In the holiday season between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I wanted to reflect upon three distinct ways in which honeybees have assisted humans in their endeavors—both in the present day and in the past. In this first post, I’ll discuss the contributions honeybees made in helping pilgrims settle in America. In my next post (12/06/12), I’ll describe how Kentucky is leading the way in restoring pollinator habitats and forage on reclaimed surface mining land.
References in the scientific literature attest to the healing power of honey in wound care. Due to its acidic nature, honey assists the immune system in killing bacteria and fungi. It is also hyperosmotic (i.e., due to high concentration of solids and low moisture content), which helps to pull out excess fluids and secretions from the wound. Furthermore, because it is so viscous, honey helps to maintain the ideal level of moisture to ensure proper healing. Additionally, honey contains an enzyme that converts glucose to low levels of hydrogen peroxide, which acts as an antiseptic.
As our honeybees have evolved from a hobby to a passion to our company, Bee America, our interest in all things related to “bees” has grown as well. Just recently, we acquired a stunning piece of art from a talented metal sculptor, Jeremy Maronpot. It was an early Christmas present from my wife, Tamara. Actually, it was supposed to be a surprise, but it’s hard to keep emails private when you share a computer with one another.
When resources like money and time are available, consumers have become increasingly pro-active in their selection of the types of food they buy. While the decision to purchase more locally-produced food is often driven by quality and freshness, other factors including the desire to support local farmers, decrease the carbon footprint (by minimizing transportation costs), and eliminate the need for preservatives and processing (that degrades our food’s nutritional value) often play an important role.
Honey. What an amazing food! A master beekeeper friend of mine talked about how our job as beekeepers was to get out of the way and let the bees produce one of nature’s most amazing gifts. It doesn’t spoil, doesn’t need refrigeration, and it is just so good for you. I love the taste of honey—how each taste—each batch is subtly different. It is a reflection of the flowers from which it is produced, interpreted by the bees to create a unique and wonderful food.