People have developed a fear of them and confused them for their nemesis the wasp, however the importance of honeybees far exceeds what fears may linger on.
So what is it that makes them so special? After all, they are just bugs right? Yes, they are bugs but they are specialized bugs that have been given to us as multi-functional creatures who bring so much to the table.
They are the great pollinators!
Honeybees are without a doubt one of the greatest pollinators of the world! They forage for pollen and nectar to take back to their hives to use for food. However, by doing this they help out so many other plants that provide food for us. Not to mention the oxygen that is given off by these plants.
It is said that one out of every three bites of food we eat is pollinated by bees one way or another. That sounds crazy right? Yet it is so true!
It would be easier to explain the types of plants that would survive if honeybees weren’t around than to list off the ginormous list of plants they do pollinate. The list is super small. Here it is: corn, rice and wheat. That’s it! I do not think I am missing much else. EVERYTHING else is pollinated.
People are frustrated with the clover and the dandelions that grow in their yards, but have you noticed all the honeybees that absolutely love them?
Throughout the spring, summer and into fall (in the United States at least), you’ll see honeybees bouncing from flower to flower collecting what they can. What harm would a few plants that isn’t grass cause if it meant the honeybees had food and in turn, provided food for us?
Honeybees aren’t the only pollinators that use plants as a source of food. There are hundreds of other bee species and so many butterfly species. Even the less desirable insects such as wasps and moths. Not to forget the chubby bumblebees.
What else do they have to offer?
Even though pollination is huge, it isn’t the only thing honeybees have to offer. Their wax is found in many products we purchase regularly. For example, you can find beeswax in the following (not all-inclusive) list:
- lip balm
- snowboard/ ski wax
- archery bowstring wax
Also, beeswax is edible and packed full of nutrient and vitamins such as vitamin A. Beeswax can also help with medicinal purposes such as swelling, diarrhea, lowering cholesterol, and pain relief.
Ok, so that’s a second thing that honeybees have to offer. I haven’t even covered propolis and honey yet.
How can honey and propolis benefit me?
Benefits of honey: It goes without saying how delicious and lovely honey fresh from the hive can be. Fresh honey is not like a lot of store bought honey. The taste is quite different. It is a lot more flavorful and rich. It is a natural sweetener used in a lot of baking and cooking. I have had several requests of people asking for honey to make mead with.
However, honey alone has some of the following minerals: magnesium, copper, zinc, iron, phosphorous, and potassium!
I think that instead of a “spoonful of sugar,” it should be a “spoonful of honey” simply because of how it benefits us.
Honey can be used to heal wounds! Just as an example, I have been stung by a honeybee and applied honey from that hive to the infected area to help it heal faster. It can also serve as an antioxidant as well as an anti-inflammatory.
Benefits of propolis: When most people think of honeybees they imagine yummy honey and maybe their beeswax. I don’t think they imagine using propolis as a healing agent or as an immune booster.
Propolis is a sticky substance that bees make from tree sap and their saliva. They use it to glue everything together inside a hive.
What would the world be like without them?
Living a life without honeybees is unfathomable. Fruits and vegetables would be nonexistent. All the nutrients, vitamins and minerals we receive from these alone would be very hard to obtain. Some say that if the honeybees disappeared, so would we.
Not to mention all the joys of life we get from the simple foods and drinks. Cocoa and coffee as a prime example. I love my morning Joe! And I wouldn’t want to live without chocolate!
If we didn’t disappear with them, life would be a heck of a lot harder. The diseases and health issues that would arise from honeybee extinction would be unreal. I would imagine a lot of different plants and animals would die as a result and it is estimated that we would have about four years ourselves.
To wrap this up…
I think it goes without saying that honeybees are invaluable. They serve so many purposes and are the true heroes in our lives. They make the world a better place and for being such a small living creature they certainly pack a punch!
Everything they bring to the table helps to serve us humans in our daily lives. From pollination to the uses of beeswax, honey and propolis. All of these things are either something the bees make or something they do in their venture for survival.
I feel they are underestimated and completely misunderstood. They aren’t like angry and vengeful wasps. When they are out foraging for food, that is their mission. It isn’t to sting people.
Honeybees are really docile creatures especially when foraging. Weirdly enough, I have petted one that landed on me without being stung!.
Please let me know in the comments section below if you have any questions. Or if you have input or a story of your own!