Bees are an important part of our lives and most people do not realize it. As they are flying around collecting pollen for making honey, they also pollinate plants. Plants need to be pollinated to produce fruit.
They have a major part to play in agriculture and without them we would not have many of the foods that are a key part of our lives.
Therefore the numbers and health of bees in our country and around the world are crucial to food security. Unfortunately, there is a general decrease in numbers and health of honey bees happening currently.
Recent research by both the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is showing that the numbers are decreasing due to a variety of factors, including; parasites and disease, genetics, poor nutrition and pesticide exposure.
Other studies have shown that a contributing factor may be the food that the bees are eating. If a sugar solution is used instead of honey, bees are most likely not getting the material they need to make them strong enough to withstand the impacts on them and as such numbers can decline.
Honey is recognized as being antibacterial and having other properties, so it makes sense that bees will be stronger if they are eating it. Research at the University of Illinois has also found that honey has a detoxification effect on the bees as well.
As bee numbers and health is such an important part of food securit, there continues to be a lot of research going on into finding ways to improve the situation. However, at this stage it seems that the saying “that you are what you eat” is most definitely true when it comes to bees.
This article has been written by Rachelle Williams – The Green Food Safety Coach.