A honey bee is a eusocial flying insect within the genus Apis. Bees are all native to Eurasia but spread to four other continents by human beings.
There are cave paintings in Spain from 7000BC showing the earliest documentation of honey harvesting. However, one would think that honey had been harvested by humans before this time because fossils of honey bees date back about 150 million years!
The earliest record of keeping bees in manmade hives was found in the sun temple.erected in 2400BC near Cairo.
During this time, the bee was featured frequently in Egyptian hieroglyphs and often symbolized royalty.
The ancient Egyptians used honey as a sweetener, as a gift to their gods and even as an ingredient in embalming fluid. Honey cakes were baked by the Egyptians and used as an offering to placate the gods. The Greeks, too, made honey cakes and offered them to the gods.
The Greeks viewed honey as not only an important food but also as healing medicine. Greek recipe books were full of sweetmeats and cakes made from honey.
Cheeses were mixed with honey to make cheesecakes, described by Euripides in the fifth century BC as being “steeped most thoroughly in the rich honey of the golden bee.”
The Romans also used honey as a gift to the gods and they used it extensively in cooking. Beekeeping flourished throughout the Roman empire.
Once Christianity was established, honey and beeswax production increased greatly to meet the demand for church candles.
Honey continued to be of importance in Europe until the Renaissance when the arrival of sugar from further afield meant honey was used less.
By the seventeenth century, sugar was being used regularly as a sweetener and honey was used even less. As bees were thought to have special powers, they were often used as emblems:
There are nearly 20,000 known bee species in the world, and 4,000 of them are native to the United States.
Furthermore, an estimated 400 additional native bee species remain to be identified in the U.S.
Amazingly, one out of every four bites of food people take is courtesy of bee pollination. In sum, bee pollination is responsible for more than $15 billion in increased crop value each year.
Many domestic and imported fruits and vegetables require pollination. Examples include avocados, soybeans, asparagus, broccoli, celery, squash, and sunflowers for oil, cucumbers, citrus fruit, peaches, kiwis, cherries, cranberries, and melons.
For crops such as blueberries and almonds, the honey bee plays an essential role in the pollination of commercial crops, with around 80% of the US crop said to be dependent on honey bees.
Honey bees can also pollinate clover and alfalfa, which are fed to cattle, so there are implications for the meat and dairy industry too. And that is not to mention the huge range of manufactured food products made from all these ingredients.
In addition, honey bees play a significant role in the pollination of other important crops such as cotton and flax.
And there are also a number of valuable non-food products produced by the honey bee, such as beeswax used in cleaning and beauty products.
According to the international conservation nonprofit Earthwatch Institute, bees are the most valuable species on earth. The proclamation was made last July at a meeting of the Royal Geographical Society of London.
Bees and other insects play a significant role in the survival of the planet. And they aren’t alone in suffering from heavy pesticide use.
Many specialists insist that we are at the start of the sixth mass extinction in the planet’s history.
A report released by the Wildlife Trusts, a science-led nonprofit that focuses on restoring wildlife habitats, says we also face an “unnoticed insect apocalypse.”
Humans Can Change The World!And NOT just For The Bad!
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the number of U.S. honeybee colonies rose in 2017 from a year earlier.
The number of commercial U.S. honeybee colonies rose 3 percent to 2.89 million as of April 1, compared with 2.8 million a year earlier.
You Can Change The World In Your Own Yard!It;s Easy! Plant A Plant! You Changedd The World!
More and more gardeners are anxious to plant a bee garden. By planting a bee garden, you too can do your part to help the bees by adding to the shrinking inventory of flower-rich habitat in your area.
Replace part or all of your front lawn grass with flowering plants, which provides food and habitat for honey bees, bumblebees, solitary bees, butterflies and other pollinators.
Select single flower tops for your bee garden such as daisies and marigolds, rather than double flower tops such as double impatiens.
