Bee-aware the Cost of Honey
We all take things for granted in life. Take honey, for instance. Honey is considered a healthier sweetener and it is better for you than eating cane sugar, corn syrup, or other “fake” sugars created in the laboratory. Honey is also an antiseptic which in some cases produces better results on post operative infections than modern antiseptics and gauze. Some studies have even shown that honey heals partial thickness burns 4-5 days faster than other topical dressings. Honey has also long been used as a natural cough suppressant for children and adults.
But honey comes at a great cost — to the honey bee. Did you know that it can take one honey bee up to an hour and visits to 50-100 flowers to collect enough flower nectar to fill its proventriculus (honey stomach – crop)? Fully loaded that nectar makes up 50% of the bee’s weight. In other words, in one hour a honeybee collects its own body weight in sugary flower nectar and then flies that load back to the hive where it is then processed by other bees in the hive.
To give you a sense of how monumental this effort is by the amazing bee, one worker honey bee, whose job it is to gather nectar to be converted to honey, lives approximately six to seven weeks. Each day during its harvesting life, a honey bee makes up to 12 trips to the hive carrying its own body weight in nectar, nectar that came from more than 1000 flowers. In its lifetime, that single honey bee produces only 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey – just one drop of honey!
Think about that for a minute. When you add a single teaspoon of honey to your cup of tea it represents the life work of 12 honey bees making 12 trips a day to their hive carrying their own body weight in nectar.
Here is another way to look at it. A bee can fly up to 5-6 miles from the hive to gather nectar. Bees fly at up to 15 miles a hour and their little bee wings beat 11,400 times per minute. That means that the single drop of honey each bee produces in its lifetime represents roughly 239 million beats of its wings!
If that isn’t amazing enough for you, the honey bee is also responsible for pollinating nearly 85% of all flowering plants and 90% of all fruit producing trees.
So next time you savor the sweet goodness of honey, I hope you’ll give a thought of appreciation for the amazing gift that the honeybee labored to provide. What an unfathomable world we live in!
This Week at the Market
If you are looking for honey, be sure to stop by the Simmons’ booth. They have varieties of high desert honey from desert wildflowers and mesquite. The Simmons Honey Ranchito also has Bee Pollen, Granulated Honeys, and honey comb.
In honor of Tu B’shvat, this week Celestial Breads will have Seven Spice Loaf bread. They also have Challah bread, sweet breads, egg bakes, and other fine culinary delights.
This week at the farmers market we have plenty of fresh greens, meat, eggs, arts and crafts and a cornucopia of prepared foods and fresh baked goods. Thunder Mountain Alpaca Ranch will bring their animals to the market this week, too.
We invite you to come on out and visit our vendors and your neighbors at the farmers market — Sierra Vista’s community gathering place each Thursday in Veteran’s Memorial Park between 10am – 2pm. For a full list of all our vendors and the produce and products they will be bringing please see this week’s newsletter at www.sierravistafarmesmarkets.com.
We hope to see you on Thursday.
Submitted by William Struse