If you’ve spent any time in the Yoga Nook garden, you know how alive it is with bright, beautiful flowers, lizards and birds. It’s also been attracting a lot of honey bees lately. They love the pepper tree and like to drink out of the water fountain. I suspect they also enjoy the peace and quiet. No one disturbs them, and if I accidentally spray them with water while I’m gardening, I always apologize.
Indeed, they love it so much that they’ve decided to move in! You see, there is a feral cat that has lived here since before the Nook took up residence. Though I don’t feed her, concerned for her comfort through the cold winter months, I made her a warm place to sleep out of an old Styrofoam cooler and dry straw. She doesn’t use it in the summer and the bees, always on the lookout for a dark, dry, cool place to build a hive, have taken advantage of the vacancy.
Making honey is a highly labor-intensive job. The bees may travel up to 55,000 miles and visit more than two million flowers just to gather enough nectar to produce one pound of honey. The flavor and color of honey reflects the nectar source, and there are over 300 unique kinds in the United States. Clover, eucalyptus and orange blossom are among the more common.
More than just nature’s sweetener, honey also contains antioxidants. As a general rule, the darker honeys have higher mineral and antioxidant potential. Composed of simple sugars, glucose, fructose and water that is predigested by the bees, honey also contains trace enzymes, vitamins and amino acids. As the simple sugars are quickly absorbed by the human digestive system they have an overall soothing effect, providing a healthful pick-me-up.
There are many health benefits to including honey in your diet. It relieves indigestion, promotes rejuvenating sleep, replenishes energy and dissolves mucus. When applied externally to the skin, it can disinfect and heal minor wounds and is great for chapped lips.
4 Helpful Honey Tips
- Mix a few tablespoons honey with a couple drops of lavender oil, and drop it in your bath water to help relax and combat insomnia.
- Do you have an old jar of honey somewhere in the refrigerator door that has crystallized? You can restore its syrupy consistency by removing the lid and standing the jar in some warm water until the crystals dissolve.
- Look for honey that has been produced by beekeepers who do not feed their bees refined sugars, and seek out organically produced honey.
- Remember never to feed honey to infants under one year old. It contains a bacteria that can be very harmful to them, though adults and older children are immune.
As for the nest in the garden, we’ll keep the doors closed for now while I search for someone who will give them a new home. Any takers?
Image credit: Claire Andre via Flickr (CC)