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It’s Pollinator Week, an annual celebration to bring attention to the bees and butterflies whose mission in life serves to cultivate our world. There’s so much we can do for these and other industrious pollinators to support their efforts to keep our plants propagative.
All pollinators need our protection, and bees do in particular. In “The Story of Pollen and Honey” from our research archives and published by Modern Nutrition in 1963, Dr. Howard Hillemann reminds us that “Honey was one of man’s first foods and remains as an important ingredient in his diet today.” Nearly 60 years after this article was first published, our love for – and appreciation of – pollen and honey hasn’t diminished.
I have always been fascinated by insects: bees and butterflies are some of my favorites. Just last month, I was visiting friends in my father’s hometown in Germany and was lucky to admire these friends’ beehives and bring their “bihäppi” honey (pictured) home with me. As I write this email, I’m at home on my terrace enjoying a cup of tea with this honey and hoping for the arrival of a Monarch butterfly or two. At my home in San Diego, we consciously grow pesticide-free milkweed which draws and safely feeds these beauties as they migrate southward.
When Dr. Hillemann wrote his article on pollen and honey in 1963, circumstances for pollinators and insects were much different than they are today. Once-abundant populations have been declining steadily around the world for decades, with some government agencies reporting as much as a 75% reduction since 1990.
In 2021, the In The News section of our Journal of Health and Healing reported on risks to pollinators from neonicotinoids, a family of neuro-active insecticides, in “EPA Says Neonicotinoids Likely Harm Endangered Species.” On June 16, 2022, the EPA released its final Biological Evaluations and determined that neonicotinoid insecticides will adversely affect as much as 79 percent of species and 83 percent of critical habitats! Restrictions in the use of these pesticides to mitigate their environmental impact are needed now but aren’t expected until 2023.
The good news is that we’re learning that our use of pesticides in the past will not lead us to a sustainable future. 14 years ago, the U.S. Senate designated a week in June as “National Pollinator Week.” This week, we’re asking you to consider the plight of pollinators, to support the reduction of pesticides on your produce and nursery plants, and to visit the Pollinator Partnership for information on ways you can help pollinators in your community.
Wishing you good health,
Steven J. Schindler,
PS: “The Story of Pollen and Honey” was recently converted from its original form into a publicly available web page. We’re converting thousands of our research archives to advance ancestral knowledge. If you’re able to help, we would be so grateful for your support. Click DONATE today, and thank you.