We don’t give much thought to what our world would be like if there were no bees, but to put it in plain words: it would be radically different and not in a good way. Bees pollinate a huge portion of flowers and agricultural plants, so without them we wouldn’t have many of the fruits and vegetables we eat, or we would have to invent new (and probably expensive) ways to pollinate all the plants.

Unfortunately, this scenario is not impossible, because many beekeepers around the world are reporting problems with their bee colonies. They find dead bees or abandoned bee colonies without apparent or definite cause. This syndrome is called Colony Collapse Disorder, and it is so widespread that countries are taking it very seriously and investing money in bettering the quality of beekeeping.

Some of the things that kill bees or cause them to leave the beehive are: the use of pesticides, viruses and parasites, the stress factor, poor or uniform nutrition (exposing bees to only one type of flower, poor beekeeping management practices, etc. If beekeepers learn how to properly manage their beehives and worry less about instant profit and more about sustainable honey production, the situation with dead or abandoned bee colonies will come around.

Fortunately, a lot of beekeeping and honey associations, universities, media and environmental organizations are dedicated to raising awareness about Colony Collapse Disorder, so today there are many people who are interested in starting up their own beekeeping business. Apart from contributing to keeping the number of bees up, these new beekeepers are also interested in offering better quality honey to their customers than what can be found in supermarkets. Some of the things that local honey producers guarantee to honey consumers are:

  • that it is not imported or obtained from a shady honey producer
  • that it is not tainted with antibiotics and heavy metals
  • that it is not mixed with syrups, water, sugar, other sweeteners and similar additives
  • that it retains helpful honey elements, such as pollen and propolis

The following infographic is an informative visual guide to what’s happening on the beekeeping and honey producing scene today, including official stats on the number of bee colonies in the US, and it can be helpful both to honey manufacturers and honey consumers who are interested to learn the difference between raw and pasteurized, filtered and unfiltered, and many other useful bits of information about honey.

Beekeeping and Honey Labeling 101 - Everything about it