“Unique among all God’s creatures, only the honeybee improves the environment and preys not on any other species.” ~ Royden Brown
From the basil plant a strong hum sounds, soft wings vibrate the air, endlessly searching for nectar. To truly watch these amazing creatures plunder and absent-mindedly pollinate these tiny white flowers makes one wonder how such a small creature could make such a large difference in our lives.
Yet without the humble bee:
-The food on your table.
-The flowers in your garden.
-The clothes on your back.
Might just disappear.
Bees* pollinate nearly 80% of all fruit, vegetable and seed crops in the U.S. We may be able to spray noxious fertilizers and pesticides on plants to “rid” ourselves of some problems (and create new ones). But we have yet to create a chemical that can successfully pollinate large crops. Nonetheless, we have still created an agricultural system that is in danger of killing one of its strongest contributors, in the pursuit of easy pollination and honey.
We’ve been tricked into believing that honey is simply a byproduct of the essential pollination provided by farmed honeybees. Did you know though that the honeybee’s wild counterparts (such as bumblebees, carpenter and digger bees) are much better pollinators? They are also less likely than farmed honeybees to be affected by mites and Africanized bees. The issue is that these native bees can hibernate for up to 11 months out of the year and do not live in large colonies. Thus, they do not produce massive amounts of honey. Enter the $157 million dollar a year honey industry and three reasons you should stop eating honey today.
*Although there are numerous species of bees that pollinate flowers/crops, this job has been disproportionately taken over by farmed honeybees.
Next: Three reasons to stop eating honey.
~Photograph by Alisa Rutherford-Fortunati