I wasn’t always a honeybee lover. But, after directing the documentary film Vanishing of the Bees, narrated by Oscar-nominated actress Ellen Page, I became an advocate for countless reasons. This fuzzy insect is one of endless surprise and delight.
For starters, honeybees are a female society, 95 percent of the hive are made up female workers, sisters to each other, and daughters of the Queen. They are considered to be ancient messengers as well as teachers when it comes to things such as cooperation, industriousness and adaptability.
They are selfless and work together with swarm intelligence for the greater good of the hive. They do amazing things like beat their wings at 250 times a second, twisting them for maximum lift.
And yet honeybees, who also pollinate one out of three every bites of the food we eat (everything from avocados to zucchinis), are disappearing all over the world, thanks in large part to nicotine-based pesticides called neonicotinoids. This past year marks the highest losses of honeybee populations in the country.
At very low doses, these systemic pesticides negatively impact the immune system of the bee, interfere with their nervous systems and impact their navigational capabilities, causing tremors, paralysis and eventually death. These pesticides, which were first registered for use in the mid-1990s, are also poisoning our food supply, negatively impacting other pollinators, and have now made their way into American rivers. They also impair developing (human) brains.
Unfortunately, pesticides are still being used in the U.S., even though the European Commission recently proposed a two-year ban on three of these systemic insecticides to give researchers time to determine the actual effects. This is called the Precautionary Principle. In the U.S., we just pump pesticides out into the environment and blindly trust the studies that have been conducted by the actual makers of these poisons. That’s right, the Environmental Protection Agency does not do any independent research.
With that said, I do believe that progress is being made and that the honeybee is on the forefront of our consciousness more than ever before. It is up to us to continue to spread the buzz about bees.
Michael Pollan says, “vote with your fork.” We cannot afford to lose these sacred creatures. They are the reason why we have nutritious food to eat, and, to top it all off, so many substances they create are medicinal and magical.
Here are five reasons why bee goods revitalize your health.
1. Raw Honey: Nectar of the Gods
In her six-week life span, a honeybee will only produce a quarter of a teaspoon of honey. Think of the cooperation that is required to accomplish this the next time you come across a jar of honey. The ancient Greeks referred to honey as the “nectar of the gods” and the benefits of raw honey are numerous. Honeybees from a typical hive visit approximately 225,000 flowers per day.
Honey, which is literally bee vomit, is both antibacterial and antifungal – so much so that it’s the only food that never spoils. This liquid gold is so potent that it’s been shown to even kill the deadly bacteria MSRA! Honey is also loaded with minerals, enzymes, and antioxidants. Honey can be used against coughs, to treat burns, to build up your immune system, as wound dressing and even as a face mask…