Buzz-worthy Food Science

Honeybees, honey and the food we eat!

Know what I love about teaching my kids? The sweet taste of memorable learning. Pair facts, figures and experiments with food of any kind, and I have their undivided attention. This guy is no exception. He’s big on experiments and a huge fan of eating. A honey taste test was right up his alley!

Honeybees, honey and the food we eat!

Have you heard of the Feed A Bee iniative? In a nutshell, it’s a group of folks determined to teach about bees and their importance to the food supply. Feeding bees helps feed us all, so in 2015 the Feed A Bee folks grew 50 million flowers for bees. Now that’s a sweet smorgasbord!

They sent my family a “bee box” so we could participate, too. As soon as spring arrives, we will plant our own honeybee garden. Honeybees love blooms of all kinds, but favorites include native plants that provide essential habitat. If you’d like to start your own honeybee garden consider planting lavender, rosemary, sage, coneflower, sunflower, redbud, verbena, black-eyed Susan, oregano or yarrow. Your garden will be buzzing with industrious little bees. [For planting suggestions in your area, get this pollinator map.]

Tasting and comparing varieties of honey.

Our Feed A Bee box came with all sorts of teaching materials, including three kinds of honey sticks: wildflower, clover and orange blossom. Talk about a sweet taste test! My blooming scientist thought the wildflower honey tasted a bit like maple syrup. He enjoyed the orange blossom honey, and thought the clover tasted like the local honey we buy.

All this sweet talk reminded us of the time the bees camped out in our apple tree. The bee man came and transferred them to a new home at his place. Talk about lessons in science and food production and so much more! It was an buzz-worthy experience in our own back yard.

Tasting and comparing varieties of honey.

Bees are amazing. Just one bee will visit up to 5,000 flowers a day. And bees must visit about a million flowers to make a 1-lb. jar of honey. Do you like mustard or ketchup on your burger? Thank a bee. Enjoy jelly with your peanut butter sandwich? Heck, enjoy peanut butter? Thank a bee. We need to thank farmers for growing the plants we eat, and we must be thankful for the bees that pollinate those plants.

Honey bees help pollinate one of every three bites of food we eat!

Tasting and comparing varieties of honey.

So hey, honey … consider planting a bee-autiful garden for your tiny friends in flight. Learn a thing or two about farmers and the importance of pollinators to your favorite foods. Have a honey taste test of your own. And above all else remember this:

Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness. ~ Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to George Washington, 1787.

 

Check out VitaminBee.tv for more educational material. It’s a fun website for kids (and adults!). Discover all sorts of interesting facts about bees and the food we eat.

  • Can you name the first vegetable to be grown in space?
  • Do you know why tomatoes are considered a fruit?
  • What is the most popular fruit in America?

Join the Conversation Tuesday, Feb. 2 — AgChat Foundation hosts a Twitter chat on Tuesdays from 8-10 p.m. This week’s topic: bee health. Join in and learn more!

 

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