There is so much to be said about honeybees. One of the hardest working creatures on the planet, an industrious worker bee can visit up to 2,000 flowers in one day. They are incredibly complex creatures, with intricate communication and learning systems. It is said that apart from primates, honeybees have the most complex symbolic language of any animal on earth.
Perhaps the most amazing thing to be said about honeybees is just how much they have contributed to human civilization over the past several centuries. Honeybees pollinate around 80% of the world’s flowering crops, which constitutes about 1/3 of everything we eat. While some plants can pollinate themselves, or rely on the wind to do it for them, others must rely on animals to assist them in this process. Apples, blueberries, cucumbers, broccoli and cherries are just a few examples of the flowering plants that would no longer exist without the help of honeybees for pollination.
It’s not just fruits and vegetables at risk if honeybees disappeared. Much of our meat and livestock industry relies on crops such as alfalfa for animal feed, a plant that also relies on honeybees for pollination. In short, bees are essential to human agricultural productivity. They also help maintain plant biodiversity, which not only helps prevent the emergence and spread of many agricultural pests and diseases, but also is crucial to the overall health of the planet.
Honeybees, as pollinators, play a huge role in supporting the human diet! But on top of all this, they also provide humans with some other amazing natural gifts such as beeswax, propolis, royal jelly and honey.
Beeswax is known for its skin healing properties. It is used as a naturally nourishing moisturizer, and is also known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also used to make candles, lip balm and a variety of other products.
Propolis is a sticky glue-like substance made when honeybees combine beeswax and the resins collected from trees. Bees use propolis as a glue to repair cracks and holes in their hive. Humans use propolis for its natural antimicrobial and germicidal properties.
Royal Jelly is a milk-like substance made from worker honeybees. Royal Jelly is fed to the Queen Bee to support her health. Humans often use Royal Jelly as a dietary supplement, as it is loaded with nutrients, particularly B vitamins.
Last, but certainly not least, is honey. Honey is an easily digestible, pure food that has long been utilized by humans all over the world. It is a delicious, mineral rich, healthy alternative to sugar or other sweeteners and is also known for its various health benefits. Honey is often used as a natural cough suppressant, as an aid in healing wounds, and for boosting the human immune system.
To celebrate the magic of honeybees and the many health benefits of honey, we want to turn the spotlight over to some of our wonderful honey vendor partners!
Jelenik Honey is located in beautiful Suttons Bay, Michigan. The Jelinek family has been caring for bees in Leelanau County since 1926! These years of experience help create a truly special product. They offer 100% pure honey made in beautiful Leelanau County, as well as handmade beeswax candles, beeswax lotion, honey lip balm, and honey soap! In the summer months you can find them at all of the Leelanau County farmers markets.
Champion Hill Honey:
Champion Hill Honey is located in Benzie County, just a few miles from the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Their hives are owned and maintained by Greg Griswold, who is an experienced beekeeper. He is a proponent for natural methods used for mite treatment and overall bee health, even though these treatments can often be more time consuming and costly.
Their hives are located in rural fields where the star thistle plant grows wild. The result is a star thistle honey that is very sweet and mild tasting.
Sleeping Bear Farms Honey
Sleeping Bear Farms Honey is located in Beulah, Michigan. Founders Kirk and Sharon Jones began their adventure in beekeeping about 30 years ago when they purchased their first two beehives from a local beekeeper. They enjoyed it so much that within a few years beekeeping became a full-time endeavor. They teamed up with Dave Nesky, another beekeeper from Michigan, around 1990 and expanded their operation to include pollination services for local cherry and apple farmers.
Today, their bees spend the summers in Northern Michigan, making honey from the nectar of the star thistle plant. During the harsh Michigan winters, the bees travel to either Florida, to make tupelo honey, or to California to work pollinating almond trees. Their pure honey is a local favorite in the Northern Michigan area!
Withers Mountain Honey Farm:
Withers Mountain Honey is located in Flint, Michigan and is owned by Jim Withers, who fell in in love with beekeeping after retiring from his career and starting it as a hobby. They offer a wide variety of bee-related products including honey, creamed honey, beeswax skincare products and other products from the hive!
Dancing Bee Apiary
Dancing Bee Apiary is located in Eatonville, Washington, just about an hour out of the city of Seattle. Their bee’s graze on a wide variety of flowering and fruit producing trees including raspberry and blackberry bushes, lavender blossoms and squash blossoms! They use all natural and organic methods, never using insecticides, pesticides or herbicides of any kind! They offer a variety of organic skin care products including soaps and salves, as well as pure beeswax and, of course, honey!