Before honey ever reaches American breakfasts, it often comes into contact with dangerous additives — and the FDA isn’t doing much about it

What could be more pure and natural than honey, nature’s golden sweetener? Plenty, according to a recent investigation from Food Safety News, which has found that about one-third of the “honey” Americans are consuming isn’t even honey, but a heavily doctored sweetener that contains artificial sugary concoctions and even dangerous ingredients. Because honey is added to countless foods — granola, breakfast cereals, and cookies — “honey laundering” has become a multimillion-dollar international crime story. Here, a brief guide to this scandal:

What’s being added to honey?
A lot of sugary compounds, according to researchers. Much of the honey Americans buy is imported from Asia, and it’s often nothing but “a mix of sugar water, malt sweeteners, corn or rice syrup, jaggery [a type of unrefined sugar], barley malt sweetener, or other additives with a bit of actual honey,” says Andrew Schneider in Food Safety News.

In what way is imported honey dangerous?
Heavy metals like lead, which causes brain damage and other health problems, have been found in honey that’s stored in big containers made of lead and lead alloys. And experts are alarmed that beekeepers in China are using “an antibiotic that the FDA has banned in food and that has been linked to DNA damage in children,” says Tom Laskawy at Grist.

Is anyone tackling this problem?
The European Union has banned all honey imports from India, where much of the world’s honey laundering takes place. But in the United States, where domestic honey producers supply only about half of the U.S. demand for the sweet stuff, the FDA has taken a “lackadaisical” approach to honey imports. Fifteen people in Seattle and Chicago were recently busted for their role in honey laundering, but the practice continues.

List of crop plants pollinated by bees

May 14, 2011
posted by BizzyBee

Pollination by insects is called entomophily. Entomophily is a form of pollination whereby pollen is distributed by insects, particularly bees, Lepidoptera (e.g. butterflies and moths), flies and beetles. Note that honey bees will pollinate many plant species that are not native to areas where honey bees occur, and are often inefficient pollinators of such plants.

Please note that plants that require insect pollination to produce seeds do not necessarily require pollination to grow from seed into food. The carrot is an example.

