No one really knows how long the honeybee has been around, but some estimate millions of years. Evidence found in cave paintings and fossils could be an indication that there is probably some truth to that estimation. The honey bees are truly magnificent creatures. Through their seemingly never ending teamwork, they produce one of the tastiest, healthiest and beneficial foods on the planet. As a kid I never really gave much thought to why they existed and how important their role is in nature. Even as an adult, I never really gave bees any thought until now. Out of curiosity, I watched a video about them and was quite impressed with the little hairy insects. Their work never ends until they die. Each hive has one queen, many drones and a multitude of worker bees. Every bee works tirelessly together like a well oiled machine to perform their individual assignments. Their main purpose is to maintain and grow the hive for generations to come. By default flowers and plants get pollinated in order to reproduce and we get to reap the health benefits of the deliciously sweet honey. In the agriculture industry, many farmers rely on bee pollination to have a productive crop. The honeybee and what they contribute to the world is multifaceted and a lot of things would go awry without them.
At the time of this writing, the honey industry is valued at USD 8.58 billion. Although honey is probably the most popular product, it definitely is not the only product that they produce. They also produce wax, royal jelly and propolis, which all have some type of cosmetic or medicinal benefits. These little guys are really quite amazing!
Let’s explore some of the benefits of the products that these little ‘busy bodies’ create. The most well known of all their handiwork is honey. Honey can be used as a sweetener for tea, coffee, baked goods and a plethora of other food items and snacks. It is loaded with health benefits such as, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. It also has antimicrobial and antiviral properties that allows it to be widely used in medications and health supplements. Honey can differ in color and potency. The darker the honey, the greater the concentration of nutrients. Also, the less processed it is, the better. Sometimes during the pasteurization process, the honey may lose some of it’s nutritional value. When possible, raw is recommended for the highest level of nutritional value. The options for enjoying this liquid gold are endless.
Beeswax is a substance that the bees produce to build, repair and protect their honeycomb. The wax is multifunctional for the bees and humans also. It is another popular product that has many uses. As a kid, one of my most fond memories of Halloween for me was the ‘wax lips candy’ that had a waxy chewing gum texture. We loved it and it was one of our favorite fun treats. Beeswax has quite a few fun and functional uses. It is also used to make lip balm, candles, artwork, and can be used as a waterproofing agent. The list goes on and is too inexhaustible for the scope of this post, so I just wanted to take a few moments to give honeybees a quick shoutout!
The next time you see a bee 🐝 buzz by, just remember that it is on a mission. That mission is to make some incredibly useful products for you and me. Enjoy.
Eat, Drink, and Be Well
*The content of this post is for informational purposes only and is not intended for medical advice.