Letters from the Hive:
I, as recorder for the board of directors, have taken pen in hand to write concerning our thoughts about modern bee culture. Collectively, we are concerned about the current status of beekeeper-honey bee relations, and as such, would like to give a honey bee’s-eye view of the situation. You may be somewhat surprised to know a bee can write. I can’t in human terms, but my letters are being faithfully copied by our beekeeper, a kind and gentle soul, who understands our language. He talks to us each day about worldly affairs, reads us the latest good as well as gibberish in the beekeeping publications, and generally keeps us informed of the human community’s ideas about bee culture.
You may also wonder where much of our information comes from, emanating as it is from individuals who live at most 50 to 60 days. Honey bees, after all, have no books nor libraries to house information. With what audacity, therefore, do these insects suggest to counsel humans who’re supplied with huge arsenals of scientific knowledge. Our collective knowledge is not in print, but lies in molecules, evolving over the years into wonderfully limitless configurations, providing more than the number of required permutations to store bee experience as it has developed over time. You humans must remember that our species is infinitely more ancient than yourselves, yours being a development of a paltry two or so million years to our 70.
These preliminaries concluded, let me get to the first agenda item the board of directors has asked me to address. We are very much concerned about the smugness of some beekeepers today. They are constantly jawing in the journals about specific and simple answers to our problems. We are a complex society and pride ourselves as such. We suggest you don’t be misled by those who insist there’s only one way or one time to do things. That is simply not the case in most instances. And woe betide we bees with a keeper who thinks so.
Often we are doomed to deal with exasperating circumstances put upon us by unthinking beekeepers that are hopelessly out of synchrony with our biology and that of the plants we depend upon. Sometimes these improperly-timed techniques result in the extinction of a colony, a loss to you and us alike. Most result in a quote in the movies some time ago: “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”
We abhor this lack of communication, and through these letters, hope to overcome the resulting barrier. Some of what we say will be controversial even among our own members. Much will perhaps be offensive to beekeepers, but it appears to be the only way we can tell our story as it is, rather than have it thoughtlessly and carelessly told for us.
A.m. (Apis mellifera)
Fueled by concern for the future, I’ve taken pen in hand again to bring the board of director’s opinions before the beekeeping public. There’s been an alarming lack of controversy lately in the beekeeping journals. This makes for dull reading, and in the long run, little thinking. Some of our own board members even went to sleep while our beekeeper read one of the latest articles in a nationally-recognized publication.
One of the charms of the bee journals throughout history has been the differences of opinions expressed in their pages. True, this has led to some animosity, but we believe in the long run it has added to the average beekeeper’s knowledge, and ultimately helped us bees. This recent lackadaisical state of affairs appears to be caused by a complacency developed over time by beekeepers because they’ve had it too good. Perhaps this attitude is justified. After all, why should the beekeepers have to do any work? He can sit back and rely on federal and state-subsidized research and education to do his investigating and thinking for him.
Note our use of the loaded word “he.” We choose to use it here, knowing full well that most of us are in fact females who are far more capable of running things in most cases than males. It is a compromise to increase readership and hopefully comprehension, given that most human males seem to be wedded to the principles of their reputation as innate leaders, and might well pay less attention to these letters written by females.
The beekeeper’s direct support noted above, along with human financial resources, can in some instances bail him out of his beekeeping errors. This is not to our advantage since we bear the brunt of the errors often with no recourse to correct them. And in the end, the results, rather like “banquo’s ghost,” come back to haunt beekeepers and honey bees alike. There can be no substitute in our opinion for the average beekeeper to read as much as possible, mull over the information, talk to other beekeepers, and then act according to his best-informed instincts to help us bees in times of crisis.
We are hardy creatures. As one authority stated, we’d have to be tough to weather the storms foisted on us for decades by unthinking and uninformed beekeepers. We can and do endure many beekeeper mistakes, but this is taken in stride with the hope that each leads to a beekeeper’s learning to think more like a bee. But this only happens through much effort and cannot be done for anyone. Differences of opinion, based on independent study, and thought, should be cultivated, therefore, so each beekeeper can find his own way to effectively help his bees.