Common name Latin name Pollinator Commercial product
of pollination
number of
honey bee hives
per acre
Geography of cultivation
Okra Abelmoschus esculentus Honey bees (incl. Apis cerana), Solitary bees (Halictus spp.) fruit 2-modest   temperate
Kiwifruit Actinidia deliciosa Honey bees, Bumblebees, Solitary bees fruit 4-essential    
Bucket orchid Coryanthes Male Euglossini bees (Orchid bees)        
Onion Allium cepa Honey bees, Solitary bees seed     temperate
Cashew Anacardium occidentale Honey bees, Stingless bees, bumblebees, Solitary bees (Centris tarsata), Butterflies, flies, hummingbirds nut 3-great   tropical
Atemoya, Cherimoya, Custard apple Annona squamosa Nitidulid beetles fruit 4-essential   tropical
Celery Apium graveolens Honey bees, Solitary bees, flies seed     temperate
Strawberry tree Arbutus unedo Honey bees, bumblebees fruit 2-modest    
Pawpaw Asimina triloba Carrion flies, Dung flies fruit 4-essential   temperate
Carambola, Starfruit Averrhoa carambola Honey bees, Stingless bees fruit 3-great   tropical
Brazil nut Bertholletia excelsa Bumblebees, Orchid bees (Euglossini), Carpenter bees nut 4-essential   tropical
Beet Beta vulgaris Hover flies, Honey bees, Solitary bees seed 1-little   temperate
Mustard Brassica alba, Brassica hirta, Brassica nigra Honey bees, Solitary bees (Osmia cornifrons, Osmia lignaria) seed 2-modest   temperate
Rapeseed Brassica napus Honey bees, Solitary bees seed 2-modest   temperate
Broccoli Brassica oleracea cultivar Honey bees, Solitary bees seed     temperate
Cauliflower Brassica oleracea Botrytis Group Honey bees, Solitary bees seed     temperate
Cabbage Brassica oleracea Capitata Group Honey bees, Solitary bees seed     temperate
Brussels sprouts Brassica oleracea Gemmifera Group Honey bees, Solitary bees seed     temperate
Chinese cabbage Brassica rapa Honey bees, Solitary bees seed     temperate
Turnip, Canola Brassica rapa Honey bees, Solitary bees (Andrena ilerda, Osmia cornifrons, Osmia lignaria, Halictus spp.), flies seed 3-great 1 temperate
Pigeon pea, Cajan pea, Congo bean Cajanus cajan Honey bees, solitary bees (Megachile spp.), Carpenter bees seed 1-little    
Jack bean, Horse bean, Sword bean Canavalia spp. Solitary bees, Carpenter bees (Xylocopa confusa) seed 2-modest    
Chile pepper, Red pepper, Bell pepper, Green pepper Capsicum annuum, Capsicum frutescens Honey bees, stingless bees (Melipona spp.), bumblebees, solitary bees, hover flies fruit 1-little (pollinators important in green houses to increase fruit weight, but less in open fields)    
Papaya Carica papaya Honey bees, thrips, large sphinx moths, Moths, Butterflies fruit 1-little    
Safflower Carthamus tinctorius Honey bees, Solitary bees seed 1-little    
Caraway Carum carvi Honey bees, Solitary bees, flies seed 2-modest   temperate
Chestnut Castanea sativa Honey bees, Solitary bees nut 2-modest   temperate
Star apple, Cainito Chrysophyllum cainito Insects, bats fruit 1-little   tropical
Watermelon Citrullus lanatus Honey bees, bumblebees, solitary bees fruit 4-essential 1-3 temperate
Tangerine Citrus reticulata Honey bees, bumblebees fruit 1-little   sub-tropical
Tangelo Citrus spp. Honey bees, Bumblebees fruit 1-little   sub-tropical
Coconut Cocos nucifera Honey bees, Stingless bees nut 2-modest   tropical
Coffea spp. Coffea arabica, Coffea canephora Coffea spp. Honey bees, Stingless bees, Solitary bees fruit 2-modest   tropical
Cola nut Cola nitida, Cola vera, Cola acuminata flies nut 3-great    
Coriander Coriandrum sativum Honey bees, Solitary bees seed 3-great    
Crownvetch Coronilla varia L. Honey bees, Bumblebees, Solitary bees seed (increased yield from pollinators)     temperate
Hazelnut Corylus cornuta var. californica Wind pollinated. nut     temperate
Azarole Crataegus azarolus Honey bees, Solitary bees fruit 1-little    
Cantaloupe, Melon Cucumis melo L. Honey bees, Squash bees, bumblebees, Solitary bees (Ceratina spp.) fruit 4-essential 2-4 temperate
Cucumber Cucumis sativus Honey bees, Squash bees, Bumblebees, Leafcutter bee (in greenhouse pollination), Solitary bees (for some parthenocarpic gynoecious green house varieties pollination is detrimental to fruit quality) fruit 3-great 1-2 temperate
Squash (plant), Pumpkin, Gourd, Marrow, Zuchini Cucurbita spp. Honey bees, Squash bees, Bumblebees, Solitary bees fruit 4-essential 1 temperate
Guar bean, Goa bean Cyamopsis tetragonoloba Honey bees seed 1-little    
Quince Cydonia oblonga Mill. Honey bees fruit     temperate
Lemon   Honey bees fruit     temperate
Lime   Honey bees fruit     temperate
Carrot Daucus carota Flies, Solitary bees, Honey bees seed     temperate
Hyacinth bean Dolichos spp. Honey bees, Solitary bees seed 2-modest    
Longan Dimocarpus longan Honey bees, Stingless bees   1-little    
Persimmon Diospyros kaki, Diospyros virginiana Honey bees, Bumblebees, Solitary bees fruit 1-little    
Durian Durio zibethinus Bats, birds   3-great   tropical
Oil palm Elaeis guineensis Weevils, thrips seed 1-little   tropical
Cardamom Elettaria cardamomum Honey bees, Solitary bees   3-great    
Loquat Eriobotrya japonica Honey bees, Bumblebees fruit 3-great    
Buckwheat Fagopyrum esculentum Honey bees, Solitary bees seed 3-great 1 temperate
Feijoa Feijoa sellowiana Honey bees, Solitary bees fruit 3-great   tropical
fig Ficus spp. Fig wasps (incl. Blastophaga psenes) fruit (syconium) 2-modest   sub-tropical
Fennel Foeniculum vulgare Honey bees, Solitary bees, flies seed 3-great   temperate
Strawberry Fragaria spp. Honey bees, Stingless bees, Bumblebees, Solitary bees (Halictus spp.), Hover flies fruit 2-modest 1 temperate
Soybean Glycine max, Glycine soja Honey bees, bumblebees, Solitary bees seed 2-modest   temperate
Stanhopea Stanhopea Male Euglossini bees (Orchid bees)        
Cotton Gossypium spp. Honey bees, Bumblebees, Solitary bees seed, fiber 2-modest    
Sunflower Helianthus annuus Honey bees, bumblebees, Solitary bees seed 2-modest 1 temperate
Walnut Juglans spp. Wind pollinated. nut     temperate
Flax Linum usitatissimum Honey bees, Bumblebees, Solitary bees seed 1-little   temperate
Lychee Litchi chinensis Honey bees, flies fruit 1-little    
Lupine Lupinus angustifolius L. Honey bees, Bumblebees, Solitary bees seed     temperate
Macadamia Macadamia ternifolia Honey bees, Stingless bees (Trigona carbonaria), Solitary bees (Homalictus spp.), Wasps, Butterflies nut 4-essential   tropical
Acerola Malpighia glabra Honey bees, Solitary bees fruit (minor commercial value)      
Apple Malus domestica, or Malus sylvestris Honey bees, orchard mason bee, Bumblebees, Solitary bees (Andrena spp., Halictus spp., Osmia spp., Anthophora spp.), Hover flies (Eristalis cerealis, Eristalis tenax) fruit 3-great 1, 2 semi dwarf, 3 dwarf temperate
Mammee Mammea americana Bees fruit 2-modest   tropical
Mango Mangifera indica Honey bees, Stingless bees, flies, ants, wasps fruit 3-great   sub-tropical
Sapodilla Manikara zapotilla thrips fruit 4-essential   tropical
Alfalfa Medicago sativa Alfalfa leafcutter bee, Alkali bee, Honey bees seed   1 temperate
Rambutan Nephelium lappaceum Honey bees, Stingless bees, flies fruit


