Friday, May 3, 2019

Honeybees Throughout History

The buzz about honeybees has been around for thousands of years. Honeybees helped humans in Ancient Egypt, Greece and early America. Rock art shows "honey hunting" in early civilizations in Africa, India and Spain, and organized beekeeping happened in ancient Egypt, Greece, Italy and Israel. The greatest minds throughout history have studied the fascinating honeybee. 

Ancient Egyptians are thought of as the first beekeepers in history. Historians have found hieroglyphs of bees dating back to 2422 BD! The oldest jar of honey found in the world came from the tomb of King Tut. Ancient Egyptians knew that honey was more than just a food. They used honey to clean wounds and to promote beauty and youthfulness in cosmetics. They used bees wax to make candles. Today, people are still using honey and hive products for the same purposes! 

Some of the greatest ideas about honeybees came from Ancient Greece. Before this point in history, most ideas and observations were passed down through oral traditional and stories. The Greeks wrote down their knowledge. One of the most well known minds to study bees was Aristotle around 342 BC. He was not a beekeeper, but that did not stop him from studying bees. Some of his ideas were correct but some of them were not. He knew there were three bees in the hive. He got the worker and drone bees correct, but he thought the queen bee was a king bee! 

Early settlers in America brought honeybees from Europe to North America in 1622. There were native bees already in North America but the colonist introduced domesticated bees. In colonial times, bees were extremely beneficial. Honey was used instead of highly-taxed sugar and beeswax was used for making shoe polishes, lipsticks and candles. The beehives featured on early American coins convey how important honeybees are in our history.