How to Help the Bees with Bee Keeper's Naturals
“Bees single-handedly pollinate a third of our food supply. Even our livestock would suffer if bees disappeared from our planet. Cattle graze in open pastures on wild blooms like alfalfa. And who pollinates the alfalfa? Bees.
We would lose so many of our global crops if we lost bees; our food system would crumble. This is why saving the bees is crucial.”
- Carly Stein, Founder of Bee Keeper’s Naturals
Photo courtesy of A Daily Something
1. Why raw as opposed to processed honey? Besides the personal health benefits, how does it impact the health of the environment?
Raw honey contains a trove of beneficial compounds and enzymes—B vitamins, amino acids from pollen, active enzymes, phytonutrients, antioxidant polyphenols. It is an incredibly healing food. In fact, cultures have been using raw honey to promote health and wellness for millennia.
But with the modern food industry being what it is, many large-scale commercial manufacturers actually pasteurize their honey by heating it to 63 degrees Celcius/145 degrees Fahrenheit for around 30 minutes in order to kill off any potential microorganisms. But what they’re really killing is the good stuff in the honey—all those healthy nutrients and enzymes.
Since honey is renown for its natural germ-fighting properties, pasteurization is actually kind of overkill. It alters the texture to be more smooth and liquidy, but the honey itself becomes no nutritionally superior than sugar water. It’s absolutely a waste of all the bees’ hard work.
Environmentally, sustainable raw honey is actually one of the most conscious sweeteners around. Because bees don’t require much space, water, or resources, beekeeping generally has a very low environmental footprint. Plus, sustainable beekeepers like us are helping to save the bees (and our global food supply) rather than just using them as a for-profit commodity. Raw honey, especially when it is sustainably sourced, is pretty much always a superior choice.
2. What are the initiatives and processes that Bee Keeper’s Naturals undertakes to protect bees?
When I started Beekeeper’s Naturals, I wanted to make sure that we put the wellness of our bees above all else—even profit margins. That might sound a little crazy, but I believe that to be a successful, modern-day business, you can’t just have profits as your bottom line. You need to be doing some good in the world, too.
At BKN, we work exclusively with small scale apiaries who have the time and resources to tend to their bees and really listen to what they need. We practice sustainable beekeeping and make sure to never overharvest from our little buzzing friends. They need the lion’s share of their products to keep the hive healthy and get them through the winter.
We also take a lot of pride in our research and testing practices. Our ingredients are always carefully tested for pesticide residue by an independent 3rd party to ensure that our bees are foraging in clean, healthy fields, free of chemicals—and that there are no nasty chemicals in our products, too.
Beyond the efforts we put into our own bees, we partner with cutting-edge bee research institutions, like The University of California Davis Bee Research Facility and the Canadian Bee Research Fund, to help promote bee research and spread a greater awareness about the plight of the bees.
3. In addition to supporting companies like Bee Keeper’s Naturals in their efforts to save the bees, what else can consumers do that are easy & accessible to join the action?
Helping to save the bees is actually easier than you’d think! I like to recommend 3 super easy, super affordable ways for people to get directly involved in the health of their local bee populations:
Plant flowers. Bees are running out of safe habitat, especially with vast conventional monoculture farming. Think of it like this: what would happen if all your grocery stores get torn down and replaced by McDonald’s? Sure, you’d get by, but you definitely wouldn’t be very healthy. Bees need a steady supply of clean, diverse flowers to feed upon. Plant a garden full of pollinator-friendly blooms in your yard (or on your windowsill) and make sure you have blooms all 3 seasons—so there is always something yummy for the bees to feast on.
Make a bee bath. Bees need clean water as much as they need clean food. A bee bath is like a bird bath, but much more shallow. Keep a shallow bowl/plate of fresh water in the shade of your garden. Bees need somewhere to land (they’re not great water-landers), so place a few small rocks protruding above the waterline—like little “islands” in the bath.
Spread the word. Tell all of your friends and family to create a bee garden! If we all kept pesticide-free gardens, it would majorly increase the safe habitat and food sources for bees!
Supporting local organic farms is also really beneficial, as it ensures that the bees retain large swaths of clean food sources. But I know not everyone is in a place where they can buy lots of organic food, so ensuring that the bees have a safe space in your own backyard is more of a top priority. It’s easy, but it makes such a significant difference.
4. What’s one fact that you want others to know so they care more about saving bees and purchasing sustainable bee products?
This gets repeated a lot, but it is really important. Bees single-handedly pollinate ⅓ of our food supply—tasty foods like avocados, almonds, and berries. Even our livestock would suffer if bees disappeared from our planet. Cattle graze in open pastures on wild blooms like alfalfa. And who pollinates the alfalfa? Bees. We would lose so many of our global crops if we lost bees. Our food system would utterly crumble. We cannot let that happen. This is why saving the bees is so, so crucial.