Cactus, Prickly pear Opuntia spp. Bumblebees, Solitary bees fruit 2-modest    
Sainfoin Onobrychis spp. Honey bees, Solitary bees seed     temperate
Passion fruit. Maracuja Passiflora edulis Carpenter bees, Solitary bees, bumblebees, humming birds fruit 4-essential   tropical
Avocado Persea americana Honey bees, Stingless bees, Solitary bees fruit 3-great    
Lima bean, Kidney bean, Haricot bean, Adzuki bean, Mungo bean, String bean Phaseolus spp. Honey bees, Solitary bees fruit, seed 1-little    
Scarlet runner bean Phaseolus coccineus L. Bumblebees, Honey bees, Solitary bees, Thrips seed      
Allspice Pimenta dioica Honey bees, Solitary bees (Halictus spp., Exomalopsis spp., Ceratina spp.)   3-great    
Apricot Prunus armeniaca Honey bees, Bumblebees, Solitary bees, flies fruit 3-great 1 temperate
Sweet Cherry Prunus avium spp. Honey bees, Bumblebees, Solitary bees, flies fruit 3-great   temperate
Sour cherry Prunus cerasus Honey bees, Bumblebees, Solitary bees, flies fruit 3-great   temperate
Plum, Greengage, Mirabelle, Sloe Prunus domestica, Prunus spinosa Honey bees, Bumblebees, Solitary bees, flies fruit 3-great 1 temperate
Almond Prunus dulcis, Prunus amygdalus, or Amygdalus communis Honey bees, bumblebees, Solitary bees (Osmia cornuta), flies nut 3-great 2-3 temperate
Peach, Nectarine Prunus persica Honey bees, Bumblebees, Solitary bees, flies fruit 3-great 1 temperate
Guava Psidium guajava Honey bees, Stingless bees, Bumblebees, Solitary bees (Lasioglossum spp.) fruit 2-modest   tropical
Pomegranate Punica granatum Honey bees, Solitary bees, beetles fruit 2-modest    
Pear Pyrus communis Honey bees, Bumblebees, Solitary bees, Hover flies (Eristalis spp.) fruit 3-great 1 temperate
Black currant, Red currant Ribes nigrum, Ribes rubrum Honey bees, Bumblebees, Solitary bees fruit 2-modest   temperate
Rose hips, Dogroses Rosa spp. Honey bees, Bumblebees, Carpenter bees, Solitary bees, Hover flies   3-great   temperate
Boysenberry Rubus spp. Honey bees, Bumblebees, Solitary bees fruit     temperate
Raspberry Rubus idaeus Honey bees, Bumblebees, Solitary bees, Hover flies (Eristalis spp.) fruit 3-great 1 temperate
Blackberry Rubus fruticosus Honey bees, Bumblebees, Solitary bees, Hover flies (Eristalis spp.) fruit 3-great   temperate
Elderberry Sambucus nigra Honey bees, Solitary bees, flies, Longhorn beetles fruit 2-modest   temperate
Sesame Sesamum indicum Honey bees, Solitary bees, wasps, flies seed 2-modest    
Eggplant Solanum melongena Honey bees, Bumblebees, Solitary bees fruit 2-modest (pollinators important in green houses, but less in open fields)   temperate
Naranjillo Solanum quitoense Bumblebees, Solitary bees fruit 3-great   tropical
Rowanberry Sorbus aucuparia Honey bees, Solitary bees, Bumblebees, Hover flies fruit 4-essential   temperate
Service Tree Sorbus domestica bees, flies fruit 2-modest    
Hog plum Spondias spp. Honey bees, Stingless bees (Melipona spp.) fruit 1-little    
Tamarind Tamarindus indica Honey bees (incl. Apis dorsata) fruit 1-little    
Cocoa Theobroma cacao Midges   4-essential   tropical
Clover (not all species) Trifolium spp. Honey bees, Bumblebees, Solitary bees seed   1 temperate
White clover Trifolium alba Honey bees, Bumblebees, Solitary bees seed   1 temperate
Alsike clover Trifolium hybridum L. Honey bees, Bumblebees, Solitary bees seed   1 temperate
Crimson clover Trifolium incarnatum Honey bees, Bumblebees, Solitary bees seed   1  
Red clover Trifolium pratense Honey bees, Bumblebees, Solitary bees seed   1 temperate
Arrowleaf clover Trifolium vesiculosum Savi Honey bees, Bumblebees, Solitary bees seed   1 temperate
Blueberry Vaccinium spp. Honey bees, Alfalfa leafcutter bees, Southeastern blueberry bee, Bumblebees (Bombus impatiens), Solitary bees (Anthophora pilipes, Colletes spp., Osmia ribifloris, Osmia lignaria) fruit 3-great 3-4 temperate
Cranberry Vaccinium oxycoccus, Vaccinium macrocarpon Honey bees, Bumblebees (Bombus affinis), Solitary bees (Megachile addenda, Alfalfa leafcutter bees) fruit   3 temperate
Vanilla Vanilla planifolia, Vanilla pompona Solitary bees fruit 4-essential   tropical
Tung tree Vernicia fordii Honey bees seed      
Broad bean Vicia faba Honey bees, Bumblebees, Solitary bees seed 2-modest    
Vetch Vicia spp. Honey bees, Bumblebees, Solitary bees seed     temperate
Cowpea, Black-eyed pea, Blackeye bean Vigna unguiculata Honey bees, Bumblebees, Solitary bees seed 1-little    
Karite Vitellaria paradoxa Honey bees nut 2-modest   temperate
Tomato Solanum lycopersicum Bumblebees, Solitary bees (Halictus spp.) fruit     tropical
Grape Vitis spp. Honey bees, Solitary bees, flies fruit 0-no increase   temperate
Jujube Zizyphus jujuba Honey bees, Solitary bees, flies, beetles, wasps fruit 2-modest    

