About 3 years ago a then small company named Alvéole celebrated their 1 year anniversary at my studio. I’d always been curious about bees as a species, and have used honey, propolis and beeswax for a long time – yet I was mystified as to how they operate. In hopes to learning a thing or two about them I decided to get a hive for my studio roof in 2016, located at a stone’s throw from the shop.
The colony, which was numbered at around 40 000 by the end of this summer, works within a 3-5 km radius from the hive. Meticulously gathering pollen and nectar from the neighbouring flora using a separate stomach or pouch, the bees then unload the stuff into a comb where it is then fanned (with their wings) to speed up the dehumidification process, making it more concentrated and gooey. The comb is then capped off with wax to be “stored” and consumed at a later time. The hive is so active in the spring and summer months because that is the only period they can produce their food; honey.
As the bees collect their goods from plant to plant, they also cross pollinate them. The male reproductive organs of the flower stick to their fur and use it as a means to be transported to the next flower where it will meet the female reproductive organ of this new plant, thus fertilizing it and resulting in a fruit which carries seeds for new plants to grow from. Plants also use wind and other insects to cross-pollinate, but bees are like by very far the most effective way of making that happen. Less bees equals less pollination, which results in less flora (flowers and plants).
Why are there less bees? From what I know there are many reasons. Pesticides, noise pollution, and electromagnetic frequencies emitted by wireless technology (phone, cable and internet) all cloud the bees innate sense of direction, amongst other things. It makes them dull, just like it does us. Only they’re much smaller and get affected to a higher degree. Also they don’t have smartphones to turn to with any question. So they get lost, or they aren’t as fast, or clever. In essence they can’t operate on the level which the flora has counted on them to operate on since I don’t know when. (*here‘s a great documentary which explores the world of electromagnetic frequencies and their effects on humans…and bees).
So! Not only does having a hive on my roof do a good thing for the local flora, it also enables us to actually TASTE the local flora. On a purely conceptual level, consuming honey from the area you live in is so interesting!… especially in a time of such extreme isolation from the food we eat.
I’m using a very artisanal way of harvesting honey, so the costs are high but the quality is on par.
We sell each jar for the price it cost to produce, which is 14$.
In a natural setting humans would not have eaten large amounts of honey (or sugars for that matter) because of how hard it would have been to get to. You don’t need to scarf it down, or eat it daily. Have some here and there, and go for the local top quality stuff if you can!