Bees show that social interaction can heal the brain

Bees show that social interaction can heal the brain; loneliness whilst foraging ages their minds.

A honeybee lives about six weeks depending on the season and various factors. In the summer they work much harder having to forage, going out alone in search of flowers and sometimes water. They meet up with others from the same hive or other colonies but most often it's a lonely world.

In the early stages of a bee's life she is busy in the hive. Perhaps she is feeding the queen, building new comb or helping guard the colony. These are social activities with her fellows all about her.

Then at about two to three weeks after hatching the honeybee becomes a forager; this means leaving the hive for long periods. Much of the time she will be out collecting nectar and pollen, working on her own.

Sunflower saving the bees

Deterioration of the brain

Scientists have found that when the honeybee becomes a worker, going out to forage on her own and isolated from her sisters for long periods that her brain actually begins to age. Despite all the varied experiences of visiting exciting places, finding fragrant flowers and certainly encountering new challenges her mind begins to show early signs of dementia. Soon she will die; at about six weeks old.

Reintegration with her family

Bees drinking

But these scientists have found that if these workers are then forcibly made to stay in the hive, say by inclement weather, that their brains snap right back. They can remember new things again, an ability that was lost when they became foragers.

It is often assumed that deterioration of the mind is something quite beyond our control; or perhaps determined by a healthy lifestyle and the opportunity is now long lost. But these scientists have revealed that bees show that social interaction can heal the brain in ways not formerly understood; and that this is perhaps pertinent to us too. 

Breathing air from beehives

In Slovenia there is a very odd practice, or so we might think of breathing air from beehives; they believe that it's good for their health.

Breathing air from beehivesBreathing air from beehives.

It's long been suggested that 'keepers enjoy longer and healthier lives; they suffer from far less cancer, for example. Is it from the air they breathe, the natural honey they enjoy or even the bee-stings that go with the hobby? Or some other factor we never have considered perhaps may come into the equation. Eventually science will distinguish between fact and fiction. 

Breast cancer

Australians scientists are experimenting with great success using bee venom to treat malignant breast tumours; with none of the side effects of modern chemotherapy. The next question to be researched is whether 'keepers specifically suffer from fewer neoplasms of the female organs compared to other women.


Scientists from the Berlin Cancer Institute in Germany report they have never encountered a beekeeper who died from a neoplasm.

A French study found that only one in a thousand beekeepers died of cancer.

It's long been believed that longevity is the keyword with beekeeping. Is it the honey, the pollen[2] or the social interaction?

The ancient Egyptians portrayed bee pollen as "life-giving dust." It is in fact a mixture of that from the flower together with honey and secretions from the mouth of the insect.

"There is nothing in the world that could beat honey as an aid to defying old age. Keep bees and eat the nectar of the gods if you want to live long.

Beekeepers live longer than anybody else."

- Prof John Anderson, University of Aberdeen, Scotland

Or even the stings that every beekeeper experiences periodically.

An absorbing hobby

Most likely it's for none of these reasons that most beekeepers get started with a hive or two in the garden. More probably it had to do with the fact that unadulterated honey was becoming increasingly difficult to find; and today is certainly going to be very expensive.

Just as bad is that commercial bottlers ruin good honey by heating it and straining out all the pollen; it is most likely little less detrimental than sugar as a sweetener.

An esteemed researcher came to this conclusion; Campbell's twenty year diabetes rule.

Nobody has yet contradicted his findings. 20 teaspoons of sugar per day for two decades is a certain cause of the disease; and much sooner if one is also eating highly-refined glycaemic starch. A slice of chocolate cake has over 50g of net carbs; google it.

Yet German researchers have found that natural unprocessed honey has a low glycaemic index; it has much less of an effect of blood glucose than sugar or the commonly available commercial form[1].

Honey first fruitsThe real stuff

Most 'keepers meet regularly with other enthusiasts, sharing ideas. Not only do they benefit from all of the blessings associated with true natural honey but unwittingly they are confirming that bees show that social interaction can heal the brain; and prevent early dementia.

How to start beekeeping

There are sound reasons why most folk are hesitant to start beekeeping; the stings are painful and it's fairly hard physical work. Very often it is the fact that an average hive will produce 50 or more pounds of magnificent, unprocessed honey in a good year that gets them interested.

Potentially it is also a very lucrative business. That honey would retail for five hundred dollars or more each year; with very small overheads. That is double the cost of one hive.

How many jobs are there where you can double your capital in the first year? However let's be honest; like any other work it takes time to acquire the knowledge and skills that make a competent beekeeper.

Bees show that social interaction can heal the brain

Bees show that social interaction can heal the brain; and that social isolation leads to early dementia.

  1. Glycaemic and insulinaemic properties of some common German honey varieties
  2. Bee Pollen: Current Status and Therapeutic Potential
  3. Anticancer Activity of Bee Venom Components against Breast Cancer


Our newsletter is entitled "create a cyan zone" at your home, preserving both yourself and Mother Earth for future generations; and your family too, of course. We promise not to spam you with daily emails promoting various products. You may get an occasional nudge to buy one of my books.

Here are the back issues.

  • What are ultra-processed foods?
  • Investing in long-term health
  • Diseases from plastic exposure
  • Intensive lifestyle management for obesity has limited value
  • A world largely devoid of Parkinson's Disease
  • The impact of friendly bacteria in the tum on the prevention of cancer
  • There's a hole in the bucket
  • Everyone is talking about weight loss drugs
  • Pull the sweet tooth
  • If you suffer from heartburn plant a susu
  • Refined maize meal and stunting
  • Should agriculture and industry get priority for water and electricity?
  • Nature is calling
  • Mill your own flour
  • Bake your own sourdough bread
  • Microplastics from our water
  • Alternative types of water storage
  • Wear your clothes out
  • Comfort foods
  • Create a bee-friendly environment
  • Go to bed slightly hungry
  • Keep bees
  • Blue zone folk are religious
  • Reduce plastic waste
  • Family is important
  • What can go in compost?
  • Grow broad beans for longevity
  • Harvest and store sunshine
  • Blue zone exercise
  • Harvest and store your rainwater
  • Create a cyan zone at your home

Did you find this page interesting? How about forwarding it to a friendly book or food junkie? Better still, a social media tick would help.


56 Groenekloof Rd,

Hilton, KZN

South Africa