Honey and bees... help?!

Vegan.newbee

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Hi guys, I am currently transitioning to veganism. I have been eating a plant based/vegan diet for 3 months now and so far so Good, I hope! I have am slowly getting to grips with most of it (I have found the diet easy but struggle with other products at the moment).

However, I originally took a pro honey approach for the first week, as we have such a shortage of bees. Due to their decline and importance, I felt as though supporting bee farms was a good idea. I have watched videos about how the queen bees are treated, which make me uncomfortable. Is relying on wild flowers enough? Or are the measures that bee keepers take realistically our best chance right now? I feel as though either way has down sides. Any thoughts would be much appreciated please. In a battle of ethics with myself here! Thank you in advance!
 

poivron

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I wish I had been around to respond to this when you first posted it.

You will not be supporting bees by buying honey. The decline of bees is a much bigger problem than honey. Beekeepers only use honeybees, whereas there are countless other species of bees that are declining, such as the bumblebee. Moreover, honey production is only a small fraction of the beekeeping industry, which makes most of its profit by renting out beehives to farms to help pollinate crops. In fact, many people believe that this practice is one of the major reasons for the decline of bees.

If you care about bees, the best way to support them is to plant native wildflowers in your yard, or wherever else you can plant them without getting into trouble. I first started planting native plants three or four years ago, and the local bees love my yard. You can find out online what plants are native to your region. If you plant the right natives for your soil, sun/shade, and water criteria, they will require no special maintenance. In my case, I figured out which natives work in my garden through trial and error. (You don't need to be a gardener to plant native plants. I hate gardening.)

Here is an excellent article about the beekeeping industry (which shows, by the way, that a vegan who avoids honey but drinks almond milk gives more of her hard-earned money to the destructive beekeeping industry than a vegan who avoids almond milk but eats honey):
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/migratory-beekeeping-mind-boggling-math/
 

alleycat

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Honey was the last animal product I gave away, I was ignorant and thought it was fairly benign. I was so sickened when I saw how the honey industry really works.
Being a gardener I encourage the local wild life to come into my yard, and I get blue banded native bees, carpenter bees and introduced honey bees visiting my yard.
I was actually thinking today about bees because a friend of a friend who lives on a property out of town has found one of the wild bee colonies have abandoned their hive. He is waiting for a week to see if they come back, if they don't he wants to raid the hive. Is it ethical to use what the bees have left ?
 

poivron

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I was actually thinking today about bees because a friend of a friend who lives on a property out of town has found one of the wild bee colonies have abandoned their hive. He is waiting for a week to see if they come back, if they don't he wants to raid the hive. Is it ethical to use what the bees have left ?

I would not touch the hive. First of all, the bees might not all have abandoned the hive. Here is a blog post explaining that when a hive appears to be abandoned, it is not always necessarily abandoned. (I'm sorry; it's by a beekeeper, but one who practices natural beekeeping and seems to know a huge amount about bees.)
http://beekeepinglikeagirl.com/why-did-my-bees-leave/

Even if the hive has been abandoned, I'm sure it will serve as an important food source for other animals. Nothing goes to waste in nature.