After serving for 30 years as a Killeen police officer, Steve Hoskins is now retired and spends time sharing his latest life adventure of bee wrangling.
He told members of the Harker Heights Kiwanis Club during their weekly luncheon Tuesday that bees underlie our survival and future.
“The main point I want to get across is for people to not kill bees,” Hoskins said. “They are dying on their own because of chemicals and we’re destroying their habitats in trees where they live. It’s a combination of chemicals and nature that’s destroying the bee population.”
Hoskins said we are currently suffering a colony collapse disorder, the massive loss of bees across the country. An entire colony of 50-80,000 bees could die overnight and scientists don’t know why.
Kiwanis member Ron Rainosek thought cold weather would kill bees.
“I didn’t know that sometimes they just starve to death,” he said.
Scientists say that bees are responsible for one-third to two-thirds of food production in this country. If there are no bees to pollinate peaches, pears, almonds, tomatoes, oranges, apples, and other vegetables, they will not produce.
“The only thing that gets pollinated are row crops such as corn and wheat and that’s done by the wind,” Hoskins said. “Everything else is pollinated by bees.” Bees produce nutrient-rich honey, the only food fit for human consumption produced by insects.
“I didn’t know the color of honey had to do with what the bees had been eating,” said Gladys Swindle, retired teacher and Kiwanis member.
Diabetics can consume honey, a key ingredient in medicines used for serious burns. Although extremely expensive, honey-saturated wound dressing is being produced by hospitals. Hoskins said doctors recommend it because it is effective.
Athletes have been told to consume sugar for an energy boost. But plain sugar loses its potency, whereas honey has no downside. Honey has been proven to relieve allergies.
“Most of what people are allergic to in this part of the country is in the honey in the form of pollen brought in by the bees,” Hoskins said. “By eating the honey, you’re putting yourself through an immunization process.”
Because of colony collapse, honey prices will rise and supplies will dwindle, Hoskins said.