The bee collects honey from flowers in such a way as to do the least damage or destruction to them, and he leaves them whole, undamaged and fresh, just as he found them.
Saint Francis de Sales
What a learning experience our first year of beekeeping has been. I have become fascinated with these little, miraculous works of God. The culture of the bee society to continually work for the good of the others in the hive - just for the sake of protecting the home and doing the work to the best of each ability - is such a great example of how to live.
And, as Saint Francis de Sales points out, bees go about their work taking what is needed and leaving the environment "whole, undamaged and fresh" and I would add even better when the result is pollination.
There is more to what the bees produce than just Honey! Of course, we love honey but there is also Royal Jelly, Bee Pollen and Propolis. Now, before I go any further, I want to remind everyone that I am not a physician and do not give medical advice. Please be sure to do your own research and speak to your own physician before making any decisions about using bee products for health. If you have any sensitivity to bees at all, do not consider trying to use bee products.
What are these products and how do some folks use them?
Let's have a look....
- Honey is a sweet, thick substance made by honeybees from nectar
- The purpose of honey to a bee is to serve as a food source when other food is not available
- Honey is comprised of fructose, glucose, complex carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals
- Honey has anti-bacterial properties and is used by some on wounds
- Honey does not spoil - but can ferment if stored in temperatures over 81 degrees F.
- Royal Jelly
- Royal Jelly is a milky white substance designed to be the main food source for the queen bee
- Royal Jelly is high in vitamin B-12, proteins, amino acids and aspartic acid and allows the queen to grow stronger and live longer than other bees in the same hive.
- Royal Jelly is used by some as a dietary supplement to increase energy, strengthen immune systems and general stress reduction.
- Royal Jelly is available in many skin care products because it helps skin tone
- Bee Pollen
- Bee pollen is a ball of collected pollen from flowers that worker bees create into little pellets.
- Bee Bread is bee pollen with added honey that goes into the comb as a base for eggs being laid by the queen and serve as food for the hatching larvae.
- Bee Pollen is the major source of protein for the hive.
- Bee Pollen is considered a complete product that contains all the amino acids used in the human body plus is high in protein. Some call it a super-food.
- Bee Pollen is thought to increase energy and reduce stress
- Propolis is a waxy resin taken from trees and is a sticky, glue like substance used by the bees to fill up small gaps in the hive.
- Propolis is high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
- Propolis has anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties and is used by bees to halt the spread of harmful bacteria in the hive
- Propolis is used by some on wounds
Now here is some good news, by keeping your own hive or two, you have access to these products - not to mention also Beeswax to use in your handmade skin care products, crafts and candles.
What are your favorite bee-made gifts from the hive? What questions do you have on starting a hive in your own backyard? Please comment and let me know!
We spend Wednesdays at the Garden Gate but since it is a little cool out there, we will stay indoors and talk about growing sprouts right in your own kitchen for a fresh addition to your salads. Hope to see you tomorrow.
Peace be with you,