Bees are usually not the first creatures that pops into one’s mind when one is thinking about humanity. Perhaps bees should be at the forefront of our thoughts around humanity. After all, without bees, there would be no humanity. Albert Einstein once said; “If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live. No more bees, no more pollination…no more men!” He wasn’t an entomologist, but entomologists around today agree that the sudden and mysterious disappearance of bees from their hives poses serious problems.
This is heavy, I know. These are some of the thoughts that keep me up at night. Simply put, without these tiny creatures the buzz around, enjoying their plot in life… Moving flower to flower, tasting pollen, collecting pollen, and inadvertently pollinating each and every bud on every plant, flower, and tree they happen upon; a beautiful necessity transpires. Food. Without the bee, doing what they do best, we, humanity, have a BIG problem.
Hanyuan County is China’s biggest pear producers. Like many species of plants on Mother Earth, pear trees must cross pollinate with other varieties of pear trees. What do we do as humans if the bees have disappeared from a region like Hanyuan County? We resort to hand pollination. Pear farmers in this region of the world must spend hours and hours of painstaking labor to pollinate each and every budding flower, on each and every pear tree, throughout their entire orchards, by hand. They accomplish this by carefully hand collecting pollen from one variety of pear trees, collecting the pollen in a container, then, gently using a feather to place the pollen on the buds of the pear tree they are cross pollinating. The pear farmers in this region of China have needed to use this form of pollination for over a decade now.
The bee population is declining at a seriously alarming rate in most industrial regions in the world. Who will be humanities pollinators in the future if this trend continues? What would happen to the cost of food? Would humanity survive this devastating disaster? I don’t know? I don’t have the answers, and at this point no one does.
I am not sure why the bees are disappearing in large regions of the world. I do, however, care and what to be part of the solution.
There are many misconceptions about bees. The one that confuses me the most and I observe often; is a child running away from a bee, waving their hands and screaming, as if the tiny insect was a huge threat. Where did this thought come from? Bees are docile unless provoked. I teach my children that bees are our friends. Our little partners in life. Our problem may start with the way each of us thinks about bees. My feeling is by changing our personal feeling about bees is the perfect place to start. The second practice we can easily live by; is supporting the one thing everybody loves about bees, honey. This highly visible gift given to humanity, created by the bees, is a way to support the growth of healthy bee populations.
The first step is to know where your honey comes from and how it is processed. Is it from a commercial farmer who feeds the bees high fructose corn syrup and them pasteurized the honey? Is it from a source that practices sustainable beekeeping? Collects pollen from natural sources that are not contaminated with pesticides and industrial pollutants? Is the honey in your jar raw and pure the way nature intended it to be? Does it still possess all of its vital nutrients and enzymes? Is the bee population from which your honey comes from strong, healthy and thriving? Most bee keepers who practice sustainable bee keeping and provide raw honey fit the ideal criteria. I completely feel like we can help the bees repopulate, by supporting honey companies that are keeping the process the way nature intended. If we can satisfy our demand of honey from conscious companies like Aseda Wild Honey, we will see the remaining healthy bee populations thrive, lending time to the scientific communities to find a solution to the disappearance of the bees.
You are asked to join us…..Aseda* for you!!!
*The word aseda, means gratitude, spoken by the Ashanti-Twi people of Ghana, Africa.
Original Post Aug 27, 2014
Photograph by Sean Gallup