The Bee – Nature’s Perfect Creature
By Barbara Peterson
Hollywood has never been known to produce factually correct movies, from historical events to the intricacies of animal interactions. Jerry Seinfeld’s Bee Movie is a case in point. In Bee Movie, Jerry Seinfeld plays a young bee, the male of course, who wants a life beyond the beehive. He joins the “pollen jocks” – the male bees who leave the hive to collect pollen, which the male and female bees in the hive, in their dull jobs, turn into honey.
Real-life is quite different. It is the female bees that leave the hive in search of pollen, and the males who remain as drones to do the work of the hive. The plot of Bee Movie could have been so much better if this little fact had not been obscured, but that’s a topic for another article.
Let’s get back to the truth about bees. Bees produce honey, which has long been considered nature’s perfect food, and bee pollen products and honey-based products are becoming increasingly popular with today’s consumers.
Bee pollen products
Bees (female ones) leave the hive to find pollen from a variety of flowers. When they return, the worker bees (males) take the pollen and pack it into granules, adding honey (otherwise known as nectar), which is used as food by the hive. Humans harvest this bee pollen, otherwise called bee bread or ambrosia.
What’s interesting about bee pollen is that no two batches are alike. The “pollen jockettes” (if I may so term them) bring back pollen from many different sources, and this alters the composition of the pollen.
So, what bee pollen products do humans make?
Bath and body products enriched with bee pollen are very popular today. They include products for moisturizing, exfoliation and even shampoo.
Honey based products
Again, honey has long been considered nature’s perfect food. Indeed, people have been eating honey since practically the beginning of time – it’s even mentioned in the old texts.
Today, people consume honey as a condiment on bread, ice cream, or even on its own. It’s also used as a sweetener in honey barbecue, and honey mustard is very popular.
All bees produce honey, but only the honey produced by honey bees is edible to humans. Bees create honey by a process I won’t go into here (well, if you must know, they transform nectar (pollen) into honey by regurgitating it), but it is then stored in honeycombs as part of their food supply.
Honey-based products include honey, of course, and even mead. Some of today’s beers also use it as a flavouring ingredient. It is also used to make aromatic candles.
Why we need bees
Lots of people find bees annoying and will kill them on sight, which is a pity because all bees perform an important service for mankind. Because they go from flower to flower collecting pollen, they also deposit pollen on these flowers, “pollinating” them, and ensuring that flowers themselves survive!
So, treat bees well!