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The Sting of It
In the early hours of the morning when the sunlight is orange and warm I take Evelyn out into the garden. Facing forward arms and legs bouncing in her carrier, she reaches for the soft petals of a daisy and squishes a global, feathery leek flower top. I notice a few honeybees are gathering pollen on the tomato flowers just starting to bloom.
Every mother tries to protect their child from the bees for fear of getting stung. But, I say we also need to protect the bees for our children and for future generations. Honey and bee products offer incredible health benefits and the bees help preserve ecological biodiversity.
Here’s the sting. Sadly, bee numbers continue to decline world-wide. According to the Canadian Honey Council, Canada has lost 35% of its honey bee colonies for the past three years! These busy workers pollinate 1/3 of the food we eat including tomatoes, beans, apples and strawberries. Their decline in Canada and the rest of the world is still a bit of a puzzle, but pesticides (some classes of neonicotinoids), the varroa mite and other parasites, and the destruction of the flower-rich habitats in which bees feed are believed to be the key reasons.
The use of neonicotinoids are now restricted in France, Germany and Slovenia due to recent evidence of a connection between them and honey-bee colony collapse disorder. To find out more and to support apiculturists and protection efforts visit: www.honeycouncil.ca.
Support for hive health can also be offered by purchasing honey and bee hive products from local keepers, as well as, by choosing organic foods and creating a bee-friendly garden.
After our walk, as I pour my first cup of tea for the day and add a teaspoon full of ‘golden goodness’ to it, I started thinking about all the health benefits from the hive. Honey supports the immune system and can help provide increased energy and propolis can be used for shingles and has anti-inflammatory properties.
One of the great joys of parenting is sharing nature and the outdoors with your child. It’s important to show them where food comes from – not just the grocery store or the fridge.
Adapted from the Editor’s Note in Healthy Directions, Aug-Sept 2012 editions by Charleen Wyman