In conclusion, the recent lack of robust controversy in the bee journals is an ominous sign that beekeepers may be becoming lazy and or are simply not thinking for themselves. We are hurt by this malaise, more so perhaps than having our honey stolen, in the belief that beekeeping is somehow a “free lunch.” We urge, therefore, a return to constructive controversy by beekeepers. Only by discussing and thinking out beekeeping problems based on a diversified information base, will both bees and beekeepers have much hope of prospering in the future.
A.m. (Apis mellifera)
At this time, the board of directors has asked me to communicate its sense of unease about human financial matters. There is much talk about the various methods to restrain inflation and cure other economic maladies in the news. The major regulator of the human economy appears to be government, which in turn controls banks. Throughout history, institutions developed by humans have worked together, and it would appear, are responsible for rampant monetary and market problems. To we bees, this looks very much like our situation when, whether we ask for it or not, we get “help from above.”
Routinely we have been fed an abundance of sugar syrup and pollen supplement by our beekeeper in early spring. He also jumbles us about, inspecting our household. All this stimulates us to get moving, which often is good for both us and our beekeeper. Our economy, as it were, gets a shot in the arm. We reply by beginning to rear brood. Each of us is better fed than usual this time of year, the temperature in the colony is raised, and young bees become abundant in the expectation of more brood to feed and the honey flow to come.
Because of this stimulation (help from above), however, our food consumption dramatically increases. After all, we must put a lot of reserve investment (honey and stored pollen) into sustaining this economic (population) growth. The concept is this will all be to our advantage when the honey flow begins, for we’ll be better able to take advantage of the future nectar to be produced.
As good as we feel, however due to this souped-up situation, the board of directors always is somehow uneasy under these circumstances. For even though we’re prospering as never before, the directors know we’re running on the ragged edge of disaster. This is a real fear. It happened last year to a colony just down the road. It’s beekeeper was informed about the value of feeding bees to stimulate them to make more honey. He did just that. But after some time, he discontinued the food supply either because he ran low of funds or perhaps his bees were forgotten in the rush of daily human activity.
Unfortunately, he stopped feeding just as our sisters were in high gear. The colony’s growth, continued as the already burgeoning population clamored for more and more food. When it became apparent that none was forthcoming, and to make matters worse, the spring weather deteriorated into a late snowstorm, brood rearing finally came to a halt. Help finally arrived, but too late. Even though our sisters were forced into a frenzy of eating excess eggs and larvae to sustain themselves, the colony’s condition continued to decline. The population starved agonizingly slowly over the next few weeks. The last sister tucked her head into a cell never to draw it out again just as the weather cleared, bringing forth the first few flowers of spring with their precious nectar.
This is the sad tale of what can happen when we are fed indiscrimintantly and unthinkingly in the spring. Feeding is a powerful tool, but it is also a two-edged sword that can backfire with tragic results. And it seems to us that those who would manipulate the human economy, whether asked to or not, and believe that all help from above is good, might take a lesson from our experience. They can look like a beekeeper who expects something from nothing when managing his honey bees.
A.m. (Apis mellifera)
On Reaching Consensus:
The board of directors has again asked me to write concerning something that’s been on its mind lately, the subject of brood disease. We abhor brood diseases, especially the dreaded American foulbrood (Paenibacillus larvae). We have seen this plague appear to erupt for no good reason in some of our sisters’ hives of late, spreading death to the “unborn” bees of the population and signaling the demise of several colonies by burning at the hands of the bee inspector.
Unfortunately for us, there appears to be little agreement among human scientists, beekeepers, regulatory agencies and others concerning how to deal with American foulbrood. Each state, for example, has a different apicultural law. These run the gamut from little inspection coupled with recommendations to feed antibiotics for prevention and control of American foulbrood, to large-scale inspection efforts tied to a rigidly-enforced burning of infected colonies. These disparate philosophies, along with large-scale interstate movement of honey bee colonies, contribute to spreading brood disease, rather than minimizing infection levels. In addition, the results of new technology, such as ethylene oxide fumigation, cannot be considered totally effective at the present time, although some evidence of efficacy does exist.
We see, therefore, little to be optimistic about with regard to controlling American foulbrood in the near future. Many beekeepers believe American foulbrood can be kept in check, in-deed fully cured, by administering antibiotics. But although heartened by past successes of drugs in clearing up symptoms of American foulbrood, we urge caution in the use of this potent weapon. And the persistent use of drugs for prevention of disease makes us uneasy. we see the use of antibiotics in the same way as stimulative feeding, a two-edged sword.
