“If the bees disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left.” –the oft quoted Albert Einstein prediction
Are You Up For the Bee Keeping Challenge? It Could Save Our Lives Bee keeping can be a crazy notion at first–we’ve been brought up to be scared of bees. Considering a typical hive consists of 20,000 to 30,000 bees in the winter (over 60,000 to 80,000 in the summer), some bravery is involved. Still on the fence about investing in a big white suit with a funny netted hat and allow hundreds of potentially stinging pets that close in proximity? These cool bee keeping things might make up your mind…
**The Big 4: Raw Honey, Propolis, Pollen and Wax
**How could a bee’s vomit and butt wax (which is what the process basically is) taste so good and be so good for you? Bees extract nectar from flowers, ingest it and regurgitate (the vomit) into their honeycomb cells. Then they cap the hive with wax they excrete from their abdomen (you know where that’s coming from). Here’s what that process produces:
Honey: It’s obviously nutritious, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and eating raw local honey is great for allergies.
Propolis: This is the material bees make from tree resin. It’s used to insulate the hive and it’s also antibacterial. It can help keep cavities at bay and it’s good for acne or burns. Simple homemade toothpastes and skin creams can easily be made from a harvest.
Bee pollen: This could very well be the perfect food. It’s high in protein, amino acids, minerals, and vitamins–especially B–the feel-good vitamin that reduces stress. Only one teaspoon per day is needed to give an all-natural boost–forget the 5-hour Energy bottles.
Wax: It’s scraped from the hives when extracting honey and used for candles, soap, and an ingredient in skin products.
So Why are Bees Such a Crucial Part of Our Existence on Earth?
Candles and homemade toothpastes are all well and good, but looking at the bigger picture, without bees many of the crops we depend on like fruit, veggies and nuts would never be pollinated. Our survival would be dependent on self-pollinating grain crops: wheat, barley, and rice. Not only a pretty boring diet, but a grave detriment to our health. Practicing a low carb or Paleo diet plan would be the least of our worries. Need more proof, take a good long look at the above photo Whole Foods released last year.
Keeping Bees can Increase Your Garden Yields Tenfold Besides keeping the human races around a little longer, a personal reason for backyard bee keeping is it’ll increase your yield of veggies and fruit. As any green thumb knows, producing as much food as possible is important when dealing with a small garden space. If everyone kept one working hive, there would no longer be the concern over loss of bees as there is today. Pesticides, herbicides and genetically modified crops (GMOs) that contain their own pesticide within the plant are toxic to bees and are main components in sudden hive death.
Jamie Collins is the owner of Serendipity Farms and has been farming organic row crops at the mouth of Carmel Valley since 2001. She’s also an organic farm and process inspector for California Certified Organic Farmers. She also owns a huge hive of bees.