As a little girl growing up in Greensboro, Maryland, Gina Collins had a passion for all things related to science. Bugs, reptiles and creepy crawly things caught her attention, and she was enchanted by National Geographic documentaries. Collins is now the senior nurse manager for Bayhealth’s Dialysis, Vascular Access and Medical Infusion departments. For Collins, the charm of science is alive and well in her work at Bayhealth and in her backyard as a beekeeping hobbyist.
A honeybee hive is home to 20,000 to 30,000 bees. Collins currently has one very active hive, and at one time had as many as three hives. “The social behavior of honeybees is incredible,” said Collins. “Watching their interactions and distinct roles that each one plays within the hive is exciting.
Some bees retrieve nectar and make honey, others clean the hive, while some tend to the queen and the nursery of eggs and pupae.” She finds similarities between the honeybees and healthcare workers. In the hospital, everyone plays a role in keeping patients safe and healthy. And each honeybee plays a role in keeping their queen safe and healthy.
Collins says the honey is a bonus of having a hive as she finds joy in harvesting her own food. She and her family use raw honey, or honey that hasn’t been heated or pasteurized, as a source of antioxidants, on minor cuts and scrapes, for digestive health, and for soothing sore throats. Collins even uses beeswax to make skin care products such as lip balms, facials and scrubs.
Honey is also a staple at afternoon tea parties for Collins and her grandchildren. “We use honey as a sugar substitute in our tea. We’ve recently started dehydrating mint and hibiscus to use as herbal tea year-round. My grandchildren love having tea parties with this colorful herbal tea and sweet honey.”
Collins found her love for harvesting her own food at a young age when her mother gave her a section of the family garden to look after. “My mother canned our vegetables. Now I love to cook, can and freeze food from my own organic garden. There is something so satisfying about being self-sufficient and knowing that my family could survive on what God has supplied us with on this earth. And let’s face it, it’s healthier!”
Honey can contain spores of the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. For this reason, children under the age of one year and pregnant women should not eat honey.
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