You may feel that the work you do is sometimes taken for granted, but the work of the honeybee is really taken for granted.
We all know honeybees gather nectar to produce honey, but they perform another vital function — pollination of agricultural crops, home gardens, and orchards.
As bees travel in search of nectar, they transfer pollen from plant to plant. This fertilizes the plants and enables them to bear fruit.
Approximately 30% of the human diet is derived from insect-pollinated plants and the honeybee is responsible for 80% of this pollination. That is amazing!
Bees collect pollen and nectar. Pollen is a very high-protein food for bees. Plants give up some pollen in exchange for the bees’ services in transferring pollen from other plants. Nectar is sucked up through the bee’s proboscis, mixed with enzymes in the stomach, and carried back to the hive, where it is stored in wax cells and evaporated into honey.
Some bees tend to stay with a specific kind of flower. For example, a honeybee that visits an apple blossom on its first flight, will usually visit only apple blossoms until there are no more, and then they would change to another flower.
Did you know the honeybee is the only insect in the world that makes food for humans?
So, if you happen to see honeybees during a summer outing, don’t be so hard on them. They are not out to get you. Their stinger is simply a defense mechanism. Their job is to get nectar and spread pollen. They are just doing their job.
We do have a number of local honey operations where you can purchase honey products. They are: Camden Meadows in Dresden (519-683-2033); Mike Dodok Apiaries in Chatham (519-351-8338); and Shiloh Homestead in Muirkirk (519-678-3747). You can also purchase locally grown honey at many of our farm markets and stores.
Why buy local honey? Some say local honey will cure your seasonal allergies, and others say it’s just plain good. Whether you want to reduce your carbon footprint or support local agriculture, buying honey that’s made by bees in your own area is a good thing to do.
But there’s another reason you should purchase locally made honey — your own safety.
International honey launderers sometimes ship contaminated honey from China to the U.S., using intermediaries to falsify shipping labels and documents. The honey you purchase in your grocery chain might be labeled as a product of Australia, Thailand, or India, but there’s a good chance it came from China. Barrels of honey travel from China to one of several other countries, where they are relabeled and reshipped to North America to be distributed by packing companies unaware of the scheme.
That’s even more reason to support our bee sector by buying local honey, which is delicious and good for you.
Think about this – The Lord is our refuge and strength, and a very present help in times of trouble.
Just some bee-eautiful food for thought.
Remember that here in Chatham-Kent ‘We Grow for the World’. Check out our community’s agricultural website at: www.wegrowfortheworld.com
Kim Cooper has been involved in the agribusiness sector for over 45 years. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also follow him on Twitter at ‘theAGguy’