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Sweet on bees

2022’s creature of choice comes with a stinger in its tail

Publisher Lori Goodridge-Cribb is shown during this month’s fashion shoot at Golden Bear Golf Club at Indigo Run. Find floral prints perfect for spring starting on page 118.

I grew up in Ohio with a healthy fear of bees. My father was not a big fan either. He kept a tennis racket next to his chair on the back porch so he could swat them away. It wasn’t until I moved to Hilton Head that I learned to respect and appreciate the bee population (thanks, Coastal Discovery Museum!). Turns out, bees only attack in defense of their hive, or when they are accidentally squished. Most of the time stings come from yellow jacket wasps, which are often mistaken for honeybees. 

Bees present no danger. In fact, they have proven to be incredibly beneficial. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, almost 90 percent of wild plants and 75 percent of leading global crops depend on animal pollination. And honeybees perform about 80 percent of pollination worldwide. Bees also are responsible for over half of the world’s fibers and oils and help create many medicines, provide food for wildlife and help prevent soil erosion. They also make raw honey — the most delicious sweetener nature has to offer. 

Bees are all the buzz in the Lowcountry these days. Trendy hot spots such as Nectar Farm Kitchen, Bee-Town Mead & Cider and House of Honey are popping up all over the place. Many of us have found healing properties in local honey and have added it to our daily routines. All the top chefs are cooking with it. Bees have swarmed our fashion, design, art and social media worlds. Move over, cute and cuddly animals: 2022’s creature of choice comes with a stinger in its tail.

Unfortunately, bees are dying, and the solution to their health is not a simple one. Since 1947 the U.S. human population has increased by 128 percent, while the honeybee population has declined by 54 percent. This buzzworthy issue of LOCAL Life shines a light on the plight of bees and shares easy ways you can help #BeeTheSolution by living a more pollinator-friendly lifestyle by reducing the use of pesticides, protecting safe havens for bees and planting pollinator-friendly native plants. 

You will meet local experts and learn the ins and outs of beekeeping from members of the Beaufort-Jasper Beekeepers Association. Discover the raw truth behind the best local honey brands and where you can buy them. Sweeten up your next meal with honey food and drink recipes from local chefs and mixologists. 

In typical LOCAL Life fashion we also included a bunch of fun bee-related facts, like the origins of popular sayings such as “the bee’s knees” and “none of your beeswax.” We’ve also rounded up a few bee-related books, put together a handy bee identification guide and shared the sweet history of bees and honey here in the Lowcountry. 

We hope this issue gives you a new appreciation for bees and the crucial role they play in the web of life. Together we can give bees a chance.

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“A day without a friend is like a pot without a single drop of honey left inside.” – Winnie The Pooh

Land of milk and honey 

My favorite spot to find local and regional honey is Piggly Wiggly at Coligny Plaza. It’s fun to try a different one each month. I first experienced “The Pig” back in the early ‘70s, when it was the only grocery store in town. In my opinion, it’s still the best. Gene Martin (who recently passed away) ran his store brilliantly, serving locals and vacationers with the best service and products. I am so proud of his son, David, who has kept the integrity of the store first-class. As locals know, Piggly Wiggly has a long track record of being there for our community. When Hurricane Matthew left us without power for weeks, David guided customers through the aisles by flashlight. In addition to local honey, you can find all sorts of South Carolina-produced jams, jellies, wines, grits and produce. Find the “Pig’s Local Picks” section of the store.