It is recognized that many beekeepers, supply house persons, researchers and extension workers have seen the results of antibiotics and recommend their use in preventing American foulbrood as good management practice. Some in fact believe that without the use of drugs, large-scale beekeeping couldn’t exist. If this observation is correct, we see it as a dangerous sign of dependence, almost akin to someone hooked on opioids, relatives of morphine, because they were used extensively for a time to reduce physical pain.
Although we insects are not mammals like you humans, a bacterium is a bacterium, and should be expected to behave in much the same manner irrespective of host. Why then should humans believe the low level (sub-therapeutic) feeding of antibiotics to themselves to prevent outbreaks of human diseases like smallpox, diptheria and pneumonia is counterproductive, while at the same time recommending the practice in beekeeping? The answer to this, from our standpoint, is not all that clear. That innate resistance to American foulbrood is present in some parts of our population is a proven fact. This is the rationale for burning all colonies showing symptoms — to effectively fix in our population the genes for resistance.
That drug feeding causes the symptoms of American foulbrood to be reduced, but doesn’t destroy the dormant stage of the disease, the spore, is also known. Using drugs to effectively mask the symptoms of the disease, therefore, can only result in diluting we bees’ resistance to American foulbrood, damaging our population’s protection in the long run. All this for us adds up to a “no-win” solution in American foulbrood control. In light of this we urge beekeepers, state and federal regulatory agencies and others to come to a meeting of the minds concerning the control of this dangerous disease. To not make a decision, continuing business as usual, seems to decide in favor of American foulbrood rather than us.
A.m. (Apis mellifera)
On African Honey Bees:
Our board of directors has chuckled on occasion at the ruckus our Afro-American cousins have caused of late in the beekeeping community. Is it possible all those predictions about the African honey bee being just a flash in the pan won’t pan out? Rather than “fat and happy,” as they’ve been described in some recent press releases, they appear to be more like William Shakespeare’s Cassius—having that lean and hungry look.
With all the fuss this is causing, we may well sit back and ask the beekeepers of the nation why they didn’t ask us about our prognostications. Impossible? Maybe in the conventional manner, but many creative alternatives exist to get at what the African honey bee is all about. In fact, as time goes on, it looks like those honey bees in South America are not as strange as they appeared at first glance. They are, after all, still honey bees, and much of their behavior can be compared to ours. It’s just that they have some eccentricities that even we “European” bees look upon with a jaundiced eye.
For us, for example, it would be anathema to live underground. That behavior is reserved for the lowly yellow jacket. And we would be hard pressed to abscond, up and leave our babies and hard won honey at the drop of a hat, as African honey bees are prone to do. On the other hand, our African cousins have not been as pampered as we have throughout the years. In tropical Africa, there is much more biological competition to reckon with than in the temperate regions where we developed. It’s true there might not be any black bears, but how about those scads of army ants, honey badgers (small bears of sorts) and even birds, like the honey guide, which will deliver a honey bee nest into the hands of that great predator, man?
The African pattern of beekeeping is often extensive and predatory in the extreme. it must fall to our African sisters using their sting first and investigating later. And, then, there is the 800 pound gorilla in the room, climate. We Europeans are faced with a large climatic variable each year called winter. Our African sisters in the main don’t have to worry about the cold and snowy months of the low sun season. They do, however, have to concern themselves with water and sometimes are forced, like the mammals of the great velt, to move long distances in search of this precious commodity. They also have to contend with a series of nectar flows that many times are not heavy enough to make surplus honey.
Forced rationing may well make African bees better survivors than we are under marginal conditions. Along with the beekeepers of the nation, we too see the inexorable advance of the African honey bee as a threat. Perhaps the most important way we can be injured would be for their actions to cause a human public outcry against all bees. Locations for us might be infinitely more difficult to find than even at the present time. In addition, there is the real possibility of large-scale take over of European colonies by Africans due to their more “aggressive” nature in general.
On the other hand, we look forward to the bright side of the picture that the advent of our African cousins is sure to cause. This will no doubt take the form of a heavier amount of investigation by scientists, beekeepers and the general public into our value as pollinators. In addition, as information becomes available on the behavior of African honey bees, much so-called conventional wisdom about ourselves could well be replaced by information which might be used to beef up our population. Thus, the invasion of the African honey bee might like so many events in nature be a two-edged sword.
