It’s the bees knees !

Just look at that knee on this honey bee! Isn’t it the prettiest knee you ever did see?

So what’s all  the buzz about bees and honey?

Did you know that bees are an endangered species? Bees are responsible for one out of every three bites of food we eat. Most crops grown for their fruits (including vegetables such as squash, cucumber, tomato and eggplant), nuts, seeds, fiber (such as cotton), and hay (alfalfa grown to feed livestock), require pollination by insects. Mostly, those insects are bees.

30 percent of the world’s crops and 90 percent of our wild plants need cross pollination in order to thrive. Without bees to spread seeds, many plants—including food crops—would die off. If that happened – well, to put it bluntly, we’d be in deep *poo-poo*.

It behooves us all to look after the world’s bee population.  To learn how to do your bit go to this link.

Let’s have a quick peek at the amazing little flying insect that produces this nectar of the gods we call honey.

  • Bees are the only insect in the world that make food that people can eat
  • Honey contains all of the substances needed to sustain life, including enzymes, water, minerals and vitamins
  • Honey is brain food. That’s right!  It’s the only food to contain pinocembrin, an antioxidant that improves brain function
  • One bee will only makes 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in its entire life
  • Many plants rely on insects like bees in order to be pollinated
  • A colony of bees can contain between 20,000 and 60,000 bees, but only one queen bee
  • A bee’s wings beat 190 times a second, a whopping 11,400 times a minute!
  • Worker bees, all female, are the only ones to attack, but only if they feel threatened
  • Each colony smells different to bees so they can find their way home
  • It takes 1,100 bees to make 1kg of honey  and 4 million flower visits
  • There are 900 cells in a bee’s brain
  • The queen bee lays about 1,500 eggs a day – that’s about a million eggs in her lifetime
  • Bees have two separate stomachs; one for food and one for nectar
  • Honey contains natural preservatives
  • A third of all the plants we eat have been pollinated by bees
  • Bees have been around for more than 30 million years
  • Bees communicate by smells called ‘pheromones’ and by performing special ‘dances’. The tail wagging and running dance moves, and the accompanying buzz sounds (200 cycle per second note, pulse rate of 35 per second) communicate information about the location of juicy crops
  • Worker bees can carry a payload of nectar or pollen equivalent to her own weight
  • It takes 300 bees about 3 weeks to gather 450gm of honey
  • A bee’s average life cycle is 6 – 7 weeks
  • An average hive contains about 40,000 bees

No wonder they are called busy bees!

Honey is a sweet and sticky. It’s produced by bees and some other insects. Bees produce honey from plant nectar  or other insects (aphid honeydew). It eventually gets stored in honeycombs. Honey is collected from wild bee colonies, or from hives of domesticated bees for commercial use.

Honey seeker depicted in an 8000-year-old cave painting at Araña Caves in Spain

The oldest record of humans foraging for honey has been found  in a cave painting in Valencia, Spain.

The ancient Greek Gods of Olympus used honey in the form of nectar and ambrosia.

Honey is one of the five elixirs of immortality in Hinduism and is used in religious rituals as well as being revered as a great medicinal and health food.

A Jewish new year is ushered in with the eating of apples slices dipped in honey

Honey is referenced many times in the Hebrew Bible.

The Book of Exodus describes the Promised Land as a “land flowing with milk and honey”. 

In Buddhism, honey plays an important role.  The festival of Madhu Purnima,  commemorates Buddha’s making peace among his disciples by retreating into the wilderness. The legend has it that while he was there, a monkey brought him honey to eat. Buddhists remember this act by giving honey to monks. 

In the Christian New Testament John the Baptist is said to have lived for a long period of time in the wilderness on a diet consisting of locusts and wild honey.

In Islam, an entire chapter  in the Qur’an is called an-Nahl (the Bee).  Muhammad strongly recommended honey for healing purposes. The Qur’an promotes honey as a nutritious and healthy food.

Much research has been done into the health giving benefits of honey. This site lists 128 abstracts .

© Raili Tanska

Steps for Peace

Advice from a Honey Bee: create a buzz. Sip life’s sweet moments. Mind your own beeswax. Work together. Always find your way home. Stick close to your honey. Bee yourself.  (unknown)

 

 

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15 thoughts on “It’s the bees knees !

    1. Wow, that must be what’s called a bumble bee. The only aggressive related species here is the European wasp.It’s an introduced pest. They are attracted to food and have a very nasty sting.

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