Initiated by the National Honey Board in 1989, The National Honey Month of September marks an important time for honey producers and beekeepers across the nation.
In the United States, honey collection season typically concludes at this time of the year as bees begin to secure their hives and prepare for winter. In the spirit of celebration, here are a few fun, crazy facts you may not have known about bees, beekeeping, and honey!
- There are nearly 20,000 known species of bees throughout the world; 4,000 of which are native to the United States (USDA, Bee Basics: An Introduction to Our Native Bees).
- A single worker honeybee produces approximately 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in their lifetime. That means around 22,700 bees are needed to fill a single jar of honey! (National Honey Board, Honey Trivia).
- In 2012, archaeologists discovered “the world’s oldest honey”! It was found in ceramic jars in Georgia, the country – not the state, and is estimated by scientists to be about 5,500 years old!
- Although Utah’s official state emblem features a beehive and enjoys the nickname “The Beehive State”, the 2016 top 10 honey-producing states include North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, California, Florida, Texas, Minnesota, Michigan, Louisiana, and Georgia.
- Honey comes in a variety of colors and flavors – including blue or purple! States located in the southeastern region of the United States are known to produce purple honey. Purple honey is an incredibly rare harvest – some beekeepers go their entire lives without ever encountering it. There are many different hypotheses on how purple honey gets its color, but scientists still cannot reach an agreement on the cause (April Aldrich, A History of Honey in Georgia and the Carolina).
Because honey is so pure it can be eaten straight from the hive, but some may find it a bit of a challenge getting around all those bees! Here is a tasty, easy way to use honey (without the sting!) using your fresh garden carrots:
Scrub and chop one pound of carrots and boil in ¾ cup of water until tender (about 7 minutes). Add 1 tablespoon each of butter and honey and stir to coat. Serves 4