A.m. (Apis mellifera)
On Queen Excluders:
We are concerned that many beekeepers are not aware of how to culture bees in the broadest sense. As such, many times they miss seeing the forest by concentrating on all the trees. This is manifested in many meetings and bee schools where so many questions pertain to specifics, rather than the principles of honey bee culture. We bees hesitate to call the specifics of beekeeping trivial or “nit picking.” On the other hand we are at a loss to explain them any other way in human terms.
One topic, for example, which sets our rear ends in the air, sting extended, is the endless debate about the use of the queen excluder by beekeepers. It seems, at times, this topic is addressed at length in every school or meeting, but does it merit so much expenditure of time and energy? We think not. We all know the classic pros and cons of using the queen excluder.
Some beekeepers have no truck with the device whether it be wood and wire, all metal or plastic. At best they cuss it and deem it a nuisance; at worst, it becomes that sin of sins, a “honey excluder.” The other side of the argument is also classic. Use of the queen excluder simplifies many a beekeeper’s management. It is especially useful for many commercial beekeepers who don’t have a lot of time to spend on each colony.
We bees prefer to remain neutral as to whether or not a queen excluder should be used. After all, what it boils down to is a personal decision on every beekeeper’s part. Nevertheless, in spite of this letter, we are resigned to the fact that this question will continue to be asked time and again. The answer as to why this is not clear to us. We can only suggest that some beekeepers are seeing this as a straightforward question deserving of a simple response. It only needs to be asked over and over until the answer, there all the time, a so-called “smoking gun,” will eventually pop out.
We also suggest this is why so many in beekeeping seek out what can only be described as gurus, those who will answer their complex problems with simple paradigms. Unfortunately, these persons may be only conversant in one small part of the issue, the inevitable result of increasing specialization in human society. But the danger is the guru may become so caught up in his reasoning and derive so much satisfaction from proclaiming it to the masses, he becomes unable to retract to a more reasonable stance when logical exception is taken to his opinion.
In conclusion, we don’t like to see humans so intent in search of simplicity. Our society is infinitely complex; it has taken tens of millions of years to perfect it. And we did not get to where we are by accident. The design did not come easy and has been mostly punctuated by failure along the way. We were, however, never so far extended that we couldn’t draw back and regroup forces before putting our efforts elsewhere. We ask, therefore, that human beings look at our society as it is, a complex way of life, fully integrated into the life-support system of the earth, yet not static, but continuing, slowly to change. Only then will it become clear why even those beekeepers and scientists who know us so well continue to be amazed at their present ignorance about the honey bee.
A.m. (Apis mellifera)
On the heels of my last letter, the board of directors wishes to convey its collective opinion about professionalism in the beekeeping industry. The national publications dealing with the trade are rife with advertising bordering at times on the ridiculous. In another industry some of these might be called more than unethical, and perhaps be punishable under a number of fair business practice statutes. Such advertising does no credit to the beekeeping community and, also, contributes to a lack of self esteem among beekeepers and us bees alike.
Even as recently as a few months ago, for example, one publication featured in a section usually geared to publishing factual material what appeared at first glance to be a breakthrough in the feeding of honey bees. After having this read to us by our beekeeper, however, we concluded it was nothing more than an advertisement promoting a product on the flimsiest of evidence. The article in fact was authored by the very person in the business of selling the product, who cited himself in one place in the references as, “unpublished results”. The author did reference one scientific study which appeared to corroborate his own conclusions about the product, from which he quoted : “Diets with brood-diet ratio of 1.0 or greater must be considered as most promising.” The product did indeed fit the specifications. The quoted study, however, does not go on to recommend the product, but suggests two other diets were most favorable in terms of availability and cost. The latter statement is conveniently left out of the advertisement. Finally, the author of the advertisement makes the outlandish statement that this product “successfully overcomes the resistance of honey bees to consume pollen substitutes.” Unfortunately, no proof of this is cited in the references, leaving the knowledgeable customer to ponder how this could be so in light of literally decades of futile research by a wide variety of scientists on this very subject.
This is just one of the blatantly overstated kinds of promotion found in many bee publications, which makes the beekeeping industry one of the best bastions of the rule, “caveat emptor”, let the buyer beware. Other examples are legion, especially with reference to stock and/or queens as “tested”, “winter hardy”, “hybrid” or “pure Carniolan”, without a shred of supporting evidence.