Double-headed flowers look showy but produce much less nectar and make it much more difficult for bees to access pollen.
Skip the highly hybridized plants which have been bred not to seed and thus produce very little pollen for bees.
Plan for blooms year-round by planting at least three different types of flowers in your bee garden to ensure blooms through as many seasons as possible.
This will provide bees and other pollinators with a constant source of food. For example:
- Crocus, hyacinth, borage, calendula, and wild lilac provide enticing spring blooms in a bee garden.
- Bees feast on bee balm, cosmos, echinacea, snapdragons foxglove, and hosta in the summer.
- For fall, zinnias, sedum, asters, witch hazel, and goldenrod are late bloomers that will tempt foragers.
Build homes for native bees by leaving a patch of the garden in a sunny spot uncultivated for native bees that burrow. Some native bees also need access to soil surface for nesting.
For wood- and stem-nesting bees, this means piles of branches, bamboo sections, hollow reeds, or nesting blocks made out of untreated wood.
Mason bees need a source of water and mud, and many kinds of bees are attracted to weedy, untended hedgerows.
Only Use Natural Pesticides and FertilizersWHy Use Anything Else?
Avoid using herbicides or pesticides in the bee garden.
They not only can be toxic to bees but also are best not introduced to children or adults that visit your garden.
Ladybugs, spiders, and praying mantises will naturally keep pest populations in check.
Build a Bee BathOr Buy One, Click On The Photo To Purchase!
Bees need a place to get fresh, clean water. Fill a shallow container of water with pebbles or twigs for the bees to land on while drinking.
Make sure to maintain the container full of freshwater to ensure that they know they can return to the same spot every day in your bee garden.
Bees And Honey Have Been Around ForeverLet’s Work Together To Keep It That Way!
Honey use and production have a long and varied history as an ancient activity.
The ancient Egyptians offered honey to their deities as a sacrifice. They also used honey for embalming the dead.
The cultivation of honey probably originated in Tropical Africa and spread from there to Northern Europe and East into Asia. Native Americans did not know honey. In 1622, the first European colonists brought the sub-species Apis mellifera mellifera to the Americas.
Is beeswax a bee poop? No, honey bees have four glands that excrete liquid wax and the material they excrete hardens as it is oxidized in the air.
Their excrement ( poop as you term it ) is often deposited on flowers and honey is regurgitated from the bees after the enzymatic activity in the stomach.
Honey is not bee vomit. It is perceived as vomit as it comes out from the bee’s mouth. But it is not. The bee sucks and collects the nectar from flowers using its long proboscis and store it in its special stomach or “honey stomach” separate from its true stomach for digestion.
Oddly, Honey does not go bad. In fact, it’s recognized as the only food that doesn’t spoil. It will, however, crystallize (becoming thick and cloudy) over time. If this happens, just remove the lid from the jar, place it in a pan of water, and warm it over low heat until the honey returns to its original consistency.
The Bee Has All The BUZZ!Even Famous People Love ‘Em!
- Pope Urban VIII used the bee as his emblem.
- The bee was the sign of the king of Lower Egypt during the First Dynasty around 3,200BC.
- Napoleon’s flag carried a single line of bees in flight, and his robe was embroidered with bees.
- In the third century BC, the bee was the emblem used on coins in the Greek city of Ephesus.
- The bee was the symbol of the Greek goddess Artemis.
- The bee was the emblem of eros/cupid.
The Craziest Things!?!?!It’s Life, RIght?
- One bee has to fly about 90,000 miles, or three times around the globe, just to make one pound of honey.
- The average bee will make only 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime.
- A honey bee visits 50 to 100 flowers during a collection trip.
- A honey bee can fly for up to six miles, and as fast as 15 miles per hour.
- Research published in the Royal Society found that bumblebees living in urban areas experience healthier lives than their counterparts in rural habitats. Their colonies are larger, better fed, and less prone to disease. Urban colonies also survive longer than their country cousins.
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