Apis mellifera is the scientific name for the western honey bee. I’ve blogged about honey bees before. These amazing creatures are often taken for granted, and I want to do my part to keep their plight – which is directly related to our own – front and center. I’ve done some research on the honey bee, and I would love to share what I’ve learned. Here’s the bottom line: The bees are in trouble, and so are we.
Since 2006, the honey bee population in the U.S. has declined by at least 40% due to habitat loss and the use of pesticides. An unprecedented study led by biologists at the University of California San Diego showed that honey bees are quantitatively the most successful pollinators in the world. Although scientists have long understood the importance of the bee as a pollinator, data now exists to support the claim.
This weekend, I decided to experiment with some organically crafted beeswax pellets from a farm where the bees happily frolic in pesticide-free fields.
Bees pollinate squash, cucumbers, strawberries, pears, raspberries, and the list goes on. In fact, I have read that honey bees are responsible for every three bites of food we eat.
In addition to pollinating crops, honey bees flock to flowers. They visit about 5,000 a day, lured by the fragrance of lavender, rose, bee balm, and more.
Bees produce beeswax when they are gathering nectar to build their honeycomb, which is where the nectar is stored.
With my beeswax pellets and a silicone mold, I made beeswax honey bees and scented them with lavender essential oil. I also added some dried lavender to the beeswax before pouring it into the mold.
This is one of the bees. The edges of the bee haven’t been cleaned yet, and the beeswax needs polishing, but first the bee must cure for a couple of days so that I don’t accidentally damage it with my cleaning tools.
Someone asked me what one is supposed to do with a scented beeswax honey bee, and I explained that it is a curiosity. Merriam-Webster defines a curiosity as an unusual knickknack or something exotic. So, yes. That’s what my scented honey bees made from beeswax are: a curiosity.
I’m thinking they will look (and smell) nice sitting on my desk or a shelf, where they will spark conversation so that others can learn about the honey bees’ serious situation and the symbiosis between bees and humans.
(As an aside, the scented beeswax bees will also be a nice addition to dresser drawers where they will impart their delicate lavender fragrance onto clothing items.)
Here’s how you can help
- Bees are thirsty; provide a water source.
- Plant bee-friendly plants.
- Don’t use chemical pesticides to treat your lawn and garden; instead, use organic products that won’t harm bees.
- Buy local honey.
- Become a beekeeper!
The bee is the only insect in the world that produces food for humans to eat. In the words of St. John Chrysostom, “The bee is more honored than other animals, not because she labors, but because she labors for others.”
NOTE: I offer and recommend the Bee Lovely body care line of products from Neal’s Yard Remedies. You will love these products, and 3% of each sale goes to help the bees.