It’s Time to Bee the Change!
If you’ve been following us on Instagram and Facebook, you’ll know that we’ve an upcoming workshop on making your own beeswax wrap this Saturday (21 July) at KAPOK!, held at the National Design Centre. You’ll also know that we’re launching a new product, beeswax wrap mend bars, the same weekend.
Now, neither of these would have been possible without the generous provision of our little friends, bees. In fact, without those little fellas, we would be living a pretty dull life, if we survived at all. Bees are vital to our ecosystem and survival. Additionally, while their by-products aren’t exactly essential, they sure enhance our lives a great ton!
Beeswax, honey, and even bee pollen all have amazing properties that are beneficial for us. If you’re not convinced that these products can make a world of difference in your lives, well, read on because we’re here to change your mind.
If you’re not sure where this post is going already, we’re talking about all things bees! Their byproducts, why bees are essential to our ecosystem and ultimately, we hope to clear up misunderstandings about bees and tell you how you can help them.
We all know that honey comes from bees, and most of us should know by now of the existence of beeswax. But how many of us have thoroughly explored these products and their uses?
Aside from just tasting good, honey is great for its anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. Do note that when we mention honey here, we are referring primarily to raw honey. This means that the honey has not be heated to high temperatures or pasteurized, ensuring that it has retained all of its nutrients.
Here are some uses of honey beyond just as a tasty drink: as a face mask, hair mask, relieving sore throat, as a shampoo, relieving nausea, promote wound healing, or even to help you sleep. While it’s true that raw honey is often slightly more pricey as opposed to regular, store-bought honey, imagine the amount of money you can save by replacing your conventional face masks and shampoos with just honey.
Oftentimes, the recipes you’ll need for any of the above problems are just raw honey diluted with water. For a more comprehensive understanding of the multiple uses of honey and how to go about doing this, check out this link!
Beeswax wraps are all the rage in the zero waste community, second perhaps only to metal/glass/bamboo straws. We’re not going to explain more about beeswax wraps here (if you wish to know more, do check out our upcoming workshop). Instead, we’re focusing on other uses of beeswax that are less known to the general population.
Have you ever tried to mend or upcycle your clothes and found yourself frustrated with how difficult it is to thread a needle without the thread fraying? Well, beeswax can save the day! Just rub your thread over a piece of beeswax to ensure that all the fibres stay in place -- threading will never be simpler.
We use beeswax for beeswax wraps to ensure that the wraps are waterproof, but they can be used to waterproof more than just wraps! You can just as easily waterproof your shoes with them. Simply rub beeswax all over your (canvas) shoes, then use a blowdryer to to melt the wax. Let it set for about five minutes and you’re good to go, regardless of rain or shine!
Beeswax is also great for health and beauty products including make up, diaper rash cream, preventing stretch marks, deodorant, and also treating skin infections. For a comprehensive list of its uses and recipes, head on over here!
Source: Photo by Mikael Kristenson on Unsplash
On top of the widely-know beeswax and honey, bees also produce a few other byproducts that have astounding properties. These include bee pollen, royal jelly, and propolis. These products are less readily-available than others but can be found in most specialty honey shops, even in Singapore! iHerb stocks them readily as well.
Like beeswax and honey, the three aforementioned product are also great for their anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties. On top of those though, each is unique in what it offers. We won’t go into the nitty-gritty details here for fear that this post will bore you but here is a quick summary of the different byproducts of bees and their properties.
What else do bees have to offer?
A ton, that’s what! Bees are one of the main pollinators of plants on Earth. Much of our food crops, food, and vegetables are all pollinated by bees. Without them, the continued survival of many of these crops would be uncertain.
Common food crops pollinated by bees include apples, squash, almonds, and broccoli among others. In fact, bees are the only insects that pollinate almond! This means that without them, we wouldn’t have almond at all. And that’s just one plant, there are many others that simply will not survive without bees.
Source: The British Beekeepers Association
The above infographic present a summary of how bees contribute to our economy and our daily survival. They might be small, but they sure are mighty. Without them, a large amount of animals will find themselves with no food to eat, and the ripples through the food chain can have devastating consequences.
Unfortunately, bees are still greatly misunderstood by many people. Their little stings make many of us view them as threats, even though they are generally harmless and will not attack unless provoked.
Due to rapid urbanization, bees that used to make their homes in forests and green areas are now forced to the cities to build their hives. We’re not going to deny that having a swarm of bees in your near your home is extremely disconcerting and does pose a threat as co-existence is not always possible. What most do in this situation is to call the pest exterminator, resulting in the killing of an entire colony of bees.
The widespread use of pesticides, even if not intentionally targeted at bees, have led to bees dying by the millions. Today, more and more species of bees are being added to the endangered species list.
In case we haven’t made our point clear enough, bees are not pests! They’re extremely useful creatures, and fairly harmless unless provoked. Now, we know that being in close proximity with bees can definitely cause them to attack, but there are other avenues to turn to rather than to just eliminate them.
Bee the change
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
It’s time to start viewing bees as our friends instead of foe. Thankfully, there are people who have already taken the first step to helping out the bee population in Singapore. Nutrinest, started by Mr Xavier Tan, is the first and only approved bee garden in Singapore.
Nutrinest not only harvests honey in a sustainable way from urban beehives, but they also provide hive relocation services. This means that instead of killing off all the bees and simply removing the hive from your premises, they take the time and effort to safely transport these hives to areas that help the bees to continue thriving.
We love that they make the effort to understand the species of bees and come up with a comprehensive plan to ensure the best possible odds of survival for the bees. In fact, they also encourage for the co-existence of bees and humans should the situation prove favourable, and will give you tips to help you coexist with bees should they build a home in your premises.
They also sell raw honey made from our local bees! If you’re looking to support a local, sustainable cause, do head over to Nutrinest to check out their products.
Our writer has a deep-seated fear of all insects, bees included, but doing the research to write this has helped her to see these little fellas in a different light. She still won’t volunteer to run up to a beehive but understanding bees is the first step to helping and conserving them.
We hope that this post has helped you understand bees better as well! Next time you see one of these furry friends flying around in a place it doesn’t belong, don’t kill them. Just trap them with a container and set them free to find their way back home.
Our buzz-y lifestyles are not an excuse for us to sit back and let others take action, bee the change!