Thanks to a joint investigation from academics and the Department of Homeland Security, the culprit in the Case of the Honeybee Killer has been found.Over the last four years, 20 to 40 percent of the honeybee colonies in the U.S. have mysteriously collapsed. The killer has remained unknown–until now. A team of entomologists, along with military scientists from the Department of Homeland Security, have a new prime suspect (or rather, suspects), as shown in a new report on the science website PLoS One. A tag-team of a virus and a fungus show every sign of being the culprit. Now it’s just a matter of eradicating that dastardly partnership.Entomologists from the University of Montana have teamed up with military scientists from the Department of Homeland Security–an unexpected liaison, for sure–began following the clues of the mass deaths of the honeybees. The honeybee die-off is peculiar, and the circumstances of the illness that collapses colonies makes it particularly difficult to analyze. Before the bees die, they fly away from the hive in all directions, which hampers efforts to collect large numbers of bees for analysis.But the military proved to have the tools the academics did not, a protein research software that is designed to test and identify biological agents in the field. (The New York Times elaborates on the somewhat grotesque way the bees are analyzed–they must be turned into a paste, and it turns out that coffee grinders are the best tool for that unsavory task.)The culprit seems to be an unholy combination of a fungus and a virus–to be precise, Nosema ceranae and an invertebrate iridescent virus. The fungus, N. ceranae, had already been identified, but the particular virus had not been connected. It turns out that the virus and fungus working in concert is just about 100% fatal, whereas either alone is not necessarily so.Of course, just identifying the culprit is only the first step. The entomologists still have to find a way to stop the tag-team attack. It looks as though they’ll focus on the fungus, which is easier to block and defeat than the virus, and which, if defeated, should be enough assistance to help get honeybee populations back on track. And there’s always more to uncover–the tendency of the bees to wander off just prior to death is still a mystery (a University of Montana doctor actually uses the phrase “insect insanity” as a possible explanation), but that should all come in time.

