Keeping for Adults and Kids
- Support local beekeepers by buying locally produced honey.
- Plant a bee-friendly garden with native and nectar-producing flowers.
- Don’t use chemicals or pesticides – try non-damaging non-chemical treatments in and around your home..
- Encourage dandelions and clover to grow – they are bee-friendly and they are excellent pollen and nectar sources.
- Allow a beekeeper to maintain beehives on your property.
Gilchrist & Soames produces products for use in hotels called BeeKind. It is an organic product line and they donate a portion of their proceeds to support honey bees and sustainable pollination research.
Gilchrist and Soames makes a quarterly donation to the University of California Entomology Department.
Gimbal’s Honey Lovers – $20.00 for a 38 oz. jar of 16 different flavors.
This year, National Honey Bee Day is Saturday, August 18, 2018. For more information go to www.nationalhoneybeeday.net.
More honey, please? See our article,