A Thank You to Honey Bees

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Today, August 17th, is National Honey Bee Day! In order to celebrate, I thought I’d write a letter to the honey bees themselves.

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Dear Honey Bees,

Most of you don’t know me and have never seen me in your lives, but for those of you that have, I’m the girl behind the camera who stalks you in the wildflower garden. Hi! I just wanted to say thank you. Even though you don’t know me, you really do quite a lot for me, and I’m very grateful.

To start off with, you are responsible for pollinating up to 1/3 of the fruits and vegetables that I eat. Given my food allergies, that makes up quite a bit of my diet. Your pollination abilities indirectly make many other foods I eat possible too. I like eating food, so thank you!

Also, thank you for making honey. Again, like pollination, you don’t really choose to do this, but still, I appreciate it. Honey is my favorite sweetener. I add it to teas and to baked goods, and sometimes even eat it plain with a spoon. Honeyed water is often the only thing I can drink when I feel sick to my stomach. There are so many different wonderful types of honey and I’d really be sad if they didn’t exist.

Along the same lines as honey, thank you for making beeswax. It is so useful. From my bath and beauty products to conditioning my kitchen utensils to burning candles, I use it all the time!

Lastly, and most importantly, thank you for not stinging me.  I know I’ve chased you around the garden with my camera, getting really close to you trying to get a good shot, but you never seem to mind. Even when I accidentally bump the flower you’re on, you just buzz around and find another flower.  I remember vividly times in elementary school when you’d land on me on the playground and crawl up my arm (you tickle) then fly away. The other kids were so afraid of you, but I feel that we reached an understanding; as long as I didn’t try to hurt you, you didn’t try to hurt me. Still, thanks for not stinging me.

I know you’re not native to this continent, but I’m very glad you’re here. Thank you for all you do for me, and the rest of mankind.

Jen

PS. Also, I owe a huge thank you to all of the beekeepers out there. Thank you for making bee products available to the general population like myself; it’s incredibly nice being able to buy honey from you at the farmers market instead of having to collect it myself. Also, thank you for taking care of the bees.

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Here are a few facts about honey bees straight from the National Honey Bee Day Website (There are many more on the website):

  • A single honey bee may collect 1/12 teaspoon of honey in her lifetime.
  • Directly, honey bees pollinate the flowers of 1/3 of all fruits and vegetables.
  • Indirectly, honey bees pollinate 70% of the food crops, through seed production, etc.
  • Beekeeping dates back at least 4500 years.
  • To make 1 pound of honey, bees may need to fly 50,000 miles.
  • Honey bees may forage up to 2-5 miles from the hive.

If you would like to be a friend to honey bees (or other bees) in your life, consider doing the following things.

  • Become educated about the use of chemicals and pesticides and their effect on bees. Choose chemicals and pesticides that are not harmful to bees and the environment or get rid of them all together.
  • Plant a bee friendly garden with lots of wild flowers. Choose plants that are native and that can grow without requiring extra water or chemicals.
  • Buy local honey and bee products to support local beekeepers
  • Consider beekeeping as a hobby.

Happy Honey Bee Day!

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