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Good News Fridays: Hive Five For Alabama: Celebrate National Honey Month By Buying Local

Welcome to the Good News Fridays segment! Each week here on Geek Alabama, Good News Fridays will feature something good, wholesome, positive, and overall something great. After a long and stressful week, we all need something good to read or watch on Fridays! Enjoy a heartwarming post below!

 

How sweet it is. September is National Honey Month, and according to the National Honey Board, honey demand reached an all-time high in 2021. It has many beneficial uses, and the flavor is a favorite of many. 

“Honey is good for cooking, preserving foods and even just for sweetening,” said Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES) Regional Agent Jack Rowe. “It is the sweetener of the whole past ages of humanity.”   

Rowe said one of the best ways to support communities and people is by purchasing locally grown and produced products. Local honey can be found at most farm stands or farmers markets.   

“Local honey is one of those joys in our culinary lives,” Rowe said. “It’s fragrant, it’s tasty, it supports local people and keeps the ideals of local life and food alive.”

And while honey can be used for medicinal purposes, Rowe said one use that has been disproved is that honey from local bees prevents seasonal allergies.   

“The plants the bees feed from are not the ones releasing airborne pollen,” Rowe said. “Also, honey never contacts any of our nasal membranes.”  

 

The benefits of beekeeping 

Honey Bees on Comb

Buying local honey supports Alabama’s economy. (Alabama Cooperative Extension Service)

Beekeepers are an important aspect of the agriculture industry, and it is a hobby that more people are partaking. Alabama Extension Urban Regional Agent Allyson Shabel said beekeeping is a great hobby to help connect people to the environment around them.   

Beekeepers play a key role in protecting and caring for local pollinators. The bees pollinate local crops that farmers and gardeners have planted while also producing honey for communities.   

“Protecting pollinator populations in your local environment is important,” Shabel said. “Many flowering plants in your landscape rely on pollinators to produce the next generation of seeds.” 

Alabama Power is working to help pollinators, including bees, by planting pollinator plots on some company properties, including at The Preserves around Alabama Power lakes. 

Beekeeping also provides an opportunity to stay active. From lifting heavy boxes to wearing protective suits in hot weather, beekeeping requires physical endurance and disciplined time management to make sure the colony survives.  

“Beekeeping can be physically demanding, but very rewarding,” Shabel said. “It is a very physical hobby that requires strength and stamina.”  

 

Getting started

Shabel said one of the best ways to start beekeeping is by reaching out to local beekeepers and taking classes.   

A sweet way to enjoy September during National Honey Month. (Alabama Cooperative Extension Service)

“Take a beginner beekeeping course,” Shabel said. “Alabama Extension hosts a beginner beekeeping class at the annual ACES Beekeeping Symposium in February.”  

Shabel said joining a beekeeping club allows prospective beekeepers to talk with others about how they manage their time and apiary.    

“The bees are fascinating and there is always something new to learn,” Rowe said. “And honey has been a part of human history forever. Both are important to the lives of everyone.”  

For more information about honey and beekeeping, visit your Alabama Extension office to talk to an agent, or check out the Bees & Pollinators section of the Alabama Extension website at www.aces.edu.

This story originally appeared on the Alabama Cooperative Extension System website.

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