Thank goodness for Bees: National Honey Week 2012

I have just randomly come across the fact that it’s National Honey Week 2012 this week (Monday 7th to Sunday 13th May) which is strangely coincidental as only a few days ago I was talking to my daughter about the children’s film Bee Movie which she had been watching at the start of the week.  As I have never actually watched the film from start to finish- as is the case with many of my children’s movies – what with admittedly using the opportunity of them sitting down quietly focussed on something other than fighting or making a mess – as a chance for me to get other things done! I digress…so we were trying to work out what the “moral” of the film was- which in essence we established was the significance of the role of the honey bee within the human food chain, which can be summed up (rather dramatically) in the following remark:

“If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.”

Oh dear! Doesn’t sound good does it? (Slight understatement!) It appears there is some debate about who actually made this remark but it is often attributed to Albert Einstein.

In a nutshell, fewer bees means less pollination, which results in less honey and fewer plants. A direct result for us currently is that the UK is not producing enough honey for its own consumption due to the decline in bee numbers – supplies thus having to be imported from abroad.

However, this is the subject of another post for another day….today I wanted simply to bring attention to National Honey Week by sharing with you some interesting “honey” facts (or at least which I find interesting!) sourced from information taken from the British Beekeepers Association website.

Facts about Honey:

– Honey is a natural food source and is the only one humans eat provided by an insect – the Honey Bee.

– It is sweeter than sugar, but has fewer calories and is very quickly digested by the body. This is why sportsmen and athletes use honey to give them a natural energy boost.

– Honey bees must gather nectar from two million flowers to make one pound of honey (roughly 450g which is slightly more than your average jar of honey!)

– One bee would therefore have to fly around 90,000 miles – three times around the globe – to make one jar of honey.

– A honey bee visits 50 to 100 flowers during a collection trip.

– Worker bees are all female (typical ;-))

– A colony of bees consists of tens of thousands of worker bees, one queen and sometimes drones (male bees).

– Honey has always been highly regarded as a medicine. It is thought to help everything from sore throats and digestive disorders to skin problems and hay fever.

– Honey has antiseptic properties and historically was often used as a dressing for wounds and a first aid treatment for burns and cuts.

– Honey lasts forever – or nearly. An explorer who found a 2,000 year old jar of honey in an Egyptian tomb said it tasted delicious!

– Honey bees have been producing honey in the same way for 150 million years.

– The bees’ buzz is the sound made by their wings which beat 11,400 times per minute.

– The term ‘beeline’ comes from the ‘bee line’ these clever insects make to the flower of their choice, using the shortest route possible.

– When a bee finds a good source of nectar it flies back to the hive and shows its friends where the nectar source is by doing a sort of dance positioning the flower in relation to the sun and the hive. This is known as the ‘waggle dance.’ (I like this one!!)

– Nearly one million tonnes of honey is produced worldwide every year.

I’m not usually such a factual nerd but this caught my attention on account of having been talking about it only a few days ago. I hope you found something in there to interest you- at the very least it puts a very different perspective on adding that spoonful of honey to your breakfast in the morning!

Thank goodness for bees……

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8 thoughts on “Thank goodness for Bees: National Honey Week 2012

    • Thanks! I couldn’t do the whole topic justice here or I would have been waffling forever ;-) but its amazing how everything is so interlinked…save the bees indeed :-)

  1. The reason why a decline in bee numbers may affect food production, is that many crops need to be pollinated to fruit. Farmers have to buy bees or other pollinating insects if there aren’t enough in their environment.
    Anyway, forgive me for being all nerd central, I used to work for Defra, and spent some time working on the national emergency plan for bees.

    • Well, awareness is a big part of it because the repercussions of the declining numbers will affect everyone the world over. Something so seemingly simple yet with such a major impact. Scary!!

  2. We live pretty much opposite a bee farm and I have a new respect for these little guys. I no longer dance around like a crazy person when one approaches me, we now eat delicious high quality honey, and they have an open day at the farm and you can see a glass hive with the Queen (she is tagged), and learn about their importance to the environment. And yes, the females do all the work, and if the hive gets too full they chuck out the males to make more space :0)

    • I know that crazy bee dance well and I too have chilled a little with age ;-) especially when you have kids and have to be brave- wasps are the ones to be careful around…the bees seem happy enough doing their duty….Sounds really interesting the bee farm…my kids would love it!

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