Learn some fun facts about honey during National Honey Month

Fun Facts About Honey for You and Your Family


This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Family Goes Strong. The site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, so the post has been reproduced here.

Honey is one of those foods that has been around for so long we don’t think about it too much. But any food that is made exclusively by honey bees and has remained in the human diet for over 8000 years deserves our attention. After doing some research for National Honey Month I can say there are many fun facts about honey worth celebrating!

But first, let me interrupt this blog for an important public service announcement.

At What Age Can You Give a Child Honey?

The most urgent question I am ever asked about honey is, “When can I safely give honey to my child?”

It seems many parents hear loud and clear the warning from their pediatrician not to give honey to an infant, but miss the part about when they can offer it. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, honey can be introduced into a child’s diet after their first birthday.

That’s valuable information since the Food and Drug Administration recommended in 2008 that over-the-counter cough and cold medicines not be used in children under age 4 years. Honey is a good cough suppressant and has been shown to be more effective in reducing nighttime coughing than drug store cough syrups. It can also relieve a sore throat, and because of its sweet taste, can help other medicines go down.

Fun Facts About Honey from the National Honey Board

How many types of honey are there?

There are more than 300 varietals of honey in the U.S. alone, each with distinct flavor profile and color based on the floral source where the bees collect the nectar. Popular varieties include alfalfa, orange blossom and clover honey. Less familiar ones are avocado, eucalyptus and sage honey.

How many bee keepers are there in the US?

The U.S. has an estimated 139,600-212,000 beekeepers. The majority are hobbyists with no more than 25 hives, while commercial beekeepers have 300 or more.

How many flowers does a honey bee visit during one collection trip?

Honey bees tap between 50-100 flowers in a single trip.

How many flowers must honey bees tap to make one pound of honey?

At least two million flowers are needed to yield a pound of honey.

How much honey does the average worker bee make in her lifetime?

One worker bee makes about 1 ½ teaspoons of honey in her lifetime.

Where is honey produced?

Honey is produced in all 50 states. The top five producers are North Dakota, California, South Dakota, Montana, and Florida.

How much honey is made in the U.S.?

Honey production in the U.S. in 2011 was 148 million pounds, down 16% from 2010.

How much honey do Americans consume?

Americans consume approximately 1.3 pounds of honey per person annually. About 61% of the honey eaten by Americans is imported to meet demands.

What other value do we get from honey bees?

One third of the total human diet is derived directly or indirectly from insect-pollinated plants, including the cattle and dairy cows that feed on insect-pollinated legumes (alfalfa, clover, etc.). The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that 80% of insect crop pollination is accomplished by honey bees.

Are any crops totally dependent on honey bees for pollination?

The almond crop is entirely dependent on honey bee pollination. It takes more than one million colonies of honey pees to pollinate the California almond crop each year. Apples, avocados, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, and sunflowers are 90% dependent on honey bee pollination.

What is the shelf life of honey?

The low moisture content and high acidity of honey makes it an unsuitable environment for bacteria and other micro-organisms, so it can be stored indefinitely. The appearance can change during storage and crystallization may occur over time, but this does not affect wholesomeness.

Tap into some great recipes using honey here.

At first sing of a cold, try these home remedies to get some relief

Home Remedies to Treat the Common Cold


Winter has arrived and with it comes the official season of the common cold. Since there is no cure for it, our only option is to treat the symptoms for the 5-7 days a cold usually lasts. There are plenty of over-the-counter drugs to help with the hallmark nasal congestion, scratchy throat and coughing that accompany a cold, but they are not your only source of relief.

Many home remedies can do the trick.

Non-drug remedies include foods, teas and herbs. Many things have been relied upon and passed on from one generation to the next, but there is scant evidence that the most common remedies for the common cold actually work. The best thing about many home remedies is that they are served with a strong dose of TLC.

The natural remedies that do work have been found to provide measurable relief from some of the symptoms or to shorten the duration of your cold. That’s reason enough to stock your pantry with one or more of these products so you are prepared at the first sign of sniffles, sneezing or a runny nose.

It is also important to remember that some people may be allergic to herbs and supplements and they may change the way other medicines work, so talk to your doctor or pharmacist before trying an alternative treatment.

Home Remedies That Work and Why

  1. Soup – Not just chicken soup, but any steaming bowl of soup can help loosen congested nasal passages and provide needed fluids and salt to fight the infection brewing within.
  2. Fluids – Juice, tea, soda and water, whether sipped hot or cold, provide replacement fluids to keep the immune system strong. Fluid losses increase during a cold if the body temperature is elevated by a fever or mucous losses are greater due to sneezing, coughing or a runny nose.
  3. Zinc – If taken within the first 24 hours of feeling sick, supplemental zinc can make your cold symptoms less severe and go away faster. Zinc may prevent the rhinovirus that causes many colds from multiplying in the nasal passages and throat. The best dose and whether the zinc should be taken as a lozenge or syrup are unresolved.
  4. Saltwater – Gargling with a mixture of ¼- ½ teaspoon of salt dissolved in 8 pounces of water can temporarily relieve a sore and scratchy throat. The same mixture added to a neti pot can be effective in rinsing clogged nasal passages.
  5. Honey – When added to hot tea or lemon water, honey can soothe a sore throat and suppress a cough long enough to help you fall asleep. Gargling with a cooled honey tea can also help coat and relax throat membranes.

Maintaining a strong immune system is the best defense against catching a common cold or being down with it for long if you do catch one. But that is a year round job that involves eating a nutritionally balanced diet, getting regular exercise and sleeping 7-8 hours a night.

The good news is if you can get that right you can avoid a lot more than the common cold!