United States — The annual Winter Loss Survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Bee Informed Partnership and the Apiary Inspectors of America to quantify the colony losses suffered by US beekeepers over the winter began March 29th and is being conducted online over the next two weeks; the figures will be published May 7.
To date, the results have been startling; some beekeepers have reported losses of 40 to 50% which is twice the average in 2011.
“What I can say is, when we were in California this year, the strength of the colonies that were there was significantly lower than it was in previous years.” said Dennis vanEngelsdorp, one of the conductors of the survey and an entomologist at the University of Maryland.
“This is not just a crisis in California,” said Mary Ross of the Mohawk Valley Trading Company where they specialize in raw honey “this is happening all over and everybody should be alarmed. There are a myriad of reasons why the honey bee population is declining in North America and Europe and they all fall under the term Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), a phenomenon in which worker bees from a beehive or European honey bee colony abruptly disappear.”
“CCD is a very broad term.” Ross continued. “It could be caused by a combination of, but not limited to malnutrition, pesticide use, varroa mites or GMOs among other things. However, I think that the European Commission proposal to suspend the use of three neonicotinoid pesticides on any agricultural crops that attract bees, is a step in the right direction.”
The European Commission has proposed prohibiting the sale and use of clothianidin, thiamethoxam and imidacloprid on crops attractive to bees, including sunflower, rapeseed, corn and cotton. It would also ban sale and use of seeds treated with the three pesticides. Exceptions would include crops and seeds that do not attract bees and winter cereals. The Commission will review the ban in two years.
About Honey Bees
Bees are insects that are related to wasps and ants and there are approximately 20,000 known species of bees found on every continent except Antarctica. Honeybees (Apis mellifera) are not native to the United States as they were introduced by Europeans to produce honey and beeswax. Honeybees are responsible for pollinating 80% of flowering crops and without them the world’s food supply would be dramatically reduced.
As people become more conscious of the important role of honeybees play in their daily lives, bee keeping is becoming more main stream and is now allowed in many urban and suburban municipalities. Since 2006 beekeepers in the North America and Europe have noticed a mystifying occurrence called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) in which worker bees from a beehive or European honey bee colony abruptly disappear leaving the queen and insect larvae behind unable to fend for themselves. While such disappearances have occurred throughout the history of apiculture, the term colony collapse disorder was first applied to a drastic rise in the number of disappearances of Western honey bee colonies in North America in late 2006.
In a 2013 formal review the European Food Safety Authority stated that recent studies show that neonicotinoid pesticides, some of the most widely-used pesticides in the world, pose an unacceptably high risk to bees, and that the industry-sponsored science upon which regulatory agencies’ claims of safety have relied is flawed and possibly deliberately deceptive.
Honey has been used by humans since ancient times for its health benefits and as a sweetener and flavoring for many foods and beverages with tea being the most popular. Next to maple syrup, it is the most popular natural sweetener in North America.
Honey bees make honey by collecting nectar from flowers and regurgitating it into beeswax honeycombs inside their hive. Beeswax is a natural wax produced in the hive of honey bees of the genus Apis and one it’s most popular uses is beeswax candles and as an ingredient in natural skin care products.
Varietal honey is made primarily from the nectar of a particular type of blossom or flower. To capture the unique character and flavor of the blossom or flower, beekeepers must study botanical bloom and flowering patterns when planning hive placement.
The flavor and color of honey is determined by the type of flower the bees gather the nectar from, there for when cooking or baking with honey it is a good idea to taste the honey before using it in a recipe. For example; a dark honey like tulip poplar-black locust honey will result in a strong, heavy, a pungent flavor, whereas orange blossom honey will result in a delicate orange flavor. Dark colored honey is considered to be higher in minerals and antioxidants than light colored honey and one of the most well known dark colored honeys is buckwheat honey. Raw buckwheat honey contains a higher amount of minerals and an antioxidant called polyphenol, which gives it its dark color. The health benefits of buckwheat honey are many and well known.
If you are planning to buy honey for its health-benefits, it must be raw honey. Heating honey (pasteurization) destroys the all of the pollen, enzymes, propolis, vitamins, amino acids, antioxidants, minerals, and aromatics. Honey that has been heated and filtered is called commercial, regular or liquid honey. The rawest honey available is comb honey which is sections of the hexagonal-shaped beeswax cells of the honeycomb that contain raw honey that have been cut from the wooden frames of a beehive.
Using raw honey is a long-term investment strategy for optimal health and personal care; the dividends are overall mental, physical and spiritual well being. Like a blue chip stock, raw honey should be included in any health conscious consumer’s immune system boosting portfolio and the return on investment of substituting honey for refined sugar in the human diet is incalculable.
Pure honey is kosher since kosher honey must be 100% honey with no additives or dilutions and to get the best price when buying large quantities of honey, look for a company that sells bulk or wholesale honey.
Organic honey from the United States is a myth because the country is too developed and uses too many agricultural and industrial chemicals to for the production of organic honey. Honey bees are free-roaming, wild creatures and it is impossible guarantee that while foraging they have not come in contact with prohibited substances, like pesticides.
Another product made by honey bees and used by humans is bee propolis. Propolis is a resinous substance that honey bees collect from tree buds and bark or other botanical sources and mixed with beeswax, nectar and pollen. This mixture is used by bees to seal gaps in the hive and by humans for its health benefits and as a traditional, natural or homeopathic medicine.
The Mohawk Valley Trading Company offers the highest quality unprocessed natural products they can produce namely; maple syrup, honey, beeswax and natural personal care products. In addition, they offer natural stone, tea and spices from around the world such, Demerara sugar, Madagascar vanilla beans, Vietnamese cinnamon, vanilla beans, ground vanilla beans, vanilla extract, allspice, cloves, ginger, nutmeg and mace.
Hours of operations are 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. EST, seven days a week. Reach them at (315)-519-2640 to learn more.
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