“Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don’t they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers.”
― Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine
Everywhere you look there are stories about the possible extinction of the global honeybee population. And everywhere you look, there’s this quote “If the bee disappeared off the face of the earth, man would only have four years left to live.” ― Maurice Maeterlinck, The Life of the Bee. It is usually falsely attributed to Albert Einstein; but regardless, of who said it there is some truth in it.
The significance of losing the honey bees can’t be understated. First of all, we lose honey.
The honeybee and the honey it makes, is as old as recorded history. In the Bible, King Solomon had his family eat honey for their health. Over 8,000 years ago, Paleo man, was raiding bee hives for honey. We know this because ancient cave paintings show our ancestors gathering the honeycombs filled with honey from wild bee’s nests.
Honey was used by the ancient Egyptians, Mayans, Indians, and Persians. It was the primary sweetener in the world until sugar came along, in modern times.
The Egyptians used a mix of cinnamon and honey as an embalming agent, which was discovered in those Pharaoh’s tombs along the Nile.
In the Ayurveda and Vedic texts (written over 4,000 years ago) in India, honey was recorded, as a sacred substance with major health and medicine uses.
Actually, there are mentions of ancient healing remedies, products made from honey and therapies, in virtually every culture and religion since the beginning of time.
Secondly, if all the honeybees in the world disappeared, the food supply could go next. Honeybees are vital to the food supply. One-third of what we consume (fruits and vegetables) comes from bee (mainly honeybee) pollination. They buzz around and do the real work of cross-fertilization to create the major crops, not to mention flowers. Without bees, harvests crops shrink and food prices go up.
Just like Einstein didn’t really leave us a quote about the honeybee, I don’t believe that the bees are endanger from some strange exotic disease. It’s the pesticides of course. I’m not a scientist. I can’t prove it, but it’s what I believe. Maybe if we stopped soaking our food in toxic substances we would all be a little bit healthier. And maybe if they stop spraying pesticides the honeybee could survive. Life would not be near as sweet without them.