Ah, springtime. Birds chirping, sun shining, flowers blooming, and people sneezing. For many, living in the southeastern United States during spring is just a powdery green haze of puffy eyes and runny noses. Springtime has become synonymous with pollen season, which, in my opinion, is just a less contagious, and greener version of winter’s flu season.
For someone living in our wonderful city of Richmond, pollen season is an annual tradition. In my experience, the warm weather makes me want to spend all my time outside, and I do until I realize I’m covered in the green powder and must run inside for cover, a shower, and Zyrtec. I dread the days of waking up and noticing my navy blue GMC Yukon is no longer navy, but a speckled tint of lime green.
On April 11, 2017, pollen.com ranked Richmond as the fourth worst city for pollen. Leading the list was Washington DC, just one hundred miles north. Checking out Richmond’s pollen count for the next five days, looking for some relief for my allergy symptoms, almost always leaves me inconsolable. The pollen count for Richmond is usually in the red zone this time of year. Some days the count is above ten, when 9.7 is considered to be extreme.
If you experience symptoms of “watery eyes, runny nose, rhinitis, sore throat, coughing, increased mucus, headaches and asthma” in the springtime, then you probably suffer from hay fever too. There are many different ways to treat it, some more effective than others. One I found quite interesting is something my mother told me about just a few years ago. If one has a spoonful of local honey each morning starting about a month before pollen season, one’s spring allergies will be almost cured. Upon testing this theory last year, I found that it was true. As the pollen counts began to rise this year, I realized that I had forgotten to take the spoonful of honey I was prescribed, and thus braced for my usual turbulent pollen season.
Why does the honey trick work so well? It is said that local honey contains local pollen; thus, once eaten every day, the body will become immune to the pollen. Bees both pollinate the plants and make the honey, or at least they do for now.
Bees are not my favorite animal; in fact, I doubt they would even be in my top twenty. They sting you and cause the aggravating pollen season. Without bees, however, the world would be quite different. The majority of crops are pollinated by bees; without them, there would be no grapes, avocados, watermelons, kale, and much more. With no crops, there would be no way to feed farm animals or ourselves.
According to Greenpeace.net, one in every three bites of food a person takes is attributed to the very endangered honey bee. A world without bees would quickly turn into a world without humans. Bees stings are painful, but bees are necessary, and, sadly the bee is an endangered species. The gradual endangerment of bees can be attributed to the rising use of pesticides.
Companies are now also realizing bees’ importance. For example, General Mills has remade the famous bee of the box for Honey Nut Cheerios as part of a “Bring Back the Bees” campaign. The website takepart.com has a whole section dedicated to the bee crisis, where visitors can learn how to get involved and even take a quiz on their bee knowledge.
So, next time you complain of a runny nose, or are sad because a bee stings you, remember to not blame the bee. Bees are needed for the human race to thrive, and we must protect them at all costs. Now, go and get some local honey, and maybe some Allegra or Zyrtec, and remember to close your windows during pollen season.
Featured image by Forest Wander via Flickr.