While we’re all familiar with our black and yellow striped friends who frequent our flowerbeds, many are unaware of bees’ importance. Not only do they provide us with a host of valuable products (e.g. honey, propolis and beeswax), they also support a large chunk of the U.S. agriculture industry. According to the FDA, nearly one out of every three bites we take is from a crop pollinated by honeybees.
Honeybees form an important pillar of U.S. agriculture. Over 90 commercial crops are dependent on bee pollination, including apples, melons, cranberries, pumpkins, squash, broccoli, almonds and more. From pollination alone, bees are estimated to provide a value of $14.6 billion to the agricultural industry as of 2000, a number expected to keep increasing as the industry continues to grow.
Bee Products. A+ Quality.
Apart from their enormous contribution to the agricultural industry, honeybees also produce substances packed with nutritional value and with a diverse range of uses. The honey industry alone was valued at $200 million, as Americans in 2010 consumed an estimated 410 million pounds of the product. In addition to honey, bees make propolis, pollen and wax, which are used in everything from apitherapy to making candles.
At Honey Gardens, we offer wide selection of raw honey and apitherapy products. Best-sellers like Honey Gardens Propolis Spray and Honey Gardens Raw Honey Elderberry Syrup help with everything from soothing itchy throats to supporting a strong immune system.
Trouble in the Hive
Despite their immense impact on our diets and economy, bees are disappearing at an alarming rate. According to a survey by Bee Informed Partnership, U.S. beekeepers lost nearly 40% of their colonies in 2019. What’s more alarming still is that this loss was only slightly above average.
Honeybees face a number of threats that are contributing to their dwindling numbers. Man-made factors like decreased crop diversity and increasing use of pesticides, like neonicotinoid can significantly weaken bees’ immune systems, sometimes even killing them. Increased development has also been quickly encroaching on wild bees’ homes, as their habitats are converted for industrial agriculture.
The varroa mite is another one of the honeybees’ greatest threat. These mites latch onto honeybees and feed on their fat body tissue, seriously weakening bees and sometimes leading to the downfall of entire colonies, a phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). These mites can also spread diseases across hives, despite the careful treatment of beekeepers.
Keep the Buzz Going
With that said, the future isn’t all hopeless. There are easy, practical steps you can take to support the honeybee population. One easy way to support bees that also adds some color to your home is to start a bee garden. When planting your bee garden, be sure to plant single flower tops, like marigolds and daisies, instead of double headed tops. Single flower tops produce more nectar and make it easier for bees to access the pollen. Also, be sure to ditch any synthetic fertilizers in your garden – keeping things natural can help ensure hives aren’t harmed by harsh chemicals.
You can also consider sponsoring a hive in order to help provide a sustainable future for our honeybee buddies.
For a full-selection of responsibly-sourced honey and apitherapy products, shop at HoneyGardens.com.