When you think of honey bees, what comes to mind? Sometimes it’s the pesky nuisance to our summer and early-autumn picnics. Sometimes you might think of a sting you might have received. Sometimes you might also think about some of the brave souls who wear “bee beards” at local fairs and festivals. However, you might just be taking the little honeybee for granted.
Archeological evidence suggests that people have been harvesting honey from bees since 13,000 BC, and the domestication of bees have been portrayed in paintings as early as 2422 BC. Certainly humans have coexisted in a fruitful relationship with these little dynamos for a VERY long time. But, honey is not the only benefit to beekeeping. Here are (in addition to honey) some of the wonderful healthy products humans harvest and consume for optimum health and vitality:
Certainly the most popular substance created by honeybees, honey has been used as a sweetener, preservative, and nutritional supplement for thousands of years. Honey is the only food known that doesn’t spoil–honey pots have been discovered in ancient Egyptian burial chambers dried but still edible. Made from the repeated consumption and regurgitation from honeybees of nectar gathered from various flowers, honey has been used for medicinal purposes to promote energy, support colon health, promote healthy hair and skin, and to maintain a clear throat. It’s often used in tea, though it can be eaten by itself or added to toast, fruit, etc. Moreover, honey has the distinction of having antibacterial and antiseptic properties. Honey should not be given to infants and some young children as it has been linked to botulism.
As bees move from flower to flower, they compact on their legs a good bit of pollen taken from each flower. The transfer of this pollen to other flowers is essential for the proliferation of plants, so the bees kinda play “matchmaker” helping plants cross pollinate and reproduce. However, there is more to pollen than that–bees use pollen as their primary source of nourishment. Bees mix pollen with nectar, enzymes, fungi, and bacteria to produce “bee bread,” a highly nutritious food. This bee bread is often found in “brood cells” as nourishment for larvae. Humans harvest “bee bread” as a nutritional supplements because it’s fortified with lots of nutrients that boost energy and immune function.
All bees are fed royal jelly. However, only a select few are fed royal jelly their WHOLE LIVES! Where a worker bee only lives a few months, a queen bee, which is fed a strict diet of daily royal jelly, can live up to five years! Humans have discovered methods of stimulating bees to create more queens. When these queen chambers are fully of royal jelly, they can be harvested. Royal jelly contains tons of minerals, fatty acids, vitamins, and other nutrients that foster a healthy immune system, vitality, and energy.