In view of this, we bees can only recommend that advertisements which guarantee to totally prevent swarming or somehow solve other time-honored problems in beekeeping should also be taken with more than a grain of salt. Some persons, no doubt, have superior queens in their opinion or experience in advanced techniques in bee management on which such advertising is based. But it behooves the beekeeper not to take claims at face value, and to always ask for supporting evidence.
One rejoinder we continually hear is that in reality most beekeepers are not professional, but lumped into a category called “hobbyist.” So be it, but most hobbyist beekeepers have another profession to relate to which has promulgated a certain code of behavior. There’s little reason to suggest that because there are so many hobbyists, the beekeeping profession should somehow be exempt.
In conclusion, we bees urge a hard look at advertising in the beekeeping field. We realize publications cannot possibly separate all the promotional “wheat from the chaff,” but we cannot condone that a prominent disclaimer clause is lacking in much current advertising.
A.m. (Apis mellifera)
It is not often we bees come to the defense of our enemies. But in this complex world at times, the shoe is on the other foot, and an enemy indirectly becomes a friend. The board of directors, therefore, has asked me to give you our analysis of the relationship between bees and bears.
Frequently at bee meetings the remark is made that the only good bear is a dead bear. This is strong talk and stems from a like emotion. It reflects the visual and other sensory impact when one enters a bee yard that has been visited by a marauding bear. The mammal leaves a great deal of damage in its wake, strewing equipment everywhere in search of its favorite foods, honey and brood.
Being on the receiving end of the predator – prey relationship we bees naturally take a dim view of bears. However, these furry beasts, although not insects, have much common with us. It appears, sad to say, we may need bears perhaps more than they need us.
Actually we bees see humans as more at fault in this than our shaggy nemesis. Bears after all bring bees closer to them than nature ever intended in this human-managed modern world, now called the Anthropocene. We need them as much as they need us due effects of the drastic urbanization, forest clear cutting, large-scale agriculture and expansive highway construction squeezing us into smaller and smaller habitat. The inevitable effect, more bear and bee interaction, resulting in bad news for beekeeper and honey bee.
We definitely would like to see bear depredation discontinue, but not at the expense of eliminating the bear. Like it or not, we bees are a minority and our work, valuable though it is, largely goes unnoticed. Bears on the other hand are harder to ignore. They’re bigger, louder and lots of children play with stuffed animals modeled on them. How many human children do you know that play with stuffed honey bees? So if we bees are killed off by pesticides on even bears, who beside we and the beekeeper knows or cares? But let it be known that bears are disappearing or not well cared for and see the result.
Good bear habitat is usually good bee habitat. And bears require a lot of room. Saving bear habitat for hunters, preserving natural habitat, and perhaps populating zoos is a positive step in saving bee forage from depredation by humans. So in answer to the question, can we live with bears? We say yes. We have coexisted with these creatures for years. Though they may be responsible for eating our honey and brood, we can live with that. And maybe you didn’t notice that one of the most popular honey bottles come in the shape of a bear.
A.m. (Apis mellifera)
The board of directors has asked me to once again put pen to paper about our concerns. We have been listening of late to the whys and wherefores of our importance. Of course, most of you are aware of our honey-, beeswax-, and royal jelly-making activities, not to mention the collection of pollen and propolis, which are important to both bee and human communities. But our major importance, according to those touting our primary strength, is propagating plants so important to the human food supply via pollination.
No less than ninety agricultural crops are benefited by us as we search for nectar and pollen among their blossoms. This pollinating activity has been estimated to be anywhere from ten to twenty times the value of our most important products–honey and beeswax. All told, we are responsible for approximately one-third of the United States food supply. We are no little puffed up with importance over this. But like so many good things, our abilities can be exaggerated out of proportion. In the long run, this can have adverse consequences on the credibility of the above statements. To say, or even hint, as some are wont to do, that without honey bees there would be some sort of food shortage either in the United States or the world is simply not telling it like it really is.
Unfortunately, the fact is that the majority of most of the world human food crops is not insect-pollinated to any degree and thus not benefited by us hardly a wit. The twelve foodstuffs on which the human world survives are either grains like wheat, rye, barley, millet, sorghum, rice and corn, or stems and roots such as potatoes, sweet potatoes and cassava. Bananas and coconuts round the list to an even dozen.
