Bees may be small, but they play a big role in human health and survival. Some experts say one of every three bites of food we eat depends on them. The insects pollinate everything from apples and zucchini to blueberries and almonds. If bees and other pollinators are at risk, entire terrestrial ecosystems are at risk, and so are we.
Bees are endlessly intriguing, and incredibly useful to us -- and not just for honey and wax. If bees disappeared, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to grow much of what we eat. The economic value of pollination services from honeybees alone is estimated at $14 billion in the U.S. and hundreds of millions in Canada.
For centuries, bees have been a steady part of agriculture. However, in the last decade, due to a rather pesky germ and modern day crop management, this stability has been threatened. What's worse is that the impact could lead to less choice at the grocery store and inevitably higher prices. This past week, scientists definitively found the source of the bee population downturn. Unfortunately, it may be a case of too little, too late.
Golden fields of wheat blowing in the breeze and cows lazily grazing in the lush green pasture are the first things that come to most people's minds when they think of Alberta agriculture, but there's more to the provincial ag industry than grain and cattle. The Wild Rose province is home to many different types of agricultural operations such as beekeeping, sugar beets, pulses, market gardens, elk, bison, pork, chicken, lamb, turkey, dairy, eggs and much more.
For a true burst of flavour, pick up a jar of local raw honey gathered from local bee hives. Because bees don't travel very far from the hive, the honey tastes like everything that blooms in the area, rather than a single distinctive note. Raw honey is fresh from the comb. It's not heated excessively and therefore is brimming with nutrients and enzymes. It's these enzymes which make raw honey so digestible to humans. Here are some more benefits of honey.