Gratitude for the Bees

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Honeybee

Thanksgiving is a splendid time of year to give gratitude for the bees. Allow me, to tell you why:

It takes 125 billion honeybees to provide 40 percent of the food on dinner plates every night for 320 million Americans.

Bees pollinate nuts, fruits and vegetables, including almonds, pecans, walnuts, apples, cranberries, cherries, oranges, peaches, plums, avocados, broccoli, cucumbers and pumpkins, to name a few.

For dessert, along with pumpkin pie, some people will soon be able to delve into Ben & Jerry’s upcoming vegan frozen desserts, made with almond milk. Did you know that at least half the ingredients in your favorite frozen desserts are bee pollinated?

Honeybees are remarkable. They communicate by dancing. Their waggle dance informs other bees of the precise directions to locate flower patches, water and tree resins used to make propolis – potent bee glue, which is also a powerful antiviral, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and cancer-fighting compound. Propolis coats the inside of beehives. Did you know that propolis lozenges are tremendous as an antidote for a sore throat? They are available at health food stores.

Annually, honeybees supply us with 2.2 billion pounds of honey used as a key ingredient in beverages, sauces, breads and pastries. Did you know that one teaspoon of honey weighing 21 grams contains 16 grams of sugar or 60 calories, and it took 12 honeybees their entire foraging lives of three weeks, a combined flying distance of 6,000 miles, to produce those 21 grams of nutritious honey?

Honeybees make 44 million pounds of beeswax each year, used in candies, candles, cosmetics, stick colognes, antiperspirants, dental impressions, on pool tables filling in screw holes and seems between slates and mouthpieces of didgeridoos. Beeswax thread is still preferred by shoemakers – and sailors – because of its durability and incredible resistance to weathering.

Since 1957, the former USSR has used extracts of bee stings – bee venom, known as apis – to treat rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases. In fact, 12 European countries have officially recognized bee venom solution as a drug.

Please avoid using any pesticides in your yard because last year in the U.S. we lost 52 billion honeybees. We need healthy American bees so we can savor all the bounty they’ve provided for our dinner plates tonight (and every other night) – Happy Thanksgiving.

Love is the solution.

Earth Dr. Reese Halter is the author of “The Incomparable Honeybee and The Economics of Pollination.”