World Honey Bee Day is a day for awareness and to celebrate the honey bee (and beekeepers). Today we recognize the contributions honey bees make to our lives and learn about steps that we can take to protect this vital species.
The Benefits of the Honey Bee
Honey bees are responsible for pollinating 80% of the world’s plants including 90 different food crops. One out of every 3-4 bites of food you eat is thanks to bees. We all know that honey bees produce honey. Beyond being a delicious sweetener for a variety of foods, honey offers several health benefits:
High-quality honey has antioxidants that have been linked to lowering the risk of strokes and heart attacks.
Studies have shown honey can help raise your good cholesterol (HDL), and lower your bad cholesterol (LDL)
Honey can be used as a topical treatment for healing burns and wounds due to the anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects it has, as well as its ability to nourish the tissue. This use of honey is dated back to Ancient Egypt.
Bees are Disappearing
Bees are critical to our daily living, yet they are in decline throughout the world. This is because they face a number of different threats, such as:
- The use of toxic pesticides
- Habitat loss due to invasive farming methods and urban developments
- Fear, and a lack of knowledge from humans
What Can I do to Protect the Honey Bees?
Knowledge is power. Begin by researching the risks to Honey Bees and do your part to raise awareness. Also, don’t fear honey bees. Honey bees are not aggressive, and rarely sting. Only about .4% of Americans report having an allergy to bee stings. Some additional steps you can take are:
- Plant bee friendly plants in your yard, like mint, lavender, and sunflowers
- Avoid the use of pesticide in your home gardens
- Consider becoming an urban beekeeper so you can support your own colony, plus you can enjoy fresh honey throughout the year
- Properly remove unwanted beehives on your property by using companies that will relocate the colony instead of killing it
How to Celebrate World Honey Bee Day
World Honey Bee Day is not only a day to celebrate the honey bee, but also a day to promote sustainable farming. You can celebrate the honey bee today by:
- Enjoying a honey based treat, like honey cake or crispy honey buffalo wings
- Donating to a beekeeping non-profit
- Plant a bee friendly garden patch
Fun Honey Bee Facts
- The honey bee is responsible for $15 billion in U.S. agricultural crops each year
- Honey is the only food that does not spoil
- The honey bee is the only insect that produces food eaten by man
- Bees fly a few tenths of a mile up to 6 miles to gather nectar
- Bees can collect up to 4-5 pounds of nectar each day and visit up to 1,500 flowers a day
- The 6 sided hex shape of honeycomb is the strongest shape per material weight.
- Americans consume about 1.31 pounds of honey per person annually.
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