Bees....Honey isn't the only thing they make |
Bees....Honey isn't the only thing they make

I’ll admit I’m not a fan of any sort of flying insects, Mosquitos, Gnats, Boxelders, those pesky Hornets and Wasps. The list goes on and Bees certainly haven’t been an exception.  I always heard that Bees can only fly as fast as you can run—do they know how old I am and how I don’t run as fast as I used to - so that must be an old wives’ tale or something.  But seriously, doing the research for this article I found a lot of interesting facts about Bees and they maybe aren’t as scary as I once thought.

There is so much more to Bees! 

Here are some interesting facts, and maybe you will become friends with a bee or two, if like me, you weren’t before.

  • During chillier seasons, worker bees can live for nine months. But in the summer, they rarely last longer than six weeks—they literally work themselves to death. 

  • Bees are hardwired to do certain jobs—Scout bees, which search for new sources of food, are wired for adventure. Soldier bees work as security guards their whole life. One percent of all middle-aged bees become undertakers—a genetic brain pattern compels them to remove dead bees from the hive. When aging bees do jobs usually reserved for younger members, their brain stops aging. In fact, their brain ages in reverse! That sounds so crazy! 

  • They’re job creators—Americans consume about 285 million pounds of honey each year. On top of that, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that honeybees pollinate 80 percent of the country’s insect crops—meaning bees pollinate over $20 billion worth of crops each year.

  • Bees are not aggressive. One of the biggest worries people have about bees is being stung, However, according to Dr. Marla Spivak at the University of Minnesota, “bees are not aggressive.  Most bees normally can care less about you, it’s very difficult to actually get stung by most bees.  Honeybees and bumblebees may become aggressive if you approach their hive or colony because they will attempt to protect it, but unless they are provoked, most bees will leave you alone.”

  • In their 6-8 week lifespan, a worker bee will fly the equivalent distance of 1 ½ times the circumference of the Earth.  Honeybees beat their wings 200 times per second, creating their trademark “buzz”.

  • A single bee will produce only about 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime.  Honey is 25% sweeter than table sugar.  And honey is the only foodstuff that contains all the necessary nutrients to sustain life.  The darker the honey, the greater amount of antioxidant properties it has.  A single ounce of honey could fuel a honeybee’s flight all the way around the world.

  • In the United States, more than 300 different kinds of honey are produced every year. The variety in color and flavor is determined by the types of flowers from which the bees collect nectar.

  • Hives produce 5 distinct substances: honey, beeswax, propolis, pollen, and royal jelly.

Bees are changing medicine - Propolis or bee glue is a resinous mixture that honey bees produce by mixing saliva and beeswax with exudate gathered from tree buds, sap flows, or other botanical sources. It is used as a sealant for unwanted open spaces in the hive. Propolis is used for small gaps (approximately 6 millimeters [0.24 in] or less), while larger spaces are usually filled with beeswax. Its color varies depending on its botanical source, with dark brown as the most common. Propolis is sticky at and above 20 °C (68 °F), while at lower temperatures, it becomes hard and brittle.   

Although bees use it as caulk, humans use it to relieve many health issues. Studies suggest that it also protects the bees from bacterial infections and possible external elements that may endanger the whole colony. In some cases, propolis may also be used to encase the carcasses of hive intruders to stop bacteria from spreading.

Propolis has been used for years in folk medicine because of its proposed effect on various body systems, dating back to the time of the ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians. In fact, Hippocrates notes that propolis is beneficial for promoting wound healing, both internal and external, propolis may be used to treat tumors, muscle pain and ulcers.

This bee product was also documented in the Persian manuscripts as a remedy for various conditions, including eczema and rheumatism. Today, propolis is used in a wide variety of skin care products, including creams and extracts. It is also available as a supplement, with people taking it on a regular basis to boost their immune system function.

Here at Mountain Meadow Herbs we use Propolis Resin for a number of our formulas:  Eye-Can-C, Femme Defense, Soothing Throat & Tonsil, Family Immune Booster, No-Mo-Squito, Oral Care Solution, Prostract 10, Weight Control Formula II, and Yeast X Step 2.  The list of these formulas shows the wide variety of things that Propolis is good for.

I won’t lie, I will probably still run from them - just out of pure habit.  I’ve never been stung and I hope I never do.  My husband makes fun of me when I run, he says “they think you’re a flower”, he just wants to stay out of the dog house.

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