Facts on Honey and Cinnamon

January 25, 2009
posted by smabusybee

It is found that a mixture of honey and cinnamon cures most diseases. Honey is produced in most of the countries of the world. Scientists of today also accept honey as a ‘Ram Ban’ (very effective) medicine or all kinds of diseases.

Honey can be used without any side effects for any kind of diseases.

Today’s science says that even though honey is sweet, if taken in the right dosage as a medicine, it does not harm diabetic patients. Weekly World News, a magazine in Canada, in its issue dated 17 January, 1995 has given the following list of diseases that can be cured by honey and cinnamon as researched by western scientists:


Make a paste of honey and cinnamon powder, apply on bread, instead of jelly and jam, and eat it regularly for breakfast. It reduces the cholesterol in the arteries and saves the patient from heart attack. Also those who have already had an attack, if they do this process daily, they are kept miles away from the next attack. Regular use of the above process relieves loss of breath and strengthens the heartbeat. In America and Canada, various nursing homes have treated patients successfully and have found that as you age, the arteries and veins lose their flexibility and get clogged; honey and cinnamon revitalize the arteries and veins.


Arthritis patients may take daily, morning, and night, one cup of hot water with two spoons of honey and one small teaspoon of cinnamon powder. If taken regularly even chronic arthritis can be cured. In a recent research conducted at Copenhagen University, it was found that when the doctors treated their patients with a mixture of one tablespoon of honey and half teaspoon of cinnamon powder before breakfast, they found that within a week, out of the 200 people so treated, practically 73 patients were totally relieved of pain, and within a month, mostly all the patients who could not walk or move around because of arthritis started walking without pain.


Take two tablespoons of cinnamon powder and one teaspoon of honey in a glass of lukewarm water and drink it. It destroys the germs in the bladder.


Two tablespoons of honey and three teaspoons of cinnamon powder mixed in 16 ounces of tea water, given to a cholesterol patient, were found to reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood by 10 percent within two hours. As mentioned for arthritic patients, if taken three times a day, any chronic cholesterol is cured. According to information received in the said Journal, pure honey taken with food daily relieves complaints of cholesterol.


Those suffering from common or severe colds should take one tablespoon lukewarm honey with 1/4 spoon cinnamon powder daily for three days. This process will cure most chronic cough, cold, and clear the sinuses.


Honey taken with cinnamon powder cures stomach ache and also clears stomach ulcers from the root.


According to the studies done in India and Japan, it is revealed that if Honey is taken with cinnamon powder the stomach is relieved of gas.


