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Honey bees take America!

Honey Bee Education

Believe it or not like most of us, honey bees are not native to North America!  There is a great book called "Bees in America - How the Honey Bee Shaped a Nation" by Tammy Horn that details the importance of the honey bee in the growth of our nation if you're interested.

Interestingly enough honey bees started their North American tour by taking a permanent vacation on an island! The Sea Venture, sent by the Virginia Company to resupply Plymouth in 1609, was blown off course and ran aground in Bermuda. The Virginia Company took possession of the Bermudas around 1613.  This led to the first record evidence of honey bees in Bermuda in 1617.

The early settlements of Jamestown and Plymouth weren't ideal for the honey bee, seeing as how the people there were having a hard time just staying alive. It wasn't until 1621 that the Virginia Company sent ships carrying honey bees, seeds fruit trees (apples aren't native to North America either - except crab apples), rabbits and pigeons to Virginia. This was the beginning of efforts to turn the New World into a land of milk and honey. From there as towns grew and planted orchards, community apiaries were established as well. This coincided with the growing popularity of skep hives which we still see a representation of today in plastic squeezable honey containers!

While we realize today how much of an impact the honey bee has on our food production, it's amazing to learn how much an insect has directly impacted the growth of our country!

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