Quantity aside, we take considerable pride in providing diversity and quality. Take, for example our most valuable and dependent crop on pollination in the United States, almonds. Life could go on without almonds in the human world we suppose, but for some it would certainly be less enjoyable without these scrumptious, plump nuts, or the desserts dessert dishes they so exquisitely compliment.
Without our considerable efforts, fruits like apples, cherries, peaches, plums, and black or blueberries would be fewer and inferior in quality. Furthermore, the cucurbits like squash, pumpkin, and cucumbers would be in shorter supply each year as the wild pollinator habitats have been systematically destroyed by pesticide application and large-scale human agriculture. And what about sunflowers, soybeans, rape and peanuts? Our labors also have just begun to be realized as important in hybridizing certain crops like cotton and onions.
Finally, meat production could well suffer for lack of top-grade nutrition provided by forage crops like alfalfa which we pollinate. Nitrogen fixation may also be reduced because those unique legumes like alfalfa, clover and vetch, which attract us bees in droves, and provide such good nectar and need pollination for propagation.
Perhaps our greatest value has yet to be realized perpetuating diversity in plant species by cross pollination, a hedge against humanity’s age-old agricultural practice of simplifying agriculture by narrowing the genetic base. .
In summary, our advice is to praise the quality inherent in our pollination efforts, as well as their in diversification and hybridization potential. Concentrating on quantity may leave use with insufficient evidence in the future to guarantee our survival.
A.m. (Apis mellifera)
On Honey and Sugar:
A spate of debate has brought out of seclusion an age-old, time-worn topic that concerns the board of directors. Whether honey is better than sugar. The arguments on both sides are legion. One school believes honey is a complete (some say perfect) food that contains not only carbohydrates, but minerals, vitamins, and amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. Sugar on the other hand is so-called “empty” calories.” The other side says that honey is basically all sugar, and sugar is sugar is sugar, so their should be no conflict?
Digging deeper, others claim that honey is not just sugar, but a mixture of simple sugars broken down from complex carbohydrates and ready to go to work in the human system. The point to famous athletes and others engaged in strenuous physical activity who get a real charge out of eating honey. Maybe so responds the other side, but sugar (sucrose) too can be broken down by the human body into the simple sugars found in honey. In addition, there’s now evidence that the human body preferentially obsorbs the simple sugars that it itself has broken down rather than those directly ingested from outside sources. And so on. And so on. And so on.
We bees would like to insert our two cents worth into the discussion and help beekeepers and others look at the controversy differently—from an economic as opposed to a nutritional perspective. Now we know honey costs more money than sugar in the store, but is it really more expensive? Money is a human invention; we bees refuse to use the stuff. Instead we prefer another universal measure of value, energy expenditure.
It takes energy to do things in this world. All energy comes from the sun, and is incorporated initially into plant materials through photosynthesis, which is then exploited by bees, humans and all other life on this planet. Plants expend energy to grow ; we bees need energy to fly, collect nectar and pollen and process hard-won gain. Perhaps our most expensive energy cost is evaporation of water from nectar (70 percent moisture) to the final product, honey (19 percent water).
The energy expense to the beekeeper is labor in managing and harvesting the crop, and mechanical or fossil fuel in heating, filtering, bottling and transporting the sweet for eventual sale. The energy costs in honey production are indeed significant, but pale in comparison to those for processing the sugar from beets or cane. The ground must be prepared,the plant grown and harvested, and sugar refined into a processable commodity. All this takes a great deal of energy, before a further expense comes into play later, however, evaporating the water off before being sold. Add to this the fact that raw product often is transported long distances to centralized refineries at significantly more energy cost.
So why does sugar still cost less at the store? Because so many of its production expenses are “externalized”; they don’t find their way into the accounting books or balance sheets as monetary costs. Instead these become “environmental costs” that are looked at as “free,” but can result in air pollution, solid waste disposal, or social costs, and resultant unemployment due to centralized, technological or machine processing. Finally, land-use policy favoring large-scale producers can often force small producers off the land and into the unemployment lines with large social costs that are shouldered by society as a whole, and not listed on any balance sheet.
In the final analysis, we conclude that honey production is far less expensive in capital expense and energy than sugar. It employs more people (labor intensive) and is environmentally less costly, requiring fewer pesticides and organic fertilizers. Now which is better, honey or sugar?
A.m. (Apis mellifera)