Daily use of honey and cinnamon powder strengthens the immune system and protects the body from bacteria and viral attacks. Scientists have found that honey has various vitamins and iron in large amounts. Constant use of honey strengthens the white blood corpuscles to fight bacteria and viral diseases.


Cinnamon powder sprinkled on two tablespoons of honey taken before food relieves acidity and digests the heaviest of meals.


A scientist in Spain has proved that honey contains a natural ‘ingredient’ which kills the influenza germs and saves the patient from flu.


Tea made with honey and cinnamon powder, when taken regularly, arrests the ravages of old age. Take four spoons of honey, one spoon of cinnamon powder and three cups of water and boil to make like tea. Drink 1/4 cup, three to Four times a day. It keeps the skin fresh and soft and arrests old age. Life spans also increases and even a 100 year old, starts performing the chores of a 20-year-old.


Three tablespoons of honey and one teaspoon of cinnamon powder paste apply this paste on the pimples before sleeping and wash it next morning with warm water. If done daily for two weeks, it removes pimples from the root.


Applying honey and cinnamon powder in equal parts on the affected parts cures eczema, ringworm and all types of skin infections.


Daily in the morning one half hour before breakfast on an empty stomach and at night before sleeping, drink honey and cinnamon powder boiled in one cup of water. If taken regularly, it reduces the weight of even the most obese person. Also, drinking this mixture regularly does not allow the fat to accumulate in the body even though the person may eat a high calorie diet.


Recent research in Japan and Australia has revealed that advanced cancer of the stomach and bones have been cured successfully. Patients suffering from these kinds of cancer should daily take one tablespoon of honey with one teaspoon of cinnamon powder for one month three times a day.


Recent studies have shown that the sugar content of honey is more helpful rather than being detrimental to the strength of the body. Senior citizens, who take honey and cinnamon powder in equal parts, are more alert and flexible. Dr. Milton, who has done research, says that a half tablespoon of honey taken in a glass of water and sprinkled with cinnamon powder, taken daily after brushing and in the afternoon at about 3:00 P.M. When the vitality of the body starts to decrease, increases the vitality of the body with in a week.


People of South America, first thing in the morning, gargle with one teaspoon of honey and cinnamon powder mixed in hot water, so their breath stays fresh throughout the day.


Daily morning and night honey and cinnamon powder, taken in equal parts restore hearing. Remember when we were kids? We had toast with real butter and cinnamon sprinkled on it!

A friend, who is not a beekeeper sent this to me. I thought it interesting to share.

Local Honey, Health and Allergies

January 24, 2009
posted by BizzyBee

As one who makes his living by writing about allergies and asthma I am often asked about the potential health benefits of using local honey.

Honey contains bits and pieces of pollen and honey, and as an immune system booster, it is quite powerful. I have often in talks and articles, and in my books, advocated using local honey. Frequently I’ll get emails from readers who want to know exactly what I mean by local honey, and how “local” should it be. This is what I usually advise:

Allergies arise from continuous over-exposure to the same allergens. If, for example, you live in an area where there is a great deal of red clover growing, and if in addition you often feed red clover hay to your own horses or cattle, then it likely you are exposed over and over to pollen from this same red clover. Now, red clover pollen is not especially allergenic but still, with time, a serious allergy to it can easily arise.

Another example: if you lived in a southern area where bottlebrush trees were frequently used in the landscapes or perhaps you had a bottlebrush tree growing in your own yard, your odds of over-exposure to this tree’s tiny, triangular, and potently very allergenic pollen is greatly enhanced.

In the two examples used above, both species of plants are what we call amphipilous, meaning they are pollinated by both insects and by the wind. Honeybees will collect pollen from each of these species and it will be present in small amounts in honey that was gathered by bees that were working areas where these species are growing. When people living in these same areas eat honey that was produced in that environment, the honey will often act as an immune booster. The good effects of this local honey are best when the honey is taken a little bit (a couple of teaspoons-full) a day for several months prior to the pollen season.

When I’m asked how local should the honey be for allergy prevention I always advise to get honey that was raised closest to where you live, the closer the better since it will have more of exactly what you’ll need.

