Dear Dr. Boli: The honey I bought two days ago is described as “goldenrod” honey. The same shelf at the store held a number of other varieties of honey, all designated by the names of flowers. My question is this: How do they know what flowers the bees have been visiting? Does somebody have to follow each bee around all day and see which flowers it lights on? I haven’t slept since I began thinking about these things, so your help would be greatly appreciated. —Sincerely, An Insomniac in Regent Square.
Dear Sir or Madam: The bees are trained from an early age to visit one particular species of flower, each bee in a given hive being trained to the same species. The methods by which this training is accomplished are quite frankly appalling, and few more glaring examples of animal cruelty can be found in agriculture. Bee wranglers use almost microscopic crops to whip the bees for every mistake. They make the bees watch endless reruns of television game shows when they believe the bees have not applied themselves to their work. The wranglers have even been known to lure the bees with false hopes of Broadway tickets or all-expenses-paid tropical vacations, only to dash those hopes cruelly once the bees have performed their appointed tasks. The specialty-honey business is inherently inhumane; only so-called “wildflower honey” is reliably cruelty-free.