MELBOURNE — Patients come to Brevard Zoo’s Sea Turtle Healing Center to recover from sticky situations, but their treatment plans may include something even more viscous.
“We regularly take in turtles that have been struck by boats or propellers or attacked by predators, which can lead to some pretty serious injuries,” said Melanie Stadler, the Zoo’s sea turtle program coordinator. “Honey has remarkable antibacterial properties that, when applied topically, help their wounds heal with a much lower risk of infection. We’re treating four patients with honey right now.”
The raw honey and honeycomb is harvested from the Zoo’s onsite beehives maintained by Brevard Backyard Beekeepers, Inc. for conservation and education purposes. Bees pollinate wild plants as well as crops, and may be critical to the production of one in every three bites of food consumed by humans.
Declining bee populations have alarmed farmers and scientists worldwide.
Locals can aid these imperiled insects and reptiles alike by reducing their use of pesticides, which may poison bees when they land on plants and wash into sea turtles’ habitats during rainstorms. Stadler recommends a mix of saltwater and vinegar as an eco-friendly weed management alternative.