Honey bees: they are more than just a source of honey.  Here are some answers to recent customer questions from Atlanta’s Home Town Honey owner, Brian Higgins.

How do honey bees help our environment?

Honey bees produce over 860 different kinds of honey in the 50  US states.  The color, taste, and smell come from the different flowers the bees collect the nectar from.  1 out of every 3 bites we eat is directly from the bees.  The main job is to pollenate the flowers.  In turn the flower creates the seeds or more importantly the fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, and cotton we need.  The trees and plants provide oxygen, wood and medicines for us.

Is it important where they feed – wildflowers vs greenhouses and why?

Honey-Bee2-2Honeybees love the outdoors.  They use the sun as a source of direction like a compass.  They need plants and trees for nectar and pollen sources for food, water and papolis.

Aren’t they dangerous? Shouldn’t we treat them like pests and have them killed?

Honey bees are protected in GA and several other states.  The HB is Ga’s state insect.  They are not dangerous.  They can only sting once and then they die.  They only sting to protect themselves or their honey which is where their families live.  Wasps, hornets and yellow jackets are dangerous because they can sting you multiple times and can be sprayed.

I have heard that local honey can help with allergies.  Is that because of the bees or the process or what?  I don’t see if it matters if I buy it from you or the local grocery store.  It’s still in my local area, correct?

Local honey can relieve symptoms of allergies.  The “raw unpasterized” honey contains live enzymes along with the pollen grains.  The open cells of drying nectar collect the pollen dust and  mix it in the honey.  Honey has no expiration date as long as you do not add water to the jar.  (Always use a dry clean spoon).

fillingNearly all store bought honey comes from overseas and is pasterized because the bottling company is unaware of the processing health standards.  This destroys the good live enzymes and taste.  The label must state “100% pure honey”.  This is a legal definition for honey.  “Pure Honey” can contain 80% corn syrup.  Also look for the word “raw” on the label.  A person or company must be food licensed by the Georgia Department of Agriculture and registered with the FDA as a food processor.  The Department of Agriculture will pull and test the honey for any additives and contaminants.  Bees are dying from pesticides, chemicals, seeds and coatings and polluted waters.

For honey to actually benefit me, wouldn’t I have to take a large quantity per day?

A teaspoon to tablespoon per day for allergies will help.  I advise people to start in Dec or Jan.  Coffee, tea and lemonade or mix with BBQ on chicken or ribs.  Honey is very anti bacterial and can kill up to 26 bacteria.  Sinus infection, ear infection, upper respiratory, stomach ulcer, UTI – a tablespoon 2 – 3 times per day.