Since the beginning of recorded time, honeybees are one of the best insect friends that humanity has had and account for almost 100 percent of the pollination of plants that we use to get our food from.
Food like apples, peaches, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes and every other flowering plant we eat the seed products of, require that their flowers be pollinated. The majority of that hard work is performed by those little yellow and black insect you see flying around from flower to flower.
Like humans and other animals, bees have a social order primarily surrounding the hive’s queen and supported by worker bees and drones.
In addition to that golden nectar called honey, bees also provide us with many other useful products like: pollen, wax, bee venom and royal jelly, to name a few.
Bee pollen is frequently referred to as one of nature’s most complete foods. It contains most of the known nutrients humans for survival.
Bees wax is produced into products like ornaments, lip balms, creams, candles and votives as well as used industrially as wax bricks.
Bee venom is a rich source of enzymes, peptides and other amines. There are at least 18 active components of the venom which have some pharmaceutical uses. Bee venom is also used in the treatment of some varieties of arthritis.
Royal jelly is a bee created substance which is used in the hive to feed the bee larvae. In addition, it’s used to determine which larvae will become a queen by feeding large amounts of the jelly to a larva in its early days of development. But for humans, royal jelly is used in makeup and as a food supplement.
Although bees give us several products, none of them comes near the amount of uses and pleasure we get from their main product, honey. That golden nectar has been used for everything from medicine, wine, preservative, embalming solution and that nice sweet stuff we put in our tea or with butter on biscuits.
Which brings me to the reason for this article. The local colony of beekeepers, the Tennessee Valley Beekeepers Association (TVBA) is going to be offering a mentoring class this spring for those that are interested in, well, keeping bees. For many it’s a rewarding and fun personal and family hobby.
The class will run from March through October. Included in the $300 cost are your beginners beekeeping equipment, a hive and of course, bees.
Additional information can be found at www.tvba.us or firstname.lastname@example.org. Enrollment is limited and the class is forming this week.