Letter Re: Bees, CCD, Honey, and Mead

I’ve been perusing your site for a while now, and I must say I’m very impressed and quite grateful for such a fabulous resource. I just wanted to drop a line to address an issue that occurred to our small preparedness group. In a word: Honey. Or more importantly of course, the potential lack thereof. I don’t know if anyone else has addressed this potentially important issue, but if not, then allow me to be the first to do so. I am referring of course to the developing crisis with our nation’s bees and Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). With such a sharp decline in bees, then a decline in honey production can’t be too far behind. We believe that now is the time to start considering stockpiling this important item. And why is Honey so important? I’m glad you asked that.
Honey is first, and foremost, a fabulous emergency storage food. If properly contained it will keep virtually forever. If it crystallizes, simply apply warmth to re-liquify. It has a number of uses: Primarily as a sweetener, of course, but when combined with Peanut Butter it is also a wonderful ‘comfort food’ that can make the seemingly endless monotony of the bread made from stockpiled flour much more bearable.
Second, it can be a valuable trade item for barter with those without the foresight to stock up themselves. One might be surprised how quickly some people with a ‘sweet tooth’ may become convinced that something as seemingly mundane as honey can be worth quite a bit.
However, while these things do indeed make honey an important commodity post TEOTWAWKI, that’s not the most important as far as I’m concerned. Anyone can make a sandwich with honey, but I believe that Honey as a higher purpose: Mead
Mead is among the simplest types of alcohol to produce. In its simplest form it requires little more than honey, hot water and a bit of yeast; and in just a few months can yield a smooth sweet honey-wine with between 10% and 15% alcohol content. Even if you yourself don’t wish to indulge such a commodity would have untold value in a post TEOTWAWKI scenario, especially after a few months, when all of the liquor stores have been looted, and there is little to drink besides water. There are a variety of sources on the net for the aspiring mead-maker. One of the best is www.gotmead.com .
The other side to this discussion, of course has to do with the bees themselves. For those who have the time, space and capability to do so, I highly recommend looking to keeping a hive or to yourself. It is theoretically within the realm of possibility, depending on how bad the CCD problem gets, that commercial bee keepers in this country could be virtually wiped out. If that occurs, bad things might start to happen. I need not remind the readers that a significant percentage of the plants in your garden are pollinated by bees. It would be a pity if all of the work and effort put into a couple of acre truck garden went to naught as a result of a lack of pollinators, especially if such a thing could be prevented by simply keeping hive of bees at the edge of you plot.
I have never kept bees myself, but I’m sure it would take a certain investment ion both time and money. However, it seems to me that if one does choose to keep bees, then not only would you have your own pollinators and a self renewing supply of honey, along with all of the above mentioned uses, but, as a bonus, you would also have a self renewing source of beeswax for candles all rolled into one! There are, of course a variety of bee keeping site on line, a simple search will turn up many results. Regards, – Krys in Idaho