I enter a grocery store, pick up my favourite brand of honey, pay for it and use it in my baking or simply spread over a piece of bread and that’s how convenient and casual it is for me. Other than being a frequent consumer of honey all I know about it is what I learnt in around grade 5 about how bees collect nectar from flowers and that flavour and colour of honey depends on flowers it was collected from and the method of production.
This summer my visit to the northern mountains of Pakistan was an eye opener regarding honey. While driving through the winding mountain roads we saw hundreds of small wooden boxes lined at the roadside and tents pitched by them. As curiosity got the better of us, we stopped by one cluster of boxes and found the person in the tent nearby.
Those people were beekeepers, raising honey bees in the boxes, tending them day in and day out, rain or shine, for a paltry Rs150 ($1.5) a day. They let the bees out to fly to flowers in the valley. The insects go up to around 25 miles radius and when they are done collecting nectar, come back to their boxes before sundown. On average a worker bee will make 1/12 teaspoon of honey in her lifetime and visits 50 to 100 flowers during a collection trip. They have to fly over 55,000 miles to make 1 lb. of honey.
So just one teaspoon of honey that I stir into my tea or spread over my toast has days of hard work of beekeepers and lifetime of tiny bee workers! And the profits of the hard work of beekeepers and worker bees are pocketed by the corporate giants.

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