It may seem odd that straight exposure to pollen often triggers allergies but that exposure to pollen in the honey usually has the opposite effect. But this is typically what we see. In honey the allergens are delivered in small, manageable doses and the effect over time is very much like that from undergoing a whole series of allergy immunology injections. The major difference though is that the honey is a lot easier to take and it is certainly a lot less expensive. I am always surprised that this powerful health benefit of local honey is not more widely understood, as it is simple, easy, and often surprisingly effective.

Pharmaceutical companies have huge budgets and can fund studies, but with honey this scientific research doesn’t seem to get funded… thus most evidence we have is what we see, antidotal evidence. That however can be, and often is important; sometimes, often actually, such evidence proves very useful. Let me give you one such antidotal example of the powers of local honey. I was asked to look over the yard of a family that had just moved to this area (Central coastal California) to see if I could figure out what was triggering the allergies of their five-year-old son. The boy was experiencing classical allergic responses, runny nose, itchy eyes, persistent cough. This family had only recently moved to California, from the Midwest, so a pollen allergy was surprising, as they generally take a number of years of exposure to develop.

The boy had started having these symptoms a few months after moving here. At his house I didn’t find the usual allergy culprits of the landscape, male cloned trees or shrubs, but I did note that next to the house was a row of towering blue gum eucalyptus trees. I knew the eucalyptus trees were shedding plenty of pollen, as you could see it on the windows of the cars parked underneath them. I checked some of this pollen with a microscope and it was indeed from these blue gum trees. Eucalyptus pollen is fairly large in size and is triangular in shape, making it easy to ID. I suggested that at the local farmers market they could buy some eucalyptus honey and recommended that the boy be given several spoonfuls of this every day.

The family did as I advised and the boy ate the strongly flavored eucalyptus honey every day for four months. By the end of the first month the allergic symptoms were starting to ease up. By the end of the second month all his symptoms had disappeared. Some ten years then passed and while in high school this same boy again started having allergic symptoms. I visited the high school at the request of his folks and found that they had a multitude of huge eucalyptus trees growing there. I again advised the local honey and once again, it seemed to do the trick.

Now, let me be clear here, I am not suggesting that local honey will replace allergists. But what I am saying is that since visits to allergists are expensive and the series of immunology shots, although generally very effective, are costly, it makes perfect sense to give the local honey a try first. Many times, as many others and I have seen firsthand, the local honey will take care of the problem, quickly, safely, and inexpensively.

Thomas Leo Ogren

Mr. Ogren is the author of five published books, including Allergy-free Gardening, and also of, Safe Sex in the Garden.

Africanized Honeybees

January 24, 2009
posted by BizzyBee

An Africanized honeybee is a honeybee hybrid strain, originated in Brazil, that is a cross-breed between a European honeybee and an African honeybee subspecies, apis mellifera scutellata, a.m. adonsonii, or a.m. intermissa.  The Africanized honeybee, called the “killer bee“, is an aggressive strain that has migrated through Central America to the southern United States, into Texas and west to California.

Africanized honeybee colonies are feral, except in research facilities, and Africanized bees generally spread by breeding with local bees that swarm.   Africanized bees are not raised by private beekeepers, since they are so hard to manage and since it is illegal in the U.S. to raise this bee outside an approved research facility.

Africanized bee hybrids demonstrate most of the African bee’s characteristics, including hyper-defensive, aggressive protection of the colony, smaller nests, farther foraging distances, shorter life expectancy, and a high tendency to abscond or swarm.  However, Africanized bees are extremely similar in appearance to European bees, and only close, expert observation can differentiate the two.  You cannot tell the difference between Africanized honeybee and European honeybee with just a casual visual inspection.

The Africanized honeybee has not dominated the honeybee population in the southern United States as many had predicted.  This lack of dominance is primarily due to the diseases and pests to which the feral Africanized honeybee colonies fall prey, including tracheal mites, varroa mites, foulbrood and nosema.  Since Africanized honeybee colonies are not in managed apiaries where such conditions can be prevented or treated, they have not fared well in the wild.  One curious phenomenon is that the Africanized honeybee has apparently not yet spread to the southeastern US.  It appears to have restricted its occupation to Texas and west to California.  Honeybee researchers have not concluded the reason for the odd halt